This weeks headlineshttp://www.bestwineroutes.com/module/utils/rss.aspxThis weeks headlines360Rotkäppchen Sektkellerei GmbH <div>Rotkäppchen Sektkellerei GmbH is pretty old and started in 1856 as a wine trader. Nowadays it is one of the major producers of Saale Unstrut. Not until 1894 the Sektkellerei received its name named after the 'red cap' which was common on the ‘champagne’ bottles in Freyburg. Naturally this provided a nice link to the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Red Riding Hood was therefore regularly used in advertising displays of the brand. After the 2nd World War Saale Unstrut became the only wine region of Eastern Germany and because of that Rotkäppchen conquered Russia. After the Wende when the Iron Curtain fell some lesser years arrived for the company, but thanks to the Russian market the Sektkellerei remained afloat and even bought West German wine companies, unlike most East German companies that went bankrupt, had an ailing existence or were acquired by their West German competitors.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><h2>Oktoberfest, but with wine&nbsp;</h2><div>On arrival we buy a ticket for a tour in the shop. We gather in the main hall where the wines were prepared for shipment in the past. An original glass roof from 1893 with nice supporting steel beams demonstrates the rich past of the company. Currently, there is a stage and we can just imagine smashing parties are being held here. Unfortunately that is not the case. A lady in a red suit takes us for the tour. The group is large so its not easy to hear everything the guide tells us. We are guided along all historical barrels culminating in a barrel where no less than 160,000 bottles are able to go in. The gigantic barrel is two stories high. If we look over the balustrade we see long tables. In our imagination the party just started like a kind of Oktoberfest only with wine instead of beer. At the end of the tour we get a glass of Sekt. All together it is the kind of wine company that are too big for me. To much of a factory if you ask me. But behind the company there is a great history and a special story that deserves to be told.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersFri, 21 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMTChateau Siran <div>Chateau Siran is probably not very well known, but nonetheless a nice chateau to visit. After all, there are beautiful Margaux wines produced. The reception area is pleasant cool with that beautiful terracotta floor tiles. Nice, helpful service to let you taste all the good stuff. If you like a tour it is important to call about 48 hours in advance. There are beautiful designer cellars at the chateau. You have to pay for the tour, but the price is right and varies between € 5 and € 10.<br><br><h3>Old vintages</h3><br>The discovery we mad was you are able to buy vintages that go far back. We found a Jeroboam (4.5 liters) from 1975, the birthday of my wife. We &nbsp;took the bottle home for her birthday. Normally you also have to call in advance for these vintages, but luckily there was a 1975 ready for us to take home.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersMon, 29 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTTokara<div>March of this year I went to the great wine region Stellenbosch in South Africa.</div><div>For those who do not know; Stellenbosch is named after Simon van der Stel, the Dutchman who was appointed in 1679 as commander of the Cape Colony. The Cape Colony was founded by the Dutch East India Company as a refreshment station for the trip to – facilitate the Dutch colony Indonesia.</div><div>Cape of Good Hope was 4 months sailing from the Netherlands and was therefore an important stronghold for the VOC. In the summer of 1679 Simon undertook an expedition toward the northeast and founded the first River settlement he called Stellenbosch.<br><br>When you drive through Stellenbosch, you still experience the traces of the past. Lots of wonderful brightly coloured buildings in old Dutch style in a setting of breath taking hills with plenty of great wine estates. I had some great tastings for my show Jazz and Wine, but like to tell more about my tasting at the Tokara estate.<br><br>Tokara is a beautiful, sprawling wine estate. Inside are works of art which I really enjoyed, especially the huge clock in the tasting room was inpressive. I could not resist to put it on the picture. The wonderful view this estate has, can really be enjoyed well from the restaurant. Reservations are recommended, because it's always fully booked.<br><br>Tokara is a wine estate where old knowledge of wine making and the latest technology meld together to surprise our taste buds again and again. This is not unnoticed; Tokara wins many awards year after year, including the wines that I tasted;<br>Reserve Tokara Elgin collection 2014 - Sauvignon blanc<br>Tokara directors reserve 2013 White<br>Tokara Shyraz 2011<br>Tokara directors reserve in 2011<br><br>Reserve Tokara Elgin collection 2014 - Sauvignon blanc</div><div>Striking is the overwhelming bouquet where the sauvignon blanc keeps you in its grasp, only to surprise you with a tropical light sweet start and a little bitterness in the aftertaste, fresh and delicious.</div><div>Awards:<br>4.5 star John Platter<br>94/100 Tim Atkins<br><br>Tokara directors reserve 2013 White</div><div>Special, special, really special! An enchanting soft vanilla flavor, lemon, passion fruit, almonds. What a hit!</div><div>A blend of hand-picked Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, partly on new Oak barrels. A prize winner, no surprise.</div><div>Awards:</div><div>2012 Vintage Acknowledgements</div><div>5 Stars - John Platter Score<br><br>Tokara Shyraz 2011</div><div>A beautiful sweet fruitege start with spicy salvation.</div><div>Blueberries, black fruit with soft tannins.</div><div>I think it's a beautiful wine if you're a white wine lover and treat yourself gently on a red adventure. The Tokara Shyraz 2011 makes this adventure an enduring love.</div><div>Awards:</div><div>90 points - Wine lawyer Neil Martin<br><br>Tokara directors reserve in 2011</div><div>A wonderful blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon.</div><div>Deep black ripe cherries, berries, a hint of mint but the tomato puree of which the saleswoman spoke about I was not able to taste. This wine continues to fascinate and will surprise you from the beginning to the last drop in the sadly now-empty glass.</div><div>Awards:</div><div>2009 Vintage Acknowledgements</div><div>92 Points Wine Advocate (Neal Martin)</div><div>Veritas Double Gold Medal</div><div>4 ½ Stars John Platter<br><br>I enjoyed my visit at Tokara. When you encounter the Tokara wines, buy them and enjoy the pure quality!</div>Joyce StevensTue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 GMTWeingut Deutschherrenhof <div>Deutschherrenhof &nbsp;lies on the outskirts of Trier. Under the big house, as there are so many in this kind of quiet suburbs in Germany, shows the cellar a large tavern (the so called weinstube) established by the winery. We come here to taste and there are no guests present yet, but the wood of the grill already smells delicious. With the lovely wines it will probably possible to have a nice traditional dinner here. At first we take place on the counter, but when we ask if we can sit down, that's no problem. A basket of bread is put on the table and we can start our tasting. The owner is sitting a some tables further, pretending he is not there. Only when we have a question, he makes himself heard and when the glass is empty, the next bottle shows up on the table.<br><br>All in all a tad un-German wines. The characteristic freshness of the Mosel I do not find in these Rieslings. These Rieslings tend more to Alsace. Good wines though, it must be said. However, the Grauburgunder whicih is just in the bottle is a lovely floral and pleasant surprise.