south africa image
 
 

South African Red Wine

We're now working with some of the top wineries in South Africa (directly), and several boutique importers, to bring many of the very best South African wines to the UK market. These wines are beautifully crafted, often in tiny quantities and represent excellent value for money. Please give them a try, you will be blown away by the quality.

Now here's a country which has suffered at the hands of unscrupulous wine merchants and the large factory produced brands. I've tasted virtually hundreds of frankly awful South African wines wondering what all the fuss was about in the media. How could a nation have such a large wine industry if it was all such poor quality? The truth is, there are good South African wines - in fact there are world class South African wines - we just have to search very hard to find them in the UK amongst the mass of cheap plonk that's swamping the supermarkets, and the low end on-trade offerings.

We're personally very impressed by the quality of the boutique wines in South Africa, so we're actively sourcing more wines from small ethical producers, and we're importing these ourselves cutting out the importer's margin to bring them to you at the best prices.

Many of these wines are exclusive to us in the UK and are amongst the finest to come from the Cape.
 
 
Rainbow's End
 
 
Rainbow's End is a fantastic small family winery along the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschoek. The Malan family consists of Jacques and Ingrid, and their sons Anton and Francois. Francois is the viticulturist while Anton makes the wine.

I was put onto them on my last visit to Cape Town by a South African friend who runs some very good restaurants out there. Coincidentally I was passing the next day en route to Grande Provence so called in. The winery itself is pretty hard to find up a steep dirt track, effectively further up the hill behind Delair Graf and Clouds - so definitely phone ahead if you plan on visiting.

It was old world, small rustic cellar, everything done by hand - quite a contrast from the opulence and incredible wealth of Delair Graf. But what a step up in quality too! It just goes to show the best wines are made by passionate individuals.

All grapes are harvested by hand at dawn, then sorted by hand so only the best are used. The ferment is hand plunged 6 to 8 times per day during fermentation - all these labour intensive techniques which really make a difference to the quality of the final product.

Anton uses only minimal sulphites, and as all the fruit is such high quality the amounts needed are very low. The wine is then aged in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak, for varying amounts of time, but at least 12 months, before it is bottled unfiltered to retain maximum flavour.

These wines are well made and excellent quality, and will keep for years. They're also very keenly priced!

 
 

Rainbow's End Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Text from Rainbow's End website:

Composition:

100% Cabernet Sauvignon (French clones 23 and 169, German clone 163 and South African clones 37 and 46)

Tasting Notes:

Intense, dark red colour. Perfumed,earthy and nutty nose with heaps of ripe blackcurrant,cassis berries and bramble bush.Pecan nuts,dark chocolate,mulberries on palate with a sweet fruity finish.

Maturation:

12 Months in 58% new wood, 17% second fill and 25% third fill French barrels. Two rackings during wood maturation. Thereafter bottled without filtering or fining. Natural deposits may therefore be found in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now but is anticipated to reach its optimum in 2-5 years time.

Rainbow's End Website



Further Information on Rainbow's End Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £11.48


Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Rainbow's End Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Rainbow's End Cabernet Franc Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Text from Rainbow's End website:

Composition

100% Cabernet Franc (South African Clone 1 & French clones 214 )Tasting Notes:Intense deep red, colour. Damp earth and mint chocolate on nose. Lovely earthy and tea leaf flavours with black Forest cake and black cherry. Typical vegetative and herbaceous aromas with mineralic and slight floral aftertone (violets and fynbos). Intense rich fruit and juicy palate, with layers of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Maturation:12 Months in 50% new, 25,0% second fill and 25% 3rd fill French oak barrels. Two rackings during wood maturation. Thereafter bottled without filtering or fining. Natural deposits may therefore be found in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now but is anticipated to reach its optimum in 2-5 years time.

This wine was particularly impressive - highly recommended!

Rainbow's End Website



Further Information on Rainbow's End Cabernet Franc Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £12.49



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

92 Points

Quantity:  


Rainbow's End Cabernet Franc Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Rainbow's End Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Text from Rainbow's End website:

Composition

100 % Merlot (Italian clone 12 and French clone 348)

Tasting Notes

Deep red colour with a bright purple rim. Exotic mulberries and ripe plum on nose. Serious structure and elegant fruit with hints of mint crisp chocolate and prune. Ripe juicy smooth tannins.

Maturation

12 Months in 33.3% new wood, 33.3% second fill and 33.3% third fill French barrels. Two rackings during wood maturation. Thereafter bottled without filtering or fining. Natural deposits may therefore be found in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now but is anticipated to reach its optimum in 2-5 years time.

Rainbow's End Website



Further Information on Rainbow's End Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £12.49



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Rainbow's End Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Rainbow's End Shiraz Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Text from Rainbow's End website:

Composition

100 % Shiraz (Argentinian Clone 9 & French clone 99)

Tasting Notes

Intense purple colour.Dark rich wine.( Classical French style ). A hint of white pepper with bacon,savory notes, Christmas cake, dark fruit and smokeyness. Well integrated palate of fruit ( mulberry ) and chewy tannins. Excellent companion to traditional South African meat dishes and steaks.

Maturation

12 Months in 48% new wood, 27% second fill and 25% third fill French barrels. Two rackings during wood maturation. Thereafter bottled without filtering or fining. Natural deposits may therefore be found in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now but is anticipated to reach its optimum in 3-6 years time.

Rainbow's End Website



Further Information on Rainbow's End Shiraz Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points

Quantity:  


Rainbow's End Shiraz Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Rainbow's End Mystical Corner Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Text from Rainbow's End website:

Composition

Cabernet Franc 47%, Cabernet Sauvignon 19%, Petit Verdot 19%, Merlot 15%

Tasting Notes:Rainbow’s End Estate Bordeaux Blend. Deep red colour. Blackcurrant and dark cherries with underlying herbaceous, vegetative characters of the Cabernet Franc on the nose. Well structured juicy palate all in harmony with underlying vanilla wood tones and soft tannins

Maturation:12 Months in second fill, third fill and fourth fill French barrels. Once racked after malo-lactic fermentation, second racking 6 months thereafter. Bottled without filtering or fining. Natural deposits may therefore be found in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now and will also keep for 2-5 years.

Rainbow's End Website



Further Information on Rainbow's End Mystical Corner Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £8.78



Sulphite Content:
John's Rating


Quantity:  


Rainbow's End Mystical Corner Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 

Grangehurst Winery Stellenbosch

Grangehurst Winery on Eikendal Road in Stellenbosch is one of South Africa's very finest wineries producing exceptional unhurried red wines (and one Rose). It was founded by Jeremy Walker back in 1992 on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain.

On Jeremy's first vintage he won the trophy for South Africa's Champion Wine! And since then he has accumulated a very impressive array of awards including the first 5-star rating for a red wine by Wine Magazine, the only CWG wine to be rated 5-stars by Wine Magazine, the only Pinotage (Hidden Valley) to be rated 5-stars by Wine Magazine as well as a Platter 5-star award for Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend, and the Nikela has received a 92-point Parker rating (USA).

In fact the Nikela 2005 has just been voted in the top 5 Cape Blends by the Pinotage Association, winning Jeremy a trip out to California. His Cabernet Merlot 2005 just beat 8 top Bordeaux (costing five times as much or more) in a blind tasting in California too! And all his wines have consistently scored 4 to 4.5 Stars in the Platter guide, year after year. Jeremy is of course a member of South Africa's elite winemaking circle - the Cape Winemakers Guild. And Grangehurst is also Wine Magazine's most awarded 5 Star Winery.

Jeremy describes his wines as European in style with elegance and structure, rather than new world blockbusters - "French style with more fruit". They take time to produce being aged at the winery for a number of years prior to release - something unusual for new world producers.

We're delighted to be working with him bringing his excellent wines to our customers here in the UK.
 
 
Grangehurst Winery - South Africa Wine Magazine's most 5 Star awarded winery!
Grangehurst Winery  - South Africa Wine Magazine's most 5 Star awarded winery!
 
 

Grangehurst Pinotage 2005

John Platter 4.5 Stars

Aged 23 months in 75% French, 25% American oak.

We sold out of the 2003 in a couple of weeks but now have some 2005 just arrived. This also was awarded Platter 4.5 Stars where they describe it as one of the best Pinotages on the market. We actually drank a bottle at the winery with Jeremy in April and have to agree.

Too many South Africans are drunk too young and rely on racy acidity to mask the prominent tannin. Grangehurst is a whole new experience for South African fans.

