Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver We will depart Cape Town and make our way eastward, along the N2, across Sir Lowry’s Pass on our way to the Paul Cluver Wine Estate, right in the middle of apple country. This farm has been in existence since 1875. This area has interesting similarities to Burgundy in France.  That is why Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is in particular suitable for its climate and soil. Don’t forget to taste the Gewurtztraminer, a benchmark of quality in the South African market.

Tastings only

Hermanuspietersfontein

We will now travel to Hermanus, the beloved town for whale watching. You will meet the unconventional winemaker Bartho Eksteen, “the Sage of Sauvignon Blanc”. His particular wooded Sauvignon Blanc will hit the sweet spot and captures the climatic conditions with its flinty minerality and racy acidity. Tasting the wines here, you will understand why land here, in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, is some of the most expensive real estate of all the wine regions in South Africa.

Tours by appointment only


Creation-Wines

Another wine estate that we will visit is an undiscovered piece of wine paradise high up in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, 350 metres above sea level. Due to the proximity of the ocean and the height above sea level, you have cool ripening conditions and a consistent airflow that reduces humidity related diseases. We will taste a particular great Pinot Noir, a Syrah with ripe plum and black pepper flavours. We will enjoy a lunch prepared by the family Martin that accentuates their care and hospitality. We will now depart and I kept the best for last.

Tours by appointment only


Bouchard Finlayson

There are 2 farms right next to each other with very distinct styles of wine.  Bouchard Finlayson has been recognized as the best example of a South African style Burgundy.  The Chardonnay and the Tete De Cuvee Pinot Noir have received the 5 * John Platter rating, the highest accolade for any wine in South Africa, on numerous occasions.  We will now depart to the neighbouring estate.

Tours by appointment only


Hamilton Russel

Anthony Hamilton Russsel put a quality wine of world class standard on the World Map. Here they specialize in two grape varietals only; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These wines reflect the true authenticity of this region and place of birth. What is very unique about this farm is that they manufacture their own bottles in the area. They also dry their own oak outside there cellar and send it to France to be made into their own unique barrels. Anthony is a great supporter of Conservation and has established a 38 hectare fynbos reserve on the farm. We will now depart and drive along the coastal road back to Cape Town as the sun sets.

Tours by appointment only

Stellenbosch Mountains

Kanonkop

Kanonkop vines

Beyerskloof

The owner of this estate, Beyers Truter, the previous wine maker at Kanonkop, is known in South Africa as the “Pinotage King”!  Beyers is a true pioneer when it comes to pinotage winemaking.  Pinotage is the only grape varietal indigenous to South Africa. The farm is a delight!  It is filled with sophistication and personable service. This farm is known for its unique local products, like the Pinotage – Burger, Pinotage – Sorbet etc.

Kanonkop

This farm is South Africa’s “First Growth” farm with notoriety and a slew of awards. Grapes here are hand harvested and sorted on a sorting table. Their specialty is their Paul Sauer Blend and Cabernets. They are very much focused on quality and service excellence. Their wines are elegant, yet have lots of structure and is  long lasting.

Warwick

Here we will embark on a true wine safari. Waiting for you will be your very own safari vehicle and safari guide. Be ready for a once in a lifetime experience!  From drinking out of the unique wedding wine-cup of Warwick to being escorted to your own picnic pod, you will experience true Winelands hospitality and the great selection of wines of Warwick. Be ready now for your leisurely picnic. Enjoy.

Meerlust

If there ever will be an “Icon Wine “ in South Africa, the Meerlust Rubicon will definitely be one of the candidates. This particular wine has achieved high visibility worldwide. They specialize in a Bordeaux Blend, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. You will not be disappointed because you would feel like you have entered true aristocracy. We will end our wine safari and drive over Polka Drive as the sun sets over the majestic Table Mountain.

