White Stick Sips @ The Westin Grand

So we started our White Stick Sips restaurant wine list review endeavour at The Westin Grand last week.

Here are my scores:

Wine Restaurant Price My scores
Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc ’08 R215 15
Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Chardonnay ’08 R310 15
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay ’08 R695 16.5
Kumkani VVS  ’05 R380 17
Kanonkop Paul Sauer ’05 R890 14.5
Veenwouden Merlot ’05 R550 14.5
Thelema The Mint Cabertnet Sauvignon ’05 R580 15.5
Radford Dale Shiraz ’04 R550 17.5

A quick note on how we are scoring. We have decided to use the 20 point scale but with a slight twist. We have given ourselves all 10 points after 10 to work with, as opposed to having a wine that scores below 13 being thought of as faulty.

I am not quite sure how my favourite wine (after we finished we retasted and drank the remaining wines) the Veenwouden Merlot 2005 ended up with 14.5, that’s just not right. Let alone the Paul Sauer 2005 which ended up with the same score and was called at one point a “easy drinking Pinotage.” For Shame.

The wines, somewhat retrospectively, were excellent. The Kumkani VVS 2005 was especially delicious with the bottle age giving it an intriguing kerosene Riesling like character; despite the age there was still fruit showing, and it had a wonderful balanced acidity.  I wasn’t too impressed with the Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Chardonnay 2008 where the oak was a little too dominant, and made the wine a bit chunky. The Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2008 was very good, with quite a complex palate, leading me to –quite falsely – to believe there was a little something else going on in the wine, a splash of viognier perhaps?

The reds were top notch, despite my scores. The elegance and poise of the  Veenwouden Merlot 2005 was uncanny, and I should never have scored it so low. I didn’t like the Paul Sauer, I found there to be strong banana note that had me thinking Pinotage, as well as a slight astringency. and was my least favourite red of the evening.

A huge thanks to The Westin Grand and their Food and Beverage Director Eben Nel for letting us taste such lovely wines. We were hosted in the Executive wes1445re.63352_mdLounge which offers wonderful views of the mountain and out to sea.

All in all an excellent tasting, lovely wines, slightly dodgy scoring. The longer we do this the better we’ll get.

Harry’s picks from The Westin Grand:

Realising that we only drank 8 wines from a rather imposing wine list this is not the most useful advice but here it is none the less:
White: The Kumkani VVS 2005. This wine shows how well our whites can ages, and offers a quite a lot for the price (remember these are hotel prices)

Red:  The  Veenwouden Merlot ’05. This is an island of class in a sea of plebby merlots that are around, flabby and alcoholic. Sure it’s pricy on this menu, but I would seriously go for it over the Paul Sauer (Sorry ZAWino, but it’s true)


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