Wines of South Africa Free Wine Tasting and Chance to Win A Resort Vacation

Do you know much about South African wine? If you are a lover of their wines, or just learning, the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) are being featured at BCLDB Stores in August, and is having a Free Wine Tasting and offering a chance to win a 2 night stay in Osoyoos’ Watermark Beach Resort!

I see some quality producers’ names in the list below, like Fairview, Graceland, Graham Beck, Saxenburg, Spier and Thelema. Also you will get to try South Africa’s signature white grape “Chenin Blanc” and red grape “Pinotage”. Here are the details of the event.  Enjoy!

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Throughout the month of August, BC Liquor Stores will be highlighting the consistent quality and amazing value of wines from South Africa.  One of the highlights of the month will be a FREE consumer tasting at the 39th & Cambie Signature Store on Friday, August 10 2012.

A selection of top South African wines will be on display at 75 BCLDB stores throughout August.  Wine lovers can also explore the diversity of the following wines at the free tasting at 39th & Cambie:

Wine

CSPC

Retail

DGB Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 897710 $24.99
Fairview Estates La Capra Shiraz 143537 $14.99
Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 90936 $12.99
Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon 140970 $29.99
Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 40428 $19.99
Grape Grinder The Grinder Pinotage 883991 $14.99
KWV Roodeberg Red 7187 $13.99
Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 111526 $12.99
Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red Blend 316992 $18.99
Six Hats Shiraz (Fair Trade Certified) 20255 $13.99
Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 659037 $14.25
Thelema Mountain Vineyard Shiraz 607549 $28.99
Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 340380 $10.49

In conjunction with the month-long promotion, Wines of South Africa is offering a weekend for two at the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC.  The prize includes accommodation and a gift card towards meals in their highly acclaimed wine bar.  For details, and to enter the draw, visit http://wosa.co.za/canada

Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, August 10 2012   3:00 – 7:00 pm

BCLDB 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store
5555 Cambie Street
, Vancouver

About Us

About Wines of South Africa: Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. South Africa’s winemaking history stretches back to the 1600s.  In recent years, however, the country has combined longstanding traditions with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

About Watermark Beach Resort: Set in the heart of Canada’s premiere wine growing region along the quiet shores of Osoyoos Lake, the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort offers all the services and amenities needed for the perfect getaway, wedding, or meeting destination. The four-story, 153 suite Watermark Beach Resort’s complement of amenities includes a spa, fitness facility, steam room, hot tubs, seasonal pool with waterslide, wine bar and wine bar patio with an summer kitchen.

More Wineries to Check at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

As I mentioned in my earlier blog article, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, has a PDF brochure now available. It  has a listing of all the wineries attending this year. I started to point out some wineries to visit at the International Festival tasting, but needed this second article to finish off the list.  I already covered Spain, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and BC.  Although I may not mention each winery listed, I still suggest trying them as you may find a wine you love.

Wines from Germany

Germany is well-known for their rieslings.  In their Qualitätswein mit Prädikat rating system. You have:

  • Kabinett
  • Spätlese
  • Auslese
  • Beerenauslese
  • Trockenbeerenauslese and
  • Eiswein

With increasing level of sweetness.  But don’t forget that Germany also produces wines from Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir,  Scheurebe, Bacchus, and Gewürztraminer (and more). Bürgerspital Estate would be one winery to try as they do have a wide range of varietal wines to try.  It is also amazing to consider how steep the slopes are where they grow their grapes; check out the picture I included from their website. Schloss Schonborn is another premium winery, has a wide range, and a sparkling wine.

Wines from Italy

In Italy, the first in the list is Antinori.  This is a large, well-known, and regarded winery, that has it’s winery in Italy, but also wineries in California and Washington state.  Their innovations played a large part in the “Super-Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s. They are well-known for their launch of Tignanello, a barrique-aged wine from the Tignanello vineyard that contained not only Sangiovese, but also Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which meant that it was ineligible for the Chianti Classico appellation.  This wine, plus Sassicaia from another Tuscan winery, helped to bring about the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification in Italy. Needless to say, if they are pouring Tignanello, you should try it.

