Friday, November 26, 2021

John Collins' Trade wine tasting at Den Anker

It is trade tastings like this that we have missed so much in the time of Covid
John Collins usually holds his annual tasting at this popular Belgian restaurant in the V&A Waterfront
and it was here again this year

The tasting tables were well spaced out and people attending were well spaced apart
The list of wine farms and producers that John represents is a fine one

And, of course, should you need a refresher, there is always good Belgian and local beer on offer at Den Anker

They produced some of the best canapés we have enjoyed at any event that we have attended this year (not that there have been many), but they were generous and circulated frequently. These were warm Bitterballen on a mustard sauce at the back of the board and small triangles of deep fried battered cheese. Divine

Huge tempura battered peeled prawns (YUM!) and squares of sirloin steak topped with a tarragon butter

Pretending to be serious were cellarmaster Sjaak Nelson and marketing manager Marcha Cook on the Jordan Stand. Jordan wines are always consistently good and enjoyable. However, we have to mention how good The Cold Fact 2021 Sauvignon Blanc is - classic blackcurrant leaf with fig; crisp and layered on the palate. The Nine Yards Chardonnay is superb and will reward keeping for a while. The Black Magic 2018 Merlot has raspberry leaves on the nose, then ripe cherries. It is soft on the palate, juicy and long with minerality and dark chocolate oak on the end. Just what we want from a Merlot. The Prospector Shiraz 2020; rose petals, spice and dark berries on the nose, full and spicy on the palate, with layers of fullness and fruit and lovely chalky tannins on the end. And one of our wines of the night was the 2017 Cobbler’s Hill, a classic Bordeaux blend with a hint of violets from the Petit Verdot. Layers and layers of fruit on the nose and the palate, silky and juicy, so satisfying and near perfect. Lynne gave it 19/20

Sisters Jenna and Emma Bruwer from Springfield, showing the wines from their family farm in Robertson. Jenna handles sales and marketing, while Emma is a winemaker. We had such an intense and super tasting with Emma when we were there recently; that report will be published a little later, at the end of our stories about our road trip. The special Springfield Sauvignons Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noir are what we regularly buy and drink. Their new 2021 Albarinho is also very good, as are the other red wines, two cabernets and the Bordeaux blend, the 2015 Work of Time. Good to see that they now have the new vintage of Thunderchild 2020, a wine created as part of a worthy community project, all proceeds going to the Robertson Childrens’ Home 

A happy looking John Collins. Lock down and wine buying prohibition have been very, very tough for wine negociants
We are so pleased to see him back, doing good business in the trade

Wine shop owners Louise and Mark Herd whose shop, Sunset Beach Wines, is in Table View
Not an easy period for them either

On the Bruce Jack stand were horticulturalist Jason Snell and winemaker Thornton Pillay. There were a lot of wines to taste. Four collections - the Lifestyle Collection, The Reserve Collection, The Heritage Collection and Bruce Jack Estate Wines. Of special mention was the Boer Maak 'n Plan 2018 Chenin Blanc from 24 year old vines; lovely, classic, deep Chenin nose, it has that leesy character, exciting on the palate, full and crisp, with yellow stone fruit, limes, melon and long flavours. We also really liked the 2017 Moveable Feast, a very unusual blend of Malbec, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Touriga National and Tannat. Notes of Armani perfume with cherries on the nose. All the different grapes appear on the palate, so it’s quite exciting initially. It is so soft and succulent to drink, quite delicious

Johan & Sofie Kruger with their Kruger Family Wines. We began with what was, for us, the best white wine of the day, the Sans Chêne (without wood) 2019 Chardonnay. Perfumed and full of ripe citrus fruit on the nose. Nutty, creamy on the palate, with good weight and lots of character with crisp, ripe citrus. There seems to be a trend developing again for very heavily wooded Chardonnays done in new oak barrels. We stay away from those; it is so unnecessary and this wine proves it. The 2020 Old Vines Palomino from Piekenierskloof was very interesting. Johan’s description of beeswax, brown toast and lemongrass flavours is absolutely right and it is good to see this once popular grape being used so well again. And we really enjoyed the Cap Classique Brut Rosé 2019, which is of the palest pink possible. The grapes come from the Hemel en Aarde and have that good splash of raspberry in a dry, summery bubbly

