Winemaker Guy Webber from Stellenzicht. 5 November


Monthly wine tasting experience:

Winemaker Guy Webber from Stellenzicht  | 5 November

Flanked by the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Mountains, between Stellenbosch and the False Bay coast, lies an exceptional tract of land that benefits from terroirs eminently suited to the cultivation of the highest quality wine grapes. This jewel in the crown of the magnificent Stellenbosch wine-growing region is known as the Golden Triangle. At its core lies Stellenzicht. Award-winning Stellenzicht reserves its Golden Triangle label for those wines which most eloquently demonstrate the unique terroirs of this special part of the Helderberg, home to some of South Africa’s most exceptional wines

Guy Webber is the cellar master at Stellenzicht and will present a selection of their wines.

Venue: Bergkelder Fine Wine Shop
Date: 5 November 2015
Arrival from; 17h30
Tasting start; at 18h00
Cost: R100pp

Tickets are available through Webtickets here, or please phone Karine Retief at 021 809 8025

A Discussion with Winemakers


New white wine vintage releases:
A discussion with winemakers Niel Bester and Pieter Badenhorst

In our first September newsletter, I mentioned that we had received a few 2015 white wine varietals. Due to the early and relatively short harvest season in 2015, I will be getting some comments from two of our winemakers on how this vintage differed from those in the past.

Plaisir de Merle, which was established in 1693, has been one of my favourite farms for many years, therefore I approached Niel Bester, Cellar Master at Plaisir de Merle to chat about his 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Winemaker Niel, who has notched up over 20 years of dedicated winemaking came to Plaisir de Merle in 1993 and has gained fame in producing classically yet accessible wines.

Niel revealed that the grapes for the 2015 Plaisir de Merle Sauvignon Blanc were sourced from three different vineyards, two on Plaisir de Merle and one in the cooler region of Darling. The Plaisir de Merle grapes produce flavours such as passion fruit and tropical fruit, while the grapes from the cooler climate provide the more traditional greener characters. The result is a full spectrum of flavours, tropical aromas, passion fruit, Spanspek and some green fig.

The juice had a limited period of skin contact with the Must and was settled at 4°c and kept on the fine settling lees for 3 days. This assisted to enrich the wine with the typical varietal flavours. After fermentation the wine was left on the lees for another two months and received no wood contact.

Next I chatted to Pieter Badenhorst, who was in charge of the white wine harvest at Bergkelder for 2015. He commented that the harvest started 22 days earlier than expected, with December being cooler than normal and February turning out to have the coldest weather recorded in 5 years. Budding on the vine started earlier in spring and as there was not a lot of rainfall, which lead to a low water table at harvest. With the low water table, there was very little vegetative growth and this resulted in excellent berry growth. Further into the harvest some late cultivars started dropping in volume and load shedding had to be accommodated with suppliers. The 3rd of March was one of the hottest days recorded at 44°c; however most of the nights were cooler.

Pieter mentioned that a varietal that is growing in popularity is Chenin Blanc and that he was particularly impressed with Fleur du Cap Bergkelder 2015 vintage. The grapes were sourced from 3 different vineyards in the Western Cape. Two are from Darling varying between dry land bush vines and trellised dry land vineyards. The 3rd vineyard comes from Elgin and is trellised at 300m above sea level. After crushing, the juice was clarified and inoculated. 20% was aged on French oak whilst 80% of the wine is un-wooded. The wine is clear with green specs and on the nose it is fruit driven with aromas of apple, guava and hints of litchi. The palate is medium bodied and shows lovely tropical fruit complemented by a dash of butterscotch from the time spent on wood.

Pieter recommended to pair the wine with seafood, Thai foods, light chicken dishes as well with a mild bobotie. It’s a lovely wine at R58 per bottle.

Another interesting 2015 release is Lomond Sauvignon Blanc. Lomond was established in 2004 and lies in the valley of the Uilenkraal River near Gansbaai at a very southerly 34°34’. I found the wine has a clear, lime green tinges with lovely tropical fruit and hints of citrus and herbaceousness on the nose. The wine shows a wonderful balance between fruit and crisp acidity with a good body and structure on the palate. Delicious when paired with a butternut and goat’s cheese salad and stir fried prawns. This vintage sells for R69.

Another farm that has been producing lovely wines over the years is Neetlingshof, just outside Stellenbosch on the Polkadraai road towards Kuilsrivier. I particularly enjoy De Wet Viljoen’s style and approach to his wine making. The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (R60) is very impressive, on the colour; I found the wine very clear with hints of green. The nose has tropical fruit and figs backed by green pepper, asparagus and grassiness. The bouquet follows onto the palate with all the tropical fruit and figs with a long lingering finish

Staying with Neetlingshof, they make a very good but not widely found or consumed, Un Wooded Chardonnay 2015. The grapes are harvested at the end of February and the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks over a period of 14 days. On appearance there is a lovely light green colour, rich fragrance of lees and notes of pears and citrus on the nose. The palate has fresh, vibrant layers of fruit and a crisp lingering aftertaste. A lovely alternative for the lovers of non- wooded varietals at R60 per bottle

The last of my favourites for this month comes from Le Bonheur. This enchanting 163-hectare estate with the optimistic name of Le Bonheur (“Happiness”) is situated along the slopes of Klapmuts Hill of the Simonsberg Mountain, in the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin district. Klapmuts is the old Dutch word for the 18th century cocked hat that folded away into the saddle back pocket, and indeed, when observed from a distance, the hill resembles such a hat. Le Bonheur was an important venue for travelers in the Cape, offering fresh spring water and an outspan area at the major junction of Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Malmesbury.

