domaine des dieux – place of the gods

Domaine des Dieux – Place of the Gods – began as a dream inspired by numerous visits to Burgundy that contributed to a love for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Champagne. Then, in 2002, Sharon Parnell and Peter Clarke found a small piece of land – 28ha to be exact – nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Babylonstoren in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, where, it is said, heaven and earth meet.

Sharon and Peter made sure that the farm lent itself to the growing of premium Pinot noir and Chardonnay, amongst other cultivars that were carefully chosen and matched to terroir. But what astonished them was that in a valley that produces such premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, no-one else had yet produced a méthode champenoisestyled bubbly and they now pride themselves on being the first.

In less than a decade what began as a dream has grown into a boutique cellar producing small volume, superior award-winning wine. Their portfolio consists of six wines, the flagships of which are two MCCs – Rose of Sharon and Claudia – as well as the Josephine Pinot Noir.

The 2010 Josephine Pinot Noir was recently award a 2012 Michelangelo Gold Award and already has a 4 star rating in John Platter. This warm 2010 vintage brings a concentrated and powerful Pinot noir. On the nose, perfumed dark red fruits combine with earthy, cinnamon tones and a delicate smokiness from maturation in small French oak barrels. In the mouth, the wine is generous and full, showing bright red fruits and sleek tannins.

Pair the Josephine Pinot Noir with seared salmon, potato anno, savoury lentils and tarragon pesto for true enjoyment.

The 2007 Claudia Brut MCC represents the celebration of life and is perfect for any occasion worth celebrating. Claudia is a traditional, bottle fermented, method cap classique made from Pinot noir (20%) and Chardonnay (80%.) Creamy lemon curd aromas mingle with perfumed red berries, while it is fresh and light in the mouth with a long finish of toasty brioche notes. Claudia Brut MCC received a silver at the 2012 Old Mutual Trophy awards as well as a 4 star rating in John Platter.

Pair the Claudia Brut MCC with any seafood dish, especially oysters, or with canapés such as prawn and sesame toast with a soya dipping sauce.

Tasting and sales at the vineyards are open from Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4:30pm, from November to February and off peak by appointment. Alternatively, the wines can be tasted at La Vierge Cellar.

Domaine des Dieux wines are available at a number of local stockists including Wine Concepts in Kloof Street and Newlands, and Vaughn Johnson at the V&A Waterfront, but a full list is available here

DOMAINE DES DIEUX | 028 313 2126 | Facebook | Twitter

the wine kollective: wines from the swartland at cellar door prices


If Riebeek Kasteel is one of your go-to country destinations, chances are you’ve popped into Short Short on more than one occasion, including the blue building (third building from the right in the image above). If you have, you’ll know that the latter is home to one of the best boutique wine shops around.

At the Wine Kollective you won’t find mass-produced commercial wines or well known labels available everywhere. What you will find is a selection of wines from the Swartland region,low sulphur and made with minimal interference, that you won’t find anywhere else. Wines hail from Sequillo Cellars and Sadie Family Wines, Lemmershoek Private Wine Cellar, Mullineux, Annex Kloof, A. A. Badenhorst, Farm 1120, Babylon’s Peak, Dragonridge, Tres Estrellas and Santa Cecilia, to name just a few of the select estates.

If you think exclusive equates to overpriced, think again; not only are all wines offered at cellar door prices, Wine Kollective has free tastings every weekend.

Not all of us can head out to Riebeek Kasteel on a regular basis, though, no matter how much we’d like to. So the Wine Kollective delivers anywhere in South Africa.

I asked owner Anton Espost to recommend two wines (while wondering what impact it would have on my budget). His choices (descriptions taken from website):

SANTA CECILIA CHENIN BLANC 2011 – 75% Chenin Blanc, 10% Roussanne, 10% Grenache Blanc, 5% Viognier. Natural wild yeast, fermented in the barrel. The same blend as the Santa Cecilia 2, but using the driest barrels. Stunning apple and citrus with a crisp clean mouth feel. With food or without food, the best thing to a Santa Cecilia is another Santa Cecilia!

Price per bottle: R75

TRES ESTREL LAS EL PRESIDENTE 2010 – The El Presidente 2010 was the recipient of the President’s Cup (Gouda Book Club) as winner of the “Best Red…ever” category. The wine is a wild natural yeast fermentation of Riebeeksrivier grapes. Initially the wine was matured in (very) old barrels as a way of reducing costs (we started with prohibitively expensive grapes), but now that the wine turned out very dandy, we have a different spin on things and it goes like this:- “Intentional minimal wood transfer has resulted in a full bodied spicy red wine, where the Shiraz grape is the undominated star character. Indeed fit for a dictator”. Don’t let the price fool you.
Price per bottle: a ridiculous R45!