A toast to their partnership with John Collins

Winemaker Reynie Oosthuizen of Tamboerskloof/Kleinood in Stellenbosch is also the viticulturist of this very high wine farm. The Tamboerskloof Syrah 2019 has spice and wood on the fruity nose; layers of dark berry fruit, chalky tannins and wood and spice on the end. The 2013/15 John Spicer Tamboerskloof Syrah is similar but is several levels up. More, much more, fruit and concentration, chalky grippy tannins, good acid balance, dark wood and length. In another league, but also much pricier. One to put away if you have the income

On the Diemersfontein table, Lynne only had time to taste two wines. The Carpe Diem 2020 Malbec is quite dry, with layers of berries and dark plums, with licorice wood and chalky tannins. The 2019 Merlot impressed with ripe fruit, good chalky tannins, soft and sweet cherry flavours; a lovely wine which we will buy

Having a long chat about the state of the industry and life in the time of Covid with John C
It was a very good display of some excellent wines from distinguished wine farms and winemakers

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Platter's SA Wine Guide 2022 Launch

The release of the Platter Wine Guide is a much looked forward to event in our year. It is our bible; we use it almost daily to check facts, get names, spelling and to plan visits to wine farms. And, of course, to investigate wines we want to buy. We always have one in the car and one on our desks. This year, we will now also have the digital version on our computers and our phones. This is available on the apps for iOS/Apple and Android, and on the website, This year's launch of the latest 2022 edition, with its refreshed, sharp corporate logo, was held at Kleine Zalze wine estate in Stellenbosch on a lovely early summer afternoon and they were also to reveal the recipients of its sought-after and esteemed pinnacle awards – the Wineries and Wines of the Year

It was so good to see so many of our friends in the wine industry; most were there to accept an award. Winemakers Paul Jordaan of Sadie Family Wines, Matt Day of Klein Constantia and Stephan Steyn of Buitenverwachting chatting to Lynne. There was much conversation about how we have all been surviving, working and avoiding or recovering from Covid and the awful shut down of the alcohol industry during lock down

Andrea Mullineux, Duncan Savage, Greg de Bruyn CWM and Heidi Duminy CWM and head of the Cape Wine Academy

Just the thing to get the day started, Kleine Zalze 2013 Vintage Brut Cap Classique

Lots of joyous people, greeting friends they hadn’t seen for quite a long time. Lockdown has kept us all apart for too long

A quiet conversation under the pergola outside the restaurant and the cellar

Esh Naidoo, Managing Director of Diners Club SA, welcomed us. Diners Club began its association with Platter's in 2013 because fine wine goes with fine dining! He welcomed all the wine people to the event and asked us all to stress to the industries involved how important it is to buy the stickers they have earned and to sell the Platter Guide in their tasting rooms, if it is to survive. There is no charge to have an entry in the Platter guide or the competition; the only income stream they have is the sale of these items. And if we, the public, want it to continue, we also need to support it by buying the guide

Five Star wines ready for tasting
To view the list of Wines of the Year online, visit

Chef Nick van Wyk has taken over the Kleine Zalze restaurant in addition to his job at Haute Cabrière restaurant
He has come full circle, as he worked here early in his career

Some happy smiling faces amused at the speech

Some were waiting in anticipation

RJ Botha, Kleine Zalze cellarmaster. Kleine Zalze was chosen as last year’s Winery of the Year and he said that it was logical for them to host this year's event on the farm. He told us that Kleine Zalze has bought thousands of award seals for their wines and he challenges any of the other wineries to beat their quantity. He said, "if you buy wine, look for the Platter seals and know that the wine has been independently judged and found to be good"

Philip van Zyl, Editor and acting MD of Platter said, “The guide’s descriptions and ratings, compiled in association with a team of leading experts, make it easy to find the right wine for any occasion, while the good-value indicators highlight those bottlings which are especially budget friendly across all quality levels"

“Red and white wines showing potential for cellaring” are flagged by means of the Cellar Worthy icon, while wines which the tasters feel are particularly worthy of note, being interesting, attractive, unique, representative of an important trend or simply extraordinarily drinkable, are highlighted with the Hidden Gems icon”. He said that it had been a very difficult time, especially last year, when they could not hold the launch publicly

and the colour this year is: Tuxedo black and gold!

Very elegant and the 42nd edition of Platter’s 2022 hardcover is available from selected wine farms, bookstores and retailers nationwide from the end of November 2021. The recommended retail price will be R390. If you want to buy the digital version of Platter’s, it is available on the apps for iOS/Apple and Android, and on the website,

Thought bubble: "Why am I here? Have I won something?" Yes, that is why you are here!

