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 #: 380449Bottle Size: 750mlThis is gorgeous, with light cinnamon, black tea and powdered star anise notes inlaid into a streamlined and silky core of crushed cherry and raspberry fruit. The long, perfumy finish weaves like incense smoke in the air as a subtle minerality plays out. Drink now through 2021. 250 cases imported.
- Item #: 383401Bottle Size: 750mlFrom Jancis Robinson's website: Nuttiness and warm cobnuts and roasted cumin on the nose overlaying the sweetness of fruit on the palate. Sage and peaches, mid-summer apricots just picked. Wonderful grip and texture, taut. Plays like a Paganini violin solo. Hauntingly!
- Item #: i_381379Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes - "The grapes are grown in the Swartland region which hugs the wild West Coast of Southern Africa. The vineyards are mostly bushvines growning in granite and slate soils, and sourced from a number of traditional farmers. The Chenin Blanc grape makes up the largest portion of this blend because it is the backbone and structure of this particular wine. The Chardonnay was naturally fermented and took very long to complete the fermentation – resulting in great texture and wacky aromas of dried peaches and apricots and ripe citrus. The Viognier, from one of my favourite growers and vineyards, just completes the Swartland canvas; some spice and palate length is what it brings."
- Item #: 377598Bottle Size: 750mlA perfect example of elegance and finesse in Pinotage. Red berries, plums and cherries on the nose, followed by a palate of excellent balance, structure and a lovely dry finish. Matches very well with bobotie, game and curries, spare ribs and pepper steak, or try snoek and grape jam.
- Item #: 382363Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes: "It has an intense ruby red color, with plum cake, red fruit, and dark chocolate aromas, offering savory finish on the palate. The first sorting was done in the vineyards. The perfect bunches were transported in bins to the winery, destemned, sorted and 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 15 French oak, and 300 liter American oak barrels. The wine matured for 19 months in the barrels."
- Item #: 308006Bottle Size: 750MLA blend of 73% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cinsault and 1% Viognier, this is a superbly fruity, chocolatey, generally yummy South African red wine. Pour yourself a glass on a mid-summer evening and enjoy.
- Item #: i_380118Bottle Size: 750MLClassical Boekenhoutskloof complexity with exceptional purity. At first there is overwhelming blackcurrant and cassis on the nose with underlying cedar and spices. The palate shows intense black fruit, prunes and sour cherries with perfect balance. This wine will improve over the next decade.
- Item #: 382340Bottle Size: 750mlThe inspiration for the name of the wine and design of the labels was a trip to the Yale Center for British Art. An exhibit of Mary Delany’s work, a remarkable series of botanical collages that are beautifully crafted with hundreds of tiny pieces of cut paper was breathtaking. I am fortunate to have licensed a few of her collages and created these beautiful labels with her art as the primary focal point. Mary was 72 when she created these pieces in the late 1700’s.
- Item #: i_382354Bottle Size: 750mlLong referred to as "Bayten" by locals, Buitenverwachting (meaning beyond expectations) is located on the east-facing slopes of the Constantiaberg on the Cape of Good Hope. Ocean breezes make this area one of South Africa's coolest winegrowing areas, allowing for slow ripening, resulting in grapes that achieve full ripeness while retaining fresh acidity. This wine was aged on the lees for three months prior to bottling. Bayten offers a melange of citrus and stone fruits with honeysuckle, jasmine and green notes on the nose. The palate reveals peaches, apricots, lemon rind and lemongrass with a nice balance of richness and refreshing crispness on the finish.
- Item #: 382689Bottle Size: 750mlThis is a stunning, world class Chardonnay that should be on your radar. Wine Critic Tim Atkin designated it as his pick for the White Wine of the Year, calling it "the best Chardonnay I've ever tasted from South Africa." We believe this Chardonnay is worthy of the accolades and its apparent the winemaking team from Chamonix is one of the most dynamic and exciting producers in the world. Fortunately, the wines are still somewhat under the radar meaning pricing is reasonable and does not accurately reflect the quality found in the glass. The Chamonix wines are not readily available, with only a small amount imported into the United States.
