Franschhoek Wine Tram now tracks far and beyond to the Simonsberg

AS INTERESTING as the news that the Franschhoek Wine Tram service now includes two double-deckers that can carry more passengers and afford better views of the scenery, is that the rail transport connecting the town with the winelands has been extended to three more estates. Sure, you can hop on an open-sided bus and hop off at a number of estates

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Uber Value SA Wine Guide 2017 – highly rated and under R100 a bottle

OF ALL THE wines to receive very good reviews from one or more of the top panels locally or internationally in 2017, these rank as South Africa’s best value at under R100 a bottle – including some platinum award winners, even some trophy winners. The prices given below are those at the cellar door as supplied by the producers, or approximate retail prices in

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Top SA Wine Events in December / Jan – from Franschhoek to Hermanus

THE Top SA wine gatherings to look forward to at this time of the year include the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival and the shows in Nelspruit and Cape Town. With the end of the year just weeks away, some wine lovers are already looking forward to the Pinot Noir Celebration in the Hemel-en-Aarde outside Hermanus come January. For

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Summary of Top SA Wine Ratings in November 2017 – Best Reviews

TOP WHITE WINE RATINGS CHARDONNAY Bartinney Chardonnay 2016 Chamonix Chardonnay 2016 Confluence Chardonnay 2016 (Julien Schaal) Crystallum The Agnes Chardonnay 2016 Delaire Graff Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay 2016 DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Dorrance Cuvée Anaïs Chardonnay 2016 GlenWood Grand Duc Chardonnay 2015 Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2016 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2016 Hoopenburg Integer Chardonnay 2016 Jordan Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 Jordan Nine

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Top 10 places to wine and dine on Cape wine farms – among the vines

According to the critics who wined and dined unannounced and paid for their meals before the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards were presented, the following are the best restaurants in the winelands of South Africa, i.e. on the farms, among the vines, rather than on the high streets or back roads of the towns and villages that punctuate the Cape winelands. The emphasis

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Boschendal Brut among the Top 10 at bubbly taste-off in France

WE ARE NOT crazy about the name of this competition; a case of lost in translation! Effervescents du Monde reminds some of us about the sort of fizzy fruit salts you might take to sort out a bout of indigestion: ENO! But there are plenty of Champagne and other bubbly houses that participate in this ‘Sparkling World’: the 2017 edition attracted over

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IWSC crowns Kanonkop… but talk about leapfrogging to the podium

TROPHY WINNERS: • Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Merlot 2014 (Bergkelder) • Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2015 • Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage 2013 • Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 • Plaisir de Merle Grand Brut 2014 (Cap Classique Sparkling) • Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016 ABOVE ARE the names of the most successful South African entries at the 2017 International Wine & Spirit

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Top 18 wines in Platter’s 2018 guide point to obsession with rankings

99/100 in PLATTER’S 2018 Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Platter’s Red Wine of the Year The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2015 Platter’s White Wine of the Year Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet 2013 Platter’s Unfortified Dessert Wine of the Year Beaumont Starboard NV  (Port) Platter’s Fortified Dessert Wine of the Year 98/100 in PLATTER’S 2018 Cederberg Shiraz 2015

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What’s a fair price to pay for good SA wine, where to draw the line?

LEADING UK wine scribe Jancis Robinson writes on her website that South Africa’s industry is at “a very strange, possibly critical, point in its evolution.” She refers to “a serious cohort of radical and cohesive young winemakers forging a new wine identity for their country” (some of whom she had never heard of, because they are so ‘fledgling’). “There is

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Top SA Wine Ratings in October 2017 – and ‘best value’ reviews

SHEW! October 2017 has been a month of South Africa’s Veritas Awards and the Six Nations Wine Challenge, the SA Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Competition, the Perold Cape Blend and Pinotage Rosé taste-offs, Winemag’s SA Chardonnay Report and the Ultra Value Wine Challenge. The standout laureates over the past few weeks as follows: Cape West Shiraz Pinotage 2015 (Namaqua) Top

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Sauvignon Season gives cause to contemplate variety champions

WHEN you consider South Africa’s best Sauvignon Blanc, Durbanville has punched above its weight division for as long as most can remember. There are only a dozen or so cellars along the wine route, including the Graaffs’ De Grendel estate above the Plattekloof Road in Panorama on the other side of the Tygerberg relative to fellow members of the association.

