Friday, 29 September 2017

Billaud-Simon Chablis Tête D'Or 2012 France

Chablis is not always appreciated the way it should especially when you taste a wine from Billaud-Simon. If you ever want to discover top Chablis than this house is the one to try out. I have tried this house on many occasion and each time my heart falls in love with the identity and craft this domain brings to the world.
The other very interesting fact on Chablis is that on a whole it is super affordable and will bring you pleasure and satisfaction, sure you need to know where to shop and who to taste.


Chablis belongs to one of the most iconic wine region the world knows, Burgundy. Chablis is a town in the northern part of Burgundy, in the Yonne department. The Chablis vineyards lay along the river "Serein" (serene), vines here started growing during the Roman era, but it is in the 12th century by the Cistercian monks from the abbey of Pontigny that the wine cultivation really took of. Chablis was a late addition to the wines of Burgundy in the 15th century and locals never really regarded them as Burgundian. The AOC status Chablis was created in 1938, confirming the excellent qualities of this dry, white wine, complex mineral and rich. Chablis makes only white wine and uses Chardonnay as the sole grape. Chablis is divided into four sections; Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis.


Location; North of Burgundy near the city of Auxerre 180 kilometers from Paris (110 miles)

Places; Beine, Beru, Chablis, Fye, Milly, Poinchy, La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne, Chemilly-sur-Serein, Chichee, Collan, Courgis, Fleys, Fontenay-pres-Chablis, Lignorelles, Ligny-Le-Chatel, Maligny, Poilly-sur-Serein, Prehy, Villy and Viviers.

Soil in Chablis; Clay-Limestone, Fossils and Marl.

Size; 4,300 ha (10.500 acres).

Grapes;  Chardonnay.

Production; 32 million bottles on average.

Types of wine; Fruity dry white wines in general, the Grand and Premier Cru are more complex and richer.

Age;  Chablis 2 to 5 years; Chablis Premier Cru  3 to 7 years; Chablis Grand Cru 7 to 12 years.

Top Vintages;  2014,2010,2005, 2002, 2000 (last 15 years)

Chablis top parcels; Preuses, Bougros, Vaudesir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos, Blanchot.


Billaud-Simon lays on a unique terroir, the Kimmeridgian. The geological heart of the Chablis wine region lays on a bed of marine-sediment, algae and shell that formed 155 million years ago. This unusual iodine-rich geology is imparted to the Chardonnay through its roots and gives Chablis wines their unique identity. Billaud-Simon has been part of the Chablis wine region since 1815 and covers almost 17 hectares of vines. The bicentenary domain nurtures and cultivates vineyards of exceptional quality planted mainly with old vines average ageing 50 years who have been carefully tended to and preserved over time. The whole process from vine to glass is done with extreme care and intention, making sure the whole process from terroir to vine to glass is reflected. The wines are fresh and pure with an underlying minerality, notes of citrus combined with spicy aromas (fennel, lime blossom, cinnamon, hawthorn).

This is a domain that gives you all you look for in this wonderful appellation; identity, personality, complexity and diversity.

Billaud-Simon Chablis Tete D'Or 2012

Grape: 100% Chardonnay

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: €16 $19 £14

Production: 25,000 bottles

Visual: A beautiful light yellow color glances at you with a color intensity of 2.5 out of 5, the legs are skinny and the limpidity is perfect, the brilliance is shiny, a female like appearance with a slight athletic edge.

Nose:  A well set aromatic nose, diary at first, followed by spice, fennel, little citrus here and there with white flowers sliding in, a underline of pear and faint hints of cardamom.

Palate: The attack is soft round and delicate, with good structure, citrus hints and mid palate holds very well together with good balance between aromas and acidity, it feels mellow lingers on pretty long, it feels very elegant.

Conclusion: This is one of the top Chablis makers there is, very few do such a consistant works year in year out, with an intense search on identity, this house has a range to please all white wine lovers, I surely recommend this house to you all.

Score: I rate this wine 19/20 90/100 (rated as an excellent wine)

rating system
19.6-20 exceptional
19-19.5 excellent
18-18.9 very good wine
17-17.9 good wine
16-16.9 fair wine
15-15.9 drinkable wine
14-14.9 acceptable wine

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Jane Ventura Reserva de la Musica Brut 2014 Cava Spain

It has been a very long time since I've had a blog about cava and here we have one that really stands out, " Jane Ventura"and of all names it had to be Jane. It caught my eye as the label is, upbeat, colourful and youthful and all about today, so now the only question is, how well does Jane perform?

