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 I am deliberately pairing these two fine cap classiques in one blog as as several winelovers have been confused about their provenance.





Not only bubbly fans but winelovers everywhere were sad to hear that the Krone family – who had been dedicated and caring custodians of the historic Twee Jonge Gezellen estate in Tulbagh since 1712 –had to sell their farm 300 years later. The estate was renowned for its fine cap classiques, and the Krone family as pioneers of night harvesting, cold fermentation and late disgorgement, along with innovative approaches to employer-worker relationships.

Twelfth generation winemaker Matthew Krone swore at first he would never make wine again after leaving the farm, but, happily for consumers and the local industry, was persuaded by friends to return to what he is best at. As a consultant he made fine MCC’s for various Cape cellars then graduated toward his own label. Alexandra de la Marque 2010 was launched, with suitable fanfare, at the Societi Bistro on February 29 this year. It’s a highly acclaimed classic, comprising 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir and limited to 6 000 bottles. It is apposite that its name has a patrician ring, being a combination of that of his first child, and of his maternal grandmother. Future vintages will only appear in leap years, evidence that this is a cap classique for those who want bubblies with complexity and structural depth, only obtainable when they are left to develop for up to five years or more. Rich flavours of peach, citrus, crusty newly-baked loaves enveloped in tiny bubbles are followed by a savoury finish. It sells for around R220. See for more info.


Twee Jonge Gezellen farm and estate is now owned by Vinimark, a major wine company, who has invested in renovation and expansion of the sparkling wine cellar and vines. They have also retained the Krone family name as brand name of the cap classique range, a decision both sensible and sensitive. Along with a classic and rosé brut, they have launched The Phoenix, a non-vintage bubbly that blends the 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages and that has enjoyed nine years maturation. Biscuity aromas lead to wafts of apple, lemon and almond, all melding into a zesty whole with a fine mousse. The imported bottle in its matching black box adds an air of luxury to this impressive MCC which sells for around R280.

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South Africa's favourite red wine will take centre stage on Tuesday June 21 when the annual SA Shiraz Showcase takes place at the CTICC in the city. There for the sampling will be the winning dozen - the top 12 shirazes and three shiraz blends that took top honours at the Shiraz SA Challenge awards ceremony in Paarl last month. But, along with with the winners, finalists, more than 100 shiraz and shiraz-led blends will be poured at the show.

Snacks and fare that complements shiraz will be on sale.

Along with the many fans of this spicy red wine a number of restaurateurs, sommeliers and wine students are expected to attend. The showcase is sponsored by Juvenal Cork SA in conjunction with  French Tonnellerie Berthomieu Ermitage.

Cyber Cellar, who will have a stand at the show, are selling to 12 winning wines in two price brackets - premium and great value..Also there will be The Pebbles Project who benefit from the wines remaining after judging. They will showcase their projects at the show.

Tickets cost R120 which includes entry, glass, brochure, and tastings. Book through or from Cape Town Tourism. The show runs from 18h00 to 21h00.





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As June draws closer, there are more tempting wine events to diarise, appetising enough to win over alternatives like fireside cocooning.



An early winter evening to savour! Finish the second week in June with an appetising lineup of the finest chardonnays and pinot noirs from top Cape producers.

Head to the hospitable Vineyard hotel on Friday, June 10 at 5pm and sample these patrician cultivars along with a range of delectable snacks. Stock up with your favourites at special prices before going home.

As before, the event is hosted by Wine Concepts, and tickets cost R170. The Vineyard is offering a special DBB deal at the hotel to complement.

Tickets are available through, at Wine Concepts stores and at the door. For more info, Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401 or email or visit





There’s no excuse for not relishing this lunchtime treat! Eikendal is hosting their Winter Pizza & Wine Pairing every week, from Tuesday to Sunday, from noon to 4pm, until the end of June. For just R50 a head, diners will tuck into a trio of thin-crusted mini-pizzas, topped with a great range of piquant flavours, and paired with the perfect estate wine to please the palate.

