The wines we drink: Vilafonté Series M 2011

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We finally succumbed to temptation and joined the Vilafonté Wine Club, affording buyers a 20% discount on purchases.  The idea was born at the annual Wade Bales Trade Tasting, where we simply could not leave winemaker Martin Smith’s booth – the wines were so enthralling!  Our idea was simple: Purchase some Vilafonté wines and put them away for a few years.   Well, everything did not go to plan…

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The wines we drink: Vondeling Chardonnay 2010

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I’ve waxed lyrical about Vondeling Wines before when I wrote about the Babiana white blend. It is no secret that we are big Chenin Blanc lovers (the major component in the Babiana blend), but a lesser known fact is that I will happily sell my soul, one of my kidneys (on the internet) and give up exercise for a decent Chardonnay.

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The Voor Perdeberg winery has become synonymous with excellent value for money wines.  I’ve often in private conversation aired the view that they can ask at least 40% more for their wines and I’d still happily pay for them. They really are that good. I caught myself that I was writing a rather involved tasting note about subtle power, complexity and amazing palate weight, but that is not what this short blog is about.

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…and now for Something Completely Different…

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Here at Batonage dot com we do enjoy the finer things in life and a good whisky (or whiskey, depending on where in the world you are and how much of the spirit you’ve had) now and then can surely be classed as such.  A whisky loving friend recently visited the British Isles and came back empty handed because “the whisky is far more affordable at home!”…

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Checkers has now entered the fine whisky market with new offerings of Single Malt Whiskies from the Private Barrel Co in Scotland.  Check out the whole range with detailed information and beautiful pictures here. More

The wines we drink: Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2013

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The Carl Everson Chenin Blanc is the first addition to the Heritage Range at Opstal  in the Slanghoek valley.

Carl Everson was the visionary 4th generation farmer at Opstal Estate and wine maker Attie Louw’s great grandfather.  This wine is a tribute to him, made from a single, 30+ year old Chenin Blanc vineyard utilising spontaneous fermentation, old French barrels and very little else.  Minimal intervention is the name of the game here.

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The wines we drink: Domaine des Malandes Chablis 2012

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Chablis: The “lighter side” of Burgundy, known for pure fruit expression and fresh flintiness.  Here in South Africa, we unfortunately don’t have access to that many examples and the exchange rate makes the wines a tad expensive.

Domaine des Malandes is a family business that blends the tradition of wine making craft with modern technology.  Lyne Marchive has been the care taker of the 29 hectares of vineyards and the business since 1972.

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Sunday brunch at The House of Machines

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Sunday mornings in the city always leave me slightly depressed; probably because it’s the day before Monday but also because there are so few places to go – nothing worthwhile is open.  No markets, no funky coffee shops; only a few restaurants here and there.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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