NEWS: SA Muskadel Awards 2019 – Badsberg beats the rest!

Badsberg Wine Cellar from Rawsonville in the Breedekloof Valley was crowned top laureate with one platinum and two gold awards at the 17th Annual Muskadel SA Awards held on 23 May 2019.

The platinum award went to their Badsberg Red Muscadel 2017, while their 2008 and 2009 Red Muscadel won gold – the 2008 having also won gold at the 2019 awards.

Robertson’s Mont Blois Wine Estate is the only other cellar to be honoured with a platinum award this year. Their winning wine, Mont Blois Pump House White Muscadel 2016 is made from grapes cultivated from vineyards that are 26 years old and only 330 cases were produced.


Three other wines from the Robertson Wine Valley won gold:
Bon Courage Estate won two gold awards for their Red Muscadel 2018 and White Muscadel 2018. Montagu Wine & Spirits also won gold for their White Muscadel (NV)

Wines from the Breedekloof Valley collected five gold medals: Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar added to their performances over the past four years with two gold medals for their Red Muscadel 2016 and Hanepoot Jerepigo 2014.

Slanghoek Wine Cellar walked away with three gold medals for their Red Muscadel 2017, Red Muscadel 2018 and Hanepoot Jerepigo 2017.

From the Worcester Wine & Olive Route, De Wet Cellar won gold for their White Muscadel 2017.

A firm favourite amongst muscadel lovers are the sweeter wines from the Northern Cape – Orange River Cellars won two gold medals for their White Muscadel 2017 and Hanepoot 2017.


ISSUED BY:  Yolandi de Wet PR





The Next Person You Meet In Heaven is Mitch Albom’s new novel, and a sequel to his bestseller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Albom, you may recall, rose to prominence with his hugely successful memoir, Tuesday’s With Morrie.

If you are new to his novels, you are in for a delightful and a different sort of reading treat.

One needn’t have read either its prequel or any other Albom novel, to enjoy it, it can stand on its own merit – the book’s story is clever and imaginative and along the way there are twists and surprises.

The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. Injured, scarred and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.

But when her wedding night ends with an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey – and a reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

I had the joy, and privilege of attending one of two book launches held on Mitch Albom’s recent South African trip. Let me attempt to restrain myself from gushing, but Mr Albom was absolutely fantastic in person. Modest, caring, witty, genuine, enthusiastic and colourful and most of all a very human, human being. The intimate hour he spent with us could have gone on for five hours and we would have been spellbound. He came across like a most welcome guest in one’s home lounge.

These human qualities are evident in The Next Person You Meet In Heaven. I read the book before attending its launch, and at first, I was not sure if it was going to my kind of a book, it was and then some. I must confess that I have given little or no thought to the afterlife, and heaven and hell are not places I have visited mentally before.

The idea that the first people one meets in heaven are five people who had a significant impact on one’s life on earth, is an appealing one indeed. And in this book, every life matters and every ending can be a beginning as well. One needs hope and a positive attitude. Who could disagree with that.

In a world peppered by gloom, doom and negativity and a social media full of trolls and bots, it is a joy to read a book that is positive and hopeful and encourages self affirmation. It is a delightful, uplifting read. Bravo and thank you, Mitch Albom.



A full week of outstanding food paired with some of the country’s best Shiraz wines awaits in this year’s exciting Seven Days of Shiraz and Venison. Another showcase for the quality of South African Shiraz and its versatility as a food wine.


Seven Days of Shiraz and Venison centres mostly around the week of June 10 although several events will take place on one day only. Others have opted to extend the party for the entire month.

Winter being not only big for red wine, but game-inspired dishes too, festival participants can expect everything from feasts of shiraz and game; winemaker-led tastings of rare vintages; quick and simple pairings for fast visits; culinary innovations in savoury and sweet; and, much more.