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst Pinotage 2005

Price: £14.99



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
16 mg/l

Quantity:  


Grangehurst Pinotage 2005
 
 

Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005

John Platter 4 Stars

Aged in French oak for 20 months. Big, smooth and delicious. There is some lightly spicy fruit with vanillin flavours from the wood aging. Very smooth and well balanced. Delicious on it's own or pair with meaty fish like monk fish or a lighter roast such as pork or turkey - perfect for Christmas day (even if it is still a while away yet).

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005

Price: £14.99



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
15 mg/l

Quantity:  


Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005
 
 

Grangehurst Nikela 2005

Voted one of the Top 5 Cape Blends by the Pinotage Association 2013

John Platter 4 Stars

The word "Nikela" is an adaptation of an African word and means "to offer a gift of dedication, respect or tribute to one's ancestors" and this wine has been thus named in dedication to Eddie and Betty Walker who contributed greatly to the establishment of Grangehurst.

It's a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Pinotage, 23% Shiraz and 8% Merlot, all fermented separately and aged for 29 months in French oak (91% with 9% American).

Another fabulous wine. The Pinotage element is prominent with flavours of fruit, spice and dark chocolate. Again Jeremy's techniques of extensive barrel ageing prior to blending give this wine a complete, rounded feel with all the elements in harmony. Delicious flavours, full in the mouth yet not heavy, velvet smooth. The oak is completely integrated as are the tannins and acidity, creating an overall drinking experience not normally found in South African wines. This wine is superb.

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst Nikela 2005

Price: £18.95



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
16 mg/l




OUT OF STOCK

Grangehurst Nikela 2005
 
 

Grangehurst Shiraz Cabernet Reserve 2005

John Platter 4.5 Stars

67% Shiraz, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon. 9 barrels of Jeremy's finest wine were selected to make this cuvee of just over 2000 bottles. The wines were aged for 26 months in French oak (91% with 9% American) prior to blending.

Big, opulent, rich and round. The ageing gives it a mature soft palate, not the racier style you get with younger wines. Lovely flavours of dark fruit with noticeable oak, very smooth of course with a long lingering finish. Clearly a new world wine made in an old world style! It's a wine to be savoured leisurely either on it's own by the fire or with the Sunday roast.

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst Shiraz Cabernet Reserve 2005

Price: £24.95


Case discounts available

Case Size



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
10 mg/l

Quantity:  


Grangehurst Shiraz Cabernet Reserve 2005
 
 

Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005

John Platter 4 Stars

5 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon were selected for this limited release Reserve vintage producing just 1269 bottles. This is a big powerful wine with strong black fruits. Full and round with a very long finish. Not as dry as many Cabs, more new world than old in style. Delicious to savour, or enjoy with roast meats.

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005

Price: £24.95


Case discounts available

Case Size



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

91 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
5 mg/l

Quantity:  


Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005
 
 

Grangehurst 2005

John Platter 4.5 Stars

The flagship wine of the estate, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. 15 barrels of Jeremy's top wines were aged for 33 months in French oak then blended to produce 3239 bottles (and 572 magnums) of this premium wine. Jeremy describes it as both "a collector's item" and a wine to be enjoyed when you are in the mood for opening a special red.

And we agree, it is special. Big and opulent, rich, round and very smooth with a really long lingering finish. Currently one of our very best South African reds!

Grangehurst Website

Further Information on Grangehurst 2005

Price: £35.00


Case discounts available

Case Size



Sulphite Content:
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

94 Points
Free Sulphur (Current)
2 mg/l

Quantity:  


Grangehurst 2005
 
 
Claime D'Or
 
 

Claime D'Or, Robertson

Claime D'Or is very possibly one of the tiniest "wineries" in the world, yet produces some absolutely outstanding wines!

Basically Claime D'Or is a farm in Robertson next door to Rietvallei. It was purchased by French couple Bernardo Rappaport and his wife Maigret with the intention to produce the best wines possible.

Until recently the Robertson district was traditionally regarded as a region for lower grade fruit used in sparkling wines, hence Graham Beck have a large set up here. However it's reputation has blossomed as certain sites have been producing outstanding quality grapes, and subsequently outstanding wines.

Kobus Berger at Rietvallei is probably Robertson's star winemaker, with several wines listed in the SA Top 100 book - a publication myself and others actually have little faith in as it costs a fortune to submit your wines for approval so immediately prohibits virtually all the small producers from entering! Yes, any wine in the book will be good, but all the best 100 wines in South Africa? I don't think so!

But my political and cynical observations about wine publications aside, Kobus at Rietvallei does make some very, very good wines. So Bernardo asked him to make the wines for Claime D'Or. The grapes are all hand grown, then the wines are all hand made in tiny quantities with real care and attention to detail. For example just 300 cases of their stunning oaked Chardonnay, or 150 cases of their superb Cabernet blend!

These wines are very special indeed, very rare with a host of awards. Each bottle is individually numbered by hand. If you want a bespoke wine, they don't come more bespoke than this!

Claim D'Or Website

 
 

Claime D'Or Cabernet Franc 2010 75cl

New stock has arrived - and virtually all sold already. It is the 2010 as all the 2009 has sold out. We only have a few bottles left so be quick!

The 2009 was awarded:

Gold Veritas 2012

Gold Michelangelo 2012

Top 100 South Africa Wine 2013

4 Stars John Platter 2013

Silver International Competition of Terroir Wines, Brignoles, France 2013

Silver London International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) UK 2012

Text from Bernardo's website:

WINEMAKING

The selection process for this special cuvé already started with the identification of the specific vineyard and working at it with special care from pruning right through to harvesting ensuring a low yield (approximately 5 tons per hectare) and premium quality.

TASTING NOTE

This wine offers cranberry, mulberry and mocha notes on the nose with hints of fragrant cedar wood. The fruit is beautifully ripe and accessible on the palate, the tannins soft and integrated and dark chocolate lingers on the finish.

I tasted the wine out in South Africa and it was fantastic. It's big and needs to breathe or preferably decant and leave for a couple of hours to get the best out of it. Delicious to savour in front of an open fire, or enjoy with roast beef. Each bottle is individually numbered by hand with only 1600 bottles produced - and only 72 bottles imported into the UK!



Further Information on Claime D'Or Cabernet Franc 2010 75cl

Price: £21.95



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
22 mg/l
Awards:

Veritas
John's Rating

93 Points

Quantity:  


Claime D'Or Cabernet Franc 2010 75cl
 
 

Claime D'Or Cabernet Blend 2009 75cl

Gold International Competition of Terroir Wines, Brignoles, France 2013

4 Stars John Platter 2013

Bronze Veritas 2012

Silver IWSC UK 2012

Text from Bernardo's website:

This is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc. Ripe red berries and cherry fruit abound in this blend of two noble varieties. The palate offers structure from youthful tannins and the spicy finish is reminiscent of cherry tobacco, white pepper and cloves. Will improve with ageing for at least 5 years.

I don't have my tasting notes but I do remember I was very impressed by this wine. Spicey, black fruits and super smooth. Needs half an hour to open up and it's then fantastic. Each bottle is individually numbered by hand with only 1600 bottles produced.



Further Information on Claime D'Or Cabernet Blend 2009 75cl

Price: £21.95



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
27 mg/l
Awards:

Brig
John's Rating

93 Points

Quantity:  


Claime D'Or Cabernet Blend 2009 75cl
 
 

Claime D'Or Pinot Noir 2011 75cl

Bernardo's tasting notes say:

"Cranberry fruit with hints of mint and eucalyptus and a touch of oak spice. These flavours also follow through on the palate with gentle tannins and a generous acidity. A perfect match for duck breast or antipasto. ."

We tasted it out in South Africa and it was superb - probably the best Pinot I've had from South Africa. I will need to retaste it here to add my notes though. Only a very small quantity available.



Further Information on Claime D'Or Pinot Noir 2011 75cl

Price: £21.95



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
35 mg/l
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Claime D'Or Pinot Noir 2011 75cl
 
 

Claime D'Or Shiraz 2011 75cl

Michaelangelo 2013 - Gold Medal

Bernardo's tasting notes say:

"On the palate the rounded red berry fruit gives a full mouth feel with silky tones of coriander and hints of coffee, mocha and bitter chocolate, ending with a noticeable toastiness and a soft touch of vanilla flavours."

We tasted it out in South Africa and it was superb - I will need to retaste it here to add my notes though. Only a very small quantity available.



