This annual experience was hosted at the opulent and recently upgraded 15 on Orange Autograph Collection 5 Star Hotel.
Currently in its 9th year, the event delivers the ultimate in indulgence for wine enthusiasts and whisky lovers alike – something for all palates, whether its SA’s most sought after wines, rare malt whiskies from around the world, or both.
“Hand selecting a combination of distinctive wines and rare malt whiskies, then showcasing them under one roof in a stylish setting, ensures our discerning guests an exceptional and sophisticated experience.” says Wade Bales, renowned wine and spirits negociant.
Staying true to the high quality of previous events, over 120 premium wines from South Africa’s finest wineries was showcased, including the likes of Klein Constantia, Bouchard Finlayson, Constantia Glen, Delaire Graff, Meerlust, Steenberg and Keermont.
Whisky enthusiasts also had the opportunity to discover over 90 Malt Whiskies from around the world such as internationally renowned distillers Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Aberlour, Highland Park, Redbreast, Lagavulin, The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie.
The highlight of the evening was the half-time bell! A limited period of 15 minutes only, we got to taste exclusive and limited editions of wine and whisky from “under the table”.
Herewith the wines we tasted from the evening. Next year I will definitely book two evenings. One for wine and the next night for the whisky. One night is certainly not enough to taste both especially if you get to mingle and chat to the winemakers and whisky ambassadors.
FLAGSTONE MUSIC ROOM CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
The faintest hint of basil – all wrapped up in serious, warm, toasty oak. The palate is all about chunky, chewy, magically integrated tannin. This rewarding mouth-feel is complimented by concentrated flavours of youngberry, wild mint and blueberry. A blockbuster Cabernet.
“We are inspired by our country, our people and our winelands. That’s why we give our wines special names. My grandmother, Elsie Fraser-Munn was a legendary music teacher and performer. In her Music Room, practice made perfect. Patience, dedication and attention to detail are similarly required to craft great Cabernet. The music on the front label is a beautiful choral piece composed for my grandmother by the renowned South African composer, Peter Klatzow”.
KLEIN CONSTANTIA ESTATE RED 2016
The Klein Constantia Estate Red has rich dark fruit on the Nose with black cherries, mulberries and a hint of wood spice giving off some beautiful paprika and vanilla tones. Big concentration of fruit on the palate that is rounded off with some grippy velvety tannin that lingers. Although very accessible, the wine can mature for 5-10 years.
It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot & Malbec. The Estate Red Blend 2015 was made as elegant and terroir specific as possible. Using reverse tronconic tanks has allowed for maximum fruit expression during the fermentation process. Optimizing barrel selection and aging of the wine for a couple of years.
KLEIN CONSTANTIA VIN DE CONSTANCE 2015
Vibrant and tantalizing from the bright, golden appearance to the lingering, zesty finish. The nose is layered with aspects of citrus blossom, honeycomb and stone fruit which follow through onto the palate. Full bodied, the mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a refreshing acidity.
The wine was aged in a combination of 50 % new French oak, Hungarian oak and French Acacia. It was left for a period of 3 years in barrel on the gross lees before racking out and blending. It spent a further 6 months in tank before bottling.
LA VIERGE – JEZEBELLE CHARDONNAY 2017
An exceptional example of the qualities a colder, maritime-influenced climate and shale and clay-rich soils will lend one of the world’s greatest white cultivars. Hailing from the Hemel-en-Aarde near Hermanus, La Vierge’s Jezebelle Chardonnay is elegant and refined with aromatic notes of delicate white flowers, fresh lime, stone fruit and minerality on the nose that follow through delightfully on the palate.
Like all complex wines, the Jezebelle Chardonnay from La Vierge is a wonderful food wine and will pair well with anything from rabbit, to pork fillet, to quail. This wine will develop further in complexity with some bottle ageing.
LA VIERGE – APOGEE CHARDONNAY 2017
The wine shows clean lines of minerality, citrus and yellow flower notes on the nose, supported with the creamy almond and white chocolate aromas derived from the oak. The wine has a full, textured palate that shows the delicate power that Chardonnay possesses. It has a balanced richness that finishes in a clean, mineral undertone that lingers on the palate.
As the name suggests this wine is the ultimate expression of wine from La Vierge, the epitome of the efforts within the vineyards as well as in the winery.
