I've become nearly teetotal since having the littlies. Who wants a hangover when you've got to be up by 7am? Not me. The by-product of this is that I've become very picky about the wines I consume when I do enjoy a glass of wine and while I do experiment from wines particularly from France and Argentina, I always come back to the South African wineries that I love so much.
Wine-tasting in the Winelands near Cape Town taught me a lot about the wines I like but my recommendations are also wrapped up in wonderful memories of when my husband and I first started dating The romance of a wine-tasting date at a beautiful vineyard is hard to beat. While I have used specialist wine importers to buy South African wines in the past, all my recommendations have the added bonus of being available at Majestic Wine, which makes them easily available in the UK. My recommendations are all vineyards that I discovered years ago and have visited a few times.
My favourite winery by far is Thelema near Stellenbosch. Absolutely every single wine I've ever tasted from this vineyard is delicious, unsurprising then that it has been rated as one of the world's top 100 estates. My favourite is the Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon, though the Chardonnay is fantastic too. Thelema is occasionally available at Majestic and I always snap up quite a few bottles when I see it.
The vineyard that I turn to most often for dinner parties is Rustenberg, another Stellenbosch wine estate. The reds are full-bodied and delicious. The Rustenberg John X Merriman is the wine that always draws the most comments from our friends and is the wine that we probably gift. It goes really well when paired with Middle Eastern food with exotic flavours.
My South African sparkling wine (Methode Cap Classique) recommendation is definitely Graham Beck, who produce yummy white wines in general. My favourite is their Sauvignon Blanc, which again pairs well with food.
My favourite Cape Town vineyard is Klein Constantia, who produce consistently good white wines, a by-product perhaps of their proximity to the cool sea air. Definitely try the Sauvignon Blanc.
The winery that I could really recommend visiting for the history of the place is Vergelegen in Somerset West near Cape Town. The vineyard was established in 1700 as has a beautiful Cape Dutch homestead and restaurant. It probably holds one of my most romantic wine-tasting memories and boasts constantly good wines across the board. I love their Cabernet Sauvignon.