TIM ATKIN MW SOUTH AFRICA REPORT 2015 97 POINTS - "This is the best Chardonnay I've ever tasted from South Africa, sold at a price that should have people besieging retailers. Tangerine, understated oak, leesy texture, some baking spices and a spinal chord of acidity: this wouldn't look out of place in a tasting of Grands Crus Burgundies. Sets a new benchmark for Cape Chardonnay. Drink: 2015-22"
- Item #: 382965Bottle Size: 750mlDuring a recent tasting of South African wines, the wines from Chamonix clearly stood out. Situated high above the fertile Franschhoek valley in the heart of the Cape winelands, lies a wine farm like no other. The wines from Chamonix are fantastic including the Reserve Pinot Noir which shows great purity of fruit and incredible balance. It is just what we look for in a premium Pinot Noir and we instantly knew it was worthy of being one of our top wines of the year. So complex, so delicious and so harmonious, we had to bring it into the store to share it with you. We are thrilled to be one of the few retailers in the United States to offer this fantastic pinot Noir. Enjoy!
TIM ATKIN MW SOUTH AFRICA REPORT 2015 94 POINTS - "Chamonix
- Item #: 387949Bottle Size: 750mlThis is sourced from old vine Chenin planted on its original rootstock or makstok from a ?rescue block? at 520 metres on a cooler south-facing vineyard on the Skurfberg. Even though Chris has been able to add a second parcel from the same site this year (a third segment still gets delivered to the local co-operative), it still represents a total of just nine barrels in the cellar.
- Item #: 382671Bottle Size: 750mlA lovely, lifted earthy perfume combines with sweet cherry, grapefruit and strawberry notes delivering a complex and alluring nose. The palate is textured and layered with a succulent core and crisp acidity owing to a cool, fresh vintage. This wine will improve over the next 5-8 years.
- Item #: 377711Bottle Size: 750ml"The iconic Left Bank-based blend from De Toren, Fusion V is meticulously crafted from Bordeaux’s ‘Noble Five’ varietals and, with its complex flavours of liquorice, black cherry, cedar and dark berries, it offers a stylish departure for sophisticated oenophilic tastes.Soft as spun silk, with a lingering hint of sweet fruit on the back palate, this is a wine that will only improve with age." -Winemaker’s Notes
- Item #: i_380604Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes - " Rich aromas of cassis and spice with intense liquorice andblackberry flavors on the palate and fine, lingering tannins.Optimal aging potential of 5 – 8 years.
Blend: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc"
- Item #: i_382471Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "A bright, fresh style, with unadorned raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors streaming through, flecked with dried anise, black tea and shiso leaf notes. A well-embedded iron hint through the finish adds spine and cut. Very refined. Grenache. Drink now through 2022. 572 cases made."
- Item #: i_381018Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2014 Proprietor's Blend equates to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 5% each of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. It has a composed bouquet with red cherries and crushed strawberry, quite an attractive floral scent emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin: plenty of cedar-infused black fruit laced with black pepper and cloves, leading to an engaging and assured finish. This is a well-crafted red blend that shows more composure and refinement than previous vintages."
- Item #: 381019Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "A dark, alluring style, with gunpowder tea and warm ganache notes underscoring the core of steeped red and black currant fruit. Features a singed cedar and alder frame, accented by a tobacco hint. Should open up nicely in the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2017 through 2022."
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2012 Signature is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% each of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot; it has a very pure bouquet with cedar-infused blackberry and strawberry fruit. With further investigation, there are touches of incense and cassis, the latter from the Petit Verdot. The palate is smooth and sensual on the entry, just a hint of chocolate (though there is no American oak), with very good depth and it fans out nicely on the finish. It has a hedonistic bent for sure, but Louis Strydom is a skilled winemaker and he pulls it off here, as he has done in previous vintages."
- Item #: i_380221Bottle Size: 750mlThe Big Easy epitomizes and reflects Ernie’s manner; big in stature, gentle in character. A full-bodied yet accessible, Mediterranean-style blend that is built around the bold structure of Shiraz (55%)and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%). Complimented by an easy follow through from the Grenache (10%), Mourvedre (10%) and Viognier (5%).
The nose starts with smokiness and charcuterie quickly joined by dark berry and cassis scents. In the mouth, rich, lush fruit (berries and cherries) play off violet florals, cooking spices and supple tannins. This is easy-drinking, tasty wine ideal for lazy Saturdays, fall barbecues or sporting events (tailgate or tube).
- 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.