<br><br>Fun and unexpected address to go for an easy and pleasant dinner. For a wine tasting this may not be the right atmosphere.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersMon, 11 May 2015 00:00:00 GMTAlbert Mathier & Fils<div>When we arrive at the cellars of the Swiss winery Albert Mathier et Fils in Salquenen or as to say in German Salgesch, a fine glass of Humagne Blanc is being served in the cellar. We are in, seen from the west, the first village in the Rhone Valley that speaks German. It's nine o'clock in the morning, so we do not drink, but spit. And that's a pitty because this wine, which traditionally has been given to women in childbirth because of its supposed healing qualities, is worth drinking. But as we have a tasting of nine different wines to go drinking isn’t an option.<br><br>The management of this more than 80 year old winery is the third generation, including our hosts Martin and Amédée Mathier. In 1924 grandfather Albert decided to get over the depression by planting more grapes on his property and to sell wine on a commercial base. In Wallis / Valais it wasn’t common use at that time. Everyone had their own pair plants to produce wine for private use. But the company flourished and became part of the largest and perhaps most famous wine region of Switzerland, Valais, in the 21st century. Five thousand acres are planted in the Rhone Valley, thirty of them belong to Mathier. Additionally grapes are still being purchased by Mathier.<br><br>The range of wines from the winery is significant. We especially taste Ermitage - the name given to the grape variety Marsanne in Valais, and Cornalin, a wine made from the red grape ‘rouge du pays’. These are great wines, and we understand why this winery regularly wins awards in wine competitions. Besides these two great ones there are still many other wines, including those from indigenous grape varieties as Swiss Heida and Humagne blanc and more international grapes like chardonnay, pinot blanc and syrah. The Heida 2013 ended in the Grand Prix du Vin Suisse 2014 with the white wines at the third place! The list also contains a sparkling wine, sweet wines, spirits and last but not least amphora wines.</div><h2>Qvevri pioneer</h2><div><br></div><div>Amédée Mathier even has a special passion: during a trip to Georgia in 2007, he was impressed by the wines from amphora, or Qvevri, as it is called in Georgian. In 2009 he made his first wines in an amphora. It is an 'old new way of making wine’, according to him. The bunches of grapes as a whole are put in large vessels of clay, which are buried in the ground. We shortly visit the marani of Mathier, which is still under construction, and where the amphorae are ripening.<br><br>But outside in the open air are some used amphorae, and know we see how big they even are. We then taste both white (made from indigenous grape varieties rèze and ermitage) and red amphore. We are completely silent. You have to love these wines, and they are not for everyone's taste. For me, this is the first time that I really like such amphora wine - often called orange wine in the case of wines made from white grapes. The orange color is derived from the long contact with the skins. The same skin contact is also responsible for the complex aromas and the taste of cold tea for example, but also of lime blossom, quince and dried apricots.<br><br>We could have stayed much longer while enjoying sitting with a glass of wine in the autumn sun, watching the beautiful mountain peaks at the background. But that should be kept for the next time!</div><div><br></div>Mariëlla BeukersWed, 14 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMTReyneke Wines <div>A tweet by Johan Reyneke early March "Tragically, that those who claim to stand up for the poor probably have cost them the most jobs. Never seen so many harvesting machines ☹”. Reyneke, who operates under the name vine hugger on social media, summed up in one sentence what his passion is about: small, producing biodynamic, socially responsible wine. <br><br>It started when he worked as a philosophy student on a farm. One of his tasks: spraying pesticides against insects and weeds. "I had to wear protective clothing. I thought; something is not right here.” In winter this avid surfer sometimes worked in severe cold. "At a certain point I put my wetsuit under my overalls. Smart! Until I realized the other workers did not have a wetsuit and would never have one too, because of the low wages we earned. Workers who have no choice in life: they did the work their parents and grandparents had done all their lives and were not able to do otherwise."<br><h2>Biodynamic cultivation</h2><br></div><div>For Reyneke enough reasons to start for himself. He started with a small piece of land, and just let all the pesticides out. "I got all insects, diseases and weeds you could imagine." Reyneke delved into biodynamic cultivation, experimented with preparation 500 and slowly, realy slowly he understood it. As one of the few in the Cape Reyneke now works biodynamic. He is currently the only one with Demeter certification, but it will not stay like that for long, according to Reyneke. "I think there are ten within a few years."&nbsp;</div><div>He seems to be more practical rather than dogmatic. "Above all it matters: what works? The beauty of biodynamic cultivation is, you always become more self sufficient. We have chickens, cows, vegetables for our own use ... "<br><br>Íf Johan Reyneke is worried about his land, it is about social ills, such as unemployment. Hence his tweet. "Do you spend your money on a harvesting machine or people?"&nbsp;</div><div>For the same reason Reyneke maintains cork for its wines. Because of the romance, but also "the land where cork oaks disappear is used to build now." <br><br>Quality with integrity, says the Reyneke credo in short. <br><br>About Quality, his wines are excellent, some even a little funky. We taste during a home made dinner at the Reyneke family home. Johan's wife, painter Mila Posthumus, has cooked. Their two young daughters are drawing in the kitchen. <br><br>2013 Reyneke Organic White Blend, Western Cape - sauvignon blanc, semillon&nbsp;</div><div>Fresh, fine wine: nice balance between citrus and tropical fruit <br><br>2012 + Reyneke syrah cabernet sauvignon - a blend of grapes from different vineyards in the Coastal Region.&nbsp;</div><div>a somewhat crazy earth smell, the taste is initially soft stiff, with earth, spices. All together a delicate wine.<br><br>2012 Reyneke syrah&nbsp;</div><div>Soft spicy, autumn, rose petals, milk chocolate <br><br>2011 Cornerstone - 45% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot, 19% cabernet franc&nbsp;</div><div>Modest aroma of dark fruit, fine fresh fruit also in the taste <br><br>2010 Reyneke Reserve Red - 60% syrah, 40% cabernet sauvignon&nbsp;</div><div>Roses! What a weird smell. Also: woodland, some white pepper, violets and again: roses. <br><br>Affable guy, Johan Reyneke, who, if I estimate drags in the others easily in his green-enthusiasm. During our dinner he takes the effort to cautiously pick up an insect to put it outside. I like that. Socially involved and aware of the large impact that seemingly small choices can have. Think global, act local, as he says.&nbsp;</div><div>And, great, exciting wines with backbone.</div><div><br></div>Remke de LangeTue, 18 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMTSolms Delta <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>696</o:Words> <o:Characters>3833</o:Characters> <o:Company>Gra</o:Company> <o:Lines>31</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>9</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4520</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standaardtabel; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span lang="EN-GB">"When I was twelve I got my first shoes." Sanna Malgas is employee of the tiny but informative Museum of the Cape. Prehistoric artifacts, old maps of the area, explaining Sanna's language Khoe and her story about the shoes: the museum gives visitors in no time an idea of ​​the social history of the (near) estate that was already laid out here in 1690.