Further Information on Claime D'Or Shiraz 2011 75cl

Price: £18.95



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
23 mg/l
Awards:

MA
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Claime D'Or Shiraz 2011 75cl
 
 

Claime D'Or Solidus Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl

A delicious wine from Bernardo. Don't be fooled into thinking this is "cheap" because of the price, this is still top quality wine and still presented in the heavyweight bottle.

Big, super smooth, wonderful balance and delicious! Perfect with a steak but also lovely on it's own.

This is great wine, big full and round, beautifully smooth. Exceptional value.



Further Information on Claime D'Or Solidus Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
32 mg/l
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Claime D'Or Solidus Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl
 
 
Boplaas Winery
 
 

Boplaas Winery, Calitzdorp

"Best Private Cellar at Veritas Wine Awards 2013 with 5 Double Gold & 6 Gold medals!

"Boplaas scoops double Gran d’Or at Michelangelo International Wine Awards 2013"

13 5 Star Platter ratings to date!

Boplaas is situated in Calitzdorp, a small picturesque village in the Southern Cape in the majestic Little Karoo. The Nel family is part of a rich legacy that reaches back to more than 150 years. Boplaas is a family concern with Carel Nel, a Cape Wine Master, as owner and cellar master.

Boplaas has long been regarded as in the forefront in premium wine production. Boplaas is known for world-class table wines, "Ports" and their award winning pot-stilled brandies.

Vineyards

The vineyards of Boplaas are located at superior sites along the Gamka River, Nel’s River and the slopes of the Gamka Valley to maximise the considerable diversity that exists in micro-climates and soil types. The different sites provide nuances of aroma and flavour, bringing complexity to the wines.

Grape varieties

Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Franseca, Souzao, Muscadel /Muscat de Frontignan, Colombar, Hanepoot/Muscat d’Alexandrie, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

Production

An area of 70 hectares is planted in Calitzdorp, with contracts in Stellenbosch, Durbanville and Darling.

Please go to our dessert wine section to view their amazing Double Gold and Trophy winning "ports".

Boplaas Website

 
 

Boplaas Tinta Chocolat 2012 75cl

TOP 10 red table wine from Portuguese cultivars @ CAPPA Cape Port & Wine Challenge 2013

Michaelangelo 2013 Silver Medal

Tasting Notes

This is a well-rounded, full-bodied, immensely fruity red wine, with dominating dark chocolate flavours.

Wood Aging: 6 months in toasted New French and toasted American Oak Barrels.

These tasting notes are spot on. Given half an hour or so to breathe this wine softens and is a really enjoyable fruit driven wine with subtle oak and dark chocolate on the finish.

Boplaas Website



Further Information on Boplaas Tinta Chocolat 2012 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
30 mg/l
Awards:

CAP
John's Rating


Quantity:  


Boplaas Tinta Chocolat 2012 75cl
 
 

Boplaas Pinotage 2011 75cl

Wood Aging: 8 months in French Oak Barrels

Delicious - a fabulous Pinotage. Medium bodied and smooth with flavours of cherry and red fruits with a hint of cocoa and oak on the finish. I was really impressed by this wine. It's not a sensational big hitter (at £11.99 you wouldn't expect it to be) but it is simply well made wine with great overall balance. Perfect with barbeque but also light enough to go with pasta or even chicken.

Boplaas Website



Further Information on Boplaas Pinotage 2011 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
35 mg/l
John's Rating


Quantity:  


Boplaas Pinotage 2011 75cl
 
 

Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2009 75cl

TOP 10 red table wine from Portuguese cultivars @ CAPPA Cape Port & Wine Challenge 2013

Tasting Notes

Marzipan and almond scents spice up plums and black berries/violet tones; long peppery finish with stoutly tannins. Will reward one endlessly with a little bottle aging.

Boplaas Website



Further Information on Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2009 75cl

Price: £11.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
34 mg/l
Awards:

CAP
John's Rating


Quantity:  


Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2009 75cl
 
 

Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2011 75cl

TOP 10 red table wine from Portuguese cultivars @ CAPPA Cape Port & Wine Challenge 2013

Platter 4 Stars

Tasting Notes

Deep purple-black centre with cherry-red and purple rim. Earthy, Karoo bossies (shrub) bouquet with notes of ripe fruits and hint of spice / oak. Palate of intense black cherry and red fruits, with notes of spice and cocoa. Lively acidity and youthful tannins. This is a young wine, that will reward careful cellaring. Bordeaux-blend with a dash of Portuguese spice.

I agree with these notes, they are spot on. Let the wine breathe for half an hour. It is very smooth, medium bodied with fruit and some spice. Warming on the palate with a hint of hot weather Portugal about it! There is a lift on the finish in a similar style to Rhone reds (where they blend in a little white wine). Ideal with foods like lamb or even a spicy curry.

Boplaas Website



Further Information on Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2011 75cl

Price: £16.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
32 mg/l
Awards:

CAP
John's Rating

89 Points

Quantity:  


Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2011 75cl
 
 

Boplaas Shiraz Reserve 2011 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Tasting Notes

Dark centred ruby-black rim. Bouquet is loaded with aromas of violets, white pepper, black and red berry fruits. The palate is an iron fist in a velvet glove, sweet ripe fruit and cherry, rich dry tannins and a long lingering after taste.

Maturation Potential: 10 years

Wood Aging: 12 months in new French Oak Barrels

Tasting notes are correct. Like any big red this wine needs half an hour to breathe to soften, then becomes delicious!

Boplaas Website

Further Information on Boplaas Shiraz Reserve 2011 75cl

Price: £18.95



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
27 mg/l
Awards:

Platter
John's Rating

90 Points

Quantity:  


Boplaas Shiraz Reserve 2011 75cl
 
 

Boplaas Gamka Reserve 2012 75cl

Michaelangelo Gran D'Or (Double Gold) for this maiden vintage!

April 2014 - selected for Top 100 SA Wines

Only 3400 bottles produced. It comes wrapped in heavyweight 'Boplaas' paper and looks fantastic.

Lovely wine. Still young of course, with racy acidity and firm tannins. This wine will certainly reward some cellaring but can be enjoyed now if you give it time to breathe and open up. I recommend decanting, ideally for a couple of hours or more to get the best out of it as it really opens up to become super smooth with flavours of plum and damson. I would partner this with barbequed meats or a roast.

Boplaas Website

Further Information on Boplaas Gamka Reserve 2012 75cl

Price: £19.99



Sulphite Content:
Free Sulphur
(at bottling)
32 mg/l
Awards:

MA
John's Rating

93 Points

Quantity:  


Boplaas Gamka Reserve 2012 75cl
 
 
Grande Provence
 
 
Grande Provence
 
 

Grande Provence, Franschoek

This is one of the finest wineries I have ever had the pleasure to visit, producing some of the finest wines I have ever tasted.

Situated just off the main road into Franschoek, Grande Provence is one of the first wineries you come to as you approach this beautiful cosmopolitan small town. It's a magnificent setting with old Dutch architecture and grand old trees shading the courtyard dining area. Statues are dotted around the gardens and the view of the hills around Franschoek is just breathtaking.

Inside the tasting area it is all modern clean lines with a circular bar furnished with unique bar stools made out of old tractor seats - designed by a New Zealand artist. There is an impressive art gallery here as well as a really top class restaurant serving exquisite food. If you visit you really must opt for their food and wine pairing experience. The walls are covered with award certificates as their incredible wines have a huge collection already, despite having only produced their first vintage in 2005.

Grande Provence was purchased in 2004 by Alex van Heeren (CVO, MBE), and now is part of the Huka Retreats, a very upmarket collection of just three premier resorts including Dolphin Island, Fiji and Huka Lodge, New Zealand. Guests at Grande Provence can rent the "owner's cottage" but it is far from a cottage! Often frequented by Royalty including our own as well as the Dutch and Norwegian Royal families, it is beyond the price range of most of us, but is absolutely beautiful.

While the estate is surrounded by vines, the secret to the quality of Grande Provence's amazing wines is that the grapes are actually sourced from very small premium individual vineyards in the surrounding hills, each producing perfect varietal fruit. The grapes grown on the flat around the farm are actually sold off to other wineries.

Production of their premium wines is very small, and the quality of them is stunning. In the UK to date the only place they have been served is Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - 8 times between them! They will also be listed at Carlo's in Llandudno of course, as are a lot of our best wines.

Grande Provence also produce a range of every day wines under their "Angel's Tears" label but the only thing "every day" about them is their price. Even these wines are excellent quality, hand made with minimal additives or manipulation.

