Allesverloren landscape

Haskell vineyards on the Helderberg.

Swartland panorama from Pulpit Rock

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form


Posted by on in Blog



We all knew that Kleine Zalze's new cellarmaster had big boots to fill, as he took over from Johan Joubert. Alastair Rimmer's maiden chenin blanc and chardonnay are both ample, enjoyable proof that he will be carrying on the cellar's impressive reputation for over-delivery on quality and pure enjoyment with a range of wines that have attracted strings of awards both here and internationally.

The farm's Vineyard Selection chenin blanc 2015 follows in the tradition of a beautifully balanced meld of fruit with structure lent from subtle oak. Enough acidity to keep everything fresh, ideal late summer wine for both aperitifs and al fresco fare, but can safely be kept for a few years as well. A very good buy at R77.

In similar style, the Vineyard Selection chardonnay 2015, selling for R80 from cellar door is a fine example of Rimmer's talent: both Stellenbosch and Robertson grapes were sourced for this wine, which spent seven months in oak before blending and bottling. The citrus, pear and stone fruit, with apple providing a floral note, fulfil chardonnay fans' expectations, there's a mineral core, and overall elegance which combines to make this a classic with complexity that should develop further if cellared.

In best Kleine Zalze tradition, these constitute another pair of winners.



Last modified on
Tagged in: News Review Wine wine news

Posted by on in Blog


b2ap3_thumbnail_KWV-Verdelho-image-NEW.PNGMy recent rave about Thelema’s delicious Verdelho 2015 elicited a response from brand marketer Cindy Joao of KWV who invited me to try their Verdelho from The scintillating Mentors range. Which I have done and am now a definite devotee of this white grape, widely used in Portugal but that hardly features at the Cape.

The grape is one of the components of Madeira wine, and is also used for fortified wines. Characteristics include lime and honeysuckle flavours, and a slightly oily texture,

The KWV winemaking team have virtually eliminated the oiliness in their elegant Verdelho, but the fruit is plentiful, stone fruit marrying happily with flint and some nuttiness It’s a well rounded wine that is both refreshing and more than satisfying, both on its own and with a variety of late summer fare – I think it will also complement some Cape Malay dishes - such as chicken breyani - with panache. And,of course, enhance Iberian specialities, when the exotic side of its nature will come to the fore. For palates ready for something different, a well-made Verdelho can fit the bill, and  this superb example is going to be hard to beat. 

The KWV is a 2013 vintage, is produced from two components of Stellenbosch grapes. Was left on lees for 100 days after fermentation, and matured for 9 months in half first-fill, and second and third-fill barrels. It should age gracefully for at least three years.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Blog





Groenekloof is a hilly ward in the Darling district, acknowledged as an outstanding source of sauvignon blanc grapes. It was Neil Ellis who put these hectares on the wine map, and was the first to release results in 1991 with his Groenekloof sauvignon blanc , described as “breathtaking” in the then current Platter guide. Fast forward 24 years and the 2015 sauvignon blanc has kept up the fine reputation, receiving 5 stars in the 2016 Platter guide, one of of just four to attract top honours.

With every justification – the bush vines in the Groenekloof are now 35 years old, are not irrigated, adding to the grapes' intensity, while ocean breezes and fogs help which the ripening season. Neil Ellis has produced a sauvignon that succeeds on every level – combining minerality with herbaceous notes, offering both granadilla and citrus flavours, and retaining that refreshing friskiness alongside elegance. Selling for around R80.

The ward is now revealing its possibilities as source of  stunning reds, and no more so than the extraordinary Neil Ellis cinsaut noir 2012 that father and son released at a media tasting late last year. If ever cinsaut needs to prove its capability of becoming  the red equivalent of chenin, a sort of Cindarella rags-to-riches cultivar, this is the wine to do so. The bush vines that were the source for this success are 40 years old, and harvesting started in early March. Malolactic fermentation took place in old 500 litre French oak, the wine spent 18 month in barrels, both first and fourth fill. Alcohol levels of 15% do not detract from rave reviews from both London (Tim Atkin) and the USA, (Stephen Tanzer), and local reaction has been on a par. Loads of fruit, especially dark cherry, some spice balanced by tannic backbone, characteristic of cinsaut that has enjoyed TLC, augmented by careful oaking. Chill lightly and enjoy on its own or with venison carpaccio. Not cheap at R275, but connoisseurs have, no doubt, been snapping it up.

To complete the Groenekloof trio, the Neil Ellis Shiraz 2013 won’t disappoint fans, offering classic aromas and berry flavours, along with pepper and whiffs of other spices that recall Cape Malay savoury delights. Expect to pay about R100.

Taste these and other vinous gems at the recently opened Neil Ellis cellar at the start of Helshooste pass outside Stellenbosch. The tasting room is open every day except Sunday, and there are cheese and charcuteries platters to share if you want to make a meal of your visit. Tel: 021 887 0649 or email

Last modified on

Posted by on in Blog



A pair of  superior Cape brandies – great testimony to the impressive quality of South Africa’s most historic spirit - awaits a winner… This could be you, so don’t delay, enter today, and be in with a chance to raise a balloon to spirited craftsmanship.


The Van Ryn’s distillery is a landmark on the Eerste river banks outside Stellenbosch. Established in 1845 by Jan van Ryn, the tradition of fine brandy-making was introduced 170 years back and continues today. Among its range of copper potstills is one dating back nearly two centuries that is still in daily use.