Accordini Igino is from the Veneto region (NorthEast) of Italy, famous for Valpolicella and Amarone. If you have never tried an Amarone, you should be in for a treat.  Amarone is a rich, dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. The drying process concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors in the grapes to produce a full-bodied wine with lots of flavour. Consider an Amarone for a special dinner.

Beni di Batasiolo is from the Piedmont (NorthWest) corner of Italy.  Beni di Batasiolo is quite well-known for their off-dry Moscato d’Asti, but they do have a wide range of red and white wines.  On the red side, we may be treated to a Barolo, Barbaresco, or Barbera d’Alba.

Ca’ del Bosco is a winery from the Lombardi region of Italy. They are a relatively new winery, who is on the leading edge of the exciting new wave of Italian wine producers, making top-quality sparkling and still wines.  I checked their website and they do have quite a range of sparkling wines, that I am looking forward to tasting.

Wines from New Zealand

New Zealand and BC are quite similar.  We both have been producing wines from the noble grapes starting the 1970s.  We are both also cool-climate wine producers, and I think make some very nice Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Astrolabe, Giesen Wine Estate, Man O’War Vineyards, Mud House Wines, and Sacred Hill Wines are wineries that you may not have heard of, but they all are very good producers.  Try Astrolabe‘s Sauvignon Blanc . I can recommend the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. When I tried it last year it had a range of smoky, cherry, and leafy aromas. Wild flavours on your palate with cherry, oak and strawberry flavours.  Also try Mud House’s Pinot Gris.  I also recommend trying the Giesen “The Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2008. Again from a past tasting, it had lots of herbal and gooseberry aroma. Bracing acidity with green flavours.

In August 2010, I was able to meet with Man O’ War winemaker, Mr. Duncan McTavish. At that time I recommended his Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 and his red blend made with Merlot / Cabernet / Franc / Malbec 2008.  The winery also has a premium level of wines called their Black label wines.  They are named after great battleships or classes of battleships.  Hopefully Duncan will be bringing his  Valhalla Chardonnay, Dreadnought Syrah, and Ironclad Bordeaux blend. Read my MyWinePal Meets Man O’ War article here.

Wines from Portugal

The G7 Wines of Portugal group visited Vancouver a few months ago, introducing us to the still white and red wines of Portugal, and of course their wonderful port.  Aveleda has a variety of labels: Casal Garcia, Aveleda Fonte, Quinta da Aveleda, Aveleda Alvarinho, Charamba, Follies and Adega Velha. You may be most familiar with their Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, “green wine”.  Vinho Verde, comes both as a red and a white wine, but I think only white wines have reached BC.  Vinho Verde is a very refreshing and versatile white wine that has a bit of effervescence to it. Try it with some seafood. They also have a Follies line of wines. I was fortunate to taste their Follies Cabernet Sauvignon / Touriga Nacional (30/70%) 2008 (~$16). It was one of my favorite wines from the G7 tasting. Violets, black fruit, spice and mint aromas. Full bodied. Good fruit / tannins balance. Purple fruit flavour with a dry tannic finish.

Quinta do Crasto is well-known for their ports here, and will hopefully show us their range of still red wines. There are a few of their red wines currently available through the BCLDB, but there are many more to show. Their single varietal Touriga Nacional and their Touriga Roriz should be interesting to taste.  These are two of the indigenous grapes to Portugal that go into the blend for port. The most expensive ports are primarily made from Touriga Nacional. It has aromas and flavours of violets, blueberries, black fruits, and spice. A grape that produces a very full-bodied wine. Touriga Roriz is the most widely grown grape in Portugal.  It has cherry, jam, blackberry and spice on the nose. The grape has high tannins, and can age for a long time. Quinta do Vale Dona Maria is another producer of both port and still red wines to check out at the festival. Symington, Fonseca Guimaraens and Taylor Fladgate are famous port producers.  You should visit all of them, but maybe wait toward the end of your tasting session as these ports could overpower your palate for white and red still wines.