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Good wines will be appreciated even when ‘Palates under Pressure’

No Hein, no! You don’t give yourself or your wines enough credit! Leopard’s Leap represents good value relative to a lot of the stuff on-shelf, with La Motte’s finest regarded by plenty as pretty impressive. Many wine lovers would argue with you: luck has little to do with it; your farm’s good reputation is well-earned. And we bet you have

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Top SA Chardonnays not all from Stellenbosch, Elgin – 2017 Report

PUBLICATION of the 2017 Prescient Chardonnay Report on Winemag.co.za prompted debate about the standout examples made from this variety in South African cellars as reviewed this year to date. Perhaps the most celebrated for top quality: DeMorgenzon Reserve 2016 at R350pb, Eikendal 2015 at R163, Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2016 at R93 and Rustenberg Five Soldiers 2015 at R400pb, all from

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New Zealand and USA get the better of Aus and SA at Six Nations 2017

AT THE 2017 Six Nations Wine Challenge awards banquet in Sydney, New Zealand was the most successful country, winning 6 trophies, 22 double gold medals and 35 golds. The next most successful was the USA (4 trophies, 18 double golds and 20 golds), followed by Australia, South Africa and Canada, with Chile bringing up the rear in a competition judged

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Durbanville not the only place they make good SA Sauvignon – far from it!

“THE SAUVIGNON Blanc Interest Group of South Africa (SBIG) fosters excellence in making and marketing South African Sauvignon Blanc locally and internationally… The annual FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition was started in 2007 to promote innovation and excellence in the category and reward those making wines of true distinction.” So how did things pan out in the 2017 taste-off?

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Spier 21 Gables Chenin declared SA Champion Wine – Veritas Awards

THE VERTEX Award for the highest-scoring wine at the Veritas Awards has gone to Spier – the first time that a single ‘South African Champion’ has been honoured in this way since the inaugural event in 1990. Plus, the Stellenbosch cellar was the most successful winery on show, collecting six double gold medals, nine golds as well as plenty of

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Good quaffing at under R100 a bottle – Ultra Value winners announced

CELLARS up and down the length of the Breede River Valley had a good year in the 2017 edition of South Africa’s Ultra Value Wine Challenge convened by BuyBetterWine.com – not that they had it all their own way. The top contestants were as follows: MOST SUCCESSFUL ENTRANTS Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar – Worcester Arabella Wines – Ashton De Wet Cellar – Worcester DGB  –

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2017 Cape Blend laureates share stage with winning Pinotage Rosés

AMONG the many words that the Greek philosopher Aristotle is famous for having strung together are that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, something to be debated come the Absa Perold Cape Blend Awards honouring combinations that include a minimum of 30% and no more than 70% Pinotage. There were 53 entries in the 2017 edition

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Beyerskloof, Kanonkop and Kaapzicht fetch top prices at CWG 2017

THE TOP South African wines in terms of the average prices fetched at the 2017 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction in Stellenbosch were as follows, with a case = 6 × 750ml or 4.5 litre equivalent: TOP 10 REDS IN MOST DEMAND Beyerskloof CWG Traildust Pinotage 2015 R8692 per case, R1449 per bottle – Stellenbosch Cellar Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2014 R8138

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Nelson takes top trophy at somewhat surprising Michelangelo Awards

SUCCESS in South Africa’s Cab Franc Challenge, then at the SA Terroir Awards, and now in one of the country’s biggest wine competition… The 2014 vintage of Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc from the Nelson Estate in Paarl must surely be in short supply after winning big time at the 2017 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards in Cape Town. Named

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