<br></span><br>Originally Khoi and San people, Dutch and French immigrants: they live here in Franschhoek already together for centuries with each other. Determined not always equivalent. A wall in the museum devoted to the names of people who in the course of time have died on the farm: besides landowners Jurgen Heinrich England &amp; Anna van Staden (1746-1771) are 'unknown female slave' and 'Lijs of Caab, "a name given to a slave who was traded via the Cape (Caab).<br><br>That uncomfortable past, formally ended with the abolition of apartheid in 1990, but in the real live not so easily shaken off, was for&nbsp; co-owner Mark Solms (neuroscientist by profession) the reason to shape the future otherwise. In 2002, he decided to give new life&nbsp; to the already existing Delta Wine Estate at different levels. Anyone who comes to visit Solms-Delta sees a group of people with different backgrounds engaged in a common mission: to cherish this place.<br><br>The Wijn de Caab Trust, &nbsp;for one-third owner of Solms-Delta, organises social programs for the "historically disadvantaged" employees of the estate. Were - colored - employees formerly largely dependent on their employers (who had every interest in keeping them poor and illiterate), the foundation promotes employees and their family members to their broaden their horizons: better housing, child care, medical assistance, a music club, scholarships for students and internal training to make the difference.<br><br>In the hot midday sun I walk along with Johan O'Ryan, manager of the Fynbos Culinary Gardens, a fantastic garden of 2 acres with partly forgotten, indigenous vegetables and herbs. It is thanks to Renata Coetzee these exuberant plants like kukumakranka, buchu and quinine trees are still growing here. She is the author of cookbooks with traditional South African recipes, she noted how hard it turned out to find some ingredients.<br><br>O'Ryan, a colored man with a Scottish family who he visited a year or so ago, let me smell leaves and twigs and he picks fresh, sweet berries for me. His knowledge of plants he has of his grandmother: she knew all about the local flora, including the medicinal effect. "From my twelfth she gave me orders: go to that plant and get it."<br><br>You will see the revaluation of vegetables that the San and Khoi already fed, back at the restaurant Fyndraai at Solms-Delta complex. Chef Shaun Schoeman cooking from the garden. Commonly used herbs he has put in bins along the terrace. While his guests eat, Schoeman regularly goes outside to pick up some green. And so I sit outside at a great meal with pieces of springbok, with home grown cabbage, pumpkin and tangy green petals while winemaker Hagen Viljoen pours his wines.<br><br>Viljoen has just completed his second harvest at Solms-Delta. He lets me &nbsp;taste Amalie 2012 viognier, where he actually has had nothing to do with. I think it's a sultry, just to thick wine. I tell him &nbsp;honestly - and I say this out loud . I think its successor is better: 2013 Amalie is a blend of grenache blanc, chenin blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. Nice and fresh, it has something green like fennel and full soft edges. Exciting wine. Viljoen likes to hear my comments.<br><br>The winemaker works mainly with Rhone grapes and is focused on fruity wines and prefers no added acidity. I'm also fond of his 2013 rosé (Grenache Mourvedre +): a restrained wine with soft, red fruit and fine acidity to the end.<br><br>The wine company had already made its name, before Viljoen arrived, with wines (partially) made of dried fruit. The method is historical: late in the season, the branches of the clusters partially are cut up, making the supply of juices decreases and the hyacinths dry.<br><br>I expect a slightly sweet wine, but Colonies desiccated (Muscat d'Alexandrie frontignan +) has a soft muskaatgeur and a spicy, some savory flavor with a bit of spiciness. A wacky wine, because of its mature and savory taste, a great partner in fish dishes which Schoeman brings me on the table.<br><br>Also very fine: 2011 Hiervandaan. Whilst not Viljoens creation, but still: the blend of Carignan, Mourvèdre and Viognier is peppery, spicy and elegant at the same time. A soft, robust wine with backbone.</p> <!--EndFragment-->Remke de LangeSun, 09 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMTInglenook <div>In preparation for my theatre tour Jazz and Wine I finally arrived in Napa Valley.&nbsp;</div><div>Many winery and wines were on my list to visit, taste, smell and experience. During my stay I visited many wineries including Mumm Napa, Robert Mondavi, Beringer, Domaine Chandon, Hall and Jade. One winery stood out for me in all areas; Inglenook. <br><br>The first owner of this estate was the Finnish captain Gustave Niebaum. He founded the magnificent Inglenook in 1879. The estate is sprawling and has a classic look. The interior reminds &nbsp;me of a castle. When you arrive you will be warmly received by the impeccably dressed wine experts. The tastings often take place in the area where they keep the 'old' special wines. <br><h2>Francis Ford Coppola</h2><br><p>Nowadays the estate is known because it is owned by the famous film director Francis Ford Coppola. For movie lovers, he has a whole collection of historic film equipment (and his Oscar!) left in a small museum for you. Very nice all, but for me the wines are more important. And they were excellent. I tasted four wines and one by one they to surprised me.&nbsp;<br>They carried me along their versatile layers, mystical taste sensations of spices, fruit and pure craftsmanship. I tasted; <br><br>2012 - Blancaneaux <br>2011 - Edizione Pennino Zinfadel <br>2011 - CASK Cabernet Sauvignon <br>2011 - Rubicon <br><br>Most of the wines I tasted were from 2011, which is quite special because 2011 is an ‘exceptional’ vintage. Most wineries did not make wine of the year 2011 since the weather was not what most winemakers were used to. The usually sunny Valley, with a beautiful coolness in the morning, gives the Napa wines normally full flavours and depending on the grape wonderful freshness. For the first time in 50 years, however, there was little sun, so the grapes did not have enough sugars. The winemakers of Napa Valley panicked and decided to skip 2011. <br></p><h2>Chief winemaker Phillipe Bascal</h2><br>But Inglenook had the French wine artist ‘chief winemaker’ Phillipe Bascal to deliver a 2011 vintage. The American winemakers did not know how to deal with the exceptional cool weather of 2011, but Phillipe Bascal used to it. He blended the grapes and masterfully managed his talent to get a woody, earthy, peppery character in the wine. All the wines I tasted in 2011 gave me several taste sensations, depth and left me with a demand for more. <br><br>Besides I had the best wines at this place I also had the best coffee in Napa Valley! Perhaps the best coffee I have drunk anywhere. <br><br>Inglenook, with its beautiful entrance and very knowledgeable staff steeped in class and mysticism. Just as you imagine a winery. It was great!&nbsp;<p></p></div><div><br></div>Joyce StevensTue, 28 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMTSpier Estate <div>Spier is a little overwhelming. In the tasting room, where the Spier wines are open, everything is made from recycled materials. Restaurant Eight serves vegetables and meat, organically or biodynamically produced in its own country - and funky lamps are made from recycled plastic milk bottles on the ceiling.