South African wine has a history dating back to 1659 with Constantia, a vineyard near Cape Town, being considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and production centers at Paarl, Stellenbosch and Worcester. There are about 60 appellations within the Wine of Origin (WO) system, which was implemented in 1973 with a hierarchy of designated production regions, districts and wards. WO wines must be made 100% from grapes from the designated area. "Single vineyard" wines must come from a defined area of less than 5 hectares. An "Estate Wine" can come from adjacent farms, as long as they are farmed together and wine is produced on site. A ward is an area with a distinctive soil type or climate, and is roughly equivalent to a European appellation. The grape varieties in South Africa are known as cultivar, with many common international varieties.
- Item #: i_382759Bottle Size: 750mlCartology is a cuvee that is composed of rare and extraordinary parcels of mature dryland bush vines. The wine is alive and vibrant. Obviously it's just a baby, but so far has a nose of lime, fennel and quince. The palate is taught, very fine and balanced, with excellent structure and a persistent finish.
"The grapes are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts in old barrels, foundres, clay pots and cement eggs. The wine is aged in the same vessels. No additions are ever made, with the exception of sulphur, which is only added post-fermentation. " - BROADBENT IMPORTS
- Item #: i_383467Bottle Size: 750mlThe vines for the "Raaigras" were planted in 1952, which make them "old," yielding a small number of bunches but with concentrated flavors. Aged in large, fairly neutral oak. Mid-bodied with moderate acidity, it's a beautiful expression of the variety.
- Item #: i_383658Bottle Size: 750mlShiraz, Cinsault, Grenache, & Tinta Barocca
TIM ATKIN 94 POINTS
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Aged in 40-year-old foudres, the 2017 Family Red Blend is dark ruby in color and scented of dark red and black fruits. Medium to full-bodied, with good acidity, bright and fresh fruit hits the mid-palate, followed by structured dusty-floral tones and shows a good tannic structure. Spice notes linger on the finish, with some slightly bitter red fruit on the back end. This is a nice wine with good focus and complexity, and it's still young and tight and should age nicely in the years to come."
- Item #: i_382363Bottle Size: 750ml"Pinotage genius Abrie Beeslaar shows all his understanding of this tricky grape.” —Tim Atkin, M.W.
Winemaker's Notes: "It has an intense ruby red color, with plum cake, red fruit, and dark chocolate aromas, offering savory finish on the palate.
Fermented in 5 ton open fermentors. The cap was punched every 2 hours for 60 hours until the right extraction was achieved. After pressing, malolactic fermentation was done in 250L French oak, and 300L American oak barrels. The wine matured for 19 months in the barrels."
- Item #: i_308006Bottle Size: 750MLVINOUS 92 POINTS - " The 2018 The Chocolate Block is sourced from the Goldmine and Porseleinberg farms, the Cabernet originating from Voor-Paaderberg, and matured for 16 months in used oak barrels. It offers generous black plum and black currant aromas, pressed rose petals and a touch of menthol. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, and much more structured than the vintages of old (as I have pointed out in previous reviews), displaying fennel, bay leaf and white pepper toward the finish. This feels long in the mouth. A classy Chocolate Block that treads a fine line between commercial and intellectual appeal."
A top South African red wine here from Boekenhoutskloof. The Chocolate Block is made with a blend of wine types, predominantly Syrah supported by Grenache, Cinault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier. It spends over a year rest in French oak before being bottled up and shipped around the globe for wine enthusiasts that love a rich, chocolatey red.
- Item #: i_377711Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 9452% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot
TIM ATKIN, MW 95 POINTS
DECANTER 94 POINTS - "Showcasing the Cape’s ability to turn out great Left Bank-style blends is this Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine from Stellenbosch’s De Toren Private Cellar. Fusion V, the boutique winery’s flagship label, takes its name for its selection of the best of Bordeaux’s ‘noble 5’ grape varieties that comprise the blend...A rich and concentrated wine filled with mixed red and black berries, hints of dark chocolate and an oak-spiciness around the edges. It has a lovely smooth texture and is extremely drinkable. "
De Toren suggests pairing with "tender grilled or roast lamb, with garlic, rosemary, and a hint of honey lemon."
- Item #: i_383244Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 91WINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "There's a soft toasted-brioche note on the top of this wine's nose, with additional hints of peach skin, lightly grilled apple and orange peel. The palate is light and bright, with fresh citrus and orchard-fruit flavors enlivened by vibrant acidity and a mouthwatering sensation that carries through to the medium-length finish."
- Item #: i_380604Bottle Size: 750ml65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot & 3% Malbec
This is a model South African 'Bordeaux blend,' with a fresh acidity (classic to cooler climate Cabernets) that balances the intense and fleshed-out flavors of cassis, blackberry, baking spice, and licorice. Aged in 50% new French oak for 16 months. A perfect partner for grilled dishes, or a roasted lamb shoulder chop with fennel.
