Friday, 16 September 2011

Botriver Spring Festival

Botriver Spring Festival

Enjoying "brunch" at Eerste Hoop

What a pleasant experience!!  Our day started out with a 20km drive on a dirt road to our first destination: Eerste Hoop.  The farm is located between Botriver and Villiersdorp on the Van der Stel pass.  We were welcomed with a glass of Genevieve MCC as we made our way to brunch. The Genevieve was a nice refreshing brut sparkling and I enjoyed it.  After brunch it was back to the start to do the full tasting, but I must confess not the best wine I ever tasted!

Goedvertrouwd tasting room

  With a full tummy and a nice Sparkling wine we continued our journey back in the Botriver direction and our next stop was Goedvertrouwd.  My word this was defiantly one of those hidden treasures.  As you pass by it’s only two old houses on the side of the road.  As you enter the tasting room it was like walking into your grannies kitchen.  We sat down at one of the empty tables, the only empty table I should add, an elderly lady came by and told us we are welcome to help ourselves with the wines standing around on all the tables. WOW! At first we thought there was only a Pinot Noir because that was all that were mentioned in the Festival notes, but to our surprise there were Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the Pardoemps.  I decided to taste the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir because the Pardoemps was nowhere to be found.  The Chardonnay had a beautiful golden color and on the nose I got honey.  It had a nice full palate and I must say it was quite good.  Next was the Pinot 2007. It had a lighter red color than what I am used to in a Pinot.As you swirl it in the glass you get a brownish color on the glass, on the nose was lots of fruit and it tasted fantastic, soft and smooth. One of the other guests told us the story of the farm.  It turns out that the elderly lady is Elrieda Pillman and she is the owner, wine maker and lady in charge of everything happening on the farm.  Her husband died a few years back and she is still living their dream of a working farm.  I will defiantly be visiting Elrieda in the very near future to try out the Pardoemps witch is a blend of Pinot, Cab and Pinotage!
Tania, Rozanne and me enjoying Goedvertrouwd Chardonnay
Next stop Luddite!  This boutique farm only produces Shiraz.  They have just released the 2007 vintage but the 2006 is also still available and according to wine maker Niels Verburg it will be perfect if you can keep it for another two years.  I could not prepare myself for what I was about to taste…Rich dark plum color in the glass with plum and berries on the nose, I was already very exited at this point, it melts away on the palate! Smooth elegant with great fruitiness and just the right amount of spices to make this the best Shiraz I have ever tasted!!! But great wine comes at great prices and this 2007 vintage retail at R290 per bottle but worth every cent! 

Beaumont Wine Farm

Beaumont was our next stop.  I had been to Beaumont before and for this reason I only tasted the wines I did not know, the Shiraz/Mourvedre 2008 and the Hope Marguerite 2009.  The Hope Marguerite is a Chenin Blanc made from the oldest Chenin vineyards, planted in1978, on the nose you get lots of fruit and floral flavors and on the palate you taste green apple, apricot and almond, lovely sweet sour combination!! The Shiraz/Mourvedre is a blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Mourvedre.  Only 450 cases produced.  On the nose there are lots of pepper and spices as well as an herbal hint, nice deep berry color and great on the palate. This was truly a great wine and perfect smooth blend!  Beaumont Goutte d’ Or 2007, the noble late harvest consisting of 66% Semillon and 34% Sauvignon Blanc is defiantly a dessert wine not to be mist!!! Great balance of acidity and for this reason not to sweet, but lots of fruity freshness!

Last but defiantly not least was Barton Wines! Barton is a lovely farm on the R43 on your way from Botriver to Hermanus. The farm has three beautiful villas and they produce lavender products such as hand cream, Shampoo and essential oil. They also have their own olive oil and honey witch is both very nice.  OK back to the wine. I tasted a Chenin Blanc and blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  Both of these were very nice easy drinking summer wines, great to enjoy every day. 

Ready for blending!

After the tasting it was off to blending our own wine. Barton hosted a competition where you could make your own blend and the winner won a weekend in one of their fabulous villas.  Each blender received five 200ml bottles each containing a different cultivar witch was unknown to the blender.  With this you also had a tasting glass and a measuring cylinder and an empty 100ml bottle for your final blend.  The whole process was “supervised” by the wine maker P.J. Geyer.  This was so interesting and fun I sat there for almost an hour just to get things the way I liked it.