LINTON PARK – DE SLANGE RIVIER 2017
Full-bodied, complex blend with a richness of blackberry, mulberry and blackcurrant flavours complimented by notes of leather and savoury. Well balanced with firm tannins and a lingering delicate oak finish.
Linton Park’s legacy started in 1699 as the farm De Slange Rivier. Our original farm was named for the winding stream, Snake River or Slange Rivier which still flows down the mountain. The majestic Groenberg Mountain presides over Linton Park Wine Estate, which is minutes away from the charming and rustic town of Wellington in South Africa’s Western Cape province.
LINTON PARK – WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017
A beautiful elegant full bodied Chardonnay, bursting with aromas of bright fruit of a lime-lemon purity and fresh tangerine. The lively aromas are followed onto the palate by complex notes of stone fruit and hints of butter. The finish is well balanced and lingering with clean citrus notes on aftertaste.
The grapes were hand harvested, sorted and whole bunch pressed. The juice was transferred into small 1st and 2nd fill French oak barrels for fermentation for 21 days. No yeasts were added. The wine was matured in the oak barrels for just on a year. Before bottling and labelling at the Estate the wine was stabilised and filtered.
NICO VD MERWE – NICOLAS VAN DER MERWE RED 2017
The palate is well balanced and fruity with powdery tannins, leading to an opulent and complex finish. Full-bodied, but elegant, soft tannins, dense middle palate, hints of black fruit and a long finish. This red will continue ageing for more than 10 years.
Twenty years of working for Saxenburg Wine Estate and Chateau Capion in the South of France allowed winemaker Nico van der Merwe the experience to start his own range of wines. The Nicolas van der Merwe Red is a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which demonstrates gentle black fruit flavours that collaborate with a graceful wood character.
PASERENE – CHARDONNAY 2017
Bright yellow to green colour. On the nose the wine display intense citrus and honey suckle aromas that leads to oatmeal, parmesan and orange zest. The nose is slightly more broad than the previous vintage, but still unmistakably precise in its bouquet. Very European and linear, slightly oaked at 30% that brings warmth to the wine and rounds out the palate with added weight. Great focus with a racy acidity that makes the wine linger.
The label was created by a local Cape Town based artist, Carmen Ziervogel and designer, Lauren Ann McCarthy. The girl on the front label represents the beauty of Elgin, the area where the wine is from. All labels were hand pressed using an old Heidelberg press.
PASERENE – UNION 2016
Grown entirely in the Tulbagh region the 2016 Union is dark and inky. Predominantly Syrah, this wine has ample complex aromas of blue berries, charcoal, violets and bacon fat. Exotic, smoky and thick with elegance as well as excellent definition. Extraordinary balance between primary fruit aromas and deep charry mineral components gives the wine an inviting natural warmth and broodiness. Big supple tannins with a reigned in acidity will make this wine a pleasure to drink for the next 20 – 30 years.
Red blend that consists of Syrah, Carignan & Mourvedre. The label was created in collaboration by the same artists who designed Pasarene’s Marathon and Chardonnay labels. The scene is set in Tulbagh and it carries the message of unification. The two entities of the previous wines, the girl (Mother Nature) and the swift (the Winemaker) finally found a place to be together. The tree in the background takes the role of stability and calmness and anchors them. All labels were hand pressed using an old Heidelberg press.
PASERENE – MARATHON 2016
The wine exhibits a deep ruby to purple color. On the nose it shows an appealing bouquet of dark preserved fruits like black currants and black cherry paste with camphor, cedar and creamy cassis. Definitely a more layered wine than singular. This transcends into a mineral whiff of crushed rocks, licorice and espresso roasts. The wine boasts a very unique and authentic aroma profile that is young and exciting. The palate is dense and rich with sweet tannins that are well integrated. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Carménère sourced from Stellenbosch, Tulbagh and Darling.
The label was created by a local Cape Town based artist, Lorraine Loots and designer, Lauren Ann McCarthy. The swallow on the front label represents the winemaker’s relentless pursuit of aquiring knowledge in South Africa and California to produce his style of wines. It further relates to the warm, agile personailty of the wine. All labels are hand pressed using an old Heidelberg press.
PASERENE – THE SHINER 2016
Shiner sees the masculinity of good old Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon rounded by small portions of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The wine boasts seductive notes of raspberries and black currants, with herbaceous and savoury notes. The palate is stylish and complex with traces of aniseed and liquorice dominating generous fruit and light but graceful tannins.
