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

Is this the world’s greatest white grape?

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I like the aromatic wine category. Mainly because they are often interesting and pair well with the spicy, fusion type flavours I like in food. And mainly because they are not as run of the mill as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay (which I love for other reasons) In particular I like Riesling. The great white grape from Germany, where it is made in a myriad of styles and sold at everything from super market knock off prices to eye poppingly expensive. Sadly South African Riesling is few and far between and only a handful is remotely interesting.  Typically I like Riesling with a bit of sugar on them, and again there are few in the South African context that isn’t fermented dry.  There are of course exceptions and I quaff these whenever I get the opportunity.

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Evolution: It could happen to you, too

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ev·o·lu·tion ( v -l sh n, v -). n. 1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

You often hear derogatory terms like “wine snob or pretentious git” when describing a person who professes to like fine wines.  I am unashamedly a wine connoisseur, a lover of fine wine.  I was not born with these tastes, the same way no child loves slabs of raw fish at birth – it is an acquired taste, honed over more than a few years.

The love of all things wine started early...

The love of all things wine started early…

I am not discussing the idiots who profess to “lurve” this or that, simply due to the price tag (“we used the Black Amex for that, dahling”, origin (“it’s from a luvvely village in France, sweetie, we vacation there often”) or the bling stuck on the bottle (“it also won a competition no one entered and was judged by the Minister of Education, my dear”).We have all taken a personal wine journey.  For some people there was that “Eureka” moment, for others it was a gradual evolution of the palate.

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