And if you find the descriptions above amusing, you’re going to want to read the Wine Kollective website from home page to last, from how the Wine Kollective came to be, to how Kasteelberg got its name, and everything in between. I’m sure A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines is the only wine estate that owes its existence to Hunter S. Thompson, Elvis and a wedding in Vegas.

All content on the website is written by Anton, so I blame him for the time it took to complete this article; I was reading and laughing far more often than I was taking notes and writing.

Forget about 42, the combination of laughter and excellent wine is the meaning of life.

Short Street, Riebeek Kasteel
022 448 1008

b-moved to almenkerk in the elgin valley

In comparison to the rest of the Western Cape industry, the Elgin Valley wine region is very young. Even so, the elegant wines being produced in this breathtaking, cool climate area have been making waves and earning accolades and awards worldwide from the beginning. Family-owned and run Almenkerk is one such estate.

Joris and Natalie Opstaele arrived in South Africa from Belgium in 2002 and started looking for a farm with just the right cool climate terroir. In 2004 they bought the perfect place, except, of course, for the fact that it was an apple farm. Undeterred, they planted the first of their now 15ha of vines and released the maiden Almenkerk vintage – a Sauvignon Blanc – in 2009, which promptly went on to win a Gold Medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, one of the world’s most prestigious wine competitions.

This achievement was followed by Silver Medals at both the Decanter World Wine Awards and at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles for the 2010 Red Blend – a blend of Shiraz (36%), Merlot (28%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%), Cabernet Franc (17%) and Viognier (1%). More recently, the 2011 Chardonnay was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards and a Silver Medal at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

I asked Natalie for her personal recommendation and she responded that while it’s not possible to choose a single stand-out favourite (understandably so), it is worth noting that the 2010 Red Blend is just as good served chilled during the hot summer months. As a red wine drinker, this was music to my ears.

So how does one go from apple farm to award-winning wine estate in a few short years? Joris and Natalie combine extensive research, innovative new techniques and precision viticulture that can be summarised as “making wine in the vineyard”. Natalie explained that this attention to every vine is only really possible on smaller estates like Almenkerk. With the help of aerial photography that allows them to see the slightest changes in colour and growth, they can ensure that each vine receives the right care and attention – from health to adjusting pruning and harvesting times – to ensure that every grape that goes into each wine is perfect. Changes in weather patterns every year will also affect the vine, so this, too, is factored into care, pruning and harvest.

Almenkerk is open to the public for sales and tasting from 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday, but if you have a special request, would like a technical tasting or to visit in a large group an appointment is essential. Visitors looking for a deeper experience are welcome to make arrangements to spend the day at Almenkerk learning how to pick and sort grapes, visit the cellar and learn more about the wine making, followed by a leisurely lunch and wine tasting. A word of warning though: it’s hard work and an early start to the day!

Sadly, the 2011 Chardonnay (awarded a Gold Medal at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards and a Silver Medal at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show), which was produced in limited quantities, is completely sold out. That said, Capetonians can still enjoy it at The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill (at least for now). In fact, Almenkerk also makes The Pot Luck Club’s (sister to The Test Kitchen) house red and white, which we mentioned here last year.

A trip out to Almenkerk is its own reward even before you taste the wine. Besides gracious and friendly hosts, you get to bask in the beauty of the Elgin Valley and the estate itself, as well as the stunning winery and tasting room, which was featured in the 2009 Architecture Digest

Find out more at the Almenkerk website and follow Almenkerk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

bouchard finlayson tutored tasting at dear me

“I believe wine should be shared and that no barrier should cause people to shy away from this ‘life elixir’. Therefore, I’ve decided that my team and I should present a series of tutored tastings that are informative and most importantly – lots of fun. The tastings are limited to 20 guests, which allows for knowledge to be shared in an intimate environment whilst savouring a delicious glass of wine”. – Peter Finlayson

Join oenologist Jessica Saurwein at Dear Me for a vertical tasting of Bouchard Finlayson’s two famous blends: the Blanc de Mer and the Hannibal wines. which will be sampled alongside one or two international examples and some delectable nibbles at Dear Me in Cape Town on 26 February. This is one of those tastings that cannot be missed by wine enthusiasts – knowledge is shared and this blend explored as it ages with appealing composure!

