22 Feb South African wine tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants
A Taste of South Africa – Looking out of the window, you almost could be fooled that its spring. Nothing truer when you hop on the bike without gloves. There is still quite a chill in the air. Wouldn’t it just be nice to have a touch of the Southern hemispheres? To me, that is my much beloved Cape Town. This was home for me for quite a few years.
The Cape Winelands is foodie heaven. There is nothing better than touring this stunning part of South Africa visiting vineyards, sampling the food and soaking in the atmosphere and taking in the incredible views. Unfortunately, we can’t just pop over for a day and have a taste of this. Instead, you could join the Cambridge Wine Merchants in Cherry Hinton road for a taste of South Africa this week on 26 February.
If you’re a connoisseur of South African wines, you’ll know that you don’t want to miss this and if you’re new to it then this is a very good introduction to some of the finest wines of South Africa and if your South African, then you’ll want to come to tuck into the South African food.
Wines taste so much better if you have been there so I thought I’ll give you a taste where these great wine estates are set. The stunning Western Cape has plenty to offer from the Bordeaux-style blends of Stellenbosch to delicate coastal whites from Walker Bay and bold fruit-driven reds from Franschhoek. Not forgetting South Africa’s most famous varietals; Chenin blanc and pinotage.
This valley is called Hemel en Aarde, which means Heaven and earth. Bouchard Finlayson is perched on the top of hills of Hermanus overlooking Walker Bay, the home of the whales during the whaling season. If you walk down to the harbour in the centre of town, you can ‘almost’ touch the whales as they are very close by. More…
The wine – Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer, 2012
This coastal region white blend from Walker Bay is a crisp and mouth-filling blend of Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc. It’s verging on medium bodied and has a rich, luscious backbone of white peach and stone fruit to compliment the zingy citrus that hits you up front.
Named after one of the first settlers in South Africa, Simon van der Stel and it’s one of the most well-known wine areas of South Africa. Terroir here isn’t just the terroir of the wines, but their award-winning restaurant too. Klein Zalze produces one of my favourite white wines, which you will be tasting on the 26th too. More…
The wine – Klein Zalze Chenin Blanc, 2013
This award-winning white is a great example of SA’s ‘native’ variety. It’s bold, clean and smacks you in the chops with its acidity, fruit (lime, apricot) and nutty finish.
Sweet memories of dining under the old oak trees on the terrace at this fine estate in Somerset West. It’s one of the oldest and most scenic ones. The gardens are stunning and the views breathtaking. In one word – stunning! More..
The Wine – Vergelegen Chardonnay, 2012
A classic new world Chardonnay from a famous Western Cape estate. Well-rounded oak and clean fruit give this a richness that’s restrained yet utterly moreish.
Many people think, that the Cape Winelands only stretches from Cape Town to Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, but the area stretches as far as Robertson. It’s part of the famous R62, which meanders through the Western Cape to Knysna. The Robertson Valley is stunning and lined with many wineries. the most famous one is Graham Beck, who produces very good sparkling wine, Cape Classique. Unfortunately many travellers ‘rush’ through this valley to the Eastern Cape on their visit to South Africa. It deserves a lot more time than just a day. More..
The wine – The Ruins Pinotage, 2012
This Roberston Pinotage shows the classic varietal characters of red fruit and earthy, smoky notes without the unwelcome jammy, over-cooked or rubbery characters. A benchmark Pinotage.
The perfect Sunday lunch in the Cape Winelands…. Sip a glass of wine, soak up the views and dream.. This is where Raats is situated in the Stellenbosch region. Probably not a surprise, that I almost bought a vineyard across the road. Instead, I decided to move to Cambridge. More..
Raats Cabernet Franc, 2011
A Bordeaux blend of sorts (90% cabernet franc, 10% Malbec), this is produced using grapes grown on Dolomite milestone soils and the minerality certainly shows through. There’s also plenty of big red fruit, smokiness and some vegetal notes. Great with food.
Paarl doesn’t appear often on itineraries of overseas travellers when they visit South Africa. Without a doubt, you will fall in love with this lesser-known part of the Cape Winelands with stunning views of Table Mountain, down to earth people, great food and wine. What else do you need? More..
The wine – Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz, 2012
Dark fruit, subtle pepper and exotic spices punctuate this terroir-driven Shiraz from Voor-Paardeberg. It’s a Rhone red in all but name, with a hefty finish that’s more Antipodean than Gallic.
Together with Kanonkop my favourite wine estate. Meerlust is set South of Stellenbosch where you can capture great views of the Helderberg mountain range. A must visit for their wines, the stunning Cape Style Homestead and their gardens. More..
The Wine – Meerlust Red, 2011
This baby wine from the leading Stellenbosch estate is a beast. Mostly Cabernet, this is the classic South African interpretation of Bordeaux blend. Dense, glossy, earthy, packed with currant fruit, green pepper and cedar.
Another fine wine estate in Stellenbosch and one of my favourite white wine producers. A must visit for every foodie. George Jardine is cooking up a storm here at their restaurant, the Bakery. This Scottish chef, who worked with Novelli, opened in 1997 Novelli at the Cellars in Constantia. After a stint in the Far East, he is back again. Having lived just across the road of the cellars for some time, I was lucky to have many of his meals. More..
Jordan Mellifera, 2011
This botrytis Riesling is Jordan’s take on Sauternes, albeit using a different, but equally capable, grape variety. It’s thick, rich and packed with apricot and guava characters. Sweet, but acidic and perfectly balanced.
Taste these and a plenty more, and enjoy some truly South African snacks – biltong, droe wors, ostrich – at this exciting event.
South African wine tasting
When: Wednesday, February 26th, 7.30pm
Where: Cherry Hinton Road branch, 163 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge CB1 7BX
Tickets: £15 per person (get a free ticket if you book for six)
How to book: Call the Cherry Hinton team on 01223 214 548, pop into the branch or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
See you there!