Grande Provence wines are something special, and we're delighted to be working with them to bring them to our UK customers.

Grande Provence Website

 
 

The Grande Provence 2011 75cl

2009 was awarded - Michaelangelo Awards September 2013 - Double Gold Medal "Outstanding" as well as The Mercurey Award Trophy for "Best Bordeaux style Blend"

Fantastic news - we have stock of the 2011 due in late August or early September. As only a few thousand bottles are produced each vintage Grande Provence sold out of the 2010 immediately while we still had the 2009 here - shipping from SA is realistically 2 months which creates these issues for us.

We have only 120 bottles this year, so we are taking email reservations for the wine now.

Previous awards include the following. As grande Provence is owned by dutchman Alex van Heeren, they enter their wines in European competitions as well as South African:

2006 vintage

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

Michaelangelo - Double Gold

Mundus Vini Great International Wine Award - Gold

Concours Mondial Bruxelles - Grande Gold

2005 vintage

Mundus Vini Great International Wine Award - Gold

Austrian Wine Challenge - Gold

2004 vintage

Mundus Vini Great International Wine Award - Gold

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

This is the flagship wine of the estate and is magnificent.

Grande Provence Website



Further Information on The Grande Provence 2011 75cl

Price: £40.00



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MA
John's Rating

95 Points

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The Grande Provence 2011 75cl
 
 

Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2013 75cl

Michaelangelo Awards September 2013 - Gold Medal

Grande Provence Website



Further Information on Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2013 75cl

Price: £18.95



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MA
John's Rating

90 Points

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Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2013 75cl
 
 

Grande Provence Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 75cl

Michaelangelo 2013 Gold Medal.

Previous awards include the following. As grande Provence is owned by dutchman Alex van Heeren, they enter their wines in European competitions as well as South African:

2008 vintage

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

Mundus Vini Great International Wine Award - Gold

Concours Mondial Bruxelles - Gold

2007 vintage

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

SA Terroir Awards - District Cabernet Champion

Wine of the Month Club - Top 20 of 2010

SA Veritas - Silver

2006 vintage

Mundus Vini Great International Wine Award - Gold

Austrian Wine Challenge - Gold

Decanter - Silver

Concours Mondial Bruxelles - Gold

2005 vintage

SA Terroir Awards - Champion Cabernet

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

2004 vintage

Veritas - Silver

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

Michaelangelo - Silver

Mundus Vini - Silver

Grande Provence Website



Further Information on Grande Provence Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 75cl

Price: £18.95



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VER
John's Rating

91 Points

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Grande Provence Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 75cl
 
 

Grande Provence Shiraz 2008 75cl

This 2008 was the highest scoring wine in the Classic Wine Top 6 Shiraz Challenge.

Previous awards include the following. As grande Provence is owned by dutchman Alex van Heeren, they enter their wines in European competitions as well as South African:

2007 vintage

Michaelangelo - Gold

SA Veritas - Silver

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Gold

Wine of the Month Club - Top 20 of 2010

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles - Silver

2006 vintage

Vienna International Wine Challenge - Silver

Veritas - Silver

Michaelangelo - Silver

Mundus Vini - Silver

Another fabulous wine. Ripe black fruits with a little white pepper. Amazingly soft and smooth.

Grande Provence Website



Further Information on Grande Provence Shiraz 2008 75cl

Price: £18.95



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Top6
John's Rating

92 Points

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Grande Provence Shiraz 2008 75cl
 
 

Angels Tears Red Blend by Grande Provence

Veritas Gold Medal

A superb red for the money. Soft, smooth and fruit driven with a hint of oak. This wine is delicious for everyday drinking.

Grande Provence Website



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Angels Tears Red Blend by Grande Provence
 
 
Joubert Tradauw
 
 

Joubert Tradauw, Barrydale

A unique tiny family winery in a little known but seriously up and coming region of South Africa outside the more traditional winelands. Barrydale is approximately 150 miles east of Cape Town on the incredibly scenic Route 62. The Tradauw Valley is famous for it's magnificent scenery, and if you plan to drive the Garden Route this is a "must see", far more impressive than driving N2 to the south.

Meyer Joubert is viticulturist and winemaker. Brought up in the Tradauw Valley, Meyer travelled and worked in Napa before returning to the family farm. Initially it was fruit but they quickly realised the region's unique potential for growing premium grapes. It is something to do with the valley's location between two weather fronts producing unique climatic conditions - I'm no expert on these things so I won't try to explain it any more than that, but suffice to say that Meyer produces excellent grapes and subsequently some truly outstanding wines.

It is Meyer's ambition to produce South Africa's best wine, and he believes it can be done from Tradauw. He is hugely passionate about nature, and dedicated to a minimalist labour intensive approach allowing the fruit to do all the talking.

Meyer's wife, Beate, runs a very healthy informal deli restaurant on the property using local produce to provide delicious local delicacies. And they are into their blues music and motorbikes also. When you see R62 you can see why a biker would just love it!

Meyer's wines really are something special. Made with passion, with a real purity that I absolutely love. He only makes three wines, a hand picked classic elegant Chardonnay, a Syrah naturally fermented and unfiltered, and his R62 Blend which has been selected for SA Airlines first class. They are all superb earning Joubert Tradauw a place in South Africa's Top 10 wineries according to Neil Pendock, one of the John Platter Guide team.

Update - Meyer has produced a Pinot Noir but is insisting on some bottle age before he will let me buy any! We expect to get some in stock by late Autumn.

Joubert Tradauw Website

 
 

Joubert Tradauw Syrah 2008 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

A fantastic Syrah. Complex with layers of flavour and a beautiful natural purity. Mint, red berries, pepper and a long lingering finish. This is great wine.

Joubert Tradauw Website

Further Information on Joubert Tradauw Syrah 2008 75cl

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91 Points

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Joubert Tradauw Syrah 2008 75cl
 
 

Joubert Tradauw R62 2008 75cl

Selected for South Afican Airways First Class

This R62 is normally a blend which differs each vintage but Meyer guards his combinations very jealously so it's not normally easy to find out what is in there! But for the 2008 he has used all Cabernet Sauvignon.

Joubert Tradauw Website

Further Information on Joubert Tradauw R62 2008 75cl

Price: £14.99



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SAA
John's Rating

92 Points

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Joubert Tradauw R62 2008 75cl
 
 
Eagles Nest, Constantia
 
 

Eagles Nest - Constantia

Eagles Nest is a tiny boutique winery in Constantia immediately south of Cape Town toward the Cape of Good Hope. They are very fortunate to have one of the highest vineyards in SA as well as a unique topographical position with their vineyards set out in a bowl shape.

This means they have slopes facing every direction, at different altitudes and angles to the sun, as well as receiving cooling breezes off False Bay. This gives them the opportunity to match each grape variety to it's ideal terroir!

The winery and vineyards burnt down in 2004 in a huge bush fire so they took the opportunity to replant each individual site with it's ideal grape match. And what success!

Since the fire (vintage 2006) they only make 6 wines - "Little Eagle" which is their every day red (to use up any fruit they deem not perfect!), a Viognier which is not available for commercial sale as the entire production is taken by British Airways First Class. A Sauvignon Blanc (Veritas Gold Medal), a Merlot based Bordeaux Blend "Verraux" (93 Points Robert Parker), a Merlot, and their most famous wine, Shiraz, which has won just about everything including Platter 5 Stars, Southern Hemisphere Champion Shiraz, 100 Point rating and host of trophies and golds.

Everything is hand crafted from start to finish with real passion. These very steep slopes are difficult and expensive to farm so they concentrate on producing small quantities of very high end wines.

Eagles Nest Website

 
 

Eagles Nest Verreaux 2009

Diamond Award, Winemaker’s Choice Awards

93 Parker Points

4.5 Stars, 2013 Platter Wine Guide

I don't have my notes for this wine but I remember it was superb - quite often (unprofessionally perhaps!) when a wine is something special I don't bother making notes as I know I'm going to buy the wine anyway, so I can taste it again once it lands in the UK to make detailed notes. A day's sourcing new wines can involve a lot of tasting so it's often better to do it this way to make sure I'm being completely accurate. This is a fantastic wine.

