The Great Grenache Tasting of 2016

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The second annual Great Grenache tasting took place at Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar on Saturday the 5th November.  13 wine enthusiasts of various walks of life participated in a blind tasting of 57 wines, including rosé and a few multiple vintages of some wines.  Some comment:  It is noticeable that the lighter style of Grenache Noir did best in this line-up, heavier wooded and sweeter styles did not excite the panel too much.


Here are the Top 20 (scored blind on the 20-point scale) wines:


The 2nd Great Grenache Tasting

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We like Grenache. A lot.  It seems the South African wine industry and the average consumer is also waking up to the fact that red wine need not always be heavy with tongue-drying tannin fighting with your taste buds.

Below is a list of wines already sourced and purchased for our second GREAT GRENACHE TASTING, to be held in a week’s time.  If you make a 100% Grenache Gris or Grenache Gris rosé, and your name is not on the list; we apologise!  Drop us a mail ( or and we’ll make a plan to purchase the wine for inclusion in the the line-up.



Celebrating older South African Wines

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By a happy coincidence, our Sunday “church” wine tasting theme fit in perfectly with Heritage Day celebrations:  Older South African Wines.  The question was: Do they age?  The answer?  YES.



Sunday dawned with bright blue skies & a sense of trepidation…would the wines show well? The 1999 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel (disgorged Aug 2016) initially displayed a bit of funkiness expected from a 17 year-old but opened up to generous, savoury palate that was light yet rich.



KWV Roodeberg 1977 survived one of the worst vintages in SA’s history to grace our glasses with perfume, hints of shoe polish & celery salt. The Rustenberg “Gold” 1986 (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot) at 12.16% abv showed vibrant colour with a bit of liquorise and a hint green pepper (still). An abundance of fruit from the 30-year old.


Batonage explores Bordeaux 2009

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We recently had the good fortune to recently attend a tasting of Bordeaux’s 2009 vintage: A ripe, generous and warm vintage.  Some of the highlights:


The Chateau Doisy-Daëne is set to become a favourite in our cellar with its gorgeous nettle and blackcurrant nose.  The name Doisy-Daëne was inspired by an owner in the late 1800’s, Jacques Emmanuel Daëne, who took the vineyards name of Doisy and used his name to come up what he considered to be the correct representation on the chateau.  The 16.3 hectare vineyard, situated close to Chateau Climens, has a terroir that consists of red sand, clay and limestone soil.  The vineyards are planted to 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc.  Denis Dubourdieu also owns Clos Floridene in the Graves appellation, and aside from his work in Bordeaux, he is involved with several projects in different regions in the world; one of his most interesting ventures is in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa with 4 G Wines in a partnership with Girogio Dalla Cia.


The wines we drink: Le Lude MCC

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In an era where so many producers view bubbly as a “cash cow” and a must-have because they host celebratory events and “people demand it”, it is refreshing to come across a man who makes bubbly because he has a passion for it.  We have far too many MCC’s on the market in South Africa that are made as an after thought with minimum time on the lees and maximum bank account returns.



Paul Gerber not only has a passion for champagne/sparkling wine, he is busy with his Masters’ Degree in a part of the whole process (gas exchange)!  It was a pleasure to spend a day in his company, geeking out on wine at the Le Lude Estate in Franschhoek.  We were certainly privileged to get a sneak peek before the launch of these special wines. More

The wines we drink: Cork vs Screw cap

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There are pros and cons to any wine closure; some are based in scientific fact, others are based on consumer perception.  We decided to put together a tasting to compare the effect of the 2 closures on the ageing and thus the taste of the wine.  In a nutshell:  What closure has the wine tasting better after time in the bottle?


To kick proceedings off, we tasted the lovely non vintage rosé MCC from Le Lude:  Second fermentation under crown cap vs under cork (secured with an agrafe).  The wines were clearly different, with the wine under crown cap showing more fruit, especially strawberry.  The wine under cork was richer, broader and showed clear brioche character.  Fascinating stuff, when you  know that both wines were identical when bottled.

Panel choice:  standard crown cap 4 – 7 cork 2nd ferment.


The wines we drink: Naudé Old Vines Range.

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We have written about our regard for the Naudé White before but the Board of Directors and Ian Naudé at Adoro Wines are not resting on their laurels; they have just released the new range of wines made from old vines.



The Alchemy Best Burger Competition – the Batonage entry

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The KnowItALL Burger – a classic style burger but with local knowledge


Note the hand crafted mustard and tomato sauce in the background. And of course, the Alchemy White.

It’s official!  Our entry has bene selected as a finalist in the competition – come & taste it at Hartenberg Wine Estate on 24 September.  More details here.


The story:


The places we eat, drink and stay at: Steenberg

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The Red Wine Romp held at Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg was the perfect occasion to revisit one of our favourite hotels and wine farms.  The concept was simple:  Celebrate the great red wines of the Constantia area, paired with a veritable winter feast prepared by Chef Garth Almazan and his team and the outstanding service and warm hospitality one always experiences at Catharina’s.




The places we eat at: Pot Luck Club

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We first visited the Pot Luck Club a few years ago in its original incarnation adjacent to the Test Kitchen.  We have on occasion visited the Pot Luck Club at the new location at the top floor of the old Silo building and have always enjoyed our meal(s).


Our recent visit was no exception; we were yet again impressed by the excellent service, delicious food and the sheer energy of the space.  The menu has evolved (entirely expected from an establishment with such a reputation and capabilities) and is now divided into sections listing the primary taste (sweet, salty and so forth). More

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