Tag Archives: South African wines

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.


NYC African Food Festival coming to Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY – The NYC African Food Festival, a new, two-day event, opens here August 13, Saturday, at noon and again on Sunday at 8 p.m., offering a variety of African foods plus engagement with African chefs, food experts, plus the chance to learn about a special coffee festival and check out textiles and apparel in the Queens tent, as well as grooving to DJs.

The first of what is expected to be an annual event is co-chaired by Marie-Claude Mendy, chef-owner of Teranga Boston with musician Ishmael Osekre who’ve teamed up this summer to provide tasty and sophisticate foods such as goat curry ravioli, sweet potato blini and trout caviar along with smoked honey and dates, fonio and red palm oil, vegan fare and multi-course feasts.

In addition to Marie-Claude Mendy, other chefs that will be attendance and presenting dishes include Pierre Thiam, Dieuveil Malonga, Zinyusile Khumbula, Coco Reinarhz, Joy Parma, Grace Odogbili, Bada Komlan, Alassane Ba, and Melchizedek Mensah.

Marie-Claude knew from the beginning as she grew up in Dakar, Senegal that she was meant to be a chef, starting at age five and preparing dishes from scratch with fresh, local ingredients, often with her father who encouraged her.

Growing up, she spent time in Paris and London, later coming to Washington, DC where she had a small catering business.

Winding up later in Boston, she fell in love with the city and eventually opened Teranga, introducing residents to Senegalese fare.

Her partner in the festival, Ishmael Osekre, came to New York from Ghana in West Africa and wound up hosting a radio show, and performing at the Apollo Amateur night and numerous colleges in the Northeast. He moved on, receiving a Last Mile foundation scholarship and later, a fellowship at the Harvard Innovation Lab, to curate the first AfriCan Music Festival and become a blogger as well as forming Osekre and The Lucky Bastards, an Afrocentric band.

At the New York City African Food Festival, attendees may sign up for a five course, VIP dinner, visit one of several themed tents such as Shisa (a hookah tent) or sample food from vendors taking part.

Participants will include chefs, food historians, cultural experts, musicians and DJs from across the African continent and African diaspora, who will gather to celebrate the continent’s culinary depth and diversity at this inaugural event

Tickets range from $10 (Early General Admission) to $2,500 (Bottle service + Festival (Ultra): www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-african-food-festival-tickets-23872202400

The event takes place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201. Sponsors are Nestle, San Pellegrino, Rekorderlig, WoodChuck Gumption, Truly Spiked and Sparkling, Lolailo Sangria, Widow Jane, Red Bull, Carib Shandy, Brooklyn Brewery, Tsingtao, Yelp, Moet, Manhattan Beer Company Distributors, Afropolitan InAsights and Teranga.


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.

A special late harvest Gewurtztraminer arrives

The Robertson Winery is east of Capetown in the Western Cape, home to a number of winemakers who began planting grapes in the 17th century. Robertson Winery’s Special Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer, 2014, is already sold out – a tribute to its quality and value (retail price range is $10-$12). It is 11.5 percent ABV and has flavors of peach and litchi, plus has a feature providing “extra interest,” the winemaker says, a touch of honeyed botrytis. Robertson is an extended family of 35 participating farms, most of which are seventh generation wine producers. Visit www.facebook.com/Robertson Winery. The wines are distributed by Indigo Wine Group (www.indigowinegroup.com).

Wine(s) of the Week – time for winter whites

A snowy winter weekend is a good time to celebrate winter whites! Think clean, crisp and delicious – meant for sipping as you watch the snow fall outside your windows.
We love the wines of Portugal and Herdade d’Esporão doesn’t disappoint. Monte Velho 2013 is the result of a long, wet spring and dry summer months. Fermented in stainless steel tanks with temperature control, it had an early bottling.
The wine is 3.5% ABV and won two silver medals.

This is a well balanced wine with a long, aromatic fruit finish from three varietals, Antao, Perrum and Roupeiro. The finish is citrusy and the color, pale straw. It’s moderately priced – mid-teens – and makes a great addition to wine by the glass lists.

From our own West Coast in California’s Carmel Valley, Holman Ranch‘s Pint Gris 2013 Estate Grown is made with  organically grown grapes from the ranch which has been producing wines since 1928.
This particular white is priced in the high teens and is 12.5% ABV. Fresh and fruity, it makes a welcome addition to the dinner table or by the glass with its bright acidity. The climate here, is ideal for Pinot Gris, with  the warmth of the inland valley and a cooling marine layer that create an ideal microclimate.