Category Archives: South African wines

Wine(s) of the Week- Syrah-Grenache & Pinot Noir

Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah-Grenache 2015

This charming Syrah-Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France delivers spicy hints of cinnamon and vanilla along with black cherry. The winemaker, Francois Lorton, represents his family’s fifth generation in winemaking since 1897. The Mas Janeil vineyards comprise 59 acres in Maury in the Roussilon region on the Meriterranean coast. The Rhone red blend offers notes of black fruit and  licorice with strong tannins. It’s 80 percent Syrah and 20 percent Grenache, with 13.5 percent ABV. Spicy, peppery and elegant, it’s imported by Cape Classics.

B – Black Bream Pinot Noir, 2015

B Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir comes from Walker Bay on South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. The name, bream,  comes from that of the country’s national fish, the galleon, found in inaccessible shallow areas of the coastline.  It’s made by cousins Bruwer Raats and Gavin Bruwer Slabbert and reflects its red and black fruit along with hints, its makers note, of crushed oyster shells which deliver a “distinctive saline character.” The wine celebrates its heritage and terroir – soils rich in limestone – and is aged for 12 to 14 months in old French oak barrels.

Both of these wines offer value to both restaurateurs’ wine lists and diners who select them. We love wine and wine by the glass lists that offer wines that aren’t “the usual suspects”! Exploration makes for an educational and often, delicious outcome.




Wine(s) of the Week – Rustenberg Chardonnay ’15 & Niro Pecorino ’16

It’s summer and white wines are the beverage we want to be sipping on hot 80+-degree days! Here are two we recently tried and found to be good options for steamy summer drinking.

The South African Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay, 2015 is made with grapes from the best vineyards and are fermented and aged for 12  months in French casks. You’ll detect notes of apricot and orange peel with hints of marzipan and citrus as well. From Italy, there is the Pecorino Terre di Chieti from Italy’s Abruzzo region, made from Pecorino grapes which offer hints of tropical fruits, herbs and minerals. Nero Pecorino, the winemaker says, is “an authentic example of Abruzzo’s recently rediscovered signature white grape.

The two offer pleasurable drinking on these warm and often humid summer days and evenings. Enjoy!

Wine(s) of the Week – Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 & Dow 2011 Late Bottle Vintage Porto

Rich red wines are a treat, no matter what the season of the year and these two wines bring excellent value to restaurants/bars and consumers alike.

The Robertson Winery, established in Robertson, South Africa in 1941, has an extended family today of 35 contributing farms, most of them 7th generation. Located in what many years ago was a church, it’s on the Breede River which it calls “a life source.”

The wine is matured for four months in French oak and has “no hard edges,” the winery notes.  Visit and

Dow’s 2011 Late Bottled Vintage  Porto comes from Portugal’s Douro Valley and received 99 points from Wine Spectator. The winery’s vintage ports come from two of the best vineyards in the Douro Valley and in the winery’s classic style, are slightly dry and concentrated with spicy notes. These wines, the winery points out, are only made in the finest years and are very special. With a suggested retail price of $82, they are stand-out, special occasion treats from the Symington Family which has been making Port  wines since 1882. Enjoy this luscious wine with its concentrated black fruit, spice and chocolate flavors, soft tannins and dry finish, and toast its excellent winemakers! Check out and Premium Port Wines Inc.


Wine of the Week – Topiary Shiraz 2014

A beautiful Shiraz from the Western Cape of South Africa

FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA – Topiary, a relatively young winery which is said to be the only French-owned one in the country, is owned by two Frenchmen, Philippe Colin and Serge Jacqzynski with backgrounds in the wine industry in their native land  – Philippe as a wine farmer in Burgundy, and Serge, as a former sommelier.
This particular wine is 100 percent Shiraz, from grapes grown on 15 year old trellised vines that face south and are planted in a mix of granite and sandstone. The wine offers hints of Damson plum, mulberry, white pepper and spices such as anise, with what some critics have called “silky” tannins. It’s a wine that spends 12 months in French oak barrels, 10 percent of which are new, for aging. The rest of the barrels used are 2nd to 4th fill.

Topiary Shiraz ’14 is smooth and silky with a long finish. It’s 14.3% ABV Delicious with dark fruits, we think you’ll find it a good value at around $23 retail.

Wine of the Week – Beyond Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

This South African Sauvignon Blanc comes from Buitenverwachting, a winery dating to 1796 and known today for an array of wines that are designed to express its name, which stands for “Beyond Expectation.” It was founded by the first governor of the then new Dutch colony at the tip of Africa in Constantia, Cape Town. It flourished as a wine farm, due largely to 90 000 vines planted in 1825 by Ryk Arnoldus Cloete, brother of the famous Hendrik Cloete of Constantia.
Today, the Mueller family has retraced its roots, restoring the winery to former glory and planting selected cultivars. Its maiden grape harvest was the first in 30 years and lived up to the name.

The wines – more whites than reds- became internationally acclaimed. The vines of this Sauvignon Blanc range in age from three to 16 years. Vinification consisted of part whole bunch pressing and part skin contact for 12 hours, and a selection of five years strains. The wine has an ABV of 13.5% and is a pale yellow color. Dry and full bodied, it has a most of green figs and hints of gooseberries and peppers. You’ll taste citrus with minerality in the long finish. It is imported by Cape Classics.


Wine of the Week – Reyneke Vinehugger 2014

Reyneke wines from Stellenbosh, South Africa are produced by Johan Reyneke, Jr. who began in 1998 and developed an organic approach to winemaking, eventually moving to using biodynamic principles.

His approach was groundbreaking at the time when he first began making Reyneke Wines Stellenbosch.This moderately priced ($17.98 SRP) wine, Reyneke Vinehugger 2014, is deep red and fruity with a nose of currants, blackberry, bell pepper, plum, spice, oak, and ginger. On the nose, it offers hints of currant, blackberry cherry, cedar, cigar box, violet, rose, earth, truffles, coffee and leather. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and Merlot (50%).

Reyneke believes in allowing the wine to speak for itself and express the farm’s unique situation without chemical enhancements. This one is 13.5% ABV. We’ve been a fan of Reyneke’s wines for quite a few years now, enjoying their freshness and fruitiness. We find this one to deliver excellent value on a wine by the glass list. In the U.S., The Indigo Wine Group, Venice, FL is the importer.