Welcome to Vino Vocab, it is a selection of words in the Wine World. It is for your own information and knowledge and also to teach others.

v           Alcohol content-The alcoholic strength of a wine or any alcoholic beverage depends on the amount of alcohol it contains, expressed as a percentage of the total volume of the wine. For natural wines, this is in the 8-15% range.

v           Alcoholic-Describes wines with too much alcohol and which taste uncharacteristically “heavy or hot” as a result.

v           Allier-Department of central France, just north of the Auvergne whose oak is in great demand for barrel making.

v           Aloxe-Corton-A famous wine –producing village of the Cote d’Or, in France’s Burgundy region. Located in the Northern Part of the Cote de Beaune district, Aloxe- Corton is unusual in that red and white wines are almost equally celebrated, although the best of these- from Grand Cru vineyards- do not carry the name Aloxe at all and all are labeled Corton Charlemagne, Corton, Corton Clos du Roi, Corton Bresandes, etc. All the red wines must come exclusively from Pinot Noir, the whites from Chardonnay. The red Cortons of great years are probably the best, certainly the longest –lived wines of Cote de Beaune, they are magnificent Burgundies of wonderful breed and texture, silky, well balanced, and fine. The white Corton-Charlemagne is fully the equal of the best wines of Meersault and Puligny- Montrachet. Wines marketed as Aloxe-Corton are delicate and attractive, but lighter in body and quicker to mature than those from Corton itself.

v           Alsace– An ancient French province, bordering the Rhine, north of Switzerland and comprising Haut -Rhin and Bas- Rhin. The vineyards, which are about 20 miles west of the Rhine, extend for about 70 miles along the lower slopes of the Vosges Mountains from Strasbourg on the north past Colmar to Mulhouse; they are among the most beautiful in the world, and the small vineyard towns are exceedingly picturesque. About 80% of Alsace’s acreage is planted with four varieties-Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc. Other varieties included Pinot Gris, Muscat and Chasselas. In 1983, the appellation Alsace Grand Cru was officially established for wines that come from 25 specific lieux-dits, or vineyard sites, whose names may appear on a label. Only wines made from Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, or Muscat are eligible for grand cru status. Two designations were officially recognized in 1983- Vendange Tardive and Selection de Grains Nobles. The appellation Cremant d’Alsace is used for sparkling wine produced in the methode champenoise. The wines of Alsace will be found in tall green bottles. Alsace wines are, in fact, completely dry, intense flavored, and more assertive.

v           Angular-The combination of hard, often tart- edged flavors and tactile impressions given by many young dry wines. Angular wines are the opposite of round, soft, or supple.

v           Alto Adige- The upper portion of the Adige River Basin, the northernmost part of Italy, forming the modern province of Bolzano and extending to the present Austrian frontier.

v           American Oak-With a stronger and sweeter scent than most European oak is in demand for maturing certain wines; for example Rioja.

v           Anthocyanins- Substances in the skin of black grapes, which produce the vivid purple color in young wines.

v           Aperitif- A legal classification for wines having not less than 15% alcohol by volume; vermouth is the best example. However, latest fashion is any wine enjoyed before a meal, regardless of alcohol level.

v           Appley-‘ Ripe Apples’ suggests a full fruity, open smell characteristic of some Chardonnay. ‘Fresh apples’ aromas come from wines made from barely ripe or under ripe grapes. And, should you encounter a wine with the aroma of  ‘stale apples’ you are probably smelling a flawed wine exhibiting the first stage of oxidation.

v           Aroma- Traditionally defined as the smell that wine acquires from the grapes and from fermentation, now it more commonly means the wine’s smell, including changes that occurred in the bottle. One assesses the intensity of aroma and also describes its character with virtually any adjective that fits, ranging, for example, from apply to raisiny and fresh to tired. 

Signal Hill

The Frenchman Jean-Vincent Ridon decided to build the first winery in a modern city in the world. The first experiments started right here in Cape Town in the VOC Gardens. We will follow in the footsteps of the first viticulturist, namely Jan Van Riebeeck.

Tastings only by appointment

Groot Constantia

We are now traveling to one of the most famous wine-areas of the New World.