Important to note is that reservation is required for most of the occasions and must be made with the individual providers. Wineries taking part this year include Aan’t Vette Wine Estate (Riversdale); Allesverloren (Riebeek Kasteel); Darling Cellars (Darling); Du Toitskloof (Rawsonville); Lord’s Wine Farm (McGregor); Strandveld Vineyards (Southern Cape).

In Stellenbosch, there’s Asara; Avontuur Estate; Bartinney; Delheim; Neethlingshof; Oldenburg Vineyards and Zevenwacht. In Hermanus and surrounds, Benguela Cove; Creation and Villion Family Wines. Paarl wineries doing their bit will be Avondale; Fairview; Landskroon; Nederburg and Vondeling Wines. Visitors from Durbanville can visit De Grendel Wines; Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery and Meerendal while Wellington wineries taking part are Diemersfontein and Wellington Wines; and, in Franschhoek, La Motte and Leopard’s Leap.

The full programme is available online at


Hello Ridgeback, my old friend
I’ve come to taste your wines again
Because a memory softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the memory that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the taste of your Shiraz
(with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)

Some years back, I went through a long phase of only tasting and drinking red wines. Many a friend at the time asked me what my favourite kind of wine was? – I honestly had no answer.

Then one day out on the Paarl Wine Route, I impulsively popped into Ridgeback Wines. I’d never heard of them before and the doggie name intrigued me. Little did I realise that that visit would answer the question. The wine that lit the globe in my wine memory was the Ridgeback Shiraz (made then by Catherine Marshall), I wish I could remember the vintage…that first taste was to become the cornerstone of my wine drinking pleasure. I was then able to declare that I was a Shiraz/Syrah man and I still am.


I have just had the pleasure of getting together with my old friend, Ridgeback Shiraz, albeit in the form of its 2015 vintage and also some of its other Ridgeback friends: Ridgeback Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Ridgeback Cabernet Franc 2015 and Ridgeback Journey 2015, now made by Toit Wessels.

Tasting the Shiraz was obviously nostalgic for me, not because I was able to recall the finer details of its older vintage, but because the pleasure I got from the 2015 was equal to my first impression. The 2015 showed the peppery, tobacco leaf noted that hooked me in the beginning, I liked their shiraz then, I like it now.


I tried the Ridgeback Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 next. In fact, we enjoyed the wine with our T-bone and veg dinner, the pairing, as one would expect, was a good one, with the dark fruit and herbiness of the Cab complimenting the meat perfectly. I’m not sure which I finished first, but I did pour myself a second glass…


The next Ridgeback wine I tasted was their Cabernet Franc 2015. I found it quite Mediterranean in taste, with its black olive and spicy tones. A wine I would definitely prefer on its own rather than with food.


My Ridgeback tasting journey ended appropriately with their red blend Journey 2015. It is Cab Franc dominated (36%), with Cabernet Sauvignon (28%), Merlot (26%) and Petit Verdot (10%). A really decent Bordeaux blend and worth ageing for a year or two more.

So, Ridgeback my old friend, I’m glad I tasted your wines again. I look forward to enjoying more of your wines again before too long.




I am fairly new to Prosecco, and today I did something different – I enjoyed a glass soon after breakfast, well not even a glass, a whole bottle, all by myself!

I see you frowning. Before your frown becomes permanent, the bottle was a 200ml one…okay!



It was a Da Luca Mini, a welcome and novel addition to the Prosecco family.

Da Luca Prosecco is a classic example of the Glera grape grown in the Prosecco region and an Italian sparkling wine that punches way above its weight.

Straw yellow in colour with very fine perlage, the nose features aromas of peach, pear and apricot that open to a lively, yet soft, refreshing palate. There is a touch of sweetness and a clean, lingering finish.

I like it, I like it. Salud Da Luca!

Da Luca Prosecco Mini RSP: R55 from the Flagstone Winery, Somerset West


Today I attended the 7th Shiraz Challenge which was held at a function ay Ashanti Estate on Paarl,  hosted by cultivar association Shiraz SA.