Eagles Nest website states:

The grapes for this wine were the third and fourth vintage off six and seven year old vines. The vineyard aspects range from east to north, and are perfectly positioned for these Bordeaux varieties. All grapes were and picked, de-stalked and crushed into medium sized open top fermenters. Punch-downs and pump-overs were performed three to four times per day, these practices being determined by twice daily tastings by the winemaker. This ensured that at all times the fermenting must evolved to embody the desired style. The fermentation temperature was controlled between 24 and 30 degrees celcius. Fermentation took 9 days to complete, after which the free run wine was drawn off and the skins were pressed in a 3.5 ton pneumatic bag press. The wine was then racked into first, second and third fill barrels where malo-lactic fermentation took place. Six different cooperages were used, each specifically chosen to complement the different nuances of this very complex wine. During maturation, the wine was racked twice. After 16 months in barrel selected barrels were racked to tank and blended to create a harmonious finished product.

Yet another example of cool climate elegance from the Eagles Nest stable this wine is rich and bold without an excessively high alcohol. Meticulous attention in the vineyard and cellar combine to produce a wine that’s nose is a textured array of gorgeous ripe berry fruit, complemented with dark chocolate nuances and a linear crushed pepper component that is a unique to the grapes from these slopes. On the palate the delicious dark berry fruit of the nose is carried through to the taste buds and they combine harmoniously to give a rewarding taste sensation. The wine is well rounded to the point of being velvety. Flavours are supported by ripe juicy tannins which leave a long silky-smooth finish.

We're now supplying this wine to a superb new local Chinese restaurant called Top's, serving steamed sea bass, lobster, local fresh scallops as well as excellent quality meats, all fresh with no chemicals or MSG - give them a try if you're local to Llandudno. And I've been drinking this Verraux in there (as well as Joubert Tradauw Syrah). It is absolutely delicious, big soft and silky smooth. It matches the cuisine perfectly. This is a gorgeous wine!

Eagles Nest Website

Further Information on Eagles Nest Verreaux 2009

Price: £19.00



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22 mg/l
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John's Rating

93 Points

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Eagles Nest Verreaux 2009
 
 

Eagles Nest Shiraz 2010

Platter 2014 - 5 Stars

Veritas Wine Awards October 2013 - Double Gold Medal (highest award possible).

October 2013 - Diamond Award at the Winemakers Choice Awards

Robert Parker 93 Points

Both Veritas and Michaelangelo are amongst the most reliable, unbiased awards in South Africa, unlike some which seem to have a commercial aspect to them!

This 2010 Eagle's Nest Shiraz is a new release but Du Toit tells me they believe it is their best vintage yet - considering their previous vintages have won just about everything that is pretty impressive! No need to say any more!

2009 vintage

South African Wine Index Platinum Award for 100 Point Wine

Best Shiraz Trophy, 5 Nations Wine Challenge

Selected for Premium Class, South African Airways

Gold Medal, South African Airways Wine Awards

5 Star Nominee, 2013 Platter Wine Guide

Highly Recommended, 2013 Platter Wine Guide

91 Parker Points

2008 vintage

Best Shiraz Trophy, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

Best Red Wine Trophy, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

WINE Magazing Top Ten, 2010 Shiraz Challenge

Red Wine Trophy, Winemakers Choice awards

Decanter Expert’s Choice: South African wines over £10 – Score: 19/20 points

5 Stars, 2011 Platter Wine Guide

100-points, South African Wine Index

Robert Parker 91 Point Wine

2007 vintage

Silver Medal Syrah du Monde

Bronze Medal, Old Mutual Wine Trophy Show

Silver Medal, Michelangelo International Wine Awards

Shiraz Diamond Awards, Investec Private Bank Winemakers Choice Awards

Best Red Wine Trophy, Investec Private Bank Winemakers Choice Awards

Gold Medal, Veritas

Best Shiraz Trophy, International Wine and Spirit Competition

2006 vintage

5 Stars, 2009 Platter Wine Guide

Best Red Overall, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

Gold Medal, Swiss International Airlines Wine Awards

Diamond Award, Winemakers Choice Awards

Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition

Best in Class, International Wine and Spirit Competition

Silver Medal, Juliet Cullinan Wine Awards

Gold Medal, Veritas Awards

Eagles Nest Website

Further Information on Eagles Nest Shiraz 2010

Price: £26.99



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(at bottling)
21 mg/l
Awards:

Veritas
John's Rating

94 Points
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Eagles Nest Shiraz 2010
 
 

Guardian Peak SMG 2008

John Platter 4 Stars

Guardian Peak winery is owned by Jean Engelbrecht, who also owns Rust en Vrede on the road immediately below, and who also set up the Ernie Els winery in partnership with Ernie just across the road. This sub region of Stellenbosch on the Heldeberg is regarded as the premium region for reds due to the north facing slopes attracting most sunlight while protecting the grapes from the southerly sea breeze. Other top wineries of note here include Grangehurst and Hidden Valley.

For me Rust en Vrede wines are very good, but also too expensive for their quality. I believe the Ernie Els wines and Grangehurst are at least as good but more affordable. That said I thought their Rust en Vrede 1694 was spectacular and while expensive I hope to be able to bring a few cases over in the future. Guardian Peak on the other hand seems to be producing great quality wines but at very affordable prices, and this SMG is one of their best.

Jane and I enjoyed a couple of bottles in Baia, one of the Waterfront's best restaurants and a "must visit" if you're lucky enough to visit Cape Town. We had the 2010 while we're on the 2008 here in the UK. Both wines were awarded 4 stars by Platter. It's presented in an impressive big heavy weight bottle, hinting at the quality of the wine in the bottle.

This 2008 is also excellent, and drinking superbly. Big, full and very smooth.

Guardian Peak Website

Further Information on Guardian Peak SMG 2008

Price: £14.95



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Platter
John's Rating

90 Points

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Guardian Peak SMG 2008
 
 

Robertson Number One Constitution Road Shiraz 2010

Michael Angelo Gold Medal for the 2007, 2008 and 2009. Top Ten Best Syrah du Monde 2011 - Gold Medal. The 2006 received John Platter 4.5 Stars. Decanter - Trophy for Best South African Rhone varietal over £10

14.5% abv. This is the flagship wine from this highly successful winery. Although it's now grown to be South Africa's third largest producer, this is because it's grower owned with a firm focus on producing quality wines at affordable prices. Platter describes this wine as 'Rich, powerful and alluring. Layers of ripe red berries, vanilla and cinnamon, sheathed in svelte harmonious fruit, and oak tannins (34 months in French and American oak). Bold, structured and poised'. I was tipped off about this wine by a colleague who was involved with the winery, and bought some on his recommendation. I'll be adding my tasting notes shortly although I can never be as clear and concise as Platter!

Took a bottle to Carlo's restaurant to pair it with a Welsh Black Tbone. It's fantastic. Big juicy fruit with a mouthfeel like velvet, silky smooth, lively acidity making it ideal with food. Great length too. Like a South African Amarone! This is a cracker!

Robertson Website

Further Information on Robertson Number One Constitution Road Shiraz 2010

Price: £16.25



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31 mg/l
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M Angelo
John's Rating

92 Points

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Robertson Number One Constitution Road Shiraz 2010
 
 
Zevenwacht Winery Stellenbosch
 
 
Zevenwacht

As all our regular customers know, we personally select every wine on this site on it's own merits, we don't simply list every wine from each producer. We are listing nearly all the Zevenwacht portfolio though as all their wines are very good, and offer great value for money.

Zevenwacht is a large estate of 500 hectares with 200 hectares planted to vine. Their winemaker, Jacques Viljoen, takes a bold approach to winemaking, using modern technology as well as traditional cellaring techniques to produce elegant premium wines. I've been listing their wines since 2008 and every year they get better and better. We have a good relationship with Denise (the owner) and we were even involved in creating a white blend for her on our recent trip out there - I hope it goes down well Denise! Zevenwacht's consultant winemaker Chris Keets is a bit of a perfectionist, and he even makes a small batch Bordeaux Blend under his own label which we will probably import when he makes enough to let us have any!

The estate comprises as well as the winery, of a cheese factory, a chef school, top restaurant with banquetting and conferencing facilities, as well as an inn and guest cottages, and is a fully licensed wedding venue all set in stunning surroundings! There's a fantastic little shop where you can purchase a picnic to take down by the lake with your wine to while away the afternoon - just make sure you are not the driver!

The estate is a big place and surprisingly easy to get lost on your first visit as all signs seem to say "Zevenwacht ...something" but once you reach the lake it's straight forward from there! I've been assured the signage will shortly be improved.

