The wines we drink: Sadie Family Palladius 2010

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A quick visit to our cellared wine stash yielded a gem:  The Sadie Family Palladius 2010.  Purchased in Riebeek Kasteel in a haze of Swartland Revolution fueled euphoria 2 years ago, we acted responsibly and hid this wine from our greedy selves, protected in the far reaches of a temperature controlled wine cellar in the outskirts of Observatory.

We have written extensively about Eben Sadie, the Swartland and the Swartland Revolution; this is all about the wine.  The blend leads with Chenin Blanc, with Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanc, Viognier and a few other varieties thrown in – a blend that can loosely be termed “Mediterranean”.  Berries are hand sorted and pressed in a basket press, some of the grapes are fermented on the skins and ageing takes place on the lees in a variety of vessels (oak vats, clay and concrete) for 18 months.

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Exploring Malbec from Argentina

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The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) recently hosted brothers Luis and Martin Mantegini:  Sommeliers from Argentina.  They were in SA to compete in the ironman and just by-the-by, tell us more about Argentinian Malbec.  They delivered fascinating insight into the Argentinian wine industry and of course, Malbec as a varietal.

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Some interesting facts we learnt:  Of the almost 260,000 hectare under vine in Argentina (mostly in the central western region of the country) roughly 80% is planted in Mendoza.  Argentina’s wine growing region(s) are completely isolated from the influence of water being very far from the Atlantic coastline to the east and blocked by the Andes mountain range on the west thus creating the textbook example of a continental climate.  The region also has around 335 sunny days a year and they have to irrigate the vines due to the low rainfall. More

The wines we drink: Hermit on the Hill The Round Table Roussanne Blanc 2013

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Pieter de Waal has never made a boring wine in his life.  His latest offering under the “Hermit on the Hill” banner, is called “The Round Table Roussanne”.

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South African wine consumers do not get much exposure to local (if any) Roussanne – it is a delicate wine, with ethereal clouds of  peach, pear and honey blossom gently wafting down your throat.  The wine is different but you don’t have to be a aran pullover wearing wine geek to enjoy it. More

The wines we drink: AA Badenhorst Family White 2011

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“AA Badenhorst Family Wines White Blend ” is quite a mouthful of a name.

AA Badenhorst white cropThe list of varieties, too: Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Verdehlo, Colombar, Viognier, Chardonnay, Semillon and 3 others that probably cannot be mentioned because they technically do not exist in South Africa (according to the authorities).

The wine itself is also quite a mouthful.  Born and bred in the Swartland, the Family White is a precise wine, the usual “ag, we just threw everything together and really didn’t know what was gonna happen” by Adi Badenhorst will not  fly here.  Every single bottle (and we have sampled quite a few in the name of research, of course) is a testament to precision: There may be more than 10 varietals in the blend, but they all have their small role to play.  Every nuance you taste is not there by accident.  Multi-layered on the palate, textured, rich and at the same time gentle and creamy.  This is the older Angelina Jolie:  Still a little left of center, but mature, elegant; sometimes playful but always intelligent.  The lady who wears pearls with her leather pants. More

The wines we drink: Chamonix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

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Making a withdrawal of a case or 2 of wines stored at the Wine Cellar is a bit like having your birthday halfway through the year; unpacking the cases, unwrapping bottle after bottle, ooh-ing and ah-ing over every label, every vintage…

The early arrival of winter was the flimsy excuse for opening our newly “discovered” bottle of Chamonix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, carefully crafted by gifted winemaker Gottfried Mocke and team.  Chamonix has won acclaim as Winery of the Year and heaps of accolades for individual wines, they do not produce a wine that we do not enjoy.

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The wines we drink: Blackwater MMX Noir

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Blackwater Wine is the brainchild of Francois Haasbroek, who cut his teeth at Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch.  We met Francois during an extremely informative lecture he gave on Burgundy during our WSET level 3 course.  His passion for and in-depth knowledge of his subject shone through and it was no surprise when we heard that he is striking out on his own, producing wine under his own label.

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The wines we drink: Giorgio 2011 by Dalla Cia

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Giorgio Dalla Cia needs no introduction to any lover of South African wine; after all, he was the wine maker that put Meerlust on the map and subsequently set out under his own name.  His wines are as well known as his Grappa and the family’s Italian food and wine bar (Pan E Vino) set in Stellenbosch.

The bar is clearly set high at Dalla Cia: Premium wines are produced that sell at premium prices.  Last year we purchased a bottle of his maiden release Dalla Cia Pinot Noir 2011 – this is no light weight tooty fruity Pinot Noir.  “Robust” is the word that springs to mind, “serious” would be another and doubtless “delicious” would complete this short description.  Will we buy it again (if an when we can afford it) – Yes.

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Tasting history at Eagle’s Nest

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We recently had the fortune of being at the right place at the right time: A visit to Eagle’s Nest while they were tasting every single vintage of their wines ever produced.  This is the type of thing that makes us wine geeks very excited – a rare opportunity to taste library stock and thus see how the estate (and its young wine maker) has developed.

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Eagle’s Nest has graced the pages of our virtual publication before (click here) and we are regular visitors to the estate, introducing as many friends as possible to a (now) bastion of quality and elegance.

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I Love My Laundry – Buitenkant Street

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The new year has started with a “bang” in the I Love My Laundry house with the opening of a third store in Buitenkant Street.

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Searching for Pinot…finding heaven

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This past weekend – the Hemel & Aarde Winegrowers Pinot Noir Celebration in the Hemel & Aarde valley. I suspected it was going to be any pinotphile’s dream and it certainly turned out that way. The kind of excitement the grape variety generates in me is akin to childlike.

The beautiful Bona Dea Estate

The beautiful Bona Dea Estate

Friday kicked off with a tasting of the 2012 vintage wines from the 3 wards of the Hemel & Aarde (Hemel & Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel & Aarde and Hemel & Aarde Ridge) . It was to showcase the differences from the change in terroir for these 3 areas. A couple of the commentators on the day felt that there wasn’t that much of a difference in identity between the regions, although for me there was a thread through some of the wines. One thing that is incontrovertible is that Hemel & Aarde Pinot Noir has an unbelievable purity of fruit. More

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