Wines from South Africa

South African wines are a bit of Old World and New World style put together.  People tend to have strong feelings about South African wines, either for or against.  Many of their wines are in my opinion built for drinking together with food.  We are lucky to have some premium South African producers at the Festival.  Boekenhoutskloof produces some great red wines from entry level to premium.  On the entry level they have The Wolf Trap, which is a blend containing syrah, mourvedre, and viognier. You get spice, structure, and perfume from these three grapes respectively.  On the premium, hopefully we will have a chance to try their Boekenhoutskloof Collection Syrah.  On the label you will notice 7 deck chairs, which I was told represents each one of the winery principals. It is quite a process to produce this wine which is fermented with native yeasts.  Here is the description from BHK’s website:

“In 2008 the fruit was harvested over an one week period starting on February 25st. The complexity of this wine also benefits from the diversity in grape maturity from the different picks. The fruit is kept in the cold room overnight before it gets sorted and crushed into concrete fermenter. A small percentage of whole bunches were put into the bottom of the tank of some batches to get a slight effect of carbonic maceration. After 4 days of cold soaking, the fermentation starts by only using native yeasts. The primary fermentation is done within two and a half weeks with the temperature that peaks at around 29°C. During the fermentation the wine gets a delestage 2 – 3 times per day. Pigeage was never done on this Syrah. It also received a postfermentation maceration for another week before being pressed to 2nd filled barrels to undergo MLF. After 18 months in barrel the wine gets a light egg-white fining and racking before its final 9 months in oak.”

Graham Beck Wines produce a wide range of wines, from sparkling to dessert to white, rose, and red wine.  Graham Beck also has a social conscience and opened the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre near Madeba in Robertson. Part of an extensive and innovative social development program, the centre aims to facilitate skills development for the long term upliftment of the farming community in the Breede River Valley.  They also are supporters of the environment. You can read about Graham Beck’s Biodiversity drive here. I have enjoyed their Game Reserve Shiraz, Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, and their Méthode Cap Classique Brut NV sparkling wine in the past.  Glen Carlou‘s Syrah and Chardonnay has won many awards from around the world.  Their Syrah 2004 was awarded John Platter’s Wine of the Year in 2006.  Their wine is reasonably priced, is a general listing in the BCLDB, and in my opinion a great deal.

Wines from the USA

There are plenty of wonderful wines from the USA. From Oregon there is the solid King Estate.  They are well known for their excellent Pinot Noir, but I also really like them for their Pinot Gris.  For Washington State, you will want to try Columbia Crest.  The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World for 2009. Also I’ve tried their H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and really enjoyed it (Horse Heaven Hills = H3).   There are several California wineries to choose from.  If you like big, jammy Zinfandels, I would expect to see the wide range that are produced by RavenswoodCaymus Winery and Clos Du Val are two cult level wineries for Sauvignon Blanc. Another good producer of Cabernet Sauvignon at a lower price point is Louis M MartiniRodney Strong (both their white and red wines are excellent), Robert Mondavi, and Stag’s Leap are also excellent producers of wine.  Give them each a try.

I could keep going on about all these wineries, but I think I’ll stop with this.  If you have any favorite wineries, please let me know, and go out and enjoy the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival!!!

GERMANY ITALY
Balthasar Ress Antinori
Bürgerspital Estate Azienda Vitivinicola
Deinhard Accordini Igino
Henkell Badia a Coltibuono
Schloss Reinhartshausen Bastianich / La Mozza
Schloss Schonborn Beni di Batasiolo
St. Urbans-Hof Fontanafredda
Mionetto
Pasqua
GREECE Rocca Delle Macìe
Boutari Tenuta Sant’Antonio
Santa Margherita /
Ca’ del Bosco
ISRAEL Tedeschi
Galil Mountain Winery /
Yarden
NEW ZEALAND
PORTUGAL Astrolabe
Aveleda Giesen Wine Estate
Blandy’s Madeira Kim Crawford Wines
Fonseca Guimaraens Man O’War Vineyards
Quinta do Crasto Mud House Wines
Quinta do Vale Dona Maria Oyster Bay Wines
Sogrape Vinhos Sacred Hill Wines
Symington – Dow’s Port Stoneleigh
Symington – Graham’s Port
Taylor Fladgate / Croft
USA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTH AFRICA Bonterra Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Caymus Winery
Durbanville Hills Clos Du Val
Graham Beck Wines Delicato Family Vineyards
KWV Wines Francis Ford Coppola
Presents LLC
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
Louis M Martini
Miner Family Vineyards
OREGON Quady Winery
King Estate Ravenswood Winery
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
WASHINGTON Rodney Strong Vineyards
Columbia Crest Signorello Estate /
Hedges Family Estates / Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Snoqualmie Vineyards Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure.  Enjoy!