Cava D.O (Denominacion de Origen)
Cava is Spain's answer to Champagne, which was given birth in 1870 by a certain, Joseph Raventos. On his return to Catalonia from France, he started to make sparkling wine which was initially named "Champaйa".  This was unsurprising as he was trying to make a Champagne style wine by adopting the traditional Champagne method. Married into the Cordorniu family, who today still sit at the helm of the beast of all beast of Cava together with Freixenet, which it is the monster of all Cava's, Raventos got it all going for him.

In the 1970's however, Champagne authorities clamped down on the use and abuse of the name Champagne. Still today some countries do not respect the name Champagne and use it to promote their brand. With the tremendous success Champagne has had and the successful way they have placed their product in the world, which for them is a very important factor, many envy their status and think that they can the use the name to sell their product, falsely believing, that a name can be used by anyone.  Champagne is called Champagne because it is produced in the Champagne region, just like, a Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa, Barrosa valley, Russian river.... are some of the names that are labelled that way because of where they are made. Champagne has every right to fiercely protect their brand, just as anyone else would do, apple would never allow another business to use its name in order to sell their product.

Anyway back to Catalonia, Cava is named that way in reference to the stone cellars in which they are matured. In 1970 the name cava was chosen and the Cava DO was introduced to cover exclusively their range of sparkling white wine and rose. Since its adoption the Spanish winemakers have worked hard to distinguish it from its more famous French contrepart. Also the price tag for a cave does not bear the same weight as that of a Champagne.
While originally cava was produced in Catalonia, today it is pretty much produced in many parts of Spain. But the heart of Cava lays around the little town of San Sadurni de Noya.

The traditional grape variety used in Cave is, Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-Lo, and in some parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are making their entry. It is inevitable that the king and queen of sparkle prove to be producing great quality in these parts of the world as well.

Today  Cava is experiencing a revival and is immensely popular and the quality of  Cava has improved tenfold. Many parties here in Europe have no shame in offering  Cava instead of  Champagne, and for many, the stigma and cheap image of how Cava was once regarded has gone, well that is for some but as is always the case, it is not for all.

Jane Ventura

Jane Ventura is a family business that has been in production since 1914 in the Baix Penedes, in the Cava region, which began with Joseph Jane the grandfather of Benjamin Jane Ventura. The second generation Albert Jane Jane, became a great wine distributor and acquire de current Venrdell cellar in 1954. The third generation Benjamin Jane Ventura, started bottling of wines in 1985 and in 1988 the production of Cava began.
The fourth generation Gerard Jane Ubeda, winemaker who is also responsible for the current elaboration of the wines and Cava of Jane Ventura hold the reigns. The philosophy of all generations has been in its understanding of wine and grape as a way of life.  A method that conveys a respect and admiration for their unique and exceptional environment.
The vineyard works under two domains, Mas Vilella and Finca Els Camps, and since 2010 they have change their cultivation into an organic culture. The production of Jane Ventura consists of eight wines in red, white and rose and 5 Cava from standard to the Don top cuvee. Under this umbrella is also, the Jane Ventura Reserva de la Musica Brut 2014.

Jane Ventura Reserva de la Musica 2014

This is the middleweight in their Cava range, although,  they do have two special editions also placed on the same level which is their Brut entry and the Cava to judge the house on. How many they produce of this one is not known but I would estimate that it is a fair amount.

Price: €8 $9.50 £7 average on the market ex tax (outside Spain considerably more expensive €12.5 $15 £11.50)

Alcohol: 12%

Grapes: 32% Macabeu, Xarel-Lo 38%, Parellada 30%

Visual: A deep straw colour strikes you when pouring, the bubbles are very light and appear delicate, the transparency is perfect, and the colour intensity is 3 out of 5, it looks young and emotional, a flair of seduction and has a feel good factor.

Nose: A fairly strong attack with yeast, quince, apple as the first aromas, chalk and citrus follow, here and there a whiff of honeysuckle but very faint,its nose is good and a certain air of complexity.

Palate:  The attack is controlled, precision measuring, fresh, dry, very delicate and silky, mid palate citrus appearance but in small doses, it is well set and the acidity works well in balance with the aromas, the bubbles are delicate and burst somewhat softly on the palate, the priss de mousse is good but a bit weak.

