Winter is a time when we eat hearty meals and spend time in front of the fire place. A good glass of wine completes the picture of winter romance. But winter is not freezing cold all day long everywhere we go. Some areas experience lovely warm days which calls for slightly lighter wines, but we can all agree that a good red wine hits the spot most of the time. We also included a dessert wine in the selection as this is a wonderful way to finish a meal and warm the heart one last time at the end of a meal.

blackwater_pinot_noirBlackwater Prodigium Pinot Noir 2012 @ R305
WO Elgin

Francois Haasbroek became known as winemaker for the famous Waterford Estate some years ago and about 2 years ago decided it was time to venture out on his own. He was obviously working on a few great ideas already and we saw him entering the market with a serious bang. Every wine he has put his own name to has been outstanding and sometimes somewhat different and interesting.

With this Pinot Noir he has proved that he knows his way around good grapes and he knows how to turn it into a great wine. The grapes are from a single vineyard in Elgin and only about 800 bottles were made. Only older French oak barrels were used for the fermentation as well as aging thereafter for a total of 18 months. The final wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined, making sure that the final product doesn’t get stripped of any flavours.

whalepodWhale POD Syrah Merlot 2013 @ R79
WO Walker Bay

Creation wines have ensured a high reputation for their consistently outstanding wines made by JC Martin since the very first vintage. JC and Carolyn (nee Finlayson) purchased this peace of heaven in 2002 and planted a few hectares with the finest varietal clones. They are both incredibly hard working and dedicated and it shows in the complete offering of their wines across the world.

The Whale Pod range reflects the proud maritime origins of the Walker Bay region, where whales come to play and calve in the warmer summer months. The label depicts various “positions” the whales “achieve” with their large bodies as you turn the bottle. This wine shows an abundance of berry flavours like blackcurrant and blackberries perfectly balance with pepper and spice and a touch of toasty oak.

kershaw_wineKershaw Clonal Selection Syrah 2012 @ R311
WO Elgin

Richard Kershaw is the first South African winemaker to qualify as a Master of Wine, and he really is a master when it comes to making wine as well. His aim is to produce wines from as cool a climate as possible in South Africa and to select grapes according to clone as well as site. Elgin is the place he calls home now and his first Chardonnay was released last year and received 5 stars in the 2014 Platter’s Guide. The Syrah needed a bit more time and we are all completely blown away by this elegant wine.

Very careful winemaking techniques and gentle processes were used to create this inviting wine. Only 50% new oak was used and after a total of 15 months the wine was bottled with no fining. It is a clean inviting wine that is not overpowering in any aspect except elegance. Just the right amount of white pepper and spice to compliment the delicate fruit flavours and fine tannins.

remhoogteRemhoogte Aspect Merlot 2012 @ R127
WO Stellenbosch

The Boustred family has been producing some stellar wines on the Simonsberg slopes for many years. They’ve become known for their full bodied reds and here we have a Merlot made with extensive care from vineyard selection all the way to barrel selection. They believe the position and “aspect” of the specific vineyard chosen for this wine has a great influence on the end result. In winemaking terms we love using the word terroir, which includes aspect as one of the influencing factors on a wine. The result is a wine that abounds with aromas of cherries and dark ripe fruit, balanced by herbal, fynbos notes. It has afull round palate showing ripe fruit with notes of savoury elements. Enjoy this now and if you have the patience, put a few away for another 5-10 years.

paradyskloofParadyskloof Blend 2011 @ R127
WO Stellenbosch

This wine is a celebration of 30 years of Paradyskloof wines by Jan Boland Coetzee at Vriesenhof. With this wine they’re also celebrating the history of Pinotage in that it is made up of the father, Pinot Noir (85%), the mother, Cinsaut (8%), and child Pinotage (7%). It brings the best of all three varieties together with fresh aromas from Pinot Noir and Cinsaut balanced by the heavier palate and dry finish of Pinotage.

Imagine wonderful aromas of strawberries and raspberries with a hint of apricot. The palate has a good structure with a hint of minerality. Flavours of apricot and raspberry dominate the palate with a lingering dried peach on the aftertaste. My wine of choice for slightly warmer days around the braai fires in the winter.

donkiebaaiDonkiesbaai Hooiwijn 2013 @ R219
WO Piekenierskloof 

With this range Jean Engelbrecht is remembering the many holidays that four generations of their family has spent at Donkiesbaai on the West Coast. Hooiwijn translates to Straw Wine, but can easily also refer to the West Coast accent where an R sounds like an H often. So if you thought this was a red wine after just seeing the label, you’re forgiven.

This delicious dessert wine is made of Chenin Blanc grapes from the Piekenierskloof which is inland towards the Cederberg mountains. Grapes are harvested at full ripeness and bunches are placed on a rack that have been covered by straw. Twice a week bunches are turned by hand to ensure that they don’t get sunburnt. Once the grapes reach the desired concentrated sugar level it’s removed from the racks for pressing. The wine is fermented and aged in only 3 barrel for a further 8 months before bottling. Intense honey and pineapple flavours are complimented by gentle spice notes. It has a rich creamy mouth feel with an elegant clean finish.

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