Their vineyards back right onto Jordans, and interestingly Denise is about to launch the first vintage of a superb barrel aged Chardonnay this year - something Jordans are world famous for. I tasted it and it was fantastic so fingers crossed Zevenwacht's UK importers will actually bring some over if I pester them enough!

 
 

Zevenwacht Primitivo Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

This is a tiny production wine so not entered into any awards.

A few dozen bottles have just arrived of this beautiful Primitivo - extremely limited and exclusive to us in the UK. Hand harvested and made with minimal intervention.

Zevenwacht's website says:

A deep, dark, purple-red colour with a cherry-red rim. This wine has an exuberant aroma combining black fruit, plums, dark chocolate, peppery spice and cinnamon. Dense fruit structure, full-bodied plum and dried fruit, supple long tannins with bittersweet dark chocolate mid-palate and long finish. This is not a shy wine.

The grapes for the 2011 Primitivo were handpicked at optimal ripeness with a sugar content of 26º Balling. The grapes were gently destalked and crushed into a specially designed red wine fermenter. Fermentation took approximately 6 days with temperatures not exceeding 280 Celsius. Four regular pump-overs and punch-downs per day were given for the duration of fermentation. After malolactic fermentation, we aged the wine in 300L barrels for 12 months (2nd fill, 3rd fill and 4th fill). We back blended 15% 2010 vintage for perfumed oak aromas.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Primitivo Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £12.00



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Zevenwacht Primitivo Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 

Zevenwacht Z CMC Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Platter 4 Stars, Old Mutual Wine Show - Bronze Medal

Fresh stock of the new 2009 just landed.

Zevenwacht's notes say:

Rich and generous, this wine boasts a deep dark hue and whiffs of ripe red berries, infused with roasted coffee beans, tobacco leaves, cedar wood and cigar box. On the palate expect concentrated black plum and a decadent dark chocolate finish.

Moderate summer temperatures allowed for a long ripening period producing good tannin, colour and sugar ripeness. Once again we had small berry size resulting in dense colouration and high extract in the wine. The components for this blend were aged separately in new and 2nd fill hogsheads (300L barrels) for 11 months. The best barrels were matured and blended for a further 4 months in 50% new and 50% second fill 300L barrels.

Ageing potential 15 years.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Z CMC Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Price: £19.94



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Zevenwacht Z CMC Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl
 
 

Zevenwacht Z Rhone Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Severely limited. This wine is made in tiny quantities - only 1200 bottles.

2012 Veritas Bronze Medal for this 2009. The 2008 was awarded: Michael Angelo Gold Medal, Veritas Wine Awards Silver Medal, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 09 - Bronze Medal. John Platter 4 Stars, IWSC Silver Medal.

Syrah 50%, Mouverdre 44%, Viognier 4% and Grenache 2%. This is a fantastic Rhone blend. I've just tasted it again and I'm lost for words. The wine is beautiful, intense plum colour, very very smooth with wonderful 'Rhone' flavours of dark chocolate. 'Blooming gorgeous' was how Jane described it.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Z Rhone Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Price: £19.94



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Veritas
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Zevenwacht Z Rhone Blend Stellenbosch 2009 75cl
 
 

Zevenwacht Tin Mine Red Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Veritas Awards Silver Medal for 2009

61% Shiraz, 5% Mouvedre, 23% Grenache and 11% Primitivo. Rhone style with a little indulgent Primitivo. The different grapes were all vinified separately then aged in oak for 8 months. The best barrels were then selected and blended, with the resultant wine then returned to new French oak for a further four months. The wine has aromas of violets and chocolate. On the palate there is rich black fruit and cocoa. Mouth filling and warm with supple but persistent tannins, layers of flavour with great balance and a long finish. Jacques somehow makes this wine better year on year!

I sat and enjoyed a bottle (November 2012) the other night, without food. The wine was unmistakably South African with big flavours and plenty of power, yet very moreish and easy to drink. There aren't many wines at this price point which I really enjoy drinking as I'm quite spoiled having to taste high end wines all the time, but I did enjoy this. It's great value.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Tin Mine Red Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £10.20



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Zevenwacht Tin Mine Red Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 

Zevenwacht Pinotage Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

A fantastic wine and big personal favourite of ours. Zevenwacht have altered the presentation for this 2011 and while we don't think it's necessarily better than the old presentation the wine itself is fantastic. While I don't have any tasting notes, I tasted this wine with Denise in May and in my opinion it's her best vintage yet. All the familiar coffee, fruit, chocolate and spice flavours blended into a big warming wine. Highly recommended.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Pinotage Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £9.98



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Zevenwacht Pinotage Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 

Zevenwacht Zeven Rood Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

This new release has not yet been rated but the 08 won Veritas Wine Awards - Bronze Medal, and both the 07 and 08 were featured in the Wine Magazine Best Value Wine Guide.

What a great wine for showing what can be achieved but still be affordable for everyday drinking! I was with Denise at the London Wine Fair tasting through her range. Normally I don't bother with wines at this price point, as I have to keep a fresh palate for the more expensive stuff, but on this occassion she persuaded me to give it a go.

It was full of different flavours - chocolate, red berries, spice, coffee - and overall lovely. I started espousing the flavours I was getting when Denise smuggly turned the bottle round and showed me the back label. It simply lists "Spice, Berries, Chocolate etc etc". There's no text explaining the growing or winemaking or even which grapes it's made from! It's good wine, enjoyed for it's own sake - no nonsense.

However I will tell you that it's made from 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, 16% Merlot, 4% Mouvedre, 2% Primitivo, and 1% Grenache. Value for money it's one of the best wines on our site, and I heartily recommend it.

Zevenwacht Website

Further Information on Zevenwacht Zeven Rood Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £8.99



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Zevenwacht Zeven Rood Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 
jordan image
 
 
Jordan

The Jordan winery today is run by Gary and Kathy Jordan making some outstanding world class wines. The 300 year old 146 hectare farm was purchased by Gary's parents - Ted and Sheelagh - back in 1982, when they undertook an extensive replanting programme of all the vineyards. Gary and Kathy spent a couple of years abroad learning their wine making skills then returned home in 1992 and began producing quality wines from 1993 onwards, once the vines were mature.

Gary and Kathy are 'next door neighbours' and close friends with Denise of Zevenwacht - although I wouldn't like to walk from one house to the other! The secret to both estates' success is largely due to the same factors - yes, you need wine making skill and experience as well as a dedication to producing the best quality wine possible, but both these estates also have an array of different terroirs. Here lies the real skill of matching each grape variety to it's ideal terroir. Because of the specific landscape both estates have slopes facing to all four points of the compass, all at different altitudes, different degrees of slope and aspect to the sun, and all on 600 million year old soils with unique qualities. Add to this the cooling Atlantic and Indian oceans and the mediteranean climate and there's a myriad of different combinations.

The Jordans have got it right - and so have Zevenwacht - with each variety in it's ideal location producing optimum fruit. Their wines are highly recommended.

The Jordan estate has one of the most spectacular views in Stellenbosch, which is a truly stunning location to enjoy lunch in the George Jardine restaurant. Being on the east of Stellenbosch on a hill they have a view East across to the Heldeberg and the mountains separating Stellenbosch from Franschoek. It is a real "must see" if you plan to visit the South African wine lands.
 
 

Jordan Cobblers Hill Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

"Gold - Outstanding" - IWSC 2014

Platter 4.5 Stars



Further Information on Jordan Cobblers Hill Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £22.49



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John Platter
John's Rating

90 Points

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Jordan Cobblers Hill Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Jordan "The Prospector" Syrah Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

This wine is a new release for Jordans, to celebrate the victory of a consortium of wineries over a recent attempt to start mining operations in the Stellenbosch winelands. It now looks like the winelands are safe from development which is great news for all fans of good South African wine.

The wine itself is superb - please read our tasting notes.

Jordan Website

Further Information on Jordan "The Prospector" Syrah Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Price: £12.49



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John's Rating

90 Points

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Jordan
 
 

Jordan Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

John Platter 4 Stars for the 08 and 09.

This is a rich seductive wine. Small grapes with concentrated fruit provided rich flavours of plum and black fruits with a little spice. 18 months in oak before bottling has lent weight to the mid palate and softened the tannins making this is soft opulent wine to enjoy with or without food.

Jordan Website

Further Information on Jordan Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl

Price: £12.49



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Jordan Merlot Stellenbosch 2010 75cl
 
 

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

John Platter 4 Stars.

