Vinimark is the largest independent wine specialist company in South Africa, distributing and marketing more than 50 of our country’s best-known wine brands as well as a number of imported sparkling wines, Champagnes and Proseccos. Each year Vinimark and their wine producers embark on a national road show, presenting wine tastings for trade and media in key centres around South Africa. This year the Wine Fairs took place in Knysna, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town during the months of July and August.
Restaurateurs, hoteliers, sommeliers, wine merchants and members of the media who flocked to the Fair were able to talk to the winemakers about their passion and were spoilt for choice with the incredible selection of vinous treasures showcased at the event. The wine-loving guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves socialising over a glass of good wine and appreciating the delicious cocktail snacks on offer.
Of the many stunning wines we had the opportunity to try, a few stood out for us. These wines were:
Creation Wines – In 2002 Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin took up the challenge of establishing a winery in the Walker Bay Wine Region. Situated high up the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge near Hermanus, Creation’s vines climb the steep hills of Babylon Toren Mountain. Inspired by Nature and meticulously crafted by cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin, each single-vineyard wine in this range is the ultimate expression of its terroir and indeed an exquisite and multifaceted artwork in its own right.
Must try: Creation Sumac Grenache
This is a cooler climate Grenache with a feast of bright pomegranate, red current, cracked peppercorn and a seductive sprinkling of sumac lingering on the palate.
FAT bastard – When Thierry and Guy first created these delicious wines, they did it with gusto. They poured their hearts, souls and great dollops of generosity into every bottle. In fact, it was a great big discovery (in winemaking terms) that led to the name ‘FAT bastard.’ It comes from having left the wine on the lees for a lot longer than usual, which allowed it to develop more fully and completely. And when tasted, there was simply no other way to describe it other than: “Well, now that’s a FAT bastard!”
Must try: Sauvignon Blanc
This is a Sauvignon Blanc of real character with intense fruit flavours, utilising our best quality grapes.
It is blended from a selection of the best wines of the harvest with the fruit all being harvested gently and quietly in the early hours and pressed while the grapes are still cool to help retain aroma and flavour.
This beautifully balanced white wine offers good texture with layers of tropical fruit. A fresh acidity follows through to a long, satisfying finish.
Flagstone – Every bottle of Flagstone wine is handcrafted, and so too is the label. Each product has its own unique story, with evocative tales ranging from myths of flying dragons to an allegory of a wild card – the dark horse. Wine is the marriage of nature and human imagination. Mother Nature provides the grapes but it is flashes of inspiration and creativity that transforms them into fabulous, captivating wines. Every bottle of Flagstone wine is a journey with many twists and turns. It can never be hurried and there are no sshortcuts
Must try: Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
This range is about the essence of the grape – openly honest and precise. Good poetry requires the perfect juxtaposition of words, and even syllables, to illuminate a moment, an emotion and even a dream.
Great wine requires deep, intense dedication to the land, empathy for the vine and a love of grapes. We farm in a balanced and environmentally friendly way and in the cellar the grapes are treated with fanatical attention to detail throughout the winecrafting process. The resultant aromas and flavours reflect this passion for authenticity and integrity.
reyneke Organic Wines – there’s a lot to be said for the way winemaking used to be. There were no chemicals, no “technological advancements” that made the process a process, and natural balance was more important than balance sheets.
Some people dismiss it as old-fashioned nostalgia, but at reyneke Organic Wines like to think of it as ancient wisdom. And they embrace it as much as they can. Not just because it’s better for the earth, but because it makes for better wine.
Must try: Chenin Blanc 2017
The 2017 Chenin Blanc is a combination of grapes, from two adjacent blocks. The wine is made with the same minimal interventionist way, as with all the other reyneke Organic certified wines. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and lightly settling before natural fermentation occurred in a combination of 300l second-fill French oak barrels and two 2500l foudré. The wine was aged on its lees for 10 months with a further two month ageing in stainless steel tank before bottling.
Spier – Going since 1692, Spier is one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, with a fascinating history and a legacy that the owners never take for granted. Today the farm has a modern, conscious energy. Focused on art and good farming, Spier is about farm-to-table food and accoladed wines. pier is one of 39 WWF Conservation Champions, is organically certified and follows the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) criteria.
Must try: Creative Block 3 2014
Introduction of subtle perfumed notes of violets, pomegranate and mulberry followed by spicy flavours of black pepper and coriander. A silky, rich mid-palate follows with concentration of fruit and dense, silky tannins.
Warwick – Warwick Estate is a high-end South African winery in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. It has a rich history dating back to 1771. They implemented an environmentally friendly approach to produce top quality grapes, refraining from using pre-emergent herbicides in their vineyards. Warwick sprays once annually under each vine row and mow twice a year.
Must try: The First Lady Dry Rosé 2017
Effortlessly elegant, balanced, teeth tingling acidity, a delicate alcohol level of 11%. All these elements create a wine so dangerously drinkable, that the team at Warwick often have to prevent their team tastings turning into an instant party.
For more information on Vinimark and the wines they distribute, please visit http://www.vinimark.co.za/