Red smiles after a great day

Great day, good fun with good friends, lovely wines and did I mention we shared all this with baby Isabella now only 17 weeks, what a pleasure!!!  If you can this is a festival not to miss next year!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Hermanus Food and Wine Fest

The most memorable…

Wine fests and tastings are always so overwhelming and way to much for a normal persons palate to handle.  This is the reason why I decided to wait for a while and then if the wine still lingers with me after this period it will defiantly be worth while to share it.

The wine festival I went to was the Hermanus Food and Wine Festival.  It was held at the Wine Village on the Hemel-And-Aarde wine route in Hermanus.  The Festival consisted mostly of wines from the Hemel-And-Aarde wine route as well as some from the Bot River and the Overberg district. I am a local in this area and know most of the wines so I decided to taste these ones that are not so familiar to me.

The most memorable “new” wines of the day:

Jean Daneel Wines   (
·         Signature Chenin Blanc – this is a wooded Chenin Blanc and it was my first wine for the day.  At first I thought this must be some form of Chardonnay, not only did it had the golden color in the glass, but on the nose you get lots of vanilla and fruit. It had a well rounded palette with a great wooded taste. What a GREAT start to my day!!!

Domain Des Dieux     (email,
·         Chardonnay – OK so I am a sucker for Chardonnay…but this was really good! Rich golden color in the glass with honey and strawberry on the nose! This was GOOD!
·         Claudia Sparkling Wine – WOW, WOW, WOW!!  This brut Rosé stole my heart! Light pink color, good combination of rose and Turkish delight and goes well with the Turkish delight they had at their stand.  They also had a normal Brut sparkling but I defiantly prefer the Claudia.

This is a new Farm, they don’t have their own tasting room yet, but all their wines are available for tasting and sales at La Vierge.

·         Chenin Blanc Barrel Select 2010 – this was my best wine for the day! Deep golden color in the glass with vanilla and honey on the nose.  The wine was kept in 90% new French Oak barrels for 1year and the age of the vines used to make this extraordinary wine is 26years.
·         Shiraz 2007 – Mmm Shiraz with a dark plum color and lost of fruit on the nose.  On the palette I got the fruit, mostly berry flavors with a hint of spices. Easy drinking but will also compliment meaty dishes!

Beside from these “new” wines there were quite a few of my old favorites and I will recommend each and every one of them:

  • Spookfontein
    • Merlot 2007

  • Hemanuspietersfontein
    • Die Martha
    • No 3

If ever you don’t feel like the Stellenbosch or Franschhoek wine route, please make a drive to Hermanus and enjoy the lovely wines of the Hemel-And-Aarde Valley. If you decide to visit on a Saturday you can even start your morning at Hermanuspietersfontein mini food and wine market and make your way from there on through the Valley.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Screw cap or Cork?

Which to use: screw caps or cork? This is a very difficult topic to discuss and a debate that’s been going on for quite a while.  For me it is a personal preference but here are some pro’s and cons of both and maybe I can make you appreciate both.

Cork Pro’s:
  • Been used over 400years as the method of sealing.
  • Gives a romantic feeling.
  • They are biodegradable.
  • They support an entire industry of corkscrews and other cork-removal products.
  • The pleasant flavor of the cork imports into the wine.
  • The tiny amount of oxygen that passes through the cork helps with the maturing process.

Cork Cons:
  • Wines get corked. Corked/tainted: Oxygen leaking into the wine because it is not sealed good enough OR the wine being contaminated by a chemical called trichloroanisole (TCA) which is a byproduct of the processing of tree bark into cork.
  • As little as 1% or as much as 20% of a batch can be corked.
  • Corks can be difficult to remove, and sometimes break off into the bottle.

Plastic Cork Pro’s:
  • Immune to cork taint, thus wine is much less likely to spoil.
  • Some are recyclable.
  • Together with natural cork they support an entire industry of corkscrews and other cork-removal products.

Plastic Cork Cons:
  • If not recycled they pose a thread to the environment.
  • They do not retain their elasticity well over time which means they are unsuitable for wines meant to age for decades.

Screw Caps Pro’s:
  • Wine can not be corked/taint.
  • Sealed much more air-tight than cork.
  • They are less expensive.
  • They can be removed easily.
  • They are consistent.
  • They are much more reliable.

Screw Cap Cons:
  • Causes environmental threads.
  • Loss of Cork farming.

The Conclusion:

Screw caps are a great revolution in the wine industry and it definitely has its pro’s.  We can not escape buying either wine with corks or screw caps because it is not the method of sealing that defines the wine but the personal touch of each and every winemaker.  For that reason you are still aloud to have a favorite, maybe just because it looks vintage or modern, or for what ever reason.  For me, well I have always been a cork lady, but screw caps are making their way into our lives and our wine cabinets and I do not think that is a bad thing. I am not against screw caps but the sound of a cork being popped and the smell of the wine on the cork, that my friends are something that no screw cap will ever be able to provide.  

