You may be a wine lover but you haven’t had “the wine experience” until you are in a vineyard, standing just a few feet away from the winemaker who is busy explaining to you about his vineyard, the terroir and the nitty gritties of his vineyard’s climatic conditions, as you listen and take in the beauty of your surroundings and the occasional clicking away at your camera.
Or you’re in a wine cellar with wine barrels neatly arranged -assuring you that you are indeed in a wine country-with the winemaker taking you through the tasting notes of some of his award-winning wines as you swirl, sip, smell and savor the wine that’s gladly showing off its rich qualities in your mouth in the same room the wine was once stored before it was bottled. And then later, dining with the winemaker and you getting the chance to ask him/her any question you want.
Or you’re just standing there at the wine trade fair interviewing a winery owner, as you sip on one of their generously flavored Shirazes as they tell you of their wine journey and the sacrifices they made to get where they are and how they have learnt so much along the way.
That was me last month in Cape Town having the wine experience of a kind not too far from home.
I have been to several wine tastings and several wine pairings in Nairobi. I have been to pairings of wine with cheese, wine with food, wine with chocolate and well, even wine with cake all of which were well executed and the tasting process guided through by a knowledgeable sommelier from somewhere in the world and a variety of good wines from all over the world. However, I realized that all this has been nothing compared to the wine tasting experience I mentioned above.
I got to taste very many wines. Outstanding wines, excellent wines, good wines, characterful wine… during my stay in Cape Town where I also had the chance to attend the Cape Wine fair- a flagship business showcase of South African wines. And from it I got to understand why South African wines are attracting more interest, receiving greater respect and higher demand from all over the world. Each year, South Africa sees a rise in their wine quality, an increase of new wineries and they discover more innovative young wine makers.
I couldn’t have possibly tasted all the wines in South Africa in just 5 days but these are a few of the ones I had memorable interactions with in no particular order.
*Spier Private collection limited release Rose 2015
*Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2013
*Spier Creative Block 2 2014 which is 87% Sauvignon Blanc, 13% Semillon
*Frans K Smit 2009 which is 14% Cabernet Sauvignon , 28% Merlot, 17% Shiraz, 14% Pinotage
*Philip Jonker Brut
* Family Reserve Range Gamka Shiraz
*Special vineyard selection Pinotage
*Reyneke Reserve 2014
*Reyneke Reserve Red 2013
*Reyneke Organic White 2015
Reyneke Cornerstone 2012
*Brampton Sauvignon Blanc 2015
*Bellingham, Bernard series –Syrah
*Boschendal -The Pavillion range Rose
*M’Hudi Platinum Range Pinotage
*M’Hudi Platinum Range Shiraz