Classic wines balance tradition and innovation

LOCAL wine-lovers have been spoilt for choice with a stream of top wine-makers visiting the city to show off their wares.

Never mind whether it's tough economic times leading wineries to cast the marketing net wider, or they've simply discovered the Friendly City's appetite for wine, the result is opportunities aplenty to taste the best of what the Cape has to offer.

Boschendal wine-maker Bertho van der Westhuizen said his three days of "wonderful places, wonderful people" in the city had changed his perspective forever.

Presenting a selection of the estate's vast range to members of the PE Wine Appreciation Club (PEWAC), he said Boschendal's focus was on balancing tradition and innovation to produce classic wines.

PEWAC is a club that takes its wine seriously, with members engaging in lively debate on flavours, vintages and wine-making methods, and arriving at a collective score on each wine tasted.

They're also a friendly bunch, happy to share their knowledge and tips on their favourite wines.

Their highest rating of the evening (17/20) went to the pretty pink, dry-but-fruity Le Grande Pavillon Brut Rosé, a lovely choice for celebrations with strawberries and oysters. Unusually, it's made with 60% Pinotage, the rest the traditional Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend, and Van der Westhuizen says it's "a real crowd pleaser – even men like it".

The estate's classic red blend Lanoy also scored 17, with its deep ruby colour, full-bodied with soft tannins, fruit and spice, a whiff of leather, and a big finish.

Another classic in the stable is Boschendal Blanc de Noir – so loved by its fans that the estate dare not change its rather dated brown bottle and gold label, says Van der Westhuizen.

It's a delicious "white from red" with a strawberries-and-cream nose, fruity but not sweet.

Also tasted were the 1685-range Sauvignon Blanc, fresh and crisp with a great balance of tropical fruit and cool minerality; the easy-drinking, silky-smooth Merlot; and the rather confusing Classics Le Bouquet, its 65% muscadel giving it sweetness, but not enough for it to be a dessert wine. It's definitely an interesting food wine that calls for Mediterranean flavours.

Interested in joining a wine club? E-mail PEWAC on