- Item #: i_382692Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2018 vintage of Columella is testimony to the bigger dynamics a regional blend has access to: the challenges brought about by the drought were completely addressed in this multi-vineyard, multi-varietal wine from across the Swartland. This may be the darkest fruit we have ever been able to capture at 13.5% alcohol and with the presence of Syrah in decline in the final blend, the influence of Grenache, Cinsaut, Carignan and Tinta Barocca is more pronounced. Our Mourve`dre component is the strongest it has ever been. This 2018 bottling is a wine with a big temperament: explosive, but not excessive. It is like a plane with perfect aerodynamics, flying effortlessly; very much in line with the 2001, 2008 and 2011. Ageing required.
- Item #: i_382425Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Chardonnay, the aim is to produce a unique and honest wine displaying minerality as opposed to more opulent flavors. Painstakingly crafted using time-honored winemaking machinery (basket press) and methodology (pigage), this wine is a bottled rendering of the very terroir from where it was created.
- Item #: i_376021Bottle Size: 750mlTop-notch Cabernet for $6.99? You bet! The wine proffers gobs of gorgeous, up-front fruit capturing lush vectors of ripe plum, black cherry, boysenberry and black currant fruit deftly accented with sundry hints of spice, carob and espresso. The wine's bright fruit is clearly the star of the show. And while Excelsior's finish showcases just a bit of this wine nation's unique volcanic soil, we think you'll agree that Excelsior could easily have emanated from such familiar locales as Napa or Bordeaux. The beauty of the bottle is the price as we don't often see wines of this quality from either of these renowned regions coming in at the sub-$10 niveau.
- Item #: i_380928Bottle Size: 750MLBright lime green hue. Hints of peach, marmalade and orange blossom on the nose. Green apple fruit flavours on a full creamy palate. Calling Card: Only very lightly oaked for everyday drinking. This wine is perfect with grilled seafood, or lightly spiced Thai chicken.
- Item #: i_378947Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST BEST BUY - "There's a strong green, herbal edge to the nose of this refreshing white, expressed in waves of lime peel, peppery herbs and green bean. The lightweight and direct palate offers pithy citrus tones that lend a pleasant astringency to the tart finish. Enjoy now."
- Item #: i_382559Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 93DECANTER 93 POINTS - "A very fine Chardonnay produced in difficult circumstances given the fire/smoke issues in the Western Cape. Unlike the Pinot Noir, this has been produced with 100% estate fruit and is very successful. Bunches were pressed whole (rather than de-stemmed) to reduce any smoke taint risks. Very crisp on the palate with fine acidity and a touch of stoned fruit, this is concentrated, mineral and elegant. Very youthful, ideally give this another 12 months to blossom a bit more [try in 2021]."
- Item #: i_377599Bottle Size: 750ml"Our low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of well under 35 hl/ha and our philosophy of expressing our terroir in our wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of our Pinot noir. Our Pinot noir is not overtly fruity, soft and "sweet" and it generally shows hints of that alluring savoury "primal" character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume."
Aged 10 months in mostly lightly toasted French oak, about 1/3 new.
- Item #: i_380949Bottle Size: 750mlJam Jar Sweet Shiraz is packed with fresh, juicy flavors of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with dark chocolate undertones. Striking a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, this refreshing and approachable wine is great to sip on its own and matches up equally well with meat dishes, cheeses, and desserts.
- Item #: i_377342Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 93TIM ATKIN 94 POINTS - "Still youthful and showing its 80% new wood, this is a very ambitious Pinotage from a fantastic Cape red wine vintage, exhibiting considerable colour, structure and concentration, fine-boned tannins and layers of raspberry and black cherry fruit. Give it time."
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS
Kanonkop Estate is situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch Region of the Cape and confidently boasts with some of South Africa’s most premium wines.
A complex wine with red fruit flavours. Big, elegant and ripe tannin structures. Will over time show more secondary and forest floor characteristics.
- Item #: i_377339Bottle Size: 750ML37% Pinotage, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc
Kanonkop's widely-produced "emissary of South African wine" is straightforward and highly drinkable, with blackcurrant and tealeaves on the nose and palate, with just a subtle savory sensation from the skins. Round and soft, with a refreshing acidity to carry it along.
TIM ATKIN, MW 91 POINTS
- Item #: i_383941Bottle Size: 750mlThis wine shows off the versatility of old vine Chenin Blanc, upon which South Africa has built a strong reputation. It is a blend of two neighboring old-vine, dry-farmed bushvine vineyards, one planted in 1976 and the other in 1983, with the first giving more stone fruit and mineral characters, the latter giving concentration and texture.
- Item #: i_383224Bottle Size: 750mlShows intense citrus and soft fruit layered with honey and vanilla carried by a distinct minerality and crisp acidity with a lingering citrus finish. Coming from a 13 year old vineyard with decomposed shale oiver clay soils. Fermented and aged 11 months in 500 liter French Oak Foudres (40% new). Wine was slightly filtered before bottling. Delightful with warm curries which lift the aromatics or a traditional pairing of smoked salmon highlighting the fresh acidity.