Tasting Notes – South Africa 02.28.24


presented by Andrew of Elephants Corner

Jan van Riebeeck established the first vines at the Cape in 1655. One of these three original cultivars was Steen, otherwise known as Chenin Blanc.

Grapes: Chenin Blanc 100%, ABV 12.5% vol.

Tasting notes: Buffelsfontein Steen is a delicious, pear-flavored, textured, and refreshing white wine, which may be enjoyed ice cold on the patio or the golf course.

Pairings:  Spicy foods, seafood, goat cheese, charcuterie, cream sauces, and fresh or roasted veggies.


Strange Kompamjie Unlimited is a circus tent of the Cape’s stranger grapes and blends. They are championing the unfashionable, experimenting with the known, and expressing the found before it gets lost. Mistakes are likely, fun certain. The label reflects the wine’s provenance high up on the Piekenierskloof plateau, where stumpy bush vines appear frozen in poses of agony. Their meager yield gives a wine that’s bright, tangy, textural, and distinctly salty on the finish.

Grapes: Palomino 100%, ABV 12.5% vol.

Tasting notes: Quiet on the nose and palate but persistent with notes of almond skin, fennel, and even a little jasmine, all this follows on the palate with a bright natural acidity and a teasing top note of grassy fennel, almond nuttiness, and the residual salinity of an old dry grown vineyard.

Pairings: Simply cooked fish dishes, scallops, fishcakes, or asparagus and lemon risotto.


Grapes: Cinsault 100%, ABV 13% vol.

Tasting notes: The nose is alluringly bright with aromas of fresh strawberry, juicy cherry, and crunchy red fruit. The palate reflects these with vibrant, tangy berry fruit, fresh acidity, and gentle mineral notes that marry with delicate finesse.

Pairings: Lightly chilled with Mediterranean dishes, chargrilled veg, pan-fried shrimp, or Asian-inspired dishes.


This wine is made from bush vines planted in the Swartland about 50 kilometers north of Dornier. In this area, the soil consists of a combination of sand and coffee stone. The vineyards are not irrigated, and the vines bear small bunches with small berries and wonderfully concentrated flavors.

Pinotage is South Africa’s very own grape and a must-try for anyone looking to expand their viticultural horizons. This grape is a genetic cross between picky Pinot Noir and prolific Cinsault, aka Hermitage.

Grapes: Pinotage 100%, ABV 14.5% vol.

Tasting notes: This Pinotage has a deep garnet red appearance. The aroma is intense and persistent with cherry and red berry notes with a subtle Turkish delight or rosewater backdrop. The palate has great concentration with distinct notes of plum, bitter cherry, strawberry jam, and black pepper supported by restrained spicy oak flavors on the finish.

Pairings: A fine accompaniment to roast meats and game. It also has the unique ability to pair well with dishes that have elements of spice, such as curries.

A tree with green leaves

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Bush Vines