Groot Constantia had a following of notoriety in the High Courts of Europe. This farm is steeped in history. They are especially known for their reds.

Tours by appointment only

Klein Constantia

The sweet and delicious wine of Constantia rivaled the best of Tokay in the European Courts of the 18th and 19th Century. This particular wine placed The Cape on the World Wine Map,  enjoyed by people like Napoleon Bonaparte, Bismarck, King Frederick of Prussia, Jane Austin, Alexander Dumas and Longfellow.  This historic farm  is currently changing to organic production processes in the cellar and the vineyards. In the long run it will have an affect on the quality of the wines from here.

Tasting Only

Steenberg

We now travel to this 62ha Estate on the boundary of the Constantia Wine Route. We will taste great wines and experience a beautiful setting and enjoy a wonderful lunch at the very modern Bistro 1682. This Estate is known for its Sauvignon Blanc and also its red blend, the Catharina. You will also be privy to taste  their very own 1682 MCC ‘Method Cap Classique ‘ We will leisurely finish our meal and depart on route.

Tasting Only

Cape Point Vineyards

We will now conclude our journey as the last rays of the sun falls over The Cape Peninsula. This is truly one of the most magnifiscent properties in the Cape Winelands.  They make a Sauvignon Blanc of world class standard. Isliedh, there white blend, is captivating with rich nuances of tropical fruit and a lingering minerality. As the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, we will make our way back to Cape Town via the world famous Chapman’s-Peak drive.

Tasting Only

Welcome to Vino Vocab, it is a selection of words in the Wine World. It is for your own information and knowledge and also to teach others.

vAbboccato-Italian word for sweet or semi sweet. 

vAC- Appellation Controlee: official French designation which guarantees the area from which a wine has come from, the method by which and grapes with which it has been made. 

vAcescence-Describes the impression of volatile acidity in a wine which is essential to the flavor and complexity of a fine wine. It is associated with some chemical compounds, such as acetic acid and acetate. An appropriately small amount adds to the flavor of wine- too much renders a wine sharp or disagreeable.

vAcescant- The specific nail varnish-like smell of Ethyl-Acetate, a by product of the formation of Acetic acid. An acescant wine is faulty, (volatile acidity).

vAcetaldehyde-Produced by the oxidation of  alcohol. Naturally present in imperceptible quantities in light white wines. Has a heavy, sweetish smell normal in deliberately oxidized, fortified wines like sherry; such a smell in light white wines indicates excess oxydation (Maderized).

vAcetic-smelling and tasting of acetic acid (vinegar) volatile acidity. Unless a wine is protected from the oxygen in the air its bacteria will rapidly produce volatile acetic acid, giving it that faint taste and slight smell of vinegar. An excess of acetic acid in a wine is almost always evidence of poor and careless cellar-work.

vAcid/Acidity-All wines contain various acids including tartaric, malic, and citric. If a wine has to little acid – it is flat, insipid, cloying and unappetizing. It is a essential component in wine which enlivens and shapes its flavors and prolong its after -taste. Acidity gives white wines their zing and reds their appetizing grip, and it is critical to a wine’s ability to pair with food. In reds and many cool regions white, the malic is often converted to lactic by a natural process known as malolectic fermentation, which gives the wines a buttery texture and flavor. In hotter countries(and sometimes cooler ones), the acid level may( not always legally) be adjusted by adding tartaric and citric acid. The acidity of balanced dry table wine falls in the range between 0,6% and 0,75% of the wine’s volume. However, for sweet wines, 0,70% total acidity or less considered low because the wine usually tastes flat or unbalanced. For Balance, the sweeter the wine, the higher the acidity.

v Acrid– A pungent, piquant and sometimes burning sensation due to excess sulphur. Felt at the top of the nostrils and back of back of throat(sulphur dioxide).

vAdega-Portuguese for a wine warehouse or cellar,  generally above ground, the equivalent of chai in France or a bodega in Spain.