&nbsp;</div><div><h2>Fairtrade certified&nbsp;</h2><br>The well-appointed hotel (****) is Fairtrade certified and is packed with contemporary South African art. Spier is a member of the Biodiversity Initiative, which uses solar power, recycles its own water and keeps separate tracts of land for conservation. Employees of Spier are offered training and courses each year. Local small business owners can turn to Spier for support: a local koekjesbakster sells her stuff in the Spier store. <br><br>And oh yeah, Spier also has some beautiful historic buildings: the farm, one of the oldest of Stellenbosch, known since 1692. The Spier wine label does exist since 1971. <br><br>Spier, since 1996 owned by the Enthoven family is committed admirably broad to the environment, people and society. Sales &amp; marketing manager Eve Jell dressed in a Spiers-polo, firmly walks in front of us: she likes to show everything. “Ahead of us some Segways are ready for us”, she says, “we can easily view the entire Spier complex”. My travel companion, Dirk Rodriguez, and I look a little stuffy: in two hours? Including wine tasting? <br><br>After some discussion, we are in: we start with the latter. A golden opportunity, now we have plenty of time to have lunch in the shade of a tree with winemaker Johan Jordaan and his wines. That is, with his red wines (the white wines are made by Jacques Erasmus).&nbsp;</div><div>Eve and Johan are reflective, committed people who not just like to talk about wines, but also about politics.&nbsp;</div><h2>Mandela effect</h2><div><br></div><div>Eve talks about the 'Mandela effect'. Until 1992 the country was because of apartheid and international boycotts virtually isolated from the rest of the world. That changed with the democratic elections in 1994, where Nelson Mandela was elected for president. Suddenly people were ready to go to South Africa and try South African wines. Eve: "The wine industry was under a magnifying glass. We wanted to prove ourselves. Wine is an emotional, philosophical product, which is different from grain or platinum."<br><br>Around 110 people are employed for the wine label Spier. The strikes a year ago, an effort to raise the minimum wage past the Spier Wine Estate. Eve: "We pay the people the minimum you can live on. You ask a lot more of the field workers in the vineyards - care, insight, attention to detail - than if they would be in a cotton or bean field”.&nbsp;</div><div><br>Johan Jordaan, a freckled, cheerful man who’s lunch begins with a beer, but can not decide which is his favorite grape variety. "First it was the pinotage, then merlot, now pinotage, or maybe cabernet sauvignon ... "<br><br>It does not matter, we're tasting.&nbsp;<br><br><b>2013 Creative Block (sauvignon blanc, semillon)&nbsp;</b></div><div>Modest fragrant white blend, full of soft summer fruits with green hints in the background&nbsp;<br><br><b>2013 21 Gables Chenin Blanc (14 months in French wood sur lie)&nbsp;</b></div><div>Nice 'thick' chenin with round, soft edges; dried yellow fruits (apricot, mango) and nuts (hazelnut white, white almond)&nbsp;</div><div>Very fine wine.&nbsp;<br><br><b>2011 Creative Block (Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Viognier)&nbsp;</b></div><div>Modest, sultry scented blend; black currant and soft peppers; pleasant, very sweet wine&nbsp;<br><br><b>2011 21 Gables Pinotage (single vineyard)&nbsp;</b></div><div>Spicy scent of rosemary and thyme; dark, mellow wine, dark red fruits and chocolate, yet elegant with some freshness.&nbsp;</div><div>My favorite!&nbsp;</div><div>Pinotage can sometimes be cumbersome and heavy, but Jordan knows how to avoid that: "The vineyard is surrounded by sauvignon blanc: a pretty cool place so. I pick pinotage preferably on phenolic ripeness than on sugar."<br><br><b>2007 Frans K Smit (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, cabernet franc, pinotage)&nbsp;</b></div><div>The ultimate blend of Spier, named after the winemaker who gave Spier its high-level. It is an intriguing, complex, dark wine which smells spicy; dark fruit (black cherry &amp; -berry), soft, velvety tannins. <br><br>Inspiring, cheerful tuning company, Spier. Too bad, of course I missed the Segway tour, but fortunately I am very happy with good lunches under a tree, with exquisite wine.</div><div><br></div>Remke de LangeSun, 19 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMTDon Miguel, the highest Sektkellerei of Europe <div>It was a special experience: getting off the bus at a hight of 1200 meters altitude, and walk by the houses with wooden balconies full of geraniums to this Sektkellerei. This is even the highest Sektkellerei in Europe! Around the village are alpine meadows and woodlands and walking trails to be found everywhere into the mountains. Far away, in the depth, the Adige river flows; the heat of the valley has changed here in a wonderfully refreshing coolness. We do not see vineyards here at 1,200 meters, but excellent Sekt is made here. So how come? The story of Sektkellerei Don Miguel in Mölten, a village in South Tyrol, will be extensively told to us.</div><h2>Bollicine&nbsp;</h2><p>After a short walk from the bus stop we enter a modest door in an old converted 16th-century farmhouse. We stand for Sektkellerei Arunda and ring the door. Our visit is notified and we are welcomed by Michael, son of founders Joseph and Marianne Reiterer. Michael starts to tell us about the history of the company: father Josef Reiterer, born in Mölten, received through the local Rotary and Lions Club the chance to become an engineer and later oenologist. After many travels he settled in his native village, again, he decided to make Sekt in 1979. Just because he liked to do so. A major influence on the development of the Kellerei and production of Sekt was mother Marianne, sommelier and a great lover of sparkling wines – also known as bollicine, as Michael calls them in Italian. Marianne still has a major role in assembling the wines. Thanks to an interested buyer who promised to sell the whole stock, the company came through the difficult start-up phase.&nbsp;</p><h2>Purchase of the grapes&nbsp;</h2><p>From the beginning the necessary grapes were purchased from reputable companies in the valley. Michael calls the cooperative of St. Michael Eppan and Klosterkellerei Muri-Gries in Bolzano. Father Josef Reiterer built up excellent contacts throughout Südtirol and his knowledge as oenologist is still highly appreciated. When recently a new vineyard was planted with chardonnay especially for sparkling wine, down in the valley, he advised on the clones. Don Miguel is pursuing control over the work in the vineyards of the farmers who supply the grapes, and is closely involved in the vinification at the Kellereien where farmers are connected. Special attention is paid to the soil where the grapes grow and the consequent minerality of the wines.&nbsp;</p><div>When the wines are ready, they move from the valley to Mölten, where various stainless steel tanks are waiting for them. Assembling the basic wines, bottling, aging for at least 24 months, remuage (turning and shaking the bottles), etc. (!) All actions necessary to make sparkling wines using the klassische Flaschengärung ', so with the second maturation on the bottle, then take place in the cellars of Arunda.