Fri 27 Dec 2013

Postcard From South Africa


I have just returned from a buying trip to South Africa and am more excited than ever about the country’s wines. Look out for a number of new arrivals in The Society’s range throughout 2014.

ChamonixWith the exchange rate heavily in our favour, I was pleased to discover that eating out in South Africa is better value than ever. Menus are varied, imaginative, and sometimes adventurous (peppered ostrich steaks were delicious and apparently very healthy too – certainly very lean). Pizzas (not very adventurous, I hear you say, but wait ’til you try them!) have a wafer-thin crust that just has to be good for you. Seafood of course is heavenly, and the many fish unfamiliar to us are well worth trying, though some do tend to be on the bony side, so it’s worth taking advice from generally well-informed staff.

Cape Chamonix, like many wine farms, now offers cheese and meat platters as well as its full restaurant menu, now with input from local celebrity chef Reuben Riffel. And of course there’s Gottfried’s award-winning wine range to sample while you are there.

Cape Point Vineyards, with surely one of the most stunning views of the winelands, hosts a weekly food market, every Thursday evening in summer. I took this to be along the lines of our farmers’ markets but in fact it’s more of a night out, with a variety of ‘street’ food stalls and plenty of great wine and local beer available too.

Cape Point

Here they are setting up in clear blue skies for an evening of good food and fine wine. It can be very windy here so don’t be misled into going without at least a sweater!

I was also shown the latest 2008 vintage of the Cape’s legendary Vin de Constance, which has been released in magnum, packed in handsome wooden boxes, and by all accounts has flown out!

Vin de Constance

Fans will be delighted to hear that the regular, more diminutive bottle, snapped in Klein Constantia‘s cellars alongside its new big brother, will be available in larger quantities.

Jo Locke MW
South Africa Buyer


  1. alex says:

    Great news. Looking forward to February offer. Any chance of a new Society South African Exhibition Sauvignon Blanc? The last lamented one was exceptional!

    • Jo Locke MW says:

      Thanks for your comment, and apologies for the late reply. I am very pleased to hear that you enjoyed the Exhibition South African Sauvignon Blanc. We don’t’ have any plans to reintroduce it soon, but I did taste a number of excellent Cape sauvignons whilst out there, so expect to see more additions to our range in near future.

  2. James Bolton says:

    I wonder if you would be interested in taking certain of the wines of Martin Meinert in Stellenbosch. My favourites are two bordeaux blends, Devon Crest and Synchronicity. Unfortunately he stopped producing the more competitively priced Devon Crest (last vintage 2006), citing difficulties in selling two relatively similar wines, however his single varietal merlot and cabernet offerings do not scale the same heights. Perhaps you may be able to persuade him to reconsider, with Society backing! Also the FMC Chenin made by Ken Forrester remains outstanding, but is no longer available in Waitrose.

  3. Philip boughen says:

    On my last visit (Nov 2013) to South Africa I met Lee-Anne, CEO of Meerlust, who told me an amusing story regarding a small area of old Chenin Blanc vines which had not performed well in recent years and a decision was made to uproot and replant. This was changed to give one more year’s grace – the result being one of the best Chenin Blanc in 2010, albeit only a small output. One envisaged the vines sighing relief at the delay and putting their all into 2010 !
    One last point. I tried a bottle each of the Liberator wines mentioned in a leaflet last year and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘morish’ Lone Ranger, however rather disappointed with the other three which may be better with food. Would be interested in any views on these wines.

    • Philip boughen says:

      Have only just noticed, to my considerable embarrassment, I wrongly stated that Lee-Anne was the CEO of Meerlust. Not true ! – should have read Morgenhof. So sorry for any confusion caused.

      Philip Boughen

  4. alex coren says:

    Thank you for your comments, Jo. I have recently spent some time at Beaumont, where I think you visited recently, and was very taken by their top of the range Vesuvian(?) – delicious if pricey. Given that the Society lists quite a few of their wines are there any plans to list this? Also visited Luddite – quite an experience; would make an excellent Exhibition Shiraz!!

    • Jo Locke MW says:

      I concur re Vitruvian and we are hopeful! I also just visited Luddite myself for the first time (though know Niels of old). No Exhibition Cape Shiraz on the cards at this stage, I’m afraid, but certainly something to bear in mind for the future.

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