The wines we drink: Sijnn White 2012

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We tasted the first vintage (2008) of Sijnn Wines during a visit to De Trafford a few years ago and followed the rise (and rise) of the brand with interest over the years.

The Sijnn vineyard, established in 2004,  is situated at the mouth of the Breede River between Malgas and Cape Infanta.  It was originally known as Sijnn by previous inhabitants, the Khoisan.  When David Trafford and his business partners bought the land, there were no vineyards in the area at all – the closest vines are still over 40km away. It was decided to plant the vineyards with mainly Mediterranean grape varieties which can handle a bit of heat and, grow everything as a bush vine, due to the icy wind sweeping straight in off the ocean.




The wines we drink: Vondeling Babiana 2009

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Some of the best value for money wines currently available in the local market are produced by Vondeling.  Situated in the Voor Paardeberg area of Paarl, the farm was granted to Swedish immigrant Oloff Bergh by Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel in 1704. Vondeling has a three-centuries-old winemaking tradition dating back to the early 1700’s and today they are producing a wide range of good wines under winemaker Matthew Copeland.  The wines all have one thing in common: they over deliver at their price point.


The wines we drink: Mount Abora Koggelbos 2011

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The Swartland is the hottest of the South African wine regions where the focus is on still, unfortified wines. Often in the past the hot climate meant confected, overripe red wines, a style that I hate with a passion. Of course in the meantime Eben Sadie, the Mullineux’s and Adi Badenhorst arrived, guys who seem to know just when to pick to get phenolic ripeness without overripe fruit. Although these days I like certain Swartland reds, my main Swartland love are the white wines. If it says Swartland on the label, it is rich, medium to full bodied, textured with a lot of fruit expression, I grab the wallet and spend the last of the rent money.

Mount Abora Koggelbos

Chenin Blanc being the most planted white grape out in that part of the world, is often the main role player in the excellent white blends that come from the area. Only recently we’ve started seeing single varietal bottelings of Chenin Blanc from the Swartland area to rival the white blends and thus the Mount Abora Koggelbos Chenin Blanc 2011. Made at Meerhof cellar – a winery with a history going back to 1751, it is the quintessential Swartland white, but with a twist. More

The wines we drink: Alheit Vineyards Cartology 2013

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IMG_1054[1]This wine, made by Chris and Suzaan Alheit, has set a bench mark for South African white blends since its first vintage.  The Cartology 2013 is reminiscent of that 2011 vintage: rich, yet still poised and very elegant.

The 2013 is a blend of Chenin Blanc (88%) and Semillon (12%) sourced from parcels all over the Western Cape (Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Citrusdal).  Expect delicate white and yellow fruit on the nose, with an undertone of lemon blossom; the palate adds some honey and stone fruit. More

The wines we drink: Calitzdorp Blend

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The annual Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival was an opportunity for us to learn more about Port and Portugese grape varieties.  Due to a trade (dis)agreement with Portugal, South Africa has been labelling their “Port” as “Cape” followed by whatever style of Port is being made, without actually using the P-word.

Day 3 tasting (5)


The wines we drink: Magna Carta 2011

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In five days from today it will be exactly 799 years since the signing of the Magna Carta – The Great Charter of the Liberties of England by King John. The document served as the first ever attempt to limit the power of the monarch, the forerunner of the modern day constitution.

 IMG_0685Almost 10 000 km away and centuries later Steenberg Wine Estate came up with their own great charter. The Steenberg Magna Carta was first released from 2007 vintage grapes to huge acclaim. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the wine set a new benchmark for South African Bordeaux style white blends at the time.  Last week we attended the Magna Carta Roadshow – Steenberg taking the 2011 vintage around the country with a series of lunches.

The style of the wine has definitely changed. Where the 2007 was quite green and austere, the 2011 is more approachable – it is less linear, the barrel fermented Semillon gives it a creamy note and for me it is definitely easier than any of the other vintages at the same age. That said, don’t expect an easy ride – the wine is complex, has serious weight and breadth and is not for everyone at R525 a bottle at the cellar. You won’t regret buying and cellaring some. The wine will go for quite some time. More

Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2014

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The third annual Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, presented by Sanlam Private Investments (SPI), has seen a hierarchy of quality among local wines in the category start to emerge. Wineries such as Rickety Bridge, Thelema and Waterford have shown admirable consistency in the Top Ten over the years, and overall, the category is looking strong. Bear in mind that this is not a talent spotting competition; entries are per invitation only.  This report aims to establish a recognised benchmark for the second most planted grape variety in South Africa.


Christian Eedes, James Pietersen & Wynand Grobler from Rickety Bridge

The Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons were revealed at a gathering at Burrata at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock on Thursday, 22 May 2014. A total of 60 wines were tasted and judged by a panel that was led by Christian Eedes and included renowned tasters Roland Peens and James Pietersen from Wine Cellar. More

Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse Cape White 2013

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What do you get when you blend John & Tasha Seccombe, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, a bit of nostalgia and a lot of guts?  The Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse Cape White.



The wines we drink: Jean Daneel Signature Red 2008

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Old, leather bound library books, fading memories of long nights in front of a roaring fire and multiple layers of velvety, cassis drenched ganache…pull the cork on a 2008 Jean Daneel Signature Red and this wine will take you places.




The wines we drink: Provenance Rooi 2011 from Saronsberg

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Saronsberg has built up a remarkable reputation for making quality wines in Tulbagh and with winemaker Dewaldt Heyns celebrating his tenth vintage on the farm this year, we can safely assume that the property will be producing quality tipple for the foreseeable future.



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