Boekenhoutskloof

My Favorites From the South World Wine Society’s Five Nations Cup 2011

Wednesday, Jan 19 was the South World Wine Society’s 6th Annual Five Nations Cup.  This is a blind wine tasting and humbles everyone in attendance. Five white wines and five red wines were presented to us.

We first went through the white wines, and were told that there were a Chenin Blanc, a Pinot Gris, a Chardonnay, and 2 Sauvignon Blanc.  One of the sauvignon blanc would be young (a recent vintage), while the other sauvignon blanc would be aged (2003 in this case).  The wines would be from Australia, Chile, New Zealand, or South Africa.  We were missing a white wine from Argentina for this half of the tasting.  Our host for the evening, Mr. Paul Watkin, is past SWWS cellar master and is a manager at Icon Fine Wine and Spirits in Vancouver.   Paul let us all know some of the characteristic aromas and flavours of each of these white grapes, as well as some hints as to style of white wines produced by each of these countries.  After sipping and debating each other at our table, we all stood up and slowly each started to sit down as each wine was revealed but did not match our guess.

The first wine was the Mount Riley Pinot Gris (2008 I think) from New Zealand.  I marked this wine as pale lemon colour. Herbal, lemon a bit of lime and some lychee on the nose.  Medium body, medium acidity, grapefruit and spice flavours with a long finish.  I guessed correctly.

The second wine was the Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc (2008) from Chile. Pale but bright lemon colour in the glass. Vanilla, waxy, lemon, grassy, and gooseberry aromas. Medium body.  Citrus, slightly vegetal and slightly spicy with medium acidity.  Another correct guess!

The third wine was the Montes Alpha Chardonnay (2006) from Chile.  This one was the easiest to guess.  The fullest body, most deep lemony coloured, lots of vanilla and apple aromas and flavours.  Nice spice too.  It went really well with a smoked scalloped that was served with the wines.  3 for 3 so far.

The fourth wine was the Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (2003) from Australia. The aged sauvignon blanc!  This wine was medium minus golden colour. Big legs on the sides of the glass.  Honeysuckle, honey, and apricot aromas. Medium minus body, smooth, lower in acidity with a dry finish.  I guessed this one was the Chenin Blanc.

The last white wine was the Graham Beck Gameskeeper Reserve Chenin Blanc (2008) from South Africa . Light lemon colour.  Smokey, apple, spice, oak, vanilla, and some earthiness on the nose. Bright fruit flavours, but also some smokiness, apple and oak.  Medium length. I originally thought this one could be the aged sauvignon blanc with some oak aging (e.g. a Fume Blanc).

So from the white wine review, I ended up in 2nd place.  Not bad considering how difficult the whites were to identify.  Hopefully the red wines would be easier.

No such luck.  Paul was going to give us 5 different Bordeaux blends.  That is much more difficult than trying to guess if a wine is a Malbec or a Merlot.  The first red was the Man O’ War Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec blend (2008) from New Zealand. I had marked it as medium red with a purple tint (from the Malbec). Cassis, red cherry, leather, mint and tomato aromas. Juicy red fruit flavour, with vanilla, spice, high acidity and medium tannins.  I guessed correctly.  I thought the high acidity would be from a cooler climate, and New Zealand would be the coolest of the 5 countries.

The second red was the Miguel Torres Cordillera (2001) from Chile. A deep core of garnet in the glass.  Some capsicum aroma, along with vanilla, dark plum and milk chocolate.  On the palate it was full bodied.  Vanilla, purple fruit and savory flavours. Medium acidity and tannins. Another correct guess.  The capsicum was my hint that it was Chilean.

The third red was the Glen Carlou Grand Classique (2005) from South Africa.  Deep garnet in colour.  Iodine and earthy aromas. Mineral, leather and firm tannins.  Quite different from all the other reds.  I guessed that one correctly too.

The fourth red wine was the Luigi Bosca Gala 2 (2005) from Argentina.  I had guessed New Zealand, then changed my mind to Australia, but in the end I found out it was Argentina.  Really hard to guess the origin of this wine.  It was medium garnet coloured.  Sweet vanilla, chocolate and dark fruit aromas.  Not overly aromatic. Medium body and medium tannins with grippy black fruit flavour.

