Exploring, Visited

Beer is Good, Wine is Excellent, What About Wine in Beer?


I have been saying this for a little while, and now the eminent MW Tim Atkin has agreed: now is the most exciting time to be involved in the South African wine scene.

If you are into new and sparkly things, however, the local craft beer scene may be even more exciting. It is burgeoning. Nowadays it feels like you can’t open a garage door in Cape Town without finding some bearded, skinny-jeaned chap messing about with barley, hops and water.

The one producer who for me is leading the charge in scale, quality, and intent is Devil’s Peak Brewery. I first head about them when I tasted my first Indian Pale Ale, the King’s Blockhouse IPA. It’s a super hoppy, fruit bomb of a beer. On that day I woke up to a different beer drinking life. The insipid, fizzy, flavourless larger scales fell from my eyes. No longer was I a Black Label sipping Saul, but an IPA guzzling Paul. Continue reading “Beer is Good, Wine is Excellent, What About Wine in Beer?”


Big Bottle Party Debrief Part Two (the last, phew)

**Warning. This is long, slightly rambling, and is mainly about me drinking.***

I left you last time as made my way from the Rare Blanc de Blancs tasting toward dinner. Not quite tottering yet, by jolly enough to high-five whomever crossed my path. The dinner was held in The Conservatory and on my way there I thought I would try a quick blog post. The idea I had – and oh how naive was I – was to fire off a quick post at various stages of the weekend. I managed two. Anyway, I grabbed a quick glass of Joh Jos Prum 2007, sat, and banged away at the keyboard for 10 minutes ignoring one and all. Having posted those 500 words I took my seat at the dinner table.

Continue reading “Big Bottle Party Debrief Part Two (the last, phew)”

Drunk, Visited

Plenty wine, plenty food, yet not a single olive

I must apologise for the lack of posts recently. You see I am in the midst of a two-week stint working nights. This I thought would free up my time during the day to blog, taste wine and sort out admin. But in reality it has simply meant, sleeping in, lazy breakfasts, reading and long lunches. I did manage a haircut though.

Well whatever, I am back this week and I have a couple of things planned. There is a little mission back into the rolling dusty hills of the Swartland to visit Adi Badenhorst to find out about the smallest co-op in the country. I will be doing a  ‘Zulu’ wine video tasting with Allister from Under the Influence. There is also a Marimba Rick-Roll on Saturday, but more on that later.

A busy week, and all of this amongst serving platters of steaming Kudu, Warthog, Springbok and crocodile to hordes of tourists. Those foreigners love their game meat. Especially the Germans, who only love tall painted up prostitutes more. pretty town

To start the week off, however, a quick report back form this weekend’s Olive festival. Although I could only make the Sunday my plan was still to and eat and drink until I fell asleep. I think I can award myself a first for this assignment.

It started off in style as I forged my way through the throngs of fat leather clad bikers to get to Mullineux Family Wines. Nicola Tipping, Mullineux’s new sales and marketing lady/person/head honcho/whatever was pouring the wines, and started me off on the 2008 White Blend. It is made up of 82% Chenin, and equal parts Clairette Blanche, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. It was a little warm and extremely tight, but I found the flowing waxiness and peachiness intriguing.  A serious wine. The 2008 Syrah was big but restrained, showing some characteristic Swartland dustiness with spice, black pepper and a silky mouthfeel. Hands down the best Syrah I’ve had in ages. But the straw wine took the cake, the candle, the knife and the little girl in her frilly party dress. Oh dear lord it is good. After pestering MulblogNicola for a glass – it wasn’t put for public tasting yet I spied an open bottle on the bookshelf – I wandered around  letting the layers of dried apricots, oranges, marzipan with a touch of spice, and slight honeyed flavours drift over my palate. The acidity is exceptional and leaves your palate refreshed with the flavours going on forever. Superb. 5678pts on the patented 5723 point scale.

The value range consists of a Chenin and a red blend with the Chenin over delivering on quality as usual, although I am not too sure about the label.


With good value Swartland Chenin on my mind I broke out the big glass and ambled off to find Adi and get a bit of his Secateurs Chenin in me before tasting drinking his two top end, kickass wines.

adibl Overexcited, I have two glasses on the go at once.

After guzzling the minerally but meaty red blend and arguing as to why I should get a couple cases  of the Secetuers Chenin for the restaurant (Adi somehow remembers me complaining about bottle shock the first time I tasted it, and reckons I should wait for the 2010 version) it was time to buy some wine.

The Wine Collective (the blue building above) sells all area’s wines. So you will find the Mullineux wines, the Badenhorst’s, the Sadie’s, Lammershoek, Annexkloof, Babylon’s Peak as well as a few local eccentricities like the El Presidente 2008 a red blend made by the owners of the shop.

Wine Collective

The Wine Collective. I am wondering how many more bottles I can fit in my backpack.

Then it was lunch. There was an Afrikaans Balkan band (seriously) kicking it down outside Bar Bar Black Sheep and we had a quick drink while we waited for our table.


I found our table.

I had an incredible garlic and onion soup with gorgonzola to start and then Swartland Skaap Nek Bredie – slow cooked lamb neck with bay leaves, tomato, coriander, orange juice and rind and finished with black olives. It was as good as it sounds. We drank the restaurant’s own Chenin the Santa Cecelia and a bottle of the Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2008.


The house wine showing off wearing my glasses

Rolling out of the restaurant we watched the Boere Balkan band for a little before heading back home.

band Kicking it in the Black Sheep’s court-yard.



And again for the second year in a row I realised that I attended the Olive festival and forgot to eat any olives. Do I care? Not in the slightest. Grapes are better than olives anyway.