Shiraz SA chairman, Edmund Tereblanche at today’s awards in Paarl

The 12 Shiraz champions for 2019 are:
• Babylonstoren Shiraz 2017 • Neethlingshof Shiraz 2015
• Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2016 • Quoin Rock Shiraz 2015
• Driehoek Shiraz 2017 • Rhebokskloof Black Marble Hill Syrah 2016
• Driehoek Shiraz 2016 • Kruger Family Reserve Shiraz 2016 (Stellenview)
• Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2015 • Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz 2017
• KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz 2016 • La Cave Shiraz 2017 (Wellington Wines)

The winning Shiraz blends are:
• Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Bismarck 2017
• Babylonstoren Babel 2017
• Eikendal Charisma 2017

In addition, KWV and Babylonstoren were each recognised with a special award this year.

A total of 207 wines participated in the championship this year. Of these, 36 were blends – a category added to the competition in 2014.

The winning wines are available for purchase as a set of 12 through online wine portal
For more information, visit



Andrea Freeborough (LR) 2


The new head winemaker at Distell is Andrea Freeborough. Cellar-master at Nederburg since 2015, she will be leaving her position at the Paarl winery at the end of May to take up her new role in overseeing the production of South Africa’s largest wine portfolio.

Distell’s diverse and globally traded range extends from premium brands such as Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap and Alto (which, amongst others, now form part of Distell’s new premium wine company, Libertas Vineyards & Estates), all the way through to more mainstream offerings such as 4thStreet, Two Oceans and Drostdy Hof.

Armed with BSc Hons degrees in viticulture and oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, Freeborough’s working life began as an assistant winemaker at Neethlingshof in Stellenbosch. Less than three years later she was appointed a fully-fledged winemaker, working under Nederburg cellar-master Razvan Macici, producing the whites. Obviously with great proficiency, because four-and-a-half years later, still in her very early 30s, she was appointed to head Distell’s Die Bergkelder, a job she held for a decade before returning to Nederburg to take over from Macici in 2015.



Paarl’s iconic GRANDE ROCHE HOTEL is back in South African hands. After three decades of offshore ownership, the historic five-star property at the foot of the landmark Paarl Mountain is scheduled for a transformation to return it as one of the Cape’s premier destinations.

The hotel has been acquired by entrepreneurs Hansie and Theresa Britz. Both born and raised in Paarl, the couple shares a life-long association with the Grande Roche as all dyed-in-the-wool locals do.

The Grande Roche’s history dates to the early 1700s. Its buildings in the Cape vernacular have been certified a national monument.

The first phase of rejuvenation begins this June, when the hotel closes for a month. In addition to a maintenance overhaul, work will include a revamp of several rooms and the establishment of a completely new restaurant and bar.


Renowned TV celebrity Chef Pete Goffe-Wood comes on board as chef-patron of the all-new restaurant, Viande. The French name meaning simply meat, is not only in line with the hotel’s, but also a statement of culinary direction. In addition, all other food and beverage operations will also form part of Goffe-Wood’s involvement, which will include special events, weddings and conferencing.

The restaurant will be enlarged to accommodate around 90 guests and occupy the entire floor of the hotel’s familiar main building. The traditional reception moves into the hotel itself. “The chandeliers will remain,” declares Pete of the stunning collection that has become part of the experience along with the anchoring fireplace.

Viande will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with Sunday brunch on the cards as well.

A new cocktail bar will become the hub for the after-work slow-down.

And on this vinous note, the vineyard surrounding the hotel is also in for some work and will undergo replanting. Wines are made by Bertus Fourie at Under Oaks, the local estate that becomes sister property to the hotel through this transaction.




Glenelly, the Stellenbosch wine estate with a French touch, located on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg, have released the 2013 vintages of their flagship Lady May Cabernet Sauvignon and their Estate Reserve Signature Red Blend.

