Category Archives: South Africa

Neethlingshof 2012 The Owl Post Pinotage

Previously I tried a Pinotage that was from the Paarl region of South Africa.  It was a very nice medium bodied wine with excellent aromatics, and was a great

Neethlingshoff 2012 The Owl Post Pinotage

Neethlingshof 2012 The Owl Post Pinotage

glass of wine.  My most recent Pinotage adventure was another great wine this time from Stellenbosch.  This was the 2012 The Owl Post by Neethlingshof.  It was quite different in style than other versions of Pinotage I’ve tried, and I found it to be a very well made wine which carried many great attributes.  It is a great example of how versatile the Pinotage grape can be, as it can be vinified into many different styles and can exhibit an array of different characteristics.

About the Wine:  An estate wine, The Owl Post is a single vineyard Pinotage.  The wine is full-bodied, apprearing dark garnet red in color along with cedar and spice on the nose with aromas of oak, coffee and ripe red berries.  It has a nicely balanced structure, that comes along with flavors of coffee, chocolate, and spicy raspberry followed up with a silky smooth finish.  This is a finesse wine, with just the right amount of oak and is big and full flavored.  I was very impressed with how the wine presented itself and this is definitely a wine that has great aging potential. The wine was priced at $25, which I think is a fair price for a very well made wine.

The Winery:  Neethlingshof has a rich history in wine.  Located in the Stellenbosch wine region, The farm was initially established in 1692, and originally called De Wolvendans, which means the Dance of Wolves.  It was renamed Neethlingshof in 1828.  The winery has a wide selection of wines, which includes the Short Story Collection, the Premium Red Collection, and Premium White Collection.  The varietals range from reds such as Pinotage, Malbec and Merlot, along with whites such as Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, among many others.

The Region: Stellenbosch is a very well known and important wine region.  It is home to the majority of South African wineries, and wine growing here dates back to the late 1600’s.  There are several different soil types and variations in elevation that contribute to the region’s terroir.  The region has a very good reputation, and there are a lot of exciting wines being produced here.  There is also a wide variety of grapes planted, which include (among others) Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc.

I am looking forward to the next Pinotage I try,  as well as more wines from Neethlingshof.




Nederburg 2011 Winemaster’s Reserve Pinotage

Pinotage is a unique grape that is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.  Pinotage was created in 1924 by. Dr. Abraham Izak Perold.  Dr. Perold

Nederburg 2011 Winemaster's Reserve Pinotage

Nederburg 2011 Winemaster’s Reserve Pinotage

was the first director of the Department of Viticulture & Enology at the University of Stellenbosh when he crossed the two varietals.  His hope was that the grape would retain the great qualities of Pinot Noir and also have the heat tolerance of Cinsault.  Most Pinotage wines are medium to full-bodied, and can be spicy and flavorful.  The first wine made from Pinotage was made by the Welgevallen winery in 1941, and the grape gradually gained in popularity since then.  The grape is grown is most growing regions in South Africa, the most being in Paarl, Stellenbosch, and Swartland.  This 2011 by Nederburg is from the Paarl district.

About the Wine: The 2011 Winemaster’s Reserve Pinotage is medium bodied, with spice and ripe cherry on the nose.  It has a nice balanced structure, with smooth spicy raspberry on the palate along with some earth and minerality.  The alcohol comes in at 14%, but it is very smooth on the finish.  A very nicely made wine, it could pair with many occasions.  For a price of $11, this is a very good buy.

The Winery: Nederburg was founded in 1791 in the Paarl district of the Western Cape.  Nederburg has a rich history in Cape winemaking and is a very large and important producer.  With several labels ( Heritage Heroes, II Centuries, and Winemaster’s Reserve to name a few), Nederburg produces high quality wines ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinotage, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc among others.  A highly regarded late harvest wine is produced as well.  Along with great wines,  Nederburg hosts an annual wine auction, a concert series, and also has a restaurant.

The Region: Nederburg is located in the Paarl district, in the Western Cape.  There is a variety of terrain, and most vineyards are planted on sandy, alluvial soils.  Many vines are planted in the lower, warmer areas of the valleys, with some also being planted at cooler, higher elevations. The most planted varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc.

I have been enjoying Pinotage wines recently and I found this one to be quite good, and would recommend it for sure.




The Wolftrap

South Africa is a very exciting wine region that is a blend of new and old world wine styles.  There are some very good wines being produced there right now, and It’s been my favorite wine region lately.   One I tried just the other day is a Rhone style blend called The Wolftrap.  Composed of Syrah, Mourvedre and Viognier,  this wine is made by Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek, Western Cape.

2013 Wolftrap Syrah, Mourvedre, & Viognier

2013 Wolftrap Syrah, Mourvedre, & Viognier


About the Wine:  This wine is a blend of three Rhone Varietals; Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier.  The 2012 vintage is composed of 67% Syrah, 31% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.  It has a bright ruby-red color with aromas of toasty oak and spicy ripe cherries on the nose.  It is nicely balanced and has a smooth finish of cherry and raspberry along with some earthiness.  The 2013 vintage (pictured) is a blend of the same three varietals but just slightly different at 66% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.  The 2013 vintage received a score of 88 points from Wine Spectator, and is priced at $11.

The Winery: Boekenhoutskloof was established in 1776 in the Franschhoek Valley.  In 1993 the estate was bought and the 22 hectares of vineyards were re-planted with varietals such as Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Semillon.  Winemaker Mark Kent has helped Boekenhoutskloof see its reputation for producing quality wines grow significantly in the last 12 years.

The Region: Farms were first established in the Franschhoek Valley in 1687.  The valley is surrounded by high mountains with the Berg river running through it.  Most vineyards are planted on the valley floor, but many are now being planted on steep slopes with well-drained sandstone soils.  One of the oldest vineyards in South Africa is located in Franschhoek, being planted in 1903.  Franschhoek was a wine ward within the Paarl district until 2010.  It is now its own district, with the most planted varietals being Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.  Other important varietals include Chardonnay, Merlot and Semillon.

If you are looking  for a smooth, easy drinking Rhone style blend, I would recommend The Wolftrap.  I’m looking forward to trying more wines by Boekenhoutskloof, as well as wines from other producers in the Franschhoek Valley.




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