The Le Bonheur Sauvignon Blanc 2015, at R75 per bottle, has a brilliant green appearance with tropical fruit and a slight touch of citrus on the nose. The palate of this refreshing wine is lively with some weight and an enjoyable creaminess.
The wine can be enjoyed on its own or with seafood, poultry and other white meats or cheese soufflés.

So wine lovers, there are lots of new vintages to discover and enjoy with friends and family over the summer. I look forward to seeing you soon.


Colin’s selection for the month


Enter the competition here

The 2015 harvest which experienced an unusually early start has been short but indications are predicting an outcome of very high quality wines.

We already have a few of the white 2015 wines available. I have selected two which I think will stand out – they are easy to drink and very rewarding. The two new fresh Sauvignon Blancs come from different areas, offering a beautiful bouquet as well as being pleasing on the palate. I found lovely round tropical fruit mouth-fill on both, with the Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (R50/btl) carrying a green apple character and the Fleur du Cap Bergkelder Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (R58/btl) with a more herbaceous flavour on the palate. Both are wonderful to enjoy on the warmer afternoons over a delicious lunch.

The second white varietal I have chosen is the Neetlingshof Chenin Blanc 2014 (R55/blt). This wine is a lovely example of a tropical fruit palate. The wine has been left to rest on the lees with stirring taking place once a week to add to the creamy mouth-feel of the wine and to ensure all lees flavours were released. I find it to be medium-bodied and well-balanced with a lingering aftertaste.

The first of my top red wines is the Uitkyk Pinotage 2013 (R95/btl). I originally came across this wine as a 2012 vintage, as it was their maiden attempt and only available from the farm. The 2013 is now freely available and not to be taken lightly. It has spent 20 months in 83% French & 17% American wood and delivers a combination of black current and red berries backed by lively mocha, vanilla and oak aromas. The wine is already accessible, but will develop even further over the next 5 to 7 years.

Shiraz is my top red varietal, so when Fleur du Cap Bergkelder Shiraz 2013 (R79/btl) won the Best Red Wine and Shiraz at the recent Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, there were smiles all around. On the nose it shows ample red berry fruit with a sweetish fruitcake character enhanced by a spicy oak finish. Full-bodied on the palate with ripe plum flavours, this robust red is supported by a good tannic backbone, which will soften with time.

Lastly I have selected the Neetlingshof Malbec 2013 (R80/btl) as I personally enjoy this red wine for its rewarding drinkability, a wine with floral and violet fragrances interwoven with oak spice and dark chocolate. I find it to be rich and full with plum and berry flavours, supported by soft tannins. The wine is ready to drink now, but will mature for another 5 years.

You too can enjoy my selection by entering our September monthly competition here. Alternatively come in for a chat and select your own favourites. I look forward to seeing you soon.


Colin Bridger
Brand Home Manager
Die Bergkelder Fine Wine & Spirits Centre

Rediscover Brandy with Simon Dicks


Rediscover Brandy with Simon Dicks

According to history books the first vines were  planted in South Africa in 1655 with the  first wine consumed on 2 February 1659. On this day Jan van Riebeeck took to his diary to write: “Praise be to God for the first wine was drunk made from Cape grape.” There has always been interest  and wonder in the distillation of brandy and it is no wonder that the origins of the first brandy in South Africa can be traced back to as early as 1672….and the rest, as they say is history! Fast forward to the present time and we see South Africa as  the third largest brandy producing country in the world with the bragging rights of being crowned as the Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition for seven consecutive years. The most recent jewel in the crown is Van Ryn’s 12 year old Distillers Reserve holding the 2015 title of World Wide Best Brandy Trophy – the highest award that any brandy can receive internationally.

Come and join us as we rediscover brandy with Simon Dicks and the versatility of this renowned drink.

Venue: Bergkelder Fine Wine Shop
Date: 3rd September 2015
Arrival from; 17h30
Tasting start; at 18h00
Cost: R100pp
Menu: Hot tasty Lamb and fresh tomato soup with fresh warm bread

Guests who purchase brandy on the evening will receive a further 10% discount and will also be entered into a lucky draw to win some spectacular prizes.

In closing, as the English poet and critical writer Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) said: “Claret is the liquor for boys; Port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink Brandy.”

Tickets are available through Webtickets or please phone Karine Retief at 021 809 8025

Bergkelder Monthly Tastings | 2 July Niel Bester on Plaisir De Merle Wines


Plasir de Merle wines presented by Cellarmaster Niel Bester 2nd July 2015

  • Time: 18h00
  • Cost: R100pp (includes lovely hot soup & bread afterwards in wine shop)
  • Wine purchases can be made in the shop.
  • Book early at Webtickets here


Winter Tasting times

Please note that our tastings times have changed.

Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00

Saturdays and Public Holidays: 09:00 – 14:00

Closed on Sundays

Thursday 9 April will be a “Terroir tasting” at Die Bergkelder

9 April at Die Bergkelder on Thursday will be a “Terroir tasting” with the 2015 harvest just completed and the different wines from the various areas (terriors) still in tanks, it was suggested to present this rare special tasting before they are blended away. Bearing in mind that Bergkelder has no Vineyards, so we have to source grapes and juice from specific blocks around the Western Cape. Pieter Badenhorst will present this “Terroir tasting” featuring the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc wines from the different areas that we source our fruit. We will be tasting 2015 vintages from Stellenbosch, Darling, Elgin, Durbanville, Nederburg and Gansbaai. The idea is to pick up the different aspects in what the Terroir has to offer on bouquet and palate of each wine. Pieter will explain what each area has to offer and what they are looking for in each block or area. Different terriors are then combined to create the final blend in Fleur du Cap Unfiltered 2015 and this is why we pride ourselves on regional excellence.

Book through Webtickets here

Or for more or Tel: +27 21 809 8025

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