Sips of the season

While the severe drought might have impacted the size of our Wine Industry’s recent outputs, it has certainly not meant a dip in quality. Take a stroll through our wine picks to keep your heart warm and your palate inspired this winter. This list is all about the wines that made an impression on us and have the ability to stand out from the crowd, whether that be through quirkiness or sheer quality.

Alto Rouge 2016 

TheAlto Rouge displays powerful berry fruit with cigar box and dark chocolate flavours followed by vanilla and oak spices. These rich, caramelised, smoky and spicy flavours match those found in barbecued food perfectly. The ripeness and sweetness in the Alto Rouge will balance the flavour of smoke, heat and spice. Light a fire, create a romantic ambience, and prepare a tasty red meat dish to pair with this superb wine.

Award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s authoritative annual report on South African wines, singled out almost every single wine in the Alto portfolio for a rating score of 90+. He awarded the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 with 93 points; Alto MPHS 2013, 94; Alto Rouge 2016, 90; and, Alto Signature Red Blend 2015, 94.

KWV The Mentors Pinotage:

Since its launch in 2006, The Mentors range has established itself as one of the most sought-after premium brands in the South African wine landscape. Built around a philosophy of expressing terroir and pioneering new wines and wine-making techniques, it’s a portfolio that showcases the founding philosophy of KWV, and the rich history and depth of expertise at one of South Africa’s leading wine producers.

A three-step selection process ensured only the best quality fruit was chosen for fermentation. Selective picking in the vineyard, followed by both bunch and berry selection on the sorting table in the KWV The Mentors cellar, is strictly followed.

This wine reveals the true varietal characteristics of a modern-styled Pinotage: it’s dense in colour and bold in flavour. It has an abundance of cranberries and plums on the nose, with hints of perfume and cloves. The intense concentration on the palate shows juicy bright fruits and well-integrated oak. The silky-smooth tannins contribute to the wine’s round and seamless finish.

This Pinotage is the perfect accompaniment to a pork-belly roast with garlic and sage or a succulent beef roulade.

Cellaring potential:

This wine can be enjoyed now, but will also cellar well for five to eight years.

Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2016 – Italian inspiration throughout the year 

For wine aficionados who prefer a lighter, more accessible red wine, look no further than the Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2016 from Anthonij Rupert Wyne. This lighter red wine is perfect for all year enjoyment.

The Terra del Capo wines, an Italian-inspired range, was originally developed by the late Anthonij Rupert who not only believed that South African soils were well-suited to growing Italian grape varietals, but also had a love for Italy and the natural synergy between good food and wine, as it is also a characteristic that is so synonymous with the South-African way of life where food and wine are an integral part of our way of celebrating. Anthonij Rupert was the pioneer who introduced Italian varietals to the South African Wine Industry and was the first to produce wines from varietals such as Sangiovese and Nebbiolo in South Africa.  The wines in the current Terra del Capo range, which consist of two reds (the Terra del Capo Sangiovese, the Arné which is a Sangiovese/Merlot co-ferment and one white namely Pinot Grigio), are best described as a delightful, refined collection of food-friendly wines.

His passion for all things Italian was realized when his brother, Johann Rupert purchased the Anthonij Rupert Wyne farm in 2011, and transformed the existing tasting room into the beautifully designed and Italian-inspired Terra del Capo Tasting Room. Drawing on Franschhoek’s reputation for breathtaking scenery, award-winning wines and local, produce-driven cuisine, the Terra del Capo Tasting Room is informed by all the good things in life – what the Italians refer to as la dolce vita, or ‘the sweet life’ – transforming wine tasting and food pairings into a relaxed, indulgent experience in elegant surroundings!

