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A Wine Tour Led by the Country’s Top Sommelier
This article originally published in Great Golf Magazine
Once you’ve done Bordeaux, drunk your way through Champagne, and raised a glass to Napa, it’s time for the wanderlust oenophile to say cheers to the Winelands of South Africa.
Since the ending of Apartheid South African wine has been making a splash on the worldwide scene, and with so many wine regions and wine routes to explore it’s an exciting tasting destination.
Cape Town, a laid-back, yet cosmopolitan city, is the ideal base for exploring the Winelands, and the One & Only Cape Town, located on the waterfront is a wine lovers hotel. On my first night at the luxury property I have dinner at Reuben’s. The entrance to the restaurant takes me by the mind boggling Wine Wall. At 5,000 bottles strong, the collection is one of the largest in Africa.
Head sommelier Luvo Ntezo is in charge of wine programing at the hotel. The 32-year-old Ntezo has won the national Chaine des Rotisseurs competition since 2008 and has placed fourth in the world in an international wine competition. He clearly knows his grapes and I’m lucky enough to have him take me to several wineries the next day.
Our destination is Stellenbosch, the first wine route developed that now boasts over 200 wineries, and is perfect for a red wine lover. With so many to choose from I’m happy to have an expert as my wine wingman. And Ntezo pulls a keeper out at our first stop, the Delaire Graff Estate– owned by the people who brought you Graff diamonds. Wine and diamonds? This is a girl’s best friend! The estate is arguably the prettiest in any region, and boasts a collection of 15 wines. Over lunch on the terrace we sample several whites and reds, including one of the most popular South African wines, Chenin Blanc.
While the country has been known for Pinotage, that really isn’t the varietal that showcases the best South African winemaking.
“I feel that our Chenin Blanc is fantastic and can stand up against many great Chenins of the world,” said Neil Grant, chairman of the South African Sommelier Association.
Read the rest of the Great Golf Magazine article below.