The fifth red wine was the d’Arenberg Galvo Garage (2005) from Australia. Very dark garnet in colour.  Some capsicum, dry not overly fruity nose with some earthiness.  Vanilla, capsicum and very fruity flavours.  Firm tannins.  I guessed this one was the wine from Argentina.

I ended up in 2nd place for the red wines.  I don’t feel too bad getting 2nd place for both the red and white wines.

How did I rate these wines?

White wines in my rank of preference:

  1. Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (2003) Australia
  2. Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc (2008) Chile
  3. Mt. Riley Pinot Gris (2008) New Zealand
  4. Montes Alpha Chardonnay (2006) Chile
  5. Graham Beck Gameskeeper Reserve Chenin Blanc (2008) South Africa

Red wines in my rank of preference:

  1. Miguel Torres Cordillera (2001) Chile
  2. Man O’ War Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec blend (2008) New Zealand
  3. Luigi Bosca Gala 2 (2005) Argentina
  4. d’Arenberg Galvo Garage (2005) Australia
  5. Glen Carlou Grand Classique (2005) South Africa

One thing that you may notice is that my first choice in both the red and white wines were the OLDEST wines.  Don’t think that you have to drink a wine as soon as you buy it.  Especially true for red wines, and some white wines.  Many of these wines will be available only in private wine shops.  Hope you can get a chance to try some of them. Enjoy!

Wines of South Africa Event in Vancouver

I received this note from the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) and I thought I’d pass it along to you. In celebration of the World Cup happening in South Africa, South African wines are going to be celebrated as well in June. Below is the note I received. I hope you get a chance to try some South African wines during the World Cup. South Africa is known as the Old World of the New World. Their wines have the “fruit” that you associate with other New World wines, like from California or Chile, but they also have some of the restraint, tannic structure, and earthiness of Old World wines, such as from France and Spain. There are some excellent producers in the list of wines below, such as Boekenhoutskloof, Graham Beck, and Glen Carlou. Enjoy the World Cup!

The Announcement from WOSA:
On Friday, June 11th 2010, a unique South African wine tasting will be held at the 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store. Open to the public, this event will sample high quality and value of South African wines paired with savoury bites and a complimentary mini spa. The food will be prepared by Hart House Restaurant’s Kris Kabush and the complimentary mini spa treatments are from Spa Utopia.

The event at 39th & Cambie will feature a dozen stellar wines:

Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 111526 $ 12.99
Sebeka Cabernet/Pinotage 793067 $ 12.99
Spier Chenin Blanc 659037 $ 13.95
K.W.V. Roodeberg Red 7187 $ 14.99
Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap 138479 $ 14.99
Excelsior Shiraz 183995 $ 15.99
Bellingham Sauvignon Blanc / Chardonnay 848622 $ 14.99
Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah 592873 $ 17.99
Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red Blend 316992 $ 18.99
Graham Beck Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 40428 $ 19.99
Glen Carlou Grand Classique 153882 $ 19.99
Thelema Mountain Red Wine 487967 $ 24.95

These wines will be shown to their best advantage paired with tasty bites prepared by Hart House’s talented Executive Chef, Kris Kabush. In addition to indulging their tastebuds, guests can also enjoy an onsite spa experience from Vancouver ’s much-loved Spa Utopia. Spa Technicians will give each guest a relaxing five-minute mini treatment. The combination of good wine, savoury food, and a turn in a massage chair is sure to help iron the wrinkles out of your day!

In conjunction with the month-long promotion, Wines of South Africa is also offering a deluxe prize package featuring Spa Utopia and the Pan Pacific Vancouver. The winner will enjoy a $225 spa gift certificate, lunch for two, and one night’s accommodation at the luxurious Pan Pacific all valued at $1000.

For details, and to enter the draw, visit http://www.wosa.co.za.

Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting

Friday, June 11 2010

3:00 – 7:00 pm

BCLDB 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store

5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Wines of South Africa Release

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} catch(err) {}Yesterday I had the good fortune to be invited to the fall release of South African wines at the Sutton Place Hotel. Andre Morgenthal from WOSA in South Africa was present to tell us about wine making in South Africa as well as lead us through a tasting of 9 wines. I was fortunate to meet Andre as well about 5 years ago when he brought over a selection of bottles for us to try as well.

