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.
- Item #: i_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_383975Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 95 PointsDECANTER 95 POINTS - "An utterly delicious Cinsault from Swartland pioneer and champion of the Cinsault revival in South Africa, Andre Adrian (Adi) Badenhorst. The Ramnasgras comes from a small vineyard on the estate, planted in the mid 50’s, and is the product of meticulous hand selection, fermentation in ‘dodgy old wooden vats’ and maturation in ‘less dodgy foudre for 12 months’. Such is Adi’s way, the wine is made with minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery and is a true reflection of the vintage conditions and Swartland terroir. This is full of red berries and perfumed floral notes with a mineral edge. A small production of 3,500 bottles, so worth seeking out and stocking-up if you can. Was enjoyed as an accompaniment to the tasting menu at Luke Dale-Roberts’ Roundhouse restaurant Salsify in Camps Bay, Cape Town." Drinking Window 2019 - 2029
- Item #: i_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 #: i_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 #: i_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 #: 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 #: i_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 #: i_377711Bottle Size: 750ml"The iconic Left Bank-based blend from De Toren, Fusion V is meticulously crafted from Bordeaux’s ‘Noble Five’ varieties 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_382440Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Very enticing, with creamy green and yellow apple, pear and melon flavors laced with verbena and honeysuckle notes, kissed elegantly by a sweetened butter hint through the finish. This is why people love Chardonnay. Drink now through 2021."
- 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_382692Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This sports a core of dark plum and blackberry paste flavors, staying polished and refined in feel, relying more on acidity than tannins, with the structure fully enmeshed in the fruit. Black tea, tobacco and alder hints chime through the finish. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tinta Barroca, Cinsault and Carignan. Best from 2019 through 2023. 790 cases made."
- Item #: i_382425Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Opulent, lush and creamy in feel, this lets lemon curd, glazed peach and creamed pear and yellow apple flavors drape over the palate, while light verbena, shortbread and honeysuckle notes give this just the requisite lift and energy for balance. A long heather echo completes the seduction. A hedonistic delight. Drink now through 2023. 130 cases imported."
- Item #: i_382471Bottle Size: 750mlThe Soldaat comes from vineyards in the Piekenierskloof. The unirrigated vineyard was planted in the mid 1960s at around 708 meters of altitude in decomposed granite soil with a slight easterly slope. The most planted red grape variety in the world is Grenache Noir. It has had a long standing position in South Africa, but it is very site specific. The Piekenierskloof Pass, going north to Citrusdal, has firmly positioned itself as the leading location for Grenache. It got its name from foot soldiers (piekeniers) located at the top of the mountain to protect livestock from theft, hence being named Soldaat (Soldier). Naturally fermented with wild yeasts. Fermented and aged in concrete vessels.
TIM ATKIN, SOUTH AFRICA SPECIAL REPORT 93 POINTS
- Item #: i_382473Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95This wine blends Chenin Blanc from old bushvine parcels on three farms on the slopes of the Skurfberg ("rugged mountains") between Clanwilliam and Lamberts Bay in the Olifants River Region. They are immaculately farmed properties, which have not been subjected to herbicide or chemical fertilizers by the current farmers. Most of the soils in the area are of decomposed sandstone, and very sandy. Rainfall is low - these vines have had to be tough to survive without irrigation. Together these three low yielding parcels represent the possibilities of the area, each offering something unique to the complexity of the whole. The one site has huge and aromatic fruit concentration; the second offers an earthy character and minerality, and the third (the highest, and closest to the Atlantic) retains amazing acidity and freshness. The three parcels of fruit were vinified separately. They were basket-pressed and then transferred directly to old casks where natural fermentation took place. We blended them after 12 months, and then left them to age another six months before bottling.
- Item #: i_382798Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2015 Old Vine Series Treinspoor, Eben's Tinta Barocca cuvée, which he said has "the biggest passport in South Africa" since the grape has been grown there for a long time for fortified wine production, has a lucid ruby color. Eben told me that it is actually one of his most difficult sells but I am of the opinion that it is one of his best wines. Darker in colur than then other OVS labels, it has a captivating bouquet with raspberry, cranberry leaf, tobacco and damp wet clayey aromas. The palate has firm tannin that Eben compared to Piedmont, which I can understand. The acidity is beautifully judged with killer salinity and mineralité on the finish that both linger in the mouth. This is an outstanding South African wine."
- Item #: i_383557Bottle Size: 750mlEdgebaston’s GS Cabernet Sauvignon is dedicated to the late George Spies, former winemaker at Monis of Paarl and Stellenbosch Farmers Winery. Spies’ 1966 and 1968 GS Cabernets have been heralded as two of the most extraordinary Cabernets ever made in South Africa and they have been compared to the legendary California Cabernets of André Tchelistcheff from that same era.
- Item #: i_381018Bottle Size: 750MLJeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 91+ POINTS - "A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz, and the rest 5% each of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, the 2015 Proprietor's Blend sports a saturated purple color as well as a ripe, perfumed bouquet of black cherries, menthol, tobacco, and smoked earth. It's ripe, has an herbal/cedary undercurrent, solid purity of fruit, and enough structure to keep for upwards of a decade."
- Item #: i_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.