Of the 5-star-awarded wines, the top performers within each category receive the coveted accolade, Wines of the Year
This time there are 28 category winning wines

KWV won top Port Style wine with their NV Cape Tawny

Gottfried Mocke. The 2019 Boekenhoutskloof was the top Cabernet Sauvignon of the year
and the 2018 Noble Late Harvest was also the top wine in its category

Matthew Day. Klein Constantia won the top Natural Sweet Wine of the Year for the estate's Vin de Constance 2017

Top fortified Dessert wine was Omstaan Wit Muskadel NV from Orange River Cellars, collected by cellarmaster Gert Visser

Top Méthode Cap Classique to Graham Beck's 2015 Cuvee Clive, presented to Pierre de Klerk, winemaker

Chris and Andrea Mullineux were awarded Top White Blend, Other, for the 2020 Old Vines White

Cape Point Vineyards was awarded Top White Blend, Bordeaux for 2020 Isliedh, collected by Adriaan Jacobs, viticulturist

Gareth Robertson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Anthonij Rupert Wines,
received Top Semillon for their 2020 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Laing Groendruif

Stephan Steyn, assistant winemaker, Buitenverwachting, received Top Sauvignon Blanc for the 2020 Hussey’s Vlei

Donovan Rall of Rall Wines  received the Top Grenache Blanc award for the Rall 2020

Naude Wines won Top Colombard for the Langpad 2021

Paul Jordaan of Sadie Family Wines collected the award for the Top Chenin Blanc for Mev. Kirsten 2018,
 the Top Red Blend, Shiraz based, for 2019 Columella and the Top Tinta Barocca for 2020 Treinspoor

Gerhard Smith and Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines won the Top Chardonnay for The Art of Creation, 2020

Top Red Blend, Other went to Jos van Wyk of Marianne Estate for 2018 Floreal

Beyerskloof won top Red Blend with Pinotage for 2017 Beyerskloof Faith

Frans K Smit, Spier cellarmaster, collected Top Red Blend, Cape Bordeaux
for the Spier Frans K. Smit CWG Auction Selection 2018

Top Shiraz went to Reenen Borman of Boschkloof for Boschkloof Epilogue 2019

Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen MD of Oak Valley received the award for the Top Pinot Noir of the year,
 the Oak Valley 2018 South Ridge PN 777. All four of Oak Valley's Pinots received Five Stars

The top Pinotage of the year was from False Bay Vineyards, The Last of the First, 2020

Rudi Schultz of Thelema produced the Top Petit Verdot, the Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sutherland Reserve 2019

Stuart Downes collected the award for the top Merlot for the Shannon Black 2017

Wemeen Nolte, Sales & Marketing Manager at Stellenrust,
collected the award for the top Grenache Noir, The ArtiSons Phantom 2019

Duncan Savage is definitely doing something right. His Savage Wines Follow The Line 2020 was the Top Cinsault of the year and his Savage Wines Not Tonight Josephine 2020 was the Top Vin de Paille/Straw Wine. Duncan has seven Five Star wines this year; the other two received 4.5 stars! Lynne tasted the spicy, modern, fruity and exciting Grenache and loved it

Gottfried Mocke of Boekenhoutskloof took the award for the Top Cabernet Sauvignon with the Boekenhoutskloof 2019

Sjaak Nelson of Jordan won the award for the top Cabernet Franc with the 2019 Insiders Wine Club Private Collection

Jolette Steyn, Head of Wine Cellar’s Sales and Imports, received the Newcomer Winery of the Year Award
for her The Vineyard Party Semillons

Frans K Smit of Spier collected the Editor’s Award for the Winery of the Year

Paul Jordaan of Sadie Family Wines with the award for the Top Performing Winery of the Year
with 3 top wines and an incredible 10 Five Star wines this year

Then it was time to go and taste the 5 star wines and seek out as many top wines as we could
It was a very good year; we tasted some superb wines

A selection laid out for tasting

All top wines and all worth buying

and a few more

And, thankfully, there was something to eat as we tasted
These slices of focaccia topped with onion, herbs, tomato and garlic were very welcome

as were these smoked salmon blinis

and the perfect finish was these lovely moist Financiers with pear
A great match with Duncan Savage's Savage Wines Not Tonight Josephine 2020

Go and seek out your 2022 Platter

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