A bit of background for those of you that are not too familiar with South African wines. This year South Africa is celebrating 350 years of wine making, which started in 1659. South Africa is known as the Old World of the New World as their wines share characteristics of both worlds. You get the more fruit which is typically representative of wines of the New World, but you also get the structure and terroir of the Old World. These wines usually do very well with food. During apartheid, South African wineries produced wines that the locals enjoyed, but did not translate well to the palates of the rest of the world. When apartheid lifted in the early 1990’s, South African wineries had to quickly adapt their wine making style to what consumers world-wide enjoy. It took a few years to get there, and their wines are now very well received on the world stage.

There are approximately 700 wineries in South Africa with about 6800 labels. It is a very ancient land with ancient soils as there was no glaciation as their was in North America for example. So the soils are from very old weathered rocks and have very small areas of unique soils/climate (terroir) across South Africa. So you could try a Sauvignon Blanc for example from 7 different regions within South Africa and they could taste very different.

The wines we tried were:
– Moreson Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic Sparkling wine NV
– Vinum Chenin Blanc 2008
– Graham Beck Gameskeeper’s Reserve Chenin Blanc 2008

– Thelema Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2008

– Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2008

– Winery of Good Hope Pinot Noir 2008
– Golden Kaan Winemaker’s Edition Shiraz 2004

– La Motte Shiraz 2007
– Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2005

Moreson is a small producer in South Africa. Cap Classic is South Africa’s term for Method Champenoise (changing the still wine into sparkling wine in the bottle). It had a very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.

The Vinum Chenin Blanc was a light, bright lemon colour. It had smoky, woody, waxy, lemon aromas. Light/medium body, round mouthfeel, with oak and citrus flavours, and a spicy long finish. FYI, “Steen” is the South African word for Chenin Blanc.

Graham Beck is one of my favourite producers in South Africa. I have read that President Obama drank a bottle of Graham Beck NV Brut sparkling on election night. This chenin blanc was bright, light lemony coloured. Green pine, citrus, oak aromas. Round mouthfeel with oak, spice, tropical fruit and citrus flavours. I tried this wine again at the end of the tasting and the aroma completely changed which is cool. The greeness disappeared and was replaced by a lime peel aroma.

We had one Sauvignon Blanc in the tasting, which was the Thelema Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc. Sutherland being the name of the vineyard in Elgin. This wine had lots of green vegetal aromas, especially asparagus. On the palate I noted “saltiness” which was not unpleasant, but very unique as i’ve only tasted this before in sherry. It could be that the green vegetal and asparagus flavours were so pronounced it “tasted” salty. This wine had good acid and length.

The Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay was our last white wine in the tasting flight. This is a BIG chardonnay with lots of oak, buttery, vanilla, citrus aromas. Full bodied with nutmeg, vanilla, citrus and apple flavours. Round mouthfeel.

Our first red wine was the Winery of Good Hope Pinot Noir. This wine started off with aroma of violets, but later in the tasting the nose changed to cherries and spice. On the palate there were flavours of violets, roses, red cherries and a dry finish. A nice light bodied pinot noir.

Our next red was the Golden Kaan WInemaker’s Edition Shiraz. This wine was deep reddish purple in the glass. Tar, burnt rubber and dark fruit on the nose. Cherries and good fruit. Smoky finish and a bit of spice.

Another shiraz we enjoyed was the La Motte Shiraz. This one was deep extracted purple in colour. It had a nice nose, with some spice, red juicy fruit. A round mouthfeel with LOTS of red fruit and some spice. Dry finish. Very nice.

Our last wine is Glen Carlou Grand Classique. Glen Carlou is one of the wineries from South Africa that I like alot. Their shiraz is very good and their chardonnay. The Grand Classique is a Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. This one was deep purple in the glass. Lots of vanilla, dark sweet fruit and chocolate nose. Medium-full body with black fruit and chocolate flavours. Very smooth.

Some of these wines are not yet available in BC, but I do know that you can buy the Glen Carlou at Everything Wine in North Vancouver. Enjoy!