Must-drink wines when in Cape Town
Cape Town and surrounds have such an incredible offering of wines that just looking at it can be quite overwhelming. We decided to put together a list of our favourites to help you enjoy the best the region has to offer. Of course all these wineries offer spectacular wines, but these are my favourites to keep your collection fresh and varied.
AVONDALE ARMILLA BLANC DE BLANC 2009 & VIOGNIER 2012
The Armilla Blanc de Blanc at Avondale has turned many a cynic into an MCC lover. Created on South Africans first certified organic wine farm, it’s rich and round in flavour with a crispness on the palate. And while you’re staring out at the vineyards – where a paddling of ducks can be found chasing after snails – don’t miss out on the Cyclus. Personally, this viognier is the perfect choice when you’re not quite in the mood for your favourite chardonnay. And boy does it go with a good curry – or of course with just good company!
LA CHATAIGNE SEMILLON 2012
Just a short drive from Avondale, you’ll find the tiny tasting room of La Chataigne wines. One of the few wineries to bottle a 100% Semillon, I originally thought it to be a little too brave. Most vineyards grow Semillon for blending purposes. But this 8-month-oaked Semillon’s oily nose and pear and melon palate, is beautiful all on its own. Each bottle is signed by the winemaker, making it doubly special.
MAISON BLANC DE NOIR 2014 & SHIRAZ 2011
Pink wines don’t have a great reputation. Sickly sweet and rumoured to be enjoyed only by those who never miss their purple rinse appointment. The Blanc de Noir at Maison will change your mind about the pink drink. To be enjoyed very cold on a hot summer’s day, the spicy, strawberry flavour complements salads and fish or just a sunny day out in the country. For a colder day, the elegant 100% Shiraz with its peppery nose and liquorice after taste, is the ideal pairing for a lovely aged prime rib or oxtail.
D’ARIA THE PICCOLO
Harvested early, as is the French tradition, this potstill brandy might not qualify as a ‘wine’ per se, the layers of flavours, including orange peel, cherry and vanilla is to be enjoyed by a true brandy connoisseur. Why try it? Because once you’ve tried it, you won’t be enjoying your nightly dark chocolate without it.
STEENBERG 1682 BRUT PINOT NOIR 2013 & SPARKLING SAUVIGNON BLANC
This MCC is the closest you’ll get to heaven on earth – someone should tell Belinda Carlisle. It’s my favourite occasional bubbly as its flavours of candy floss and rose water topped off with delicate bubbles is a celebration on the palate. But of course we all need an everyday bubbly (yes, yes we do!) and the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is exactly that. The fresh pineapple and passion fruit palate might be just the thing to replace your daily fruit salad.
EAGLES NEST SHIRAZ 2012 & LITTLE EAGLE 2013
The multi-award winning Shiraz from Eagles Nest is something to experience right there in the tasting room – a stone’s throw from the vines. A deep purple colour with cherry and ripe berries on the nose, with peppery spice and hints of toasted coconut to delight you taste buds. A layered wine like this can be aged up to 15 years from vintage. But since some of us can’t wait 15 years to drink a delicious red wine, Eagles Nest also offers the Little Eagle as an easy-drinking red wine. The taste can be likened to that of a fruit cake, with a note of pepper; and you can drink this wine by the bottle if you’re that way inclined.
GROOT CONSTANTIA PINOTAGE 2013
Pinotage is a vintage own to South Africa and the Cape region. Groot Constantia joins the ranks of Pinotage makers with their multi-layered offering. This wine has strong berry flavours, hints of delicious chocolate with a lingering cinnamon after taste. One sip and you’ll be longing to snuggle up in front of a fire with a significant other.
CONSTANTIA GLEN TWO 2014 & FIVE 2010
Constantia Glen is very well-known for their excellent blends and the Two had me giddy with excitement. You might think 30% semillon could be too overpowering, but it contributes to the weighty texture richness of the wine. Combined with the fruitiness of the sauvignon, it’s a sure to impress the wine snob in you. Sticking with the blending, Constantia Glen combines a daring 5 different varietals and nails it! A true work of art, the complex flavours manage to complement each other with dark fruit, richness and incredible texture. While quite powerful, the elegance of the wine, plus the freshness from the integrated minerality, makes for a well-rounded mouth and finish.
CAPE POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE 2010
Everyone needs a special white wine and this Sauvignon Blanc is just the ticket. Selected from 3 vineyard parcels on the Noordhoek property, the nose is all about floral elements, grapefruit and limes. The palate is rich and textural, held together by an incredible mineral backbone. With its great structure, it is the perfect pairing with scallops or crayfish.