&nbsp;</div><h2>Thirsty&nbsp;</h2><p>We have now descended into the small and full cellar, where we actually do not dare to move, afraid to bump against the wooden boards with their upright bottles. We do not only see the stainless steel tanks, but also the barriques used to mature some of the wines, the place where the wine for the dosage (the mixture of wine and sugar that is added after the yeasts are removed from the bottle, just before the final closing of the bottle) can mature. We are now a little thirsty; thankful we stand entered the tasting room with the Tyrolean glasses ready on the wooden tables. <br><br>At the moment, the company makes ten different types of sparkling wine, over a total of a little 100,000 bottles per year. Bollicine of Arunda are regional and national highly valued and regarded as top quality wines from South Tyrol. We taste wines during our visit only with chardonnay, pinot blanc and pinot noir. There is also one cuvée in which Schilcherland (blauer Wildbacher) is used, and one with assyrtiko (!). Earlier that week I tasted the Arunda Rosé (pinot blanc and pinot noir), during a lunch in Bozen. I liked it very much. The other five wines we taste now I also like a lot. As well as the powerful, crisp Brut (chardonnay, pinot blanc, pinot noir), which has many citrus and tones of yeast as well as the serious and mineral Riserva (chardonnay and pinot noir). The Cuvée Marianna (chardonnay, pinot noir) has particularly refined bubbles and we notice the influence of barriques. This wine is 48 to 54 wines on the lie, it is the same with the Riserva. <br><br>It's only 11 o'clock in the morning, and the main program of the day, a walk through the woods and over the ridges, still lies ahead. With a heavy heart did spit out every little sip of Sekt. After the tasting we say goodbye to Michael and his father Joseph, who absolutely wants to hear if everything was okay. Yeah, it sure was! Never knew that South Tyrol produced such beautiful sparkling wines, and great to have visited this company. When we start an hour later with a brisk climb, I am very happy that I ingested. My sips, will certainly come another time! <br><br><i>The visit to Sektkellerei Don Miguel was part of a trip to South Tyrol in July this year. Led by Jeanet Bruining of Wijnwandeltochten I walked for a week along with six other participants through the vineyards and on the wooded slopes of the northern Italian wine region.&nbsp;</i></p><div><br></div>Mariëlla BeukersTue, 23 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMTDeetlefs Wine Estate<div>"I was still in school when my father said," Maybe I dwill noet be there anymore, but there will be a time when the South African borders are open for trade. '"It was mid-seventies when Kobus Deetlefs' father foresaw a brighter future for his country.&nbsp;</div><div>Wise words, says Kobus now. Deetlefs father died in 1992 and did not live long enough to see the great changes South Africa saw. But the next generation changed the family enterprise of a bulk wine producer in a thriving quality company. <br><h2>Deetlefs breathes history and future at the same time</h2></div><div><br>Founded in 1822 and still owned by the same family, Deetlefs breathes history and future at the same time. During a short tour at the winery, which has a current production capacity of 1.8 million lliters. I am particularly charmed by by the old, still used concrete fermenters in the old part of the building. The openings look like eyes and are used a lot, they are weathered to say the least.&nbsp;</div><div><h2>Breedekloof region is one of the most promising of South Africa</h2><p><span style="font-weight: normal;">At the same time, says Kobus, the Breedekloof region is one of the most promising of South Africa. Here lies the future of South African wine, if you ask him. "The weather conditions are evenly: we have few outliers in terms of heat. The temperature goes down at night and there is often fog that brings coolness in the mornings. Other wine regions have to do with a lack of water, we have plenty. Already, in Broad Kloof more new vines are planted than destroyed. "No reason to spill the water: the water in the production area is filtered en reused afterwards for irrigation.&nbsp;</span></p></div><div><h2>Rhythms of Nature- label</h2></div><div><br><br>Deetlefs has six 'lines', ranging from the entry-level wines with the (Fairtrade) Rhythms of Nature- label and the popular Stone Cross wines, to the exclusive Deetlefs Family Range. The predictive gaze of Kobus' father for the company is true: as much as 95% of the wine leaves the country to foreign markets. <br><br>The nice thing is: I particularly taste enjoyable wines, at all levels when we taste twelve wines in the tasting room. Winemaker Ferdi Fisher joins us. The two peers complement each other perfectly: Ferdi likes to talk about grapes, Kobus loves history and tough family stories. <br><br>So we start with the early-Deetlefs history on South African soil, Kobus tells us with a smile on his face. In 1753 the VOC ship The Hageveld left the Netherlands to sail to Indonesia, but around the Western Cape John Deetlefs tumbled over the railing. It could have been an accident, but Kobus holds that his ancestor was a troublemaker who was thrown overboard. Anyway, Deetlefs swam to the mainland and began a new life. The Hageveld wines are named after this cherished family anecdote. <br><br>Here are a few of the wines tasted.&nbsp;</div><div>2011 Deetlefs Estate The Hageveld White (Semillon blend with chardonnay and sauvignon-blanc)&nbsp;</div><div>Full, round wine with pleasant nutty acids.&nbsp;</div><div>2014 Deetlefs Winery pinotage rosé&nbsp;</div><div>Full, fruity rosé that start round and a bit thick, and then appears to have berry acids.&nbsp;</div><div>2012 Rhythms of Nature (70% merlot, pinotage 30%)&nbsp;</div><div>The smell of something green like eucalyptus; The flavour starts strong and tough, and then goes to milk chocolate, like soft and plump. Very friendly and approachable.&nbsp;</div><div>2012 Stone Cross shiraz&nbsp;</div><div>A soft, round wine with a nice peppery edge.&nbsp;</div><div>2012 Deetlefs Estate Pinotage (Ferdi: "I added some malbec and shiraz")&nbsp;</div><div>Dark red fruit on the nose; the taste of lots of fruit, reinforced by soft tannins, well balanced.&nbsp;</div><div>2012 Deetlefs Estate The Hageveld Red (Shiraz blend)&nbsp;</div><div>Fruity, firm, but above all very spicy, lively wine that simply bounces over your tongue. A joy to have in your mouth. My favorite.&nbsp;</div><div>Ferdi: "We have been working for weeks with this blend, we just kept going back and trying something new." It ultimately secret of the jumpiness? "A little bit of viognier."&nbsp;</div><div>2011 Deetlefs Family Red (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinotage, malbec)&nbsp;</div><div>Dark red fruit, spicy seasoning, nice and smooth acidity to the end. A wonderfull serious, robust wine.&nbsp;</div><div>2003 Philippus Petrus Deetlefs Muscat (Muscat d'Alexandrie)&nbsp;</div><div>Kobus: "A tribute to my father. The fortified muscat we make once in 25 years, it comes only in 2028 on the market."</div><div>Oh, what a treat. Dried fruit, apricots, mango, apple. Hazelnut and milk chocolate, delicious plump and round. Yam. <br><br>So many wines, and we have still not tasted everything. But the impression is excellent: good wine, lively company. Too bad we have to leave. Kobus, as host calm and cozy, has no desire to let us go. Coffee?&nbsp;</div><div>As compensation we get wrapped up in napkins something of Felicity Ramatsara, her entire life an employee of the family business, and now one of the shareholders who since 2011 own half of the Rhythms of Nature label. Home Baked fresh scones for the road.</div><div><br></div>Remke de LangeFri, 05 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMTChateau Soutard<div>Chateau Soutard is a large commercial company located in an equally as ‘large’ castle. The tasting room is a nice wine shop in one of the side buildings. To tast you can stand at the bar or take a seat on the terrace. For two glasses, you pay €8, - per person, something we do not really like and are not used to, but it is pretty usual in Saint Emilion to pay for a tasting. We got there around 18:00, which was not a problem, as this chateau opened till 19:00, where most wineries close between 17:00 and 18:00. Very awkward, because most houses also keep a long lunch break and you if you want to visit the town you need to compromise your time. <br><br>The wines are of very good quality and we got them in a wooden crate which is not so common but nice for the collection. Very nice and helpful service by the way. <br><h2>Guided tour to the wine cellars<br><span style="font-weight: normal;">There are more opportunities for visiting at this chateau as long as you take your wallet with you. How about a guided tour to the wine cellars for €10 (private tour €15)? At fixed times it a group leaves.