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South Africa tasting, 4 September 2019



Thought it worth providing a review of last Monday’s wonderful South Africa tasting.

As you’ll gather, the event was a huge success, with consistently wonderful wines and consistently friendly and interesting winemakers. Really nice to meet some of the biggest names in South African wine. The wines were consistently clean in style and came across more cool-climate than I expected.

I ended up buying 20 bottles from those shown, either in singles or pairs, with 8 delivered now and 12 (including a magnum of Meerlust Rubicon 2012 :yum:) in reserves. Below are brief thoughts on the wines I thought showed particularly well - hope they are still in stock!

Alheit Hemelrand Vine Garden 2016 (massive, complex, tropical)
Alheit Fire by Night 2017 (clean, crystalline, citrus)
Botanica Mary Delany Pinot 2017 (delicate, easygoing, engaging)
Hogan Divergent 2017 (Musaresque, drinkable, fresh)
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 (rich, viscous, blossom)
Lourens Lindi Carien 2017 (blend, balanced, tropical)
Mont Blois Pomphuis Muscadel 2016 (exotic, decadent, unusual)
Naude Old Vines Semillon 2016 (struck match, moreish, wow)
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot 2017 (lovely, tangy, youthful)
Newton Johnson Full Stop Rock 2017 (elegant, clean, peppery)
Savage Dirt Track Cinsault 2018 (‘smashable’, food-friendly, good value)
Savage Red 2015 (deep, structured, tangy)
The Foundry Syrah 2012 (restrained, subtle, herbal)
Meerlust Rubicon 2012 (fruity, deep, young)
Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie 2018 (complex, energetic, Kabinettesque)
Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2017 (kaleidoscopic, creamy, wonderful)
Van Loggerenberg Trust Your Gut 2018 (chewy, tense, real energy)

I didn’t taste a wine I rated less than 7/10 all evening though!

Was anyone else there?


This is great ! Thanks so much for writing up your favourite wines. The social media coverage of this was mindblowing so its great to hear one of our members actually went. Wish I could have gone too.


Hi @Bluebeard, I couldn’t get a ticket for TWS tasting, but was able to get one for the Lay and Wheeler tasting Wednesday 4 Sept. Similar producers but mainly different wines. I bought Lukas van Loggerenberg’s ‘Breton’ Cab Franc 2018. As you said no poor wines in sight. Allheit whites all superb, particularly Cartology. Mullineux Granite Syrah possibly the red wine of the night, but eye wateringly expensive. Best value was The Foundry Grenache blanc. David and Nadia’s (Sadie) red Grenache was light and graceful. The 2016 Paul Sauer cab sauv drinking well already, no sign of any 2015! Klein Constantia, vin de constance and Metis sauv blanc both excellent. Thorne and Daughter Rocking Horse v good.


I notice that L&W are offering this @ GBP 43.79 vs TWS @ GBP 50 DP.

Normally the discount is the other way around and smaller - someone is mispriced…


Thanks for that price comparison Colin, I think L&W are the cheapest merchant for the vin de Constance. Have put a case into their reserves.

Thorne Rocking Horse also cheaper at L&W £23.68, Lovely wine. Allheit wines cheaper too, but only available to cellar circle members. Am trying to get some Cartology.


These South African winemakers have had a busy trip, Jancis today references another trade tasting she was at and recommended this as being excellent and Côte rotie-like. I’ve snapped up a few bottles after hearing a lot of good things about this very new winemaker. Only 800 bottles apparently

Was it available to taste at the L&W tasting and did anyone try it?


Sorry @Jcbl, it was there, but there were 116 wines at the tasting! So failed to get to Minimalist. A lot cheaper than the stupendous Mullineux Granite Syrah.


Hi @Jcbl I tried both of Sam Lambson’s wines. He was actually at the tasting and I was able to have a very interesting conversation with him. He is only 21! Makes me feel like a chronic underachiever.

His first wine bottled by Richard Kelley is “Thunderbirds are go” a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache. It is a lighter style red with some dark fruit and a bit of pepper on the finish.

His first wine under his own Minimalist label is 2018 Stars in the Dark Elim Syrah. It is a very serious expression of the grape, with a long savoury, almost saline backbone. This is excellent cool climate Syrah. Definitely worth a punt.


Excellent thanks - I have picked up some of both. Not had anything from SA for a long time that hasn’t been great - seems a really exciting wine scene


Was the 2017 Epilogue Syrah from Boschkloof shown at the same tasting?


It is shown on the list of wines, but I can’t remember tasting it. Too many wines not enough time.


That’s how I feel about life in general…! :thinking:


I notice that some of the newer releases on TWS have been taken down - were they proving too popular and in danger of selling out ahead of a pending offer (if so I haven’t helped matters)?


Endorsement of the same by Greg Sherwood MW.


Cartology 2017 available on the website now, FYI.


Seriously? I’ve just placed an order for Bin#003…this place is going to be the ruin of me… Thanks for posting though :slight_smile:


re Cartology

Anyone at TWS able to comment on the time lag between TWS (releasing the 2017) and other merchants (who claim to be releasing the 2018 soon)?