The current vintage Sangiovese, is produced from fully ripe grapes which were gently crushed, fermented and then matured in 500 litre French oak barrels for 12 months, with a final bottle ageing for an additional 10 months. The wine displays bright cherry and blueberry aromas; spicy highlights and smooth vivacious fruitiness, skillfully balanced by a gentle hint of oak. Although complex, it is very approachable and lingers on the palate culminating with a light cocoa finish. This delightful wine can be purchased at the Terra del Capo Tasting Room at R85 per bottle. The wine’s ripe cherry, supple plum and layered spicy flavours effortlessly complement traditional Italian dishes such as slow braised tomatoes, the classic Italian Lasagne, slow braised Osso Bucco or Pasta Napolitana. For lighter-meal alternatives, the Sangiovese pairs perfectly with your favourite salami, olives and pickles. Or simply enjoy on its own.

The Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2016 is available directly from the Terra del Capo Tasting Room, or select specialist wine stores nationwide.

Roodeberg collector’s 70th anniversary

Celebrate 70 years of South Africa’s legendary red blend with a stylish Roodeberg gift tube
devotees of this beloved wine will want to add to their collection.

Roodeberg is a true South African original that has stood the test of time, bringing friends
together the world over since 1949. This signature red is the heart and soul of memorable
moments having evolved from the master’s original blend to an accessible, contemporary
classic in step with ever changing tastes and lifestyles.

Launched in 1949, Roodeberg is the brainchild of Dr Charles Niehaus, a legendary pioneer
of the South African wine industry. Although it was not readily available in the local market
until 2004, Roodeberg has always enjoyed iconic status in the hearts and minds of South
Africans. For many Roodeberg conjures up fond memories of people, places and occasions,
and of sharing special moments.

Roodeberg Red is available in the complimentary commemorative tube at selected Pick n
Pay stores countrywide while stocks last.

New vintage release of the ultra-luxurious Book XVII

With an unwavering focus on crafting superlative Bordeaux blends, the wines of De Toren Private Cellar have become coveted worldwide, raising the profile of high-end South African wines across the globe. It is this exact philosophy from which Book XVII, hailed one of South Africa’s finest Bordeaux styled blends, emerged.

An extension of the ‘extreme viticulture’ that has contributed to the ongoing success of De Toren Fusion V and De Toren Z, the release of Book XVII and The Black Lion further followed, which ultimately raised the bar for premium wines in South Africa.

The ultra-luxurious Book XVII was a logical evolution of De Toren’s acclaimed Bordeaux blends, an expression of meticulous winemaking and extreme viticulture. Often compared to the famed ‘super-Tuscans’, it’s a wine silky smooth yet powerful, and a worthy addition to any connoisseur’s cellar.

This opulent Bordeaux styled wine is crafted from specially selected vines. Merely 4 single bunches are grown per singular vine to produce only the most expressive grapes. Each bunch is individually nurtured and manicured by hand. Both the Book VXII and The Black Lion are hand-crafted in a separate cellar-within-a-cellar at De Toren and here it is also fermented and aged in New French Oak barrels for a period of 18 months in total.

Each bottle is presented in a striking wooden case that can only be opened by its very own and unique, accompanying key. The bespoke packaging is rounded off with a handwritten bottle number. Little wonder they have been praised worldwide as two of the finest ultra-premium wines to emerge from South Africa.

The Book XVII 2017 vintage is available at R2750.00 per bottle from the De Toren online wine cellar, via  www.de-toren.com.

Delheim releases its ever-popular, daily-staple Shiraz/Cab blend

Eco-champion estate’s top-seller hits the spot with quality and price

There’s a new edition of everyone’s favourite go-to wine from Delheim. Crafted by the Stellenbosch estate for decades, the blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is much loved for being both delicious and a likeable all-rounder that suits any event.

No surprise then that the blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, which is part of the estate’s Lifestyle Range, is Delheim’s top-selling wine. Every new vintage is keenly awaited bybon vivants especially eager to bolster their winter supplies with a wine recognised for its consistent excellence and quality.

“This blend offers the best of both worlds,” says Delheim winemaker Roelof Lotriet of the 2017 vintage wine. “Its aroma is loaded with typical Shiraz spice and complemented by the mature tobacco leaf notes of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

“It’s lovely and juicy, with flavours of plums and cherries. Every sip lingers with bright red fruit,” says Lotriet. “It’s just perfect for the braai and hearty dishes.