</span></h2></div><div>Or a tour and tasting accompanied by a guide, not only at the chateau, but also to Saint Emilion for €60?&nbsp;</div><div>Or work as a winemaker, picking the grapes during harvest or assembling the wines with a tasting at the end for € 50 to € 90 depending on the duration. But we are not there yet, because you can also dine with friends for € 150 per person or go for a Pique-Nique for €28. Call in advance. Finally, there is even a program for your children to get to know the chateau by discovering it with a real treasure map for €20 per child. <br><br>All in all a pricey but nice visit. Good wines and good reception. A little commercial, perhaps, but it was to be expected when we found out the owner of Chateau Soutard is insurance company La Mondiale which also owns one of the large commercial teams in the Tour de France.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersFri, 29 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMTCouly Dutheil<div>At the top of the hill in Chinon near the castle winery Couly Dutheil is sitiated. A nice central location with an inviting tasting room ready for you to walk in and have a glass. All sorts of wine products are sold here besides the wines of course. The lady behind the counter was a bit busy to move the wine crates, but when she noticed us, she finally came to help us. In a way school teachers talk, she asks us if we already know what wine we would like to taste? No, we do not know, but maybe the Les Crescendo is a wine to start with? Wrong answer and the lady is not amused if we have a look at her face and tone of voice. “That is not the entry level wine, I think the Les Gravières is a better choice for you to start with.” We hang on and do not give up. Fine we start with the entry level wine the Les Gravières&nbsp;which is nice, but we would still like to taste the wine we had chosen before. Now it looks like we have passed the test, we actually get a smile and we can finally taste our chosen wine. Excellent Chinon for a good price. The levels above too expensive for us and we certainly do not dare to ask if we can taste them. What if we fail the test again?&nbsp;</div><div><br>Undoubtedly a nice wine house with at least dito wines, only the people behind the counter may be a bit more friendly maybe?</div>Martijn RademakersTue, 26 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMTChateau Dauzac <div>The large estate of Chateau Dauzac is on the route to Margaux. It is not to be missed by the big fountain in the lake, the gate and the domain that is to be seen in the distance. The tasting room is however almost located on the road an to be recognized by a statue of two masks/faces who seem to say cheers to each other. The domain is owned by an insurance company (MAIF) for teachers. The tasting room is set up with commercial merchandising and even a special corner for the kids, but obviously we come for the wine.&nbsp;</div><h2>Chateau Dauzac</h2><div>We get to taste three wines; Chateau La Barde from the Haut Médoc, Labastide Dauzac and Chateau Dauzac. The latter is the flagship and also the best. Despite the fact that we get to taste 2008, we choose a 2009 wine to take home, because it contains more tannins and we expect that it remains up better in over the years. <br><br>Although the house has a long history of illustrious owners of which, what to expect, a merchant in ice, even invented the cooling system to cool down the barrels with ice packs during fermentation, we found the soul is missing in this wine estate. We were obvously visiting a company and did miss the personal touch.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersSun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMTKleinood<div>Only the name for itself is beautiful: Kleinood. Gerard de Villiers, descendant of a French Huguenot who came to South Africa in the late 17th century and started making wine, is a technical engineer. That is to be noticed in every little detail. In the cellar he points at the meter high plastic curtains that are part of the workspace shielding "Look, behind it is colder. I did not want to build walls, because it is a waste of space. With the curtains I can create compartments with different temperatures."<br><h2>Designer of wineries</h2></div><div>De Villiers has a thriving business as a technical designer of wineries: alone in his own country he designed the production areas of 150 wineries, including those of Babylonstoren, Boschendal, Ruste en Vrede and Kleine Zalze. <br><br>In his cellar he devised a system with an elevator to process the grapes and wine by gravity, some winemakers simply believe that you should not pump around wine. <br><br>In the reception area there is a beautiful monastery table of at least eight meter long. The walls of his office beautiful decorated with Soviet posters. &nbsp;De Villiers shows me a map with harvest reports. As an engineer, he loves technical facts, lists, tables and statistics. Of each vineyard, each part of the vineyard details are tracked: number of kilo’s picked grapes, grape spray and average weight and amount of material other than grapes (MOG). <br><br>The house he lives in with his wife Libby is material for interior magazines (five meter high windows from a chapel), the garden between the house and the production area is a model of controlled geometric design: the green area is bisected by a hand wide canal. Rainwater collection for irrigation? "No, we get more than enough rainwater. This is just for fun."<br><br>Everything, looks nice at Kleinood. And then I have not even mentioned the labels of Tamboerskloof wines: very sober, the word "Kleinood" embossed on handmade paper. The labels are torn by hand and pasted on the bottles. <br><br>And the wines? Also excellent, what else to aspect. Kleinood winemaker Gunter Schultz makes only three: white, rosé and red. Nice and clear. <br><br>2013 Tamboerskloof Viognier smells floral and like ripe fruit such as white nectarine, and tastes full and round, but is also fresh and light. "We reap in four stages. The first part is just unripe, the last part is just about ripe,"explains De Villiers about the balance.<br><br>2013 Tamboerskloof rosé (shiraz) is mainly a free run wine, with added a part-pressed wine. A nice wine. The taste is more exciting than the smell of fruity sweets suggests: spicy, even a little savory. <br><br>Tamboerskloof Syrah 2009 (with a small part Mourvèdre and a little Viognier) begins velvety smooth, then shows some pepper, accidity and spiciness (thyme, rosemary) and at the end turn smooth again. <br><br>2010 Tamboerskloof Syrah (7% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier) is firmer more earthy, black currant and black olive, more tannic. <br><br>Tamboerskloof Syrah 2008 (about the same composition) starts with a light air of stable, which quickly disappears. The taste proves irresistible: laurel liquorice, dark chocolate, almost sweet edges. Firm and concentrated but oh so smooth. Very nice wine.<br><br>Nice compact company with a strong identity. The wines are all with character and fine. I find the combination of tradition and high tech irresistible and the fact all is so beatifull makes it very pleasant. <br><br><i>In April 2014 I visited a number of wineries in the Western Cape at the invitation of Wines of South Africa (WOSA).