There are a many ways of choosing which wines to taste at a wine show or wine trade event and how one spends ones time there.

Each individual has their own approach.

Mine is first to look out for familiar wine friends behind the tables and enjoy a chat. Then I head for a glass of bubbly, then taste some reds (my preference) and, if I still have capacity, a white or two. I enjoy trying wines that I haven’t tried before and revisiting some that I haven’t tried for a while.

My recent visit to the Vinimark Wine Trade Fair ticked many of my boxes, many familiar wine friends, a large diversity if wines and also many wine friends as visitors.

Alas, not every wine event has the “A Team” present, this one to a large degree did. So, no apologies for some name-dropping, but I did see Mike Ratcliffe, Neil Ellis, Wendy Applebaum, Vaughn Johnson, Caroline Rillema amongst others.

Being new to enjoying bubbly and champagne being on offer, I went for a glass from a global name, Bollinger Special Cuvee. What a special treat and pleasure and at just about R700 a bottle and with a big birthday a month away……

My first reds, were two that somehow I have had to wait years to taste, they were the Vilafonte M 2012 (Merlot with some Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon) and the Vilafonte C 2012. (Cabernet Sauvignon with some Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc). Seriously good wines and well worth the years of waiting.

Next was a revisit taste of Altydgedacht’s Barbera 2013. When I first tasted it, the wine icon Jean Parker herself poured it for me! A good wine then and still a goodie now.

My next palate pleaser was Glen Carlou Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, poured by winemaker Arco Laarman. It certainly stands high up there at the better end of the Cab scale.

New to me is Freyer’s Cove from Bamboes Bay and I enjoyed my taste of their Bamboes Bay Pinot Noir 2013 (I must seek out try their Sauvignon Blancs.)

Next down the hatch were wines from farms where I have recently run Trail Runs, Muratie and L’Avenir. Poured by Muratie’s Rijk Melck, I tasted their gorgeous Ronnie Melck Shiraz 2012 and from L’Avenir, their flavour-rich Provenance Pinotage 2013. Both new savourites.

And then…….

Deciding I had capacity for one last wine. I glanced casually at the Price List and my eyes caught a retail price: R45 a bottle, a shiraz.

It was from Leeuwenkuil, whose wines I remember doing very well at the recent Old Mutual Trophy Show. My curiosity and love of shiraz made this a no-brainer. But at that price, my expectations were…… modest.

Well the Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013 is made from Swartland grapes and is a very decent wine indeed. In fact delivering quality at that price, it is a miracle wine. My quest for a really good and affordable everyday drinking red could be over.

leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013


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