Along with the freshly-baked pizzas, children are catered for with cookIes and milk for R30.

The tasting room makes the venue, and the menu includes a Mexicana (Mince, chilli and peppers), accompanied with shiraz, the ham, olive and mushroom partnered with their 2014 pinotage and their fillet and avo served with the 2013 cabernet sauvignon.

 To book for this winter pairing  contact Eikendal at Tel: 021 855 1422 or send an email to



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 Johan du Preez, CEO of Rooiberg Winery, and Mossie Basson, conservationist at Graham Beck Wines recently received the Cape Fox trophy for best conservancy in the Western Cape area of the Conservation at Work organisation.




When it was announced last week that Graham Beck wines was going to focus exclusively on making MCC’s, bubbly fans applauded while others wondered about the future of the fine wines in their still ranges.

The good news is that the future of the highly enjoyable and popular Game Reserve wines is guaranteed with Rooiberg as new custodian. The two wineries will collaborate to ensure consistency of quality, and the range will be distributed by Rooiberg from July.  For each bottle sold R3 is contributed to the Wilderness Foundation’s conservation and education programme.

Rooiberg’s CEO Johan du Preez pointed out the following: .“As Graham Beck’s neighbour in the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy, Rooiberg boasts a 50-year history and shares its dedication to quality wine production in harmony with nature and in the best interests of the community.  Rooiberg is ISO 9001 and HACCP accredited, a certified Organic Producer of wine, registered for Integrated Production of Wine (IPW)."

The Game Reserve wines comprise seven varietal wines, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage.      

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The COED definition is precise: “spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavoured with juniper berries.”

Ah, but that’s what gin used to be. Reword now to something like - could be juniper-flavoured, but likely to contain others as well. And the alcohol could be grape-based or distilled from cane sugar .…

Both The Guardian and Telegraph newspapers boast very readable articles on the current gin trend, describing it as a re-gineration, and pointing out that 49 new gin distilleries opened in the UK during 2015.

We are not that prolific but the gin craze has hit Cape Town and the Western Cape with spirited force. Not only have gin bars opened in the Mother City but South Africans have a growing selection of craft gins to sip,  sample and compare.

Among the first to tap into the new trend was the Inverroche distillery in Stilbaai which launched its first gin three years ago, according to a fascinating podcast that you can hear on their website. Lauren Scott produces three fynbos gins, classic, verdant and coastal, referring to the area in which the plants are grown. She now exports to 13 countries.

Fast forward to 2016 and head to Blaauwklippen estate outside Stellenbosch.b2ap3_thumbnail_Buitenverwachting_Gin-styled.jpg Adding to their impressive range of wines and brandy, cellarmaster Rolf Zeitvogel launched a trio of craft gins in February, known as the Triple Three. The first, Juniper Berries is classic, described as offering aromas of menthol, eucalyptus, pine, cloves and lime. The Citrus Infusion gin is infused with flavours of organic lemons from Stellenbosch and Eastern Cape oranges, with juniper berries in the mix adding to the complexity of the botanicals (or flavourings.) The third  gin is called African Botanicals, presenting flavours of buchu and rooibos, cloves and pine, plus earthiness of menthol berries, moss and forest honey.

These three cost R300 each and are available from the farm, from Picardi Rebel and Pick’nPay.

To Constantia and another wine farm boasting a 300+ year heritage. Buitenverwachting started experimenting with spirits some six years ago, followed a grappa with an eau-d-vie and a fine five-year-old brandy. Two years ago gin came into the spotlight as Lars Maack and distiller Joerg Saupp spent 18 months perfecting a blend of more than 30 botanicals, including pepper, lavender, orange, and lemon blossoms, rosemary and coriander. Alcohol based on cane sugar proved to be the best base, blended with about 15% grape alcohol.  The Buitenverwachting gin was released a year ago, to great acclaim. Limited stocks have led to some disappointed customers,so visitors should check on availability. Meanwhile Lars and Joerg are now conjuring up a winter gin with a warmer, smoother character to combat chilly nights. More of this later.

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