Gentle pressing and use of a gravity system ensured the juice was extracted from the grapes with only soft tannins. The juice was then fermented in stainless steel and a portion of it underwent malolactic fermentation to add body to the wine. This was followed by 19 months barrel ageing in oak. The result is a wine packed with black fruit flavours and vanilla, soft and smooth, already drinking well but will improve over the next few years.

Jordan Website

Further Information on Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Price: £12.49



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Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 75cl
 
 

Jordan Chameleon Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

This cheaper priced wine from Jordans is superb. While we focus on the higher end wines from all our producers we couldn't leave this wine off the site. It's a delicious blend, having spent 20 months in oak, which is soft and smooth with red and black fruit flavours with that unmistakeable hot climate South African style. It's great easy drinking every day wine and is superb value.

Jordan Website

Further Information on Jordan Chameleon Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Stellenbosch 2011 75cl

Price: £8.99



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Jordan Chameleon Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Stellenbosch 2011 75cl
 
 
Ernie Els image
 
 
The Ernie Els winery is one of the most pristine and professional wineries in Stellenbosch. I suppose you would expect nothing less given that Ernie had the money to create his vision from scratch, rather than have to make his money from wine sales first! The result is quite spectacular.

Set at the foot of the Heldeberg, this is Stellenbosch's premium region for red wines given that the slopes are north facing with a steep angle to the sun and cooling breezes from False Bay. This pedigree is borne out by the other prestigious red wine producers they have as neighbours - Grangehurst (some of the best reds in SA), Rust en Vrede, Guardian Peak, Eikendal and more.

Ernie set up in partnership with his pal Jean Engelbricht with Louis Strydom as winemaker. Jean and Ernie have parted ways to follow their own separate business ventures but the Ernie Els winery remains a proud testament to what can be achieved.

You will see in the picture Ernie's private tasting room as well as a temporary marquee on the front lawn! If you're visiting get yourself a driver and start at the top of the hill at Uva Mira with stunning views, then work down to Hidden Valley for a beautiful, fresh great value lunch. Then Ernie's, Guardian Peak and Rust en Vrede. Grangehurst is a five minute drive away directly behind Eikendal just off R44 and is a very small operation, but well worth a visit if you can manage it as their wines are something special.

Many wineries offer 2 different tasting selections - always opt for the premium tasting selection, it's usually only about 30 to 50 Rand (£3 to £4 for 5 wines!) and you get to taste some of their very limited wines which cost upward of £20 at the winery door, so they are great value! And if you buy a bottle you don't pay for the tasting!
 
 

Ernie Els Big Easy 2011

2011 vintage just arrived. Veritas Awards - Bronze Medal.

The 2011 has added a tiny amount of Cinsault to become a six way blend. Each vintage of this wine has been excellent and the 2011 is no exception. Official tasting notes say:

"The Big Easy is rich and emphatic in 2011 and yet, as the name suggests, still holds an amazingly easy silkiness on the palate. The dominant Shiraz offers complex notes of rosemary and cured meat whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon adds a beguiling structure and sweet cherry fruit core. A playful tempo is created by dashes of Grenache, Viognier, Mourvèdre and Cinsault giving a fynbos and spicy edge along with a fragrant, almost honeycomb-like finish."

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Big Easy 2011
 
 

Ernie Els Merlot 2011

Decanter Gold Medal, John Platter 4 Stars for 2010, Veritas Silver Medal for the 09

An excellent Merlot! They blend 8 different clones of Merlot, each of which adds slightly different characteristics to this wine which also receives some oak ageing to add body and complexity. It's deep ruby in colour with a nose of red fruits. Swirl it in the glass and the big legs sticking to the side of the glass tell you this is no lightweight! Intense flavours on the palate of both red and black fruits, sweet initially but beautifully balanced by the oak kicking in at the end. Again, like all his other wines, the overall balance of this wine is fantastic with cleansing acidity refreshing the palate.The finish is very long with silky vanilla flavours. There aren't many straight Merlots that I would usually buy as I like my wines to be big and powerful, and many Merlots can be fairly light - but not in this case. It's a full flavoured, powerful wine with body, complexity and style. Great wine.

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Merlot 2011
 
 

Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 91 Points

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
 
 

Ernie Els Proprietor's Syrah 2010

John Platter 4 Stars, International Wine Challenge Silver Medal.

Made from hand picked grapes in tiny quantities, they're very proud of this wine, and rightly so - it's fantastic. A big powerful wine, made in the Barossa Shiraz style, rather than French Rhone. It's purple in colour with ruby highlights. Swirl it around and you'll see there's great legs sticking to the glass. It has a nose of stewed fruits and raspberry with big fruit flavours on the palate. It's rich and more savoury than fruit driven, very, very smooth with a long dry finish. There's a lively refreshing acidity on the finish from a small amount of Viognier blended in to give that delightful lift. If you can resist, leave this wine to breathe for an hour, or decant, as it really opens up beautifully.

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Proprietor's Syrah 2010
 
 

Cirrus Syrah 2007

Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 - Trophy Best Rhone Varietal, Veritas Wine Awards - Gold Medal, Winespectator - 92 Points.

The Cirrus Syrah is actually a collaboration between the Ernie Els team ( Ernie, Jean Engelbrecht and Louis Strydom) and Ray Duncan of Silver Oak Winery Napa Valley, who specialises in producing (only) top quality Cabernet Sauvignon. Jean and Ray became firm friends as their passion for prodcing outstanding wines brought them together.

Inevitably they decided to make a wine together and the Cirrus was born. As they decided to make it in South Africa they opted to make it from the Syrah grape (with a little Viognier).

It's deep ruby in colour with big legs. There's black fruit on the nose with some spice. On the palate there's big black fruit flavours with cherry and coffee notes, plenty of spice and vanillin oak coming through on the finish. It's very very smooth, very big, very South African and very very good!

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Cirrus Syrah 2007
 
 

Ernie Els Proprietor's Blend 2011

Platter 4.5 Stars, Veritas Awards 2012 Silver Medal, International Wine Challenge Silver Medal

Personally for my own tastes, I believe this is their best wine. It's a six way blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, all vinified separately then blended and aged in oak for 15 months. Very deep ruby in colour, again with great legs. Just reviewing my tasting notes here, I described it as "spectacular....incredibly smooth.....wonderful weight and balance....great length (dry finish)....black fruits....perfectly balanced". As you can tell I was very impressed by it!

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Proprietor's Blend 2011
 
 

Ernie Els Signature Blend 2010

Old Mutual Wine Show - Silver

No other awards announced yet

This is their ultimate wine, a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, all vinified separately in oak for 20 months. The wine was then blended and aged in bottle for 18 months prior to release. Deep ruby in colour with big red fruit flavours on the palate. It's very smooth and silky, again with great overall balance and a really long dry finish.

Ernie Els Website

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Ernie Els Signature Blend 2010
 
 
Boekenhoutskloof image
 
 
Boekenhoutskloof is set in a stunning location at the top of Franschoek Valley. Franschoek itself is a small upmarket town lined with outdoor eateries, art galleries and prestigious wineries. It is a stunningly beautiful location and perhaps South Africa's premier wine region.

Boekenhoutskloof started in 1997 with just 5500 bottles for their first vintage. Today they produce about 4.5 million bottles each year. Much of this is their Wolftrap and Pocupine Ridge labels which are actually made at a larger more commercial winery. The original Boekenhoutskloof winery is reserved for their top wines, and they have purposefully retained it's character and integrity.

The views from the terrace are stunning. Their top wines are rated amongst some of South Africa's best. If you look carefully at the bottom right image you will see 3 small barrels - this is their "Journeyman" a top cuvee which is produced annually (only if the conditions are right to produce perfect fruit). It is not commercially available but is given to their best restaurant customers locally. We did get a case of 6 ourselves two years ago (we have a strong relationship with the biggest allocation of their premium wines in the UK) but seeing these barrels next to their other wines really put in perspective how rare this wine is!

You will also see the concrete "eggs" which is a very interesting way to ferment wine. Apparently the moon's gravational pull actually stirs the wine - like the movement of the tide!

And the middle photo is their Semillon vineyard so again you can see it's very small, hence their Semillon is produced in tiny amounts, particularly once the baboons have pinched half the grapes!
 
 

Porseleinberg by Boekenhoutskloof 2010 75cl

The release of this first vintage of this new wine - from Porseleinberg - has been the most eagerly anticipated release in the South African wine calender. The vineyard is in Swartland and is owned and operated by Boekenhoutskloof. They set out to make a premium Syrah/Shiraz which was also as "eco friendly" as possible. Even the label was "printed" on a restored 1940s letterpress printer which does not use ink,so is considered environmentally friendly - although as it took 12 months to restore the printer I imagine that would have negated any carbon off setting on such a small label run!