Van Ryn’s 20-year-old Collectors' Reserve is the crown jewel in the Van Ryn collection, a golden spirit that has benefitted from two decades of leisurely maturation in French oak. Sniff it gently, and savour aromas of dried fruit, fresh pears, spice and honey. Sip slowly and let those flavours fill your palate, further enhanced by whiffs of marmalade, citrus, tropical fruit and mellow nuttiness, all enveloped in a satin -smooth mouthful. Since 2008 this brandy has collected an array of gold and double gold awards, both from the IWSC or International Wine & Spirit competition and the SA Veritas Awards. Earlier this year two Van Ryn potstill brandies – The Reserve 15-year-old and the 20-year-old - brought home gold and silver from the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, held in China and competing against nearly 1400 spirits from 43 countries.

The Klipdrift distillery in Robertson is not as old as Van Ryn but boasts an intriguing history which is well illustrated at its fine visitors centre. Their Black Gold brought home a silver medal at the 2015 Concours, where judges clearly enjoyed the uncommon blend of fine potstill brandies with Arabica coffee beans from the Ethiopian highlands and cocoa beans from the Cote d’Ivoire. This is a spirit offering a fine tribute to delectable tastes from the African continent, crafted into an after-dinner liqueur that combines spice, mocha and more,  best served neat, over ice.

Both these brandies are among a stable of spirits whose quality is recognised globally as world class, as well as being proudly South African. We need more consumers to discover this, after which they are likely to become enthusiastic converts, and resist the temptation of rivers of diverse – and sometimes inferior - competitors' products  that flow south from Scotland!

When it comes to creating trad Christmas fare, it’s brandy that we need for the cake, the brandy butter, the fruity pud – although using the prize bottles below would be a touch extravagant.





A pair of brilliant brandies is awaiting a winner somewhere in South Africa. The prize consists of a bottle of Van Ryn’s 20-year-old Collectors Reserve and another of Klipdrift Black Gold, Together they are worth nearly R1 800.00, and will make an opulent and impressive addition to your home cellar.

To be in line to win the pair, send an e-mail to by close of business on Friday, November 13. Include your full name, daytime telephone number and address. Put Brandy competition in the subject line. The winner will have his prize delivered to his doorstep.

The winning entry will be randomly drawn and the winner contacted by e-mail and telephone. Good luck. The winner's name will be published on this website.


  1. Only one entry per email address please.
  2. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Last modified on
Tagged in: News Wine

Posted by on in Blog


b2ap3_thumbnail_Perdeberg-cellarmaster-Albertus-L-ouw.jpgPerdeberg cellarmaster Albertus Louw

Any cellar that releases 22 million litres of wine a year and still maintains a reputation for consistent quality - along with regularly attracting awards - deserves both attention and pats on the back, no matter what geeks may pronounce about their ranges.

Perdeberg Winery is the giant producer in the Voor Paardeberg ward, a former co-operative, now a limited company,that has been going strong for more than 70 years. Some 60-plus producers, most of whom are in the ward, are contracted to grow grapes of all kinds, although it is chenin blanc for which the winery is best known.

Visit the site at harvest time and you will have to negotiate your way around the queue of trucks carrying bins piled high with grapes that snakes around the yard and out of the gate. If you get to look inside the large cellar, you will see rows of giant stainless steel tanks in the gloom.

Along with its very affordable standard range, there is the Vineyard Collection and, more recently, the Dry Land range, which have upped the quality and choice considerably. Fine chenin, wooded and unwooded, leads the whites, which include chardonnay/viognier and pinot noir/chardonnay blends. Chenin is also used for two bubblies, a maiden four-star Cap Classique and sparkling chenin in the standard range.

The cellar is celebrating a pleasing total  from 2015 Veritas at present, having scooped 24 awards from 29 entries, including double gold for its Dry Land sauvignon blanc 2014 and gold for the Dry Land chenin 2014. I would have reversed these two.

A recent sampling of half a dozen of the newly-relased vintages confirms Perdeberg’s ongoing commitment to value for money. Starting at the top, the star of the show for me was the Dry Land 2014 unwooded chenin, a prime example of how the Cinderella cultivar has blossomed into princess garb, offering delicious aromas of citrus and tropical fruit followed by more on the palate, encased in a crisp summery wine, selling at R70. The chenin from the Vineyard range (R55) is less intense, but presents plenty of stone and tropical fruit, while the Vineyard sauvignon blanc (R55) should please most fans, as it offers a spectrum of flavours along with some grassiness.

I find the whites a step ahead of the reds when it comes to quality: that said, the Vineyard Collection 2013 shiraz is a very acceptable example, medium-bodied, offering classic white pepper, and plum on the palate,(R65) and the 2013 pinotage at the same price will satisfy many fans. The Dry Land 2012 cab (R82) is a typical example of contemporary ready-to-drink red with some backbone and spice along with berry fruit. And that really is what sums up Perdeberg products – if you choose to keep them they will surely improve, but the vast majority of consumers will open them soon after purchase, to toast the sunset, to sip ahead of the weekend braai or to enhance al fresco fare, whether salad, seafood or good Karoo lamb.

Last modified on
Tagged in: News Review Wine