Oldenburg Vineyards Rhodium 2010

Apr 03, 13 Oldenburg Vineyards Rhodium 2010

Posted by in Australia

Rhodium sounds like a precious metal and it is, it’s found alongside platinum and 90% of it is in South Africa. It’s also the name of Oldenburg’s newest release. I think we know where they got the inspiration for the name of the wine. It’s always exciting to be at the launch of a new wine and last Thursday at High Timber restaurant, I was present at a dinner with Oldenburg Vineyards owner Adrian Vanderspuy when he poured for us the first vintage of Rhodium, the 2010. But first a bit of background on Oldenburg Vineyards. Oldenburg Vineyards is owned by South African Adrian Vanderspuy. The estate is a boutique winery comprised of 30 hectares and is in the Banghoek Valley in Stellenbosch. Adrian is just starting out on his winery adventure with Oldenburg, having planted the vineyard only a few years ago and he is still finding his feet so to speak, in regards to what works best for the winery. He’s is a big supporter of chenin blanc and rejected the more conventional sauvignon blanc when he was planting his vineyard. He feels that chenin blanc has a strong connection with South Africa and that they should be encouraging it’s growth within their wine industry. As a matter of fact, Oldenburg have been so successful with their chenin that respected winemaker Ken Forrester buys the grapes Oldenburg doesn’t vinify. As for the reds, thankfully, Adrian is not a big fan of pinotage. I’m not either, although having spoken to some producers, they claim that it’s a matter of finding the right terroir for pinotage. Adrian prefers to leave them to it. He believes that South Africa should lead with single variety and Bordeaux based blends. As such, he is focusing on growing cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and syrah. The Rhodium is the result of this desire to produce world class Bordeaux blends from South Africa. We were treated to the soon to be released and first vintage of the Rhodium, the 2010. What is...

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Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Feb 02, 13 Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Posted by in Saturday Snapshot, South Africa

Okay, so it has been a long time coming but I am being converted to the wines of South Africa. I remember when I first started wine tasting, S. African wines were definitely not my go-to choice. The reds tasted of an odd, burnt flavour and the whites were frankly, lemon water. Happily, the wines, they are a-changing. I have of course tried the wines of Seven Springs vineyards, which I have reviewed here in the past. And just the other day, I received a sample of a red wine from Kleine Zalze Winery. Kleine Zalze it has to be said, have been around a long time. They were founded in 1695 and are still a family owned estate. They make premium red and white wines and are known for their quality. I have had the higher end of their range and it is very good. The wine I had though was from their entry-level range, the Zalze 2011 Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier blend. An interesting take on the classic Shiraz/Viognier blend that is originally from the Rhone Valley, this wine was certainly much more then I was expecting. As I said earlier, I often think of South African reds as having a slightly burnt or smoky (not in a good way) character to them, but this wine was delicious: medium-bodied with loads of blackberry and red fruit notes on the palate, the Viognier gave it a slightly lifted nose with spicy notes mingling in there as well. I like to have my wine with dinner and this one I had with sweet potatoes (I eat them all the time in the winter) and a pork chop. It was a great little wine: good acidity and flavourful, but not overwhelming the food. The best bit is that this wine is available for under a tenner. That’s right, you can snap up a bottle for £6.99 from Ocado. At those prices, I’d pick up a couple of bottles! NOTE* I originally wrote this review for redwine.co.uk and occasionally re-post wines I...

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Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Aug 16, 12 Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Posted by in South Africa

Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch, S. Africa,  is located in what many consider to the premium wine growing region of the country. The vineyard is in the Banghoek Valley which means “scary corner” due to that fact that it used to the stomping grounds of local leopards. Nowadays they have all but disappeared leaving the valley to the vines. The vineyard was originally a fruit farm founded in the 1950’s which then became a vineyard in the 1960’s. The family sold their grapes to other vineyards until 1993 when Helmut Hohman, the owner died. It wasn’t until 2003 that the vineyard was revitalized by Adrian Vanderspruy, the current proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards. I had dinner with the winemaker, Simon Thompson, in London not long ago at the wine cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.  Over dinner, Simon related how a study had been commissioned of the vineyard site and they had found that it was a very unique site with the best soils placed in the middle of a hanging valley. The location having good sunlight but still being in a protected site. We touched on the fact that they practice “bio-viticulture”, it’s a phrase that was coined by a Stellenbosch professor and the the philosophy encapsulates both the principles of organic and biodynamic winemaking. Oldenburg believe that winemakers should “tread lightly on the environment”. In this case, they use as little copper and sulphur as possible in the winemaking process and the softest approach. They think a healthy microbial soil structure is very important in the grape growing process. They also do quite a bit of green harvesting to ensure that only the best grapes get through. Over dinner we had the first public vertical tasting of their chardonnays. Rather oaky in style, Simon believes that the way forward for South African chardonnay is less oak and I tend to agree with him. He’s a big fan of chenin blanc and thinks it could be the third wine of S. Africa. I tried the...

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Food and wine match, 7 Springs Sauvignon Blanc & chicken with roast lemon

I’ve always loved to cook but since I’ve fallen in with all these London food bloggers who cook and review restaurants, I’ve gotten a bit shy about my cooking abilities, so to speak. I do, however, know how to cook and although I might not make very exotic or time intensive recipes, it usually comes out pretty darn tasty. At least my flatmate, Giordi, likes my cooking. Score one for The Winesleuth. So, when I got an invitation to take part in the www.sofeminine.co.uk latest contest to contribute a recipe, I thought I’d enter. Being The Winesleuth, of course, I had to find a wine to pair with whatever I cooked. Usually, when I decide to cook, I look at what wines I have to hand first and then think about what to cook that will go with it. So it was, one Saturday afternoon, I had a look at my wine rack and spied a bottle of the 7 Springs 2010 Sauvignon blanc from South Africa. I had tried the wine about 5 months ago and enjoyed it very much so I was curious to see how or if it had changed. When I had first tried it, I thought with it’s fresh,crispy, citrus character, this wine would probably go well with chicken in some form. So I yelled up the stairs to Giordi, “Hey, do you fancy chicken for dinner tonight?” I heard some sort of agreement and fired up the laptop. I don’t have any cookbooks but I do have the web and found a recipe from an American magazine, Bon Appetite for Chicken with Roast Lemons, Green olives and capers. A very simple recipe that can be made in less then hour, this dish was fantastic. I had to tweak the recipe a little bit as the local Turkish shop only had Turkish olives marinated in lemon (the recipe calls for green Sicilian olives) but the dish came out fantastically. Very tasty and tender chicken and the flavour the roast...

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Golf Live Show this weekend (and wine!)

May 21, 11 Golf Live Show this weekend (and wine!)

Posted by in Lifestyle

If you like golf like I like golf, you should get down to the Golf Live Show going on right now! This weekend at the London Golf Club just outside of Tunbridge Wells. I was invited as a guest of Hotel du Vin, they know I like my wine but what do they have to do with golf? Plenty it turns out, as they work with the 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montogomerie in support of Elizabeth Montogomerie Foundation, Colin’s charity that he set up in memory of his mother who died of cancer. Hotel du Vin also plays host to all the professional golfers, providing their accommodation for the duration of the show. They are some lucky golfers enjoying the Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells and all it’s fabulous wines. The show is everything to do with golf. I was in golf heaven. They have pros on hand to give tips on how to improve your putting, driving, chipping, slicing, you name it, they can probably solve your problem.  There are also plenty of masterclasses from some golfing greats. Besides Colin , Ian Woosnam, David Howell, Carly Booth and Trick Shot master Jeremy Dale are just a few of the pros  on hand to give demonstrations and chat. Golf Courses to me are some of the most beautiful places to visit and there are plenty of golf course representatives on hand if you fancy booking a holiday. From the very trad Scotland and Ireland to the more exotic Dominican Republic and, the one I’d like to visit, Turkey, you can take your pick. Of course, they all seem to be giving away holidays, so fingers crossed, I win one! Of course, being the ‘sleuth, I did find some very good wine at the show as well. The Desires de Vin company have a stall where you can pop by and buy a glass or two of red or white Burgundy. I particularly liked the 2009 Auxey Duresses red, silky and fruity with some...

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