Taste up to 10 wines on the evening – the perfect way to wind down from your day after work and to turn to the “fun things” of life – this is what wine is all about after all!

When: Tuesday, the 26th February:
Where: Dear Me Restaurant, 165 Longmarket Street
Time: 17h45 for 18h00. The tasting will run until about 19h30.
Cost: there is a catering cost of R100,- per person. Payment prior to attendance secures your seat.

You are welcome to stay for more snacks and drinks at Tjing Tjing bar (on the roof of Dear Me).

Booking is essential: contact the winery on or 028 312 3515

win tickets to summer wine party #2 at simon’s at groot constantia

You heard right, it’s not just another average wine show; it’s a party. This time you get to taste the ‘Best of the Best’, while rubbing shoulders with the wine makers who create your favourite wines. Enjoy a day of fantastic wine, great food and live music, under the trees surrounding Simon’s Restaurant on the beautiful Groot Constantia Estate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to see summer off in style.

WineStyle Magazine is a beautiful quarterly wine, food and travel publication with an up to date website hosting the best of the best in South African food, wine and travel! This year WineStyle is hosting a wine show like none other!

It’s not a wine trade show; it’s a celebration of food and wine. It’s for people who appreciate good wine, and who like to have fun. Guests are encouraged to engage, taste, drink, eat and pick up a few wine tips in the process. A menu of tapas, gourmet picnic snacks and charcuterie boards will be available to purchase, along with bottles of wine – and should be enjoyed with friends and family, whilst relaxing and listening to some tunes.

  • Venue: Simon’s restaurant – Groot Constantia Cape Town
  • Date: this Friday and Saturday, 15 & 16 March (Friday 4-10pm & Saturday 12-10 pm)
  • Capacity: 500 people per day
  • Tickets: R100.00 per person attending (includes a glass & free tasting)
  • Come dressed in Summer whites – and you may win some prizes!

Tickets available at Webtickets but three lucky B-guided readers can win double tickets to the event by either:

  • Emailing your contact details to with Summer Wine Party as the subject line.
  • Tweeting @bguidedSA and including the hashtag #summerwineparty in your tweet.
  • Leave a comment on the Summer Wine Party update on the B-guided Facebook page

You have until 8am tomorrow (Friday, 15 March) to enter. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

For any further information please contact:, call 083 227 1167, or visit the WineStyle website

noble hill syrah 2008 special

Late last year Café Frank opened a wine shop and is one of the very few restaurants, if not the only one, to be granted both a serve and a sell licence. Owner Deborah stocks an interesting selection that will please any wine lover. One of these is the 2008 Noble Hill Syrah.

The 2008 Noble Hill Syrah is described as:

This Syrah reminds us of toasty black cherries, fennel, cloves, and dark chocolate: a perfect match for rich flavours. The wine is smooth and balanced to delight the connoisseur and convert the newcomer. The oak is well-integrated and will age ideally through 2014 or beyond.

The Syrah is the perfect accompaniment to roast meat or venison, so if your weekend plans include a sumptuous Easter meal, this is the wine for you. Even better, it is being offered for R65, down from R95! As there is limited stock left, we recommend picking up a couple of bottles!

The shop is open on Saturday, 30 March from 8am to 2pm, making it easy to stop in to pick up a few bottles for weekend celebrations. If you can’t get there, though, Deborah will happily set some bottles aside for you if you email her on

021 423 0360
160 Bree Street, Cape Town


bouchard finlayson tutored tasting at kyoto garden sushi

Join Bouchard Finlayson at their next Tutored Tasting in Cape Town and taste your way through an array of older vintage Hannibal (their Italian/French blend) and Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, alongside one or two international wines. These wines are all grown and produced in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which is world-renowned for its elegant Pinot noir. The tasting is both educational as well as being fun, since that it really what wine is all about!

There will be an interval during which you are welcome to enjoy some tasty bites created by the venue to accompany the wines.

The tasting takes place on 11 June and is hosted by Oenologist Jessica Saurwein.
Venue: Kyoto Garden Sushi, Cape Town
Time: 18:00 – please arrive by 17:45, so that the tasting can start promptly at 18:00. The tasting will go on until about 19:30.
Cost: R150 to cover catering.

To reserve your spot, please contact Bouchard Finlayson on or call 028 312 3515. Payment of the R150, upon request of our banking details, secures your seat.

Find out more at the Bouchard blog

b-moved to strandveld wines in the elim wine ward

Strandveld Vineyards has released the 2011 vintage of its elegantly smooth, cool climate Shiraz, a beautiful expression of the farm’s singular micro climate, terroir and diverse vineyard sites. The wine is full bodied and boasts vibrant red berry fruit flavours and a creamy finish. The 2011 First Sighting Shiraz matured for 12 months in, resulting in a wine with soft tannins and well-integrated oak flavours.

The Shiraz is available at boutique wine stores and wine merchants throughout the country, but we recommend a visit to Strandveld Vineyards and tasting room near Bredasdorp, where you can can purchase the First Sighting Shiraz 2011 for R70. The historic tasting room is open Mondays to Thursdays from 8am to 5pm, Fridays from 8am to 4pm and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

Strandveld also offers two colonial-style cottages for a peaceful break amongst the vineyards. The cottages are self catering and offer modern kitchens and bathrooms, as well as an indoor fireplace and three crates of firewood. All the necessities are supplied, too, including bedding and towels.

Besides relaxing with glass in hand to enjoy stunning views of the gardens and hills beyond, visitors can explore the vineyards, dams and picnic spots or see the inner workings of the wine cellar. For those who’d like to venture further, Strandveld is about 15km from the Agulhas National Park and about 16km from Elim. The natural wetlands are a birdwatcher’s paradise, with sights of Marshall Eagles, Fish Eagles, Flamingos, African Black Oystercatchers and Blue Cranes.

For the adventurous there’s shark cage diving in Gansbaai and some of the best sea-angling spots can be found along the Agulhas coast.

While you may take your bicycle to explore, quad bikes and motorcycles are not permitted as Strandveld is a protected area.

Strandveld offers ridiculously affordable rates, making even a mid-month getaway easy on the wallet:

1 May – 30 November
1 Night: R450 per cottage / night
2 Nights: R400 per cottage / night
3 Nights: R370 per cottage / night
4+ Nights: R340 per cottage / night.

1 December – 30 April
R550 per cottage / night

For more information, visit the website or call Strandveld on 028 482 1906.

getwine moves to convenient new location

We last featured Getwine, the popular online wine portal, in February 2013, but since then, there have been some exciting changes.

Getwine started in May 2005 and until June operated out of their existing Van Riebeeck liquor business in Harrington Street.

Earlier this year Van Riebeeck Liquors acquired Rubin’s Liquors in Cape Town, with the result that Getwine outgrew the Harrington Street premises. The search was on for the ideal location and they were fortunate to find fantastic premises in the newly renovated PALS building in Salt River.

As convenient as online shopping is, sometimes we want to interact with and get advice from the experts – and at Getwine’s new premises locals and visitors are treated to something special.

On offer are superb South African wines, excellent service by very knowledgeable staff, and some of the best wine bargains in the country. Check out the great deals to be had on top wines over that the Getwine website and Facebook page.

Despite offering great prices across the board, Getwine also offers regular specials. Click here for details of current special offers. We have our eye on a number of wines from well known local estates!

We also recommend subscribing to their monthly newsletter for up to date news and specials on labeled and unlabelled wine.

While Getwine has moved to Salt River, the Harrington Street location will continue supplying liquor and wine to corporate businesses in Cape Town and surrounds.

021 461 2891
PALS Building
95 Durham Avenue
Salt River


3 wine bars you have to try

Pieter Smedy, fashion and décor fundi and Associate Editor for Condé Nast House & Garden, knows exactly where to go for an evening of good food, great wine and superb company in Cape Town. He shares his top recommendations.

La Parada is a staple for the inner-city after-work crowd, where the Spanish-style tapas menu is headed up by former elBuli chef Andres Condé. The wine list is extensive without being soulless — expect a good balance between up-and-comers and established names. Below street level, the Catacombs bar at the same address continues the party until late into the evening.

The hidden star of the city wine scene, Publik is headed up by local wine revolutionary David Cope and focuses entirely on unusual wines and undiscovered estates. Imagine a cellar space in the middle of a bustling city that’s also a working artisanal butchery. Monday nights are dedicated to sparkling wine and every Tuesday they pop open their older vintages.

Think impossibly cool nikkei cuisine at Charangowe’re talking lashings of tuna tataki and toasted quinoa crème perfectly paired with a concise yet considered wine list that features a solid cast of local favourites. A sprawling mural of swans in flight by acclaimed local street artist Faith47 dominates the interior, while foxed mirrors and exposed copper plumbing complete the industrial-chic setting. Order a glass of Dornier Malbec – or be daring and try a Constantia Glen Five while you peruse the delights of their menu.