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Friday, December 14, 2012


Women are obviously an important sector of the South African wine-buying market – the most important, according to one executive in the retail liquor trade --- and the Groote Post estate on the Cape west coast is therefore understandably delighted to have received an accolade from the ladies.

Groote Post is near the town of Darling, about an hour’s drive north of Cape Town. The farm is 300 years old, and Peter and Nick Pentz have been making wine there for the past 15 years, successfully too; they have earned a big reputation with their range of a dozen wines.

Their award-winning Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2012 has now been voted the perfect wine for a “Girls’ Night Out”. This was the choice of a hundred South African women of all backgrounds and tastes who gathered recently at the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, to sip their way through 200 wines and select their favourites for ten different social occasions.

Nick Pentz says: “It gives us much pleasure to know that this rainbow cross-section of sassy and adventurous wine-loving ladies chose our Groote Post sauvignon blanc as their vinous date for a ladies’ night out”.

The wine is described by Groote Post’s winemaker, Lukas Wentzel, as “an explosion of fruit driven by lime, gooseberry and kiwi fruit, and underpinned by a thread of minerality”. It is available nationally and retails at about R75 a bottle.

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There was no economising on wine when our private tasting group met for a Christmas lunch at Al Firenze restaurant at La Lucia. We opened the proceedings with two bottles of Laurent-Perrier Brut, one of the most famous of French champagnes. Its retail price in Durban is about R400 a bottle.

We followed with two whites and two reds.  The white wines came from the Adoro cellar at Stellenbosch. The Adoro Sauvignon Blanc Three Regions 2009 is made with grapes from Elgin (46 percent), Darling (34 percent) and Stellenbosch (20 percent). The same cellar’s Naude White 2009, named after the winemaker, Ian Naude, is a blend of semillon, sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc.

Both these wines are of high quality and they retail at substantial prices, about R90 and R125 a bottle respectively.

For reds we had two of the Cape’s finest, Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, both from Stellenbosch, both big, subtle , memorable wines, as one would expect from the prices, somewhere between R120 and R180 a bottle.

And the lunch itself?  Some had grilled musselcracker, some had octopus, some had veal.  But this is an Italian restaurant and two of us stuck to tradition with cannelloni and pizza, and they were both excellent.

There were some designated drivers, taking tiny sips. – Michael Green