The vineyard is organic and the wine has been made as naturally as possible with only minimal use of sulphur.

The wine has received some great reviews. They're all consistent saying that it's a high quality, well made wine but they all also say the tannins are (unsurprisingly) still very tight so the wine really needs another couple of years bottle age yet. That's always going to be the issue with evaluating brand new big reds. All the reviewers will be very keen to review it again in 2015.

It's extremely rare of course and we've got just 12 bottles for the year. This is a wine for buying and lying down for a few years rather than drinking. I haven't tasted it myself but hope to rectify that next week on my trip to Cape Town so I'll post on here as soon as I get back.

Boekenhoutskloof Website



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Porseleinberg by Boekenhoutskloof 2010 75cl
 
 

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2011 75cl

The brand new 2011 vintage just released in the UK. Get it while you can!

This wine needs no introduction. Mark Kent is one of South Africa's leading winemakers and his wines are very highly sought after.

Boekenhoutskloof Website



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Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2011 75cl
 
 

Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 75cl

Platter 5 Stars

Be quick! Only 12 bottles available this year.

As with the Syrah this wine needs no introduction. Mark Kent is one of South Africa's leading winemakers and his wines are very highly sought after.

Boekenhoutskloof Website



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Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 75cl
 
 

Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2012 75cl

The Chocolate Block is a very apt name for this wine. 69% Syrah, 14% Grenache Noir, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. This is a great wine which is enjoying well deserved success in the UK. Typical Rhone style spice balanced with succulent fruit and (not suprisingly) flavours of dark chocolate. Big and rich, it's delicious. Jane particularly took a shine to it.

Boekenhoutskloof Website



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Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2012 75cl
 
 

Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block Magnum 2012 150cl

Presentation is quite spectacular in a tall elegant bottle. Extremely limited.

Boekenhoutskloof Website

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Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block Magnum 2012 150cl
 
 

Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red 2012 75cl

Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red is a very good everyday quaffer. Great value. Platter rated the 2010 as 3 Stars and stated "great value, shows class". This 2012 hasn't been rated yet.

Boekenhoutskloof Website



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Graceland Vineyards

A small winery of 18 hectares backing onto the Heldeburg, owned and operated by Paul and Susan McNaughton with their children lending a hand in the cellar at busy times! They produce only a small quantity of red wines which are particularly good. They regularly score at least 4 stars from John Platter. Susan also packages them beautifully (Strawberry Fields may be a little unartistic but the others look great).

She adopted Raphael's famous painting of the "Three Graces" for the winery and this appears on each bottle, which also come elegantly wrapped in a 3/4 paper jacket sealed with the Graceland stamp. They make a lovely looking (and tasting) gift.

The picture is of two of their dogs, as Susan says "when the dogs start eating the grapes off the vine we know they're ready for picking".

Gracelands
 
 

Gracelands Merlot Stellenbosch 2008 75cl

Lovely wine - tasting notes to follow.

Gracelands Website



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John's Rating

91 Points

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Gracelands Merlot Stellenbosch 2008 75cl
 
 

Gracelands Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 75cl

Fantastic wine, full of blackberry flavours with chocolate and some noticeable but well integrated French oak - 18 months in barrel. Full in the mouth with plenty of body and mouth coating tannins, but also very smooth and elegant. This wine has it all - flavour, body, power and elegance.

Gracelands Website



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Gracelands Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 75cl
 
 

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir White Label 2011 75cl

Platter 4 Stars

Cathy Marshall is one of South Africa's leading winemakers, specialising in quality wines with pure varietal expression, produced with minimal additives or manipulation. Jane and I have known Cathy for several years, and she is one of the nicest, most genuine winemakers we know. Her wines are fabulous too.

Cathy's vineyards and small winery are in Elgin, basically south east of Stellenbosch half way between Cape Town and Hermanus. This region is unique in that it is surrounded by mountains yet still only a few km from the sea. Cathy's vineyards are at altitude (about 300m) and are further cooled by breezes and sea mist from the South Atlantic. This makes it ideal territory for cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and in my opinion Cathy makes some of the best Pinot in South Africa. She is passionate about minimal intervention, creating wines with great purity.

The grapes for this white label are hand picked into small boxes. The grapes are destemmed and hand sorted but not crushed - instead they go in for "whole berry fermentation" in small batches. The must is then punched down by hand with a wooden paddle ("pigage") to gently extract tannin and colour. Note this is all done by hand so no mechanical machinery is used. The berries are then pressed by handpress to extract the premium juice, the wine then undergoes a secondary malolactic fermentation. It is then racked off and aged in French oak barrels of different ages/fills - first fill oak gives the wine maximum oak flavours of course, while 2nd, 3rd or fourth fill all impart less respectively. As each batch is made separately (and from 4 different Pinot Noir clones) this then gives Cathy a wide variety of subtlely different wines to assemble for the final blend.

Pinot Noir is a delicate grape and it is Cathy's attention to detail that allows her to produce such premium hand crafted wine. 2011 was a great vintage for Cathy and this wine is lovely. Fragrant with great purity of fruit and a full silky mouth feel.

See Cathy talk about her Pinots on You Tube

Cathy Marshall Website

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Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir White Label 2011 75cl
 
 

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir Barrel Reserve 2011 75cl

Platter 4 Stars for the 2010. This 2011 hasn't been rated yet but is a beauty!

This Barrel Reserve is made the same way as her White Label so the text below is a copy. The difference is Cathy selects the very best 11 barrels to make into the Reserve. It is a bit bigger, more intense and concentrated, with more of the first fill oak wines used. It is beautiful and seriously good value.

Cathy Marshall is one of South Africa's leading winemakers, specialising in quality wines with pure varietal expression, produced with minimal additives or manipulation. Jane and I have known Cathy for several years, and she is one of the nicest, most genuine winemakers we know. Her wines are fabulous too.

Cathy's vineyards and small winery are in Elgin, basically south east of Stellenbosch half way between Cape Town and Hermanus. This region is unique in that it is surrounded by mountains yet still only a few km from the sea. Cathy's vineyards are at altitude (about 300m) and are further cooled by breezes and sea mist from the South Atlantic. This makes it ideal territory for cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and in my opinion Cathy makes some of the best Pinot in South Africa. She is passionate about minimal intervention, creating wines with great purity.

The grapes for this white label are hand picked into small boxes. The grapes are destemmed and hand sorted but not crushed - instead they go in for "whole berry fermentation" in small batches. The must is then punched down by hand with a wooden paddle ("pigage") to gently extract tannin and colour. Note this is all done by hand so no mechanical machinery is used. The berries are then pressed by handpress to extract the premium juice, the wine then undergoes a secondary malolactic fermentation. It is then racked off and aged in French oak barrels of different ages/fills - first fill oak gives the wine maximum oak flavours of course, while 2nd, 3rd or fourth fill all impart less respectively. As each batch is made separately (and from 4 different Pinot Noir clones) this then gives Cathy a wide variety of subtlely different wines to assemble for the final blend.

Pinot Noir is a delicate grape and it is Cathy's attention to detail that allows her to produce such premium hand crafted wine. 2011 was a great vintage for Cathy and this wine is lovely. Fragrant with great purity of fruit and a full silky mouth feel.

See Cathy talk about her Pinots on You Tube

Cathy Marshall Website

Further Information on Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir Barrel Reserve 2011 75cl

Price: £17.99



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Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir Barrel Reserve 2011 75cl
 
 

Catherine Marshall Amatra Merlot 2012 75cl

This wine really impressed me. Big and full in the mouth. Bags of flavour yet silky smooth with integrated tannins, oak and acidity all in perfect balance. This is a real beauty, great with all manner of foods including fish, or delicious on it's own.

Cathy Marshall Website

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Catherine Marshall Amatra Merlot 2012 75cl
 
 

Spice Route Mourvedre 2009 75cl

Another excellent wine from Spice Route, and great value too. The grapes were hand picked and lightly crushed then fermented in open concrete tanks. The wine was matured for 14 months in French oak.

It's big and spicey with plenty of fruit. Tannins are softened by a lively acidity and there is good length on the finish too. Delicious as an every day glass of wine after a hard day's work or would pair nicely with a variety of foods from roast meats to spicey curries.

This is great value.

Spice Route Website

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Spice Route Mourvedre 2009 75cl