Conclusion:  It has been a long time since I have tasted a Cava, and a good one even longer, here the tangy taste you often get in cava or Prosecco for that matter, is not to be found here, the value of this wine sits correctly and will most certainly been judged as good to very good in its category. Even so,  it felt so delicate that you tend somewhat  to forget about it the next following day.  It is a good alternative if your budget can't stretch as far as a Champagne as it will still pass with high marks. It is certainly, without doubt, one of the better Cava's I have tasted.

Score: I rate this Cava at 18/20 80/100 (rated as very good)

rating system
19.6-20 exceptional
19-19.5 excellent
18-18.9 very good wine
17-17.9 good wine
16-16.9 fair wine
15-15.9 drinkable wine
14-14.9 acceptable wine

Until next time please do drink responsibly

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Brut Reserve

It has been awhile since I have written a blog about a Champagne. In all there are many houses I want to take under the loop, and today I will open the doors to Mailly. I will set their Brut NV in the spotlight as it is with the Brut NV you always discover how the beast is put together. Beast might be a bit overstretched here but it is a house that holds 10 siblings and produces only 500,000 bottles, which is Champagne terms not that of a big house.

The existence of vines growing wild in Champagne dates back to the Tertiary era about 65 million years ago (the Tertiary era runs from 65 million to 2 million years ago, consisting of six epochs: the Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene and Pliocene). The first Champagne vineyards were planted by the Romans from the 3rd century A.D. onwards. From the 5th century A.D. vines and wines were mainly cultivated by religious orders which produced still red and white wines, the curb to sparkling wines came later by the encouragement of  the English insisting that this bubble had some unique. Champagne wines became known thanks to the coronation of French kings in Reims and the famous Champagne trading fairs.

It has to wait to the 17th century before the bubbles made its appearance due to the use of bottle to transport the wine (all the time before happened this in cask). This sparkling also named the "Devils wine" quickly found favour with the European monarchs (english predominately) and aristocrats, and already then becoming a symbol of luxury. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Champagne vineyard lay in tatters, devastated by phylloxera epidemic then the first world war. As winegrowers set to work replanting, there was a growing awareness of the need to protect their collective heritage.In the years that followed, a law was passed marking the boundaries of the Champagne terroir and defining rules and regulations. With the gaining of the AOC status in 1936 Champagne finally won its centuries-old battle for official recognition.

Mailly Grand Cru

The village of Mailly is said to derive from the Latin Malliusacum. Grapes have been grown in Mailly for centuries, since before the building of Reims cathedral in the 13th century. Mailly wines were much appreciated by the church and nobility and graced all the finest tables from the middle ages onward. Mailly winegrowers have witnessed the landmark events that shaped French history, contributing to the rising fortunes of Champagne in the 17th century. Mailly Champagne was classified Grand Cru in 1920, The exceptional quality of Mailly grapes comes from the area's chalk subsoil that regulates soil temperature, humidity and hillside plantings that enjoy full exposure to the sun. Only 17 of Champagne's 39 villages currently enjoy  Grand Cru Status.
The fruit they produce is rare and expensive and usually reserved for the finest Champagne cuvees. Mailly Grand Cru is one of the only Champagne house to source all of its wines from Grand Cru vineyards.
Mailly Grand Cru is collection of wine growers who after the first world and the crash of 1929 that plunged the world into a depression, pulled together and founded the association of Mailly Champagne producers, with the motto "together we can make it happen producing excellent Champagnes".

Mailly estate extends across 70 hectares, entirely locate in the Grand Cru Village of Mailly Champagne, at the heart of the Montagne the Reims and the natural park. The vineyard is divided into 480 plots, planted the 2 noble Champagne varietals, Pinot Noir 75% and the Chardonnay 25%.
Today the vines are tended by some 80 winegrowers, all descended from the handful of men who established the estate.

Mailly Grand Cru Brut Reserve

Price: €30 $35 £26 average ex tax

Grapes: 75% Pinot Noir 25% Chardonnay

Alcohol: 12%

Visual: When pouring a warm medium gold colour appears, warm inviting, sensual, there is a stream of very fine bubbles and the color intensity is 4 out of 5, it appears elegant, refined, expressive and its brilliance is sparkling.

Nose: The attack on the nose is very present with aromas of ripe fruit, pear, brioche, yeast, almond, marzipan, hints of honeysuckle. A very aromatic nose, full of variety and exchange.

Palate: The first hit is smooth alive and controlled, feels soft and mellow and the mousse is very well crafted and pleasant, it is a brut on the dry side, apple and citrus make their mark mid palate, it has a good structure and the balance between aromas and acids is well set, the lingering is reasonably long with good ending.

Conclusion: I never had Mailly before, and although that for long I kept myself away from it due to the concept (several winegrowers and sort of cooperation), since the last almost 10 years much has changed in the more larger house in Champagne, and so when I tasted this for the first time I was extremely pleasantly surprised. Prisewise it sits in the category of the major good houses, and so I would say just value for its money. This house has a good Brut NV, now is to explore the rest of the Champagnes this house produces, as all is Grand Cru so far I look very much forward to taste them.

Score: I rate this wine 19/20 90/100 (rated as an excellent wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Château Les Pins Côtes de Roussillon 2012

When I was in the south of France this summer, in one of my favourite shops in Montpellier, where you will find a very large selection of wines from the region, did I find this white. I did not fall for the label as it was simple and not standing out, but the year. I white with 5 years of age in this region is becoming more and more the norm, decades ago that wouldn't really be the case. As a matter of fact I have tasted many wines during my time in the south of around and over ten years of age and with great panache and style.

This wine is also Roussillon another factor to why I choose it, and as you may now already know, Languedoc is the big brother as here over 200,000 hectares of vines at work while Roussillon is much smaller. You will encounter more Languedoc then Roussillon on your wine shelve. So as we have been exploring Languedoc in some detail recently Roussillon has been standing a bit in the shadow, so let's set it in the light, shall we?

Roussillon the little sister of big brother Languedoc, produces still about 750,000 liters of wine. I say little as the surface planted with vines is about 25.000 hectares while Languedoc hits the 200,000 hectares easily. Here the influence of the Pyrenees plays a vital role, as much on the style of wines as on the surface. Much of the land is too steep and to difficult to cultivate vines, but with the search of new terroir and so newer types of wine, how long will it take before a brave and talented winemaker works the steep hills of the Roussillon?  It is here that sweet and fortified wines are made in the appellation Languedoc-Roussillon and some of high calibre, one name many should at least try once is Mas Amiel, Banyuls with dark chocolate, a new form of heavenly pleasure will come to exist tasting this.

For the dry wines there are 8 AOP (original protected appellation)

  •  AOP Collioure (white, rose,red)
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon (white,rose,red)
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon/AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages (red)
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages Latour de France
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages Lesquerde
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages Caramany
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages Tautavel 
  • AOP Cotes de Roussillon Villages Les Aspres 
  • AOP Maury Sec (red) 
The AOP for fortified wines (sweet wines)
  • AOP Rivesaltes
  • AOP Maury 
  • AOP Banyuls
  • AOP Banyuls Grand Cru 
  • AOP Muscat de Rivesaltes (white)
Roussillon was incorporated into France as a province in 1659 and became the department of the Pyrenees-Orientales in 1790. Here the sea and the mountains come together in this region, as we know Roussillon is a small area with an extreme varied landscape and a sunny hot climate that favors vine growing.

Château Les Pins Domaine Brial

Since its creation in 1923, the cooperation Vignobles Dom Brial, hasn't stop developing, and today its represent 380 cooperators exploiting 2500 hectares, with a production of 85.000 hectolitres. Above all, this is a cooperation that states solidarity, equality, responsibility and conservation of its heritage. This is a cooperation that turns its orientation to durability of the terroir and protection of its elements, so a more natural approach if I may say it that way is exercised here amongst this vast group of winemakers (if all keep themselves to the letter is still to be questioned, included the head of the cooperation). Always hard to control a big ones like this, 2500 hectares is not a small piece of a cake. Chateau Les Pins is one part of the cooperation, they produce a red and a white. Chateau Les Pins based in the Roussillon, south of the mountains of Corbieres. Sitting on slate and clay-limestone soil, with a perfect exposure towards the sun. The wine is matured in new oak for about 8 months, attempting to create a beautiful complexity. 

Chateau Les Pins Cotes de Roussillon 2012

Price: €8.50 $9 £7 average on the market ex tax 

Alcohol: 14.5%

Grapes: Grenache blanc, Malvoisie and Roussanne

Visual: A deep yellow color, warm and inviting, good legs, perfect transparency, the color intensity is 3.5/5, its brilliance is fair, the wines looks mature, feminine, a sway of experience.

Nose: Delicate white fruits hit the nose, pear, oak follows, white flowers make their appearance, iris, narcissus, very little hints of vanilla, very discreet notes of honeysuckle, a sense of complexity which feels a bit fake the longer the wine sits in the glass and has contact with oxygen. 

Palate: The attack on the palate is round, butter feel and soft, it feels like a grown up wine, mid palate the balance sits good but not amazing, it feels very delicate no power engine, fruits that appears are melons and its lingering is not very long. 

Conclusion: I did not actually know that this wine came from a cooperation and that was pleasantly surprising as I do not trust cooperation's, as they for most do not bring much quality, here I give credit and was not disappointed, I paid more then the average (€12 $13 £11 in a shop)so I will knock points of for that as I thought that it was priced a bit to high for what it is worth. Will I remember this wine, if I see, sure will I buy it again, not so sure.

Score: I rate this wine at 17:20 70/100 (rated as a good wine)

rating system
19.6-20 exceptional
19-19.5 excellent
18-18.9 very good wine
17-17.9 good wine
16-16.9 fair wine
15-15.9 drinkable wine
14-14.9 acceptable wine

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Far-Ouest 2010 Coteaux de Languedoc, a little surprise

I always wanted to taste this wine, for the simple reason that Mylene Bru the winemaker was in my class and back then I wasn't always sure about her and her convictions. She came from a well-off background and looked more like fitting a beauty salon then actually knees down dig the dirt and make wine. But they often say that "you have to be aware of appearances, or never judge a book by its cover".

She has now been making wines since almost 10 years, and seems to do well as her Far-Ouest wine is one of the 8 wine she produces and hit the right notes with critics. I am not one hundred percent convinced about the name but it is what's inside that really counts.

A region where I will come back many times as it is here in France where much is happening and many talented winemakers make their mark. Here we focus on an area around Sete, where Picpoul de Pinet will probably be the most known wine for many. A white dry fruity wine, set to drink on its own on these hot days or with grilled fish or salads. It is a wine in all comfort simple and not expensive. Of course more and more there are some domains that start trigger attention, but work is still to be done to stand along the appellations of; St Chinian, Faugeres, Pic St Loup which are the star appellations. As you may already be aware of, but the Langue doc is the France and in dispute with La Mancha by some as the biggest in the world, as far as I know Languedoc 224.000 hectares ish La Mancha 190.000 hectares of vines. 5% of the wines in the world are from the Languedoc, which has given it for a very long time and still a bit today as cheap and not interesting. For sure you will find terrible wines in Languedoc, but then so will you in Bordeaux; Napa, Barossa Valley, Marlborough and I can go on......Sete is a small fishers port; not that attractive to be honest, but as it is at the seaside much for tourism has been done for ages and so the culinary and wine experience had to follow. Although that the wine zone is still frail and not so known, with hope and with winemakers like Mrs Bru, Sete area might one become more of an established appellation zone.

Domaine Mylene Bru
Mylene comes from a family of winemakers but she decided not to walk the line and break the ranks.
Born in a small village in the appellation of Corbieres, she played in the vineyards of her grand-parents in a cabin with her imaginary world and friends. As A woman in a then mans world, Mylene wasn't really accepted by her family and so she had to get out there and prove that this is a woman world as much as a mans. After studying she left for Paris where her first job was public relations in wine, of course as in many lives, a family grows and due to the kids she stopped and became a house wife. The vine addiction sat there in the back of her head and wouldn't leave, so she went to work in a friends vineyards, who encouraged her to test herself and see if the wine bug would stick. Then one day walking a small path in Saint-Pargoire, she discovered this small vineyard all magical all inspirational. It took her awhile to acquire the vines as the owner wanted to be sure that it was sold to the right person. The particularity here of the soil its chalk like in Champagne, the sea came up to here very long time ago as here and there you can still find or see fossilized fish skeletons. With purchasing this land it was her putting down a statement towards her family; showing them that she can make wine and run a business. It feels a bit the little rebel girl has grown up with a firm vision and determination.
Mylene has her vision and idea of how she sees wine and that is a good thing as we are so often overwhelmed by the big money makers (sadly producing more bad then good), that fresh air like Bru is important and there in the Langeudoc more of these individuals are arising and making a stand.

Far-Ouest 2010 Coteaux de Languedoc

Far-Ouest has a film connection because of Mylene's passion since an early age and the good the bad and the ugly with Clint Eastwood and the French new wave director Francois Truffaut who used the metaphor of the wild west to shape his films. This wine has a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and according to the vintages it might have some Marselan and Aubun with it. 

Price: €13

Alcohol: 13.5%

Visual: A deep ruby color with a color intensity 4 out of 5, perfect transparency, brilliance looks fair, the wine looks imposing with charm, seductive and some rustique emotions.

Nose: An expressive nose, not to overpowering, dark fruits hit you first berries predominately, a flair of English candy, spice and blackcurrant follow, Juniper pops up in little bashes and deep under a little nail varnish dares to show up.

Palate: The attack is mellow, round, soft mid palate, berries burst all over and it gives a sweet impression although the wine is dry but not bone dry, the balance between aromas and acidity sits correct, the lingering is medium.

Conclusion:  Happy to have tasted her wine as I had mixed reviews about it, the wine is certainly not bad at all and actually well lade with a drive and determination, love to discover the other wines she produces, the way looks good for Mylene Bru if all her wines walk the same direction, A very pleasant discovery.

Score:  I rate this wine 18.3/20 83/100 (rated as a very good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Eikendal Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2014 South Africa

South Africa is always a pleasure to talk about, their wine industry has risen to significant global importance that they are impossible to ignore. I have discovered this domain recently and so often when it comes to Sauvignon blanc new world, I'm regularly faced with the bitter pill of disappointment. But on this occasion I encountered a sauvignon just like I love them.


As for many amongst us who have tasted a South African wine Stellenbosch will most likely be the region where the wine comes from. It is unmistakably one of the if not the star region in South Africa concerning wine of course.
Only 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Cape Town, a town steeped in history, the famous Simonsberg separate Stellenbosch from Paarl wine region, and the Hottentot Hollands mountain range on the eastern side separating it from Walker bay wine appellation.  Vineyards cover the gentle slopes from Helderberg in the south to Simonsberg in the north. These terrains offer a wide variety and styles of wines, due to a mesoclimates which permit different grapes to flourish. Granite and sandstone soils are found throughout Stellenbosch, a high clay content means that while at certain times the soil will be free draining (dryer times), it is also a great water retention so vines are always in supply of nutrition, although heavy and prolonged rainfall can also be fatal as the water retention level surpasses their limit of retention, plants, vines could drown and rot.

 The climate is hot and dry, with a maritime influence from False Bay to the south. South easterly breezes sways through the vineyards cooling down the grapes from the hot morning sun, white grape varieties are often planted closer to the ocean to have a more pronounced effect. Stellenbosch is South Africa second oldest settlement after cape town. Established on the banks of the Eerste river in 1679, named for the then governor Simon Van der Stel, it was the French Huguenots who began planting vines in 1690, today Stellenbosh is home to nearly a fifth of all vines planted in South Africa.


Eikendal is relatively young even very young if you go back in history regarding South African wines. It is since 1981 that the Saager family from Zurich, Switzerland has been managing the 76 hectare estate. The family quickly noticed the great potential this vineyard holds and started extensive work modernizing and establishing the cellar. Sitting on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain, this vineyards produces one of Cape's finest wines. A great variety of weather conditions permit to give the noble grape varieties they use here to bloom with great balance between aromas and acidities.

Eikendal cultivates a wide variety of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Grenache, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cinsault. Besides their wines can you as well lunch, dinner and stray over. As many South African wine estates they have aimed to give the consumer the best possible window to understand and discover their wines.

Eikendal Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Grapes:  100% Sauvignon blanc

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price:  €10 $12 £9

Visual: A medium straw color is the first thing you notice, the intensity of the color is about 2 out of 5, a perfect limpidity, looks elegant, youthful, energetic, fresh, its brilliance is good.

Nose: A well present nose with aromas of fruits, gooseberries, apples, flowers (acacia, elder flower) and tiny hints of banana. A nose pleasantly balanced.

Palate: A smooth, round, rich feel (not overpowering), the attack is good, its acidity is somewhat weak, dry, with good texture mid-palate, apples spring to mind and all together holds very well with the balance between aromas and acidities is good, the lingering is medium long.

Conclusion: I do enjoy sauvignon blanc like these, not the over exaggerating invasion of the tropics and dry bones, acidic powerhouses you often find in the new world. Here it is greatly crafted and thought through, although that they are still in wine terms very young, there a definite drive to bring good value and quality wines to the market. Definitely will try the others in the family, this is top value for its money, i recommend this to all who enjoy a good sauvignon blanc.   

Score: I rate this wine 18.9:20 89:100 (rated as a very good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.