Lady May is crafted predominantly from a single Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard planted on a cool east-facing slope, with a dash of other Bordeaux varieties. Taking after its owner, the wine is elegant, distinguished and venerable. Having been set an enormous challenge by Madame, Glenelly have produced several highly-acclaimed vintages of Lady May, reaping prestigious awards, including a pinnacle 5-star rating for the 2009 vintage in Platter’s wine guide.

“It has always been my dream to craft the finest Cabernet Sauvignon blend outside of France. At the grand age of 78, I finally discovered Glenelly Estate, in the heart of the iconic Stellenbosch, the ideal place for my vision to become reality. Selected from the highest and coolest vineyard slopes, these grapes confer to Lady May elegance, exceptional depth and ageing potential. This wine is my legacy.”



The Lady May 2013 is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot. This is the 2nd vintage of Lady May that comprises a Cabernet Franc component, adding distinctive freshness and longevity to the wine.

Tasting notes: The Lady May 2013 is an intense, deeply coloured wine. Elegant and complex with a big but classic structure, it offers alluring invitation to dark-fruited, richly-tannined depths. Fresh blackberry, cassis, dark cherry and spicy plum notes perfectly combine with dense, age-worthy tannins. Refined with distinct minerality and underlying fruit power, the wine is fresh, stylish and subtle, with a long, layered finish.

Recommended retail price: R520.




The Estate Reserve is Glenelly’s signature red blend with long ageing potential made from the estate’s finest parcels of vines. The label depicts a panoramic landscape view of Glenelly to convey a real sense of place and focus on terroir.

Tasting notes: The 2013 vintage is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. This is the first vintage with a Cabernet Franc component in the blend, adding freshness and longevity. The 2013 vintage is all about elegance with underlying power. Bold aromatics of blackberries, cranberry and blackcurrant are followed by hints of savoury, spicy plum with touches of cedar and floral tones. The palate entry has good richness with fine tannin supported by the ripe fresh fruit and hints of spice. Very balanced oak integration with a fresh long finish.


ISSUED BY: Posy Hazell


In the hidden Hemel-en-Aarde Valley at the Southern tip of Africa lies Bouchard Finlayson, a winery that combines the best of the old ways and classic French winemaking techniques, with the creativity and innovation of the new world.


Bouchard Finlayson White Wines 2019

Bouchard Finlayson has released the latest vintages of three of its most popular white wines.

Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2017 has its origins in numerous vineyard parcels, picked at various stages of ripening, to contribute to a sleek and complex wine that is destined to become a collector’s vintage. An undercurrent of spice and flint notes add complexity to the fruit bowl of flavours, including fig, lemon zest and passion fruit, all integrating on a long finish to pair beautifully with fish dishes, crustaceans, sushi, vegetarian cuisine and cheese. (R174 per bottle)

The Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer 2018 is widely celebrated as a wine for all seasons. Bouchard Finlayson founder and creator of the Blanc de Mer label, Peter Finlayson is quoted as saying: ‘Standing at the front of the winery one enjoys a classic view of the southern oceans, prompting the title ‘White of the Sea’ (Blanc de Mer). The palate is perfect and positively gregarious! A genuine people pleaser totally at home amongst relaxed company’. At 65% of the content in the 2018 vintage, the Riesling grape offers a solid frame to this unique white blend. This noble white wine variety is an unusual contribution to a Cape white blend, to establish a singular personality to the wine. A 16% Viognier and 18% Chardonnay component further enhances its exclusivity profile, resulting in a fountain of flowery aromas with a taste characterised by hints of quince, apricots and almonds. (R110 per bottle)

As part of its range of Chardonnays, Bouchard Finlayson’s Crocodiles Lair/Kaaimansgat 2017 is a wine to be treated seriously and sipped slowly. The 2018 vintage is a great companion to white meat and rich seafood such as lobster bisque, as well as soft cheese and mushroom risotto. Hints of litchi, white peach, kiwi fruit, strawberry smoothie and golden tangerine combine to generate a memorable taste experience. (R174 per bottle)