vAdulterated Wine– A wine that has been treated with unauthorized material or with an excessive amount of permitted substance.

v Aftertaste-The lingering impression of a wine after it is swallowed. It is usually described as the “finish” of a wine. It ranges from short to lingering.  A lingering aftertaste is a characteristic that is indicative of quality.

vAgeing– All wines age to some extent, first in the cellar (in barrel, cask, vat, or tank) and then in the bottle, and many wines, if properly stored, improve somewhat with aging. Although wine is often described as a “living thing” our enjoyment should not be diminished by accepting that wine is a combination of natural components- primarily water, alcohols, acids and tannins-that interact during aging, a process that will eventually result in decay; for many fine wines, of course, the interaction will improve the wine’s flavor for a number of years. Many fine red and white wines are aged in small oak barrels or larger casks, where they evolve in the presence of limited, but necessary, amounts of oxygen. Bottle aging, which occurs without the further absorption of oxygen is therefore a different and slower process than wood aging, softens the initial vigor and harshness of certain red wines and enriches the taste of a number of dry and sweet white wines.

vAgrafe– A metal clip used to secure the temporary cork during bottle fermentation of champagne, now almost entirely replaced by the less expensive and more easily manipulated crown cap.

vAggressive-Unpleasantly harsh in taste or texture usually due to a high level of tannin or acid. Aggressive wines usually lack charm and grace.

vAgricola Vitivinicola– Italian wine estate.

Alcohol-The colorless, volatile spirit ethyl alcohol(ethanol) is formed by the activity of enzymes secreted by living microorganisms known as yeast cells. These convert the sugar in grape juice into approximately equal parts of alcohol and carbon-dioxide gas by the process of fermentation; in practice, 55 or even 60 percent of the sugar may be converted to alcohol by modern vinification  techniques, so that grape juice containing 22 percent sugar can result in wine with 13,2 percent alcohol. Although alcohol is often described as flavorless, it has a slightly sweet taste; and wines high in alcohol are characterized by a sensation often described as warm, hot even biting 

 

WinePro.I know you are supposed to serve red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or chicken dishes, what to do when you are in a restaurant and the four people all order different dishes ? Is it necessary to order a wine to go with each dish ?

Rules are made to be broken now a days, the rule to have red wine with red meat is a guide . We are supposed to be more relaxed than our forefathers. There are several ways to deal with this , the matching of wines to a variety of foods but it depends on the circumstances.

You can play it safe by ordering a dry Rose.It will work well if it is a warm night.Or if the restaurant is serious about its wine it will be even better if you order from the wine by the glass list.Unfortunately as we all know that many of our restaurants keep boxed wine of dubious quality under the bar counter as their house wine . Unless you are sure about the quality and the source from where it comes from.

The other option is to ask your guest what wine do they prefer ? Very often a meat eater will prefer a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, then there is no problem . The even better option is to order a not only One bottle for four people but to order a red and white for the table and then your guests can decide themselves what they would like to enjoy.

Tip:Remember when you look at the wine list be carefull to choose only the cheapest because many a time they are the worst quality and they have the highest mark-ups on them, so my suggestion is to go middle  price range because that is where you will find the best value for money for the quality.

O my goodness, rules no rules just remember to dine out is supposed to be fun so even if your guests want to drink a Shiraz bubbly with their South African rock lobster, why object, let your guests enjoy their experience.

Enjoy your experience into the World of Wine…………..

WINE THAT IS CORKED OR A DEFECTIVE AND A FLAWED WINE.

People are confused in their minds whether a wine’s smell are defective or whether they are just unfamiliar and unusual.Certainly, a wine past its peak should be refused. If a White wine is dark and yellow in color and smells like sherry, it is over-the-hill and likely maderized. Red wine become like brown in colour, often orange and around the rim, and , when accompanied by a flat, dull flavour, like dead leaves, and a sharp short finish are past their prime.

A wine is defective when it smells like vinegar. A nostril-piercing, dill pickle, sharp aroma usually signals excessive volatile acidity(VA) normally accompanied by ethyl acetate.Leave a halve a bottle in a warm place for about 2 weeks and then smell the wine. You will know what I mean.

Any wine that smells of sulfur dioxide, the smell of a burned match, is a candidate for rejection. If the aroma persist, rather than dissipates quickly, the wine should be rejected. Sulfur dioxide is a universally used as an anti–oxidant in the winemaking process, excessive amounts, however constitutes a flaw.

A smell similar to rotten eggs indicates the wine is tainted with hydrogen sulfide. It should be refused. Hydrogen sulfide develops often enough today through sloppy wine making or from over sulfured grapes.
Ocassionally, some wines give of other aromas indicating serious flaws.

Mercaptans are chemical compounds occasionaly formed in vinification, their smell is similar to that of garlic or onions, though some people associate the aroma with a “skunky” character. Return it immediately

Other smells to look for when evaluating a wine is acetone and moldiness. Acetone similar to nail polish remover, is sharp and unpleasant. Mold results from poorly treated barrels or casks and more often, from grapes which were rained upon at near-ripeness and thus developed rot.

Any wine that reminds you of a petro chemical oil rifenery smell is faulty as well.

Experience which helps you to detect the most common off aromas is the best teacher. Otherwise, remember you must never expect to return a wine which you ordered out of curiosity, but then did not like it. If you have doubt let the manager sample the wine. If in any way they are not sure about its merits and acceptibility, then you are of the hook and another bottle should be forthcoming.

In my experience, a well run restaurant will not quibble or get into a battle with you the customer The old saying that ” the customer is always right “ remains a fine business policy.However I urge you not to abuse the policy.
As a paying customer, and especially at the price restauranteurs get for wine you are entitled to a fair service.


Here are a few tips and tricks then that will assure you a better experience:

  • Make sure you are shown the bottle you odered. Check producer, type, vintage
  • See that the wine arrives with cork and foil capsule intact. It is possible that the bottle may have been refilled with inferior wine or one that was returned by another patron some time ago after the capsule was removed.
  • Take the time away from your friends and guests to study the wine bottle. Slow the Sommelier/wine waiter down to your pace – it is your money.
  • Hold the bottle in your hand and check it out for temperature. A red wine should be at room temperature according to your definition. Make sure the red wine is not to warm, since that may indicate bad storage, for instance too close to the heater or the kitchen or a lot in our case, the sun.White wines should not be freezing cold. If it is cold to the point of being iced, beware. Wines placed in temperatures which are too cold for a long time tend to go flat (lose their life ) It is better that your wine arrives at room temperature, then placed it in a ice bucket -for a few minutes.(2 Minutes max)
  • Do not let the wine bottle be opened untill you have given your official approval. Do not let it be poured into other glasses untill you have tasted and accepted it. “ Don’t be rushed”.
  • Here is a funny one , discreetly smell the empty glass. This sounds silly, but the slightest smell of soap or detergents would ruin most Champagnes and Sparkling wines and it will impair most table wines, that is red and white. Ask for a clean set of glasses, when returned check the glassware again. Just d’ont be anal about it. To rinse the glasses is not normally enough.
  • Make certain that the capsule is cut neatly and the cork removed cleanly. (Champagnes, incidentally, should be uncorked with a minimal pop if any) The cork should be offered to you and you should smell and feel it; It should not smell of vinegar, be dried out and crumble in your hands.
  • The wine should be clean and free of defects, but it should also be consistent with its type. This assumes some knowledge on your part.
  • If you randomly select a wine unfamiliar to you and discover it is not to your liking, that is your problem. You cant say then there is something wrong with this wine just because it is unfamiliar for you. Live and Learn.
  • Timing is a very important aspect. Very often, about the time the food arrives, you are informed that the wine you ordered is not available. Some of us plan the meal around the wine selected, this is not good news.You can avoid this by requesting that the wine or wines be presented and brought to the table ahead of the food.

Enjoy your journey further in the world of wine……………..