In the good spirit of fine wine remember:

“In wine one beholds the heart of another”
    - James Biancamano

Saturday, 23 July 2011

My Wyn

My Wyn

At last, my first blog entry!!!  All I needed to start was the inspiration from a farm called “My Wyn”.  The farm is situated in Franschhoek near Charmonix and Dieu Done. The narrow cobble road to the top make you think one of two thing…this is going to be AMAZING or this is going to be..well let’s call it not so good. 

As me and my husband reach the top, he told me that we can’t be at the right place because this looks like a house and definitely not a tasting room!  Just then one of the workers waved at us and told us to pull in, right in front of the garage…WOW! Then we were greeted by Johan and his dogs.  The view were wonderful and when Johan took us into their private little cellar and started to explain to us that his wife, Jacoline, makes all the wines herself and that they only use the old fashion way to make their wine and sparkling wine I got really exited!!

Cobble road on your way to My Wyn

We sat down at a table outside and started our tasting! 

We started of with the “My Wyn Sauviognier 2009” As you swirl the glass you get lemon-lime flavors and geen pepper on the nose. I thought to myself this is the perfect blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, crispy and fruity on the palate with a golden color because it was barrel fermented and matured for 11 months in French oak barrels. OK now I am even more exited!!

On to number two “My Wyn Sauviognier 2010” I Loved the first one but as soon as I Tasted this wine I was in love with it.  Jacoline added a bit of Semillon to this blend. On the nose you got pear and peach and a good hint of vanilla with some citrus fruits. On the palate it was complex but beautifully balanced and soft. PERFECT! Before I forget this wine was also barrel fermented for 9 months in French oak barrels.

Number three, and I wonder to myself if this can get any better? “My Wyn Viognier 2010” It CAN!! The Viognier 2010 had the same pear and peach with extra vanilla aromas on the nose but there were definitely  something floral to it as well! Lovely golden color and this 9 month barrel fermented wine is incredible on the palate.
My Wyn Cellar

On to the red, by this time Jacoline just came back from a 30km run, took a shower and now she is taking over the tasting. First up for the reds is “My Wyn Shiraz 2009” This is a special wine. The grapes goes through a 21 day maceration in open 500L Barrels.  Then 2/3 goes into French oak barrels and 1/3 in American oak barrel for a 20 month barrel maturation.  As Jacoline pour the wine into the glass you can’t miss the deep rich plum color of the wine. on the nose you get layers of wild berry, violets and spices.  This is NOW one of  my favorite Shiraz..I don’t really have words to describe, if you are a Shiraz lover this should go on your Bucket list!

The next two wines we tasted was “My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2009” and “My Wyn Petit Verdot 2009”  If you are one for pure form of these cultivars then you don’t want to miss either one of these wines!  Both Grapes had 21 days maceration in open 500L barrels. The Cab Franc were matured in French oak barrels for 24 months and the Petit Verdot for only 20 months.  The Cab Franc had lots of dark berry on the nose as well as on the palate. The Petit Verdot  on the other hand was a bit more complex for me with ripe fruit and choc mint on the nose, very smooth and easy to drink.  Both were excellent but for me the Petit Verdot was extra special!

Last on the list of red wines was the “My Wyn Merlot 2009” I am not the biggest Merlot drinker of all time but for me this 24 month matured Merlot, had  cherries and plum on the nose and for a moment there I almost thought this was a Shiraz, but as soon as you taste the wine you know what you know. Great Merlot because I could finish my glass J

Beautiful view and some GREAT wine to add to the collection

Yes, and so the journey continues..and we tasted “My Amber 2010” a White dessert wine witch is 100% Viognier fortified with 3year old KWV brandy.  Not to sweet with all the fruitiness of the Viognier.  After this we also tasted “My Robyn 2008” witch is a ruby style port, from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon an 20% Cab Franc, Shiraz and Viognier grapes. Also fortified with KWV 3year old Brandy and matured for 12 months.  I can see myself enjoying a sip of this by the fireplace every winters night.  

And then, like they say…”save the best. for last” came the “My MCC 2008” This Brut Sparkling wine  consisting of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and never in the process they made use of any steal containers, they ONLY use the barrel, the bottel and a metal cap before they cork it. This was FANTASTIC!!!!

What a wonderful tasting experience we had, beautiful views, lovely people and some of the best wine I have ever tasted! “My Wyn” was AMAZING!!!

Farewell My Wyn