“Always keep a couple of bottles in the wine rack for the next occasion,” he adds.

Vegan-friendly, the wine is also a good partner to dishes featuring mushrooms – an ingredient Delheim has also become famous for. The estate is a prominent educator on edible fungi through its curated foraging excursions into the forest on the farm.

In fact, mushroom mania returns to Delheim in Autumn and Winter this year with sumptuous mushroom-inspired recipes on the menu at the estate’s Garden Restaurant. The annual forage this year – available exclusively to Delheim Wine Club members – is scheduled for June 15 and 16 (weather permitting), and booking is required.

But mushrooms are just the thin edge of the wedge when it comes to Delheim and matriarch Nora Thiel’s focus on the farm’s long natural heritage.

Delheim’s first environmental management plan was written in 1976, so it will come as no surprise the farm has become a haven for fynbos flora and fauna.

As a WWF-SA Conservation Champion, Delheim is acknowledged as an industry leader for its commitment to conservation, responsible production practices and integrated environmental management systems. It is also a founder member of the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy under Cape Nature’s stewardship programme, actively participating in protection and conservation through sustainable practice.

At the same time, it has sought to showcase this focus through products like the popular Chenin Blanc Wild Ferment and its unique pairing of wines and fynbos-inspired cupcakes, available at the Delheim tasting room.

The 2017 Delheim Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon is easily available at most wine retailers and restaurants countrywide and sells from the winery too at only R85/bottle.

For more information, visit www.delheim.com or contact Delheim on info@delheim.com or 021 888 4600. Also find Delheim on Facebook, Twitter @Delheim and Instagram @delheimwines.

Delheim Estate is in the Simonsberg sub-region of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, on the Knorhoek Road, off the R44.

Glenelly 2013 flagship Lady May Cabernet Sauvignon

The Lady May 2013, named in honour of Glenelly’s Grande Dame, May de Lenquesaing,  is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot. This is the 2nd vintage of Lady May that comprises a Cabernet Franc component, adding distinctive freshness and longevity to the wine.

The grapes were hand sorted, lightly crushed and naturally fermented in stainless steel tanks. After 2-3 weeks post fermentation skin contact and a gentle pressing, malolactic fermentation took place in oak barrels. The wine remained on the lees for a long period of time before racking, every four months on average. The wine was matured for 24 months in new oak barrels from the finest French coopers.

Glenelly Estate Reserve Signature Red BlenD

The Estate Reserve is Glenelly’s signature red blend with long ageing potential made from the estate’s finest parcels of vines.  The label depicts a panoramic landscape view of Glenelly to convey a real sense of place and focus on terroir.

The grapes were hand sorted and lightly crushed into stainless steel fermentation tanks. They were given a cold soak for three days before allowing the natural fermentation to start. Three pump-overs a day were done during fermentation, followed by extended skin contact for 2-3 weeks. The wine was placed in French oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured for 18 months in French oak and racked on average every four months.

Bollinger Rosé

The Bollinger Rosé is a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier from 85% Grand or Premier Cru vineyards of exceptional quality. This is a highly polished Champagne, an aromatic, perfectly balanced Rosé of great complexity and sophistication.

This rosé entices with a beautiful salmon pink colour, a velvet mousse and fresh, pure redcurrant, cherry and strawberry aromas, the palate is rich and refined, perfectly combining power with freshness, with a silky texture and juicy wild berry flavours, a touch of creaminess and a lasting fresh berry finish.

With its intimate and unusual flavours, the absolutely fabulous Bollinger Rosé can be served for afternoon tea, Bollinger-style. It is also perfect for a picnic on a summer afternoon, as a pre-dinner drink or served with crayfish, salmon, Japanese cuisine or not-so-spicy Asian cuisine and fruit-based desserts.

Packaged in a lovely gift box, it is available nationally for approximately R1200.