</i></div><div><br></div>Remke de LangeTue, 12 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMTWeingut Regnery<div>Where you do not expect it, in the middle of an average neighbourhood, is Weingut Regnery. A modern tasting room is almost hidden between the houses. We are welcomed by Andrea with Frieda (the youngest generation at her site). The modern tasting room is already occupied. Under the promise it is more enjoyable in the old tasting room, because of the heat, we are fine to have our Rieslings there. This is as you would expect it from an old, real German tasting room with heavy furniture and large rugs on the floor. For us its just fine, especially since we have small children who like to play with the toys that are already present in the room. A good place to take small children to anyway, because the children of Peter and Andrea are excellent playmates. <br><h2>Impressive Grosses Gewächs</h2>Unfortunately, Andrea and Peter have no time for us and Waltraud and Franz Joseph, retired winemakers and grandparents are drummed up. On request we get poured some Rieslings. Excellent Rieslings, there is no question about that. The Alten Reben 2013 is really too young to poor, but has potential, while the 2011 Spätlese shows us its full potential already and the Grosses Gewächs 2011 is impressive. There is also a range Spätburgunders (Pinot Noir), but we came for the Riesling, so have not tasted them. At my question if the wine tasted different twenty years ago, grandmother answered their wine was excellent too back then.<br><br>Grandfather and mother take care of the grandchildren and our children with entertainment and even ice cream, that maximises our tasting experience. Not yet every Riesling was just as cold as it should be, but with some cool packs we will get there. <br><br>Excellent place for Riesling and children. Between us, I was certainly been curious about the new tasting room.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersMon, 21 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMTBosman Family Vineyards <div><div>The farm (est. 1699) is as you can read in the travel brochures: a collection of beautiful historic white painted buildings around immaculate lawns. The slave bell, once an indispensable communication tool on every farm, is still there: the clocks may have fallen into disuse, but they are treasured monuments everywhere for an uncomfortable past. <br><br>In 1798 the first generation Bosman founded the Lelienfontein estate. The tradition may be old, but the eighth generation of winemakers is mainly concerned with present and future. After a period of several decades without wine making in which Bosman focused itselve on the cultivation of vines, Bosman started producing wine again since 2007. <br><h2>Fairtrade and Black Economic Empowerment guidelines<br><span style="font-weight: normal;">The production of wine is done according to the Fairtrade and Black Economic Empowerment guidelines: a business perspective shares the Bosman family vineyards, the wine cellar and the label Bosman with Apolo Adama Holding, a trust that represents about 260 employees. Ninety percent of the people live on Lelienfontein -lands. Rita Andreas, director of the trust, was born there. Her family history is closely interwoven with that of the Bosmans. So Rita has good memories of the great-grandmother of Peter Bosman, the current managing director of the winery. "She was a role model for me. I always listened to her as a child playing the piano, which I learned myself to play."</span></h2></div><div><h2>De Bos Handpicked Vineyards<br><span style="font-weight: normal;">De Bos Handpicked Vineyards is the Fairtrade label and the quality of wines that says a lot about the philosophy of Bosmans: when everybody already produce 'entry level wines', why would we do the same? Producers of Fairtrade wine usually focus on quantity: the yield per bottle to make the difference. Bosman chose above all for good wine, and according to brand manager Neil Buchner it’s a sign of the times. "It used to be: you bought Fairtrade because you wanted to change the world and you had to drink nasty coffee. Now the best coffee is Fairtrade. "That’s the same with wine”.&nbsp;</span></h2><p>With Neil and Jannie Bosman (father of Peter and sales manager Antonia Bosman) we bump into a 4x4 along the vineyards: fields with baby plants (Bosman is still partly nursery) to a field with Chenin Blanc bush vines from 1952 all together. All together Bosman’s winemaker, Corlea Fourie, owns over forty different varieties. A hefty portion of the fruit is otherwise sold to other producers.&nbsp;Jannie shows us a personal chuckle: the rocks where you are overlooking the vineyards, they all have the shape of a W, from Wellington, according to Jannie.&nbsp;<br>In the evening at the so called ‘braai’ (BBQ) we open some Bosman wines. What a delight: pleasant, graceful wines. <br><br>Here are a few favorites:&nbsp;<br>Chenin cap classic method (3 years aged sur lie).&nbsp;<br>Delicious spicy sparkling wine, some toast in the aroma, fresh and fruity with nice acidity.&nbsp;<br><br>Bosman Adama 2012 blend of chenin blanc, chardonnay, viognier, semillon and pinot gris.&nbsp;<br>Full fruity wine which starts gentle, good acidity appears, and ends with soft bitters (white almonds) and vanilla.&nbsp;<br><br>Bosman Opten Horst 2012 chenin blanc: single vineyard wine from old (1952) bush vines, production: 2400 bottles&nbsp;<br>Full nutty aroma, dried yellow fruit in the taste&nbsp;<br><br>Bosman Adama 2013 blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache, Primitivo, viognier.&nbsp;<br>Spicy wine with an equally strong and sweet side. Ripe dark fruit, fine acidity and above all very soft.&nbsp;<br>According to Antonia Bosman a 'friend-making' wine. I understand exactly what she means.&nbsp;<br><br>Bosman 2007 cabernet sauvignon (85% combined with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot)&nbsp;<br>Fine concentrated wine with some bay leaves, pepper and black currant, firm and velvet. <br><br>Good wines, interesting company. I understand how Bosman has come to this company motto: <i>To lead&nbsp;the way in the ethical production of premium wine.</i></p><p><br><br></p></div></div>Remke de LangeTue, 15 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMTDe Wetshof Estate <div>De Wetshof is one of the oldest wine estates in the Robertson region and is located on the popular and breathtakingly beautiful R317 route. The De Wet family own the estate along with a few other wine estates in the region. So it is a real empire but also one of the oldest wine estates of the region.<br><br><h2>Chardonnay and&nbsp;Bordeaux blend</h2>De Wetshof exudes an air of history and style. The tasting rooms are located in a magnificent 18th century building built on rather bare surrounding grounds. The resplendent interior perfectly complements the stately building. Even the tasting experience flows as one would expect with each party allocated their own table with the option to taste all this estate has to offer. A range of wines are served together to enable one to make effective taste comparisons. When the tasting room is not too crowded, the servers are happy to leave the bottles such that you can study them at your leisure. The only downside was the rather removed and routine manner in which the tastings are offered and various wines described. The wines themselves are truly exceptional. De Wetshof is known for its Chardonnay, of which there are a number to taste. The Bordeaux blend is however also impressive.</div><div><br>The estate offers no additional services, such as a restaurant or guest house. The full experience is, however, as it should be. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself on the R317.</div><div><br></div>Ruben van der MeerWed, 25 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Buitenverwachting <div>Buitenverwachting, a well-known wine estate, is situated on the busy and tourist popular Klein Constantia Road.<br><br>Once you have passed through the estate entrance you feel as though you have entered another world. To reach the tasting rooms you first pass through a breath-taking stretch of vineyards and meadows with the occasional grazing horse.&nbsp;The drive creates the perfect mood for a relaxing and enjoyable wine tasting experience, which is only further enhanced when you arrive at the main building situated at the base of the magnificent Constantiaberg mountains.