The name Paserene comes from the Latin word Passeriformes, the order of ‘traveling and free’ birds containing swifts and swallows. Paserene is situated in the quaint town of Franschhoek and is home to their award-winning wine range.
RASCALLION – VINYL COLLECTION 33 1/3 RPM 2017
33 1/3 rpm is produced from grapes sourced from vineyards in the Piekenierskloof region. This Swartland White blend has layered hints of freshness and floral aromas that extend into malva savoury peach, fresh pear and pineapple flavours and finish with soft, white tannin.
Rhone Blend of Chenin, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier & Verdelho. The grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Piekenierskloof region.
RASCALLION – VINYL COLLECTION 45 RPM 2016
45 rpm is produced from vineyards in the Piekenierskloof region. This Swartland Red blend have dark fruit on the palate with hints of cloves and aniseed. Blackberry, sweet dark fruit on the palate with hints of cloves and aniseed. Well balanced with elegant integrated tannins. A smooth, long finish with primary olive and black fruit flavours lingering. This is a well-balanced wine with elegant integrated tannin.
Rhone Blend of Grenache, Cinsaut, Mouverdre & Tannat 6%. For owners Ross Sleet and the Kretzmar family, the goal is to change the conversation and do something different with wine.
RASCALLION – AQUIVER 2016
Aquiver is produced from vineyards close to False Bay. It’s a blend of 80% Chenin Blanc, 10% Grenache Blanc & 10% Sauvignon Blanc will bring aromatic layers of apricot, tangy nectarines and fresh straw on the nose. This wine is well-balanced in acidity, with melon and lightly toasted almonds on the palate.
Aquiver: Quivering, trembling (with anticipation)
White, fruity, dry – Chenin Blanc based – white blend, easy drinking and eminantly quaffable.
RASCALLION – PANDICULATION 2015
A beautiful bouquet of sweet ripe blackberries, infused with a hint of rich plums, combined with delicate oak notes with subtle lavender spicy aromas, creates a wine with a complex, intriguing nose. Bright garnet red in colour, this full-bodied wine has an elegant juicy creamy entry with soft round tannins and a long lingering finish.
Pandiculation – a soft blend of Shiraz and Grenache Noir, ideal for lighter meat dishes – will cellar for 3 to 5 years.
RASCALLION – BOMBINATE 2016
Bombinate is produced from grapes picked from high altitude Granite soils. This is an exotic and vibrant wine with a core of prunes, blackberries and olive tapenade. This full-bodied wine has a creamy and juicy entry with soft, round tannins and a long lingering finish.
Rhone Blend of Shiraz & Grenache Noir. Bom-buh-neyt : rumbling, buzzing (noise of bees stirring).
STEENBERG – SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013
Passion fruit, ruby grapefruit, gun flint and freshly cut grass on the nose followed by fresh citrus notes. The palate shows beautiful richness, strong mineral core with an herbaceous undertone and a bright acidity running through the wine.
Steenberg has a lot more to offer than just award winning wines. As the oldest farm in the Constantia Valley, it’s also home to the Steenberg Hotel, Catharina’s Restaurant, a luxury day spa and an 18-hole golf course. The Steenberg manor house and buildings on the farm have been declared a national monument, but the modern cellar with a viniteque built in 1996 enables wine to be kept in perfect conditions and a production capacity of 70 000 cases to be reached.
STEENBERG – NEBBIOLO 2014
The 2014 Nebbiolo visually seduces with a delightfully brilliant garnet red colour and flashes of amber around the edges. The bouquet displays notes of rose petal and dried wild herbs such as thyme, origanum and fynbos plants along with earthy, leathery tones. This wine displays the natural tart acidity of Nebbiolo, well accompanied with hints of sour cherries, raspberries and hibiscus tea on the finish. The tannins are firm and beautifully integrated. Decanting this wine promises to bring it to life even more – the evolution of this wine over the next decade will be a fascinating journey.
Steenberg holds the distinction of being the oldest farm in the picturesque Constantia Valley, which is generally considered to be South Africa’s premier wine growing region. With its cool, sea-facing slopes and majestic granite ridges, this vineyard has developed a worldwide reputation for producing excellent Cape wines. The estate boasts a state of the art modern winery, producing some of the country’s finest award winning wines.
MOUNT VERNON – MALBEC 2014
Deep core, wide rim and very youthful appearance. Ripe mulberry, plum and chocolate boom out on the full and forward nose. All repeat in the active, full flavoured mouth with polished tannins and fine oak support. Very drinkable now yet will repay lots of bottle development. Bounding with potential, delightful wine.
Uncompromising quality and attention to detail, captures the core identity and beliefs as the Hooper family. Vernon is the middle name which has been passed down to almost every male member of the family and also serves to honour Vernon Edward Hooper, who was a revered patriarch who passed away in Durban in 1954. Coincidently Mt Vernon, is also the name of the first US President George Washington’s home, which overlooks the pristine Potomac river in Virginia.
MOUNT VERNON – CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014
Deep dark core with tight, blue/black rim. Initial nose packed with ripe, dark berry fruit. Plum and cherry are firmly there with some char and vanilla. Deep, full mouth with layers of ripe berry flavour. Definite but soft tannins give good grip. Berry flavours develop all the while and dominate the long finish.
Mount Vernon Wine Estate is a story of a family from Durban, KwaZulu Natal, who settled here a number of years ago for a change in lifestyle. That change brought a new sense of direction with Debbie Hooper becoming not only one of the few women wine makers in the Cape but also producing exceptional quality wines by virtue of their award winning status.
KEERMONT – SYRAH 2014
The Keermont Syrah 2014 has a warm strawberry red colour. It has an enchanting bouquet of violets, dusty sandal wood and a hint of spicy red fruit. The palate is elegant and soft, and has a clean linear acidity. It has a strong floral character with spicy red fruit and hints of cherry sherbet. The tannins are dusty and dry and the wine has a long earthy herbal finish.
Keermont Syrah 2014 is a blend of three different Syrah vineyard sites growing on Keermont Vineyards: Steepside Syrah: Growing on a North facing slope in deep, red clay-rich soils; this vineyard generally produces powerful full bodied wines with rich, spicy flavours. Topside Syrah: An unirrigated west facing vineyard planted at 400m above sea level on rocky sandstone-based soil. Topside Syrah is usually a more aromatic wine with good structure and natural acid. Sweetwater Syrah: Situated in a rocky valley below the Fleurfontein spring, this is the coolest of the three Syrah sites and ripens the latest. Sweetwater Syrah is normally lighter and elegant in style with a herbal aroma.
GROOT PHESANTEKRAAL – SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018
The complex and intriguing nose displays a melange of cool, crunchy tropical fruit, with passionfruit and guava dominating. The palate is still very youthful, with mouth-watering grapefruit and lemongrass notes along with cut grass and gooseberries.
The farm is situated on the north-east side of Durbanville where the sea breeze from the icy Atlantic meets the dry heat of the interior. Blessed with its favourable location, good climate and fertile soil, the farm produces wines of superior quality and singular character.
GROOT PHESANTEKRAAL – BERLIET PINOTAGE 2017
This limited release Pinotage exudes characteristics of this uniquely South African variety – ripe red fruit, subtle toasty oak and an elegant tannin structure. This wine will develop further complexity with careful cellaring for 8 to 10 years. A beautiful accompaniment to slow-braised pork belly or hearty game dishes. For the more adventurous, seared salmon or even a dark-chocolate based dessert is recommended.
The farm’s Pinotage is named after the 1927 French Berliet that belonged to André Brink’s late father. Having been meticulously restored, this splendidly orange classic automobile is portrayed on the wine’s label and proudly showcased at the estate.
DE WETSHOF – LIMESTONE HILL CHARDONNAY 2019
Displaying excellent varietal expression, the Limestone Hill Chardonnay from De Westhof Estate is a feast for the senses, displaying expertly balanced complexity and purity of fruit. Its unwooded character elegantly highlights a fruit-focussed flavour, presenting charming notes of lemon, grapefruit, peach and apple as the stars of the show. Tropical fruit flavours present themselves delicately throughout the palate, supported by a lovely creaminess of texture imparted by lees contact. An excellent example of a fine Chardonnay that offers astounding value for money.
Heavy clay soils rich in limestone allow this Chardonnay to emit optimum varietal expression in a cloak of rich complexity. An un-wooded wine, Limestone Hill has notes of grapefruit and nuts, with the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance ending with a delicate ripeness.
When it comes to lifestyle experiences like this, Wade Bales sets the bar high and you’d be silly to miss it. If you enjoy the finer things in life. This is for you!