</div><div><h2>Humorous history of the wines</h2>The spot is a favourite for tourists which makes it busy but the tasting rooms offer ample space indoors and out to fully appreciate all the estate has to offer. Capable staff relate the sometimes humorous history of the wines as you move through tasting them all in turn. The wines vary from the light drinking, ‘affordable’ wines, to the exceptional flagship wines. Slightly less on the affordable side though.<br><br>In addition to the excellent wine tasting facilities, the attached restaurant also offers delicious meals.</div><div>Buitenverwachting offers the complete wine experience, including exceptional wines. The only downside is that the experience could turn into a rather touristic experience, then again, perhaps that is a good sign, or not?</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><br></div>Ruben van der MeerTue, 10 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMTWeingut Bercher <div>In the charming town Vogtsburg-Burkheim, opposite the Korkenzieher museum, Weingut Berchheim is situated. The winery is run by Arne and Martin Bercher, two cousins. Martin receives us after the winery has been recommended by the hotel. During the tasting we pay serious attention to the wines. Nevertheless we have a nice conversation about the winery, the children and the journeys of Martin during the tasting Martin is just a very nice guy. Not to mention that the estate has excellent wines and therefor to visit this winery is highly recommended. <br><br>Arne and Martin are the tenth generation of the originally Swiss family. Besides the wine they had cattle, but wine has always been an important product for the Bercher family. <br><br>A nice visit with top class wines.</div>Martijn RademakersSun, 25 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTWeingut Bercherhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RccVKwN8YU&list=UU1zPRq4IBieKTNZ2qc7gIQgBestWineRoutes visits Weingut Bercher.Martijn RademakersSat, 24 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTPodere Casale<div><br></div><div><br></div><div>Podere Casale was recommended by our friends. The domain has simple but clean rooms and two apartments. All-in-all just fine for us and with a lovely garden and fantastic pool. At the pool you will start your morning with sun and end it when it goes down, with magnificent views over the vineyards, plains and with a backdrop of the peaks of the Alps .&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><h2>Truly Italian and not to expensive&nbsp;</h2>In the little town there is a butcher which is also a baker and mini supermarket, where you will find the tastiest sausages and best hams. Not cheap, but delicious . If you like simple food, you have to go to the restaurant of the neighbors for some wonderful cooking and some live music. Truly Italian and not to expensive.</div><div><br></div><div><h2>Frizzante wines</h2>Then the wine. During the tasting, we were served delicious hams and sausages from the region. This region is known for its Frizzante wines. A nice aperitif , but Podere Casale even has red Frizzante wines. However, our Podere wine is the Riserva, which really stands out, though it needs some decanting, because there is quite a depot. Large chunks jump forward when decanting, and it needs some air, but then you have an excellent glass of wine. Mother and son are doing the tasting together. They are a dynamic duo with a lot of enthusiasm and especially mother who is really passionate. Together they have a lot of humor and the tasting is really a lot of fun. We also noted the two of them is very helpful which makes you feel right at home .</div><div><br></div><div>This place is recommended.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersSun, 18 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTPodere Casalehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70obRX9Wmo&list=UU1zPRq4IBieKTNZ2qc7gIQgMartijn RademakersSun, 18 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTKorkenzieher Museum Kaiserstuhl <div>When I think of a <a href="http://www.korkenzieher.de">corkscrew museum </a>I think of a dusty attic where a sprain corkscrews are displayed in squalid showcases. We did visit a corkscrew museum in Vogtsburg-Burkheim in the region of Baden, but it is not dusty at all. Certainly not because owner Bernhard Maurer gives us the grand tour. He tells us lively about the history and variety of corkscrews and believe me there is much to tell about corkscrews. The museum is modern with a funny twist here and there. What to think of the wall with naughty corkscrews which can peek at through a hole in the wall. In the museum also has a shop with a countless number of wine related products. For those who still think the shop is a bit too far away, there is also a <a href="http://www.kaiserstuhlshop.de">webshop</a>. <br><br>Besides the corkscrew museum Vogtsburg-Burkheim is very picturesque and offers nice restaurants with outdoor seating.</div><div><br></div>Martijn RademakersWed, 12 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMTWhere to sleep on the KaiserstuhlKaiserstuhl has small towns where wine is to be found everywhere. But where to sleep on the Kaiserstuhl? What better place to sleep as a wine lover at a place where they have good knowledge of wine and your bed is close by after dinner. BestWineRoutes found out where to go and has the following suggestions. <br><br><h2>Restaurant - Hotel Adler </h2>In the town of Endingen - Königschaffhausen you will find <a href="http://www.adler-baptist.de/text/1/de/startseite.html">restaurant - hotel Adler</a>. A typical German family hotel, with oak on the walls, cozy curtains and staff in traditional attire. We believe these family hotels are charming because of these things. It is authentic and not asspecially done for the tourists. The restaurant has simple but good food with tasty dishes. The wine list is extensive with many great wines. Owner Herr Baptist knows his wines and the matching winemaker personally. He even has a wine shop and cookery school across the road. The rooms are neat. The hotel has family rooms and even rooms with own sauna. <br><br><h2>Post Hotel Kreuz - Post</h2><div><a href="http://www.burkheimer-nachtwaechter.de/">This hotel</a> is again one of the traditional kind, a real family hotel just outside the picturesque village of Vogtsburg-Burkheim. If you like wine , stories and extensive dining, then you are at the right place. We had dinner with one of the local wine growers who told one after another story. Host Herr Gehr also knows his stories. If you order the Burkheimer Nachtwächter menu each course he tells you a short story and poors a matching wine. Do no eat to much during the day, you need some space for dinner.&nbsp;</div><p></p><h2><br></h2><br><h2><b>Winzerstube Ihringen</b></h2>Although the name suggests otherwise this a very <a href="http://www.winzerstube-ihringen.de/en/">modern hotel</a>, although it has a traditional dining room, but if you really want something else there is also a modern part of the restaurant. It is some more anonymous than the aforementioned family hotels but the restaurant seems to be really good.<br><br><h2>Gasthaus zur Sonne</h2><a href="http://www.sonne-wasenweiler.de/">Gasthaus zur Sonne</a> in Ihringen - Wasenweiler is a traditional family hotel again with good food and ditto wine. For lunch we had some game made ​​by grandmother herself. It tasted really excellent. Decent rooms by the way.<br><br>Need more tips? Take a look at the site of <a href="http://www.weinhotels-kaiserstuhl.de/text/1/de/home.html">Weinhotels Kaiserstuhl.</a> Many of the hotels mentioned above are also at that website, but there are many more. The nice thing about these hotels is, in addition others, they have an extensive wine list and thery organize a lot of activities, like the <a href="http://www.weinhotels-kaiserstuhl.de/text/3/de/genuss-karussell.html">Kaiserstühler Genuss Karusell</a>.&nbsp;<p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <!--EndFragment-->Martijn RademakersThu, 06 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT