During lockdown, South African consumers have at times been unable to purchase alcohol.
Although the restrictions have since lessened, there are still a lot of rules surrounding when, where and how you are allowed to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.
Fortunately, I only have a glass of wine or cocktail on occasion, when I’m out for dinner, socialising or of course, going on a winetasting experience. So for me, this wasn’t something I had to suffer through as much as other SA citizens.
However, this is not to say that I did not greatly feel for the breweries, wine farms, businesses and industries that suffered so during this time.
And I have still enjoyed sipping and savouring several great wines during lockdown. So I wanted to share a bit about each of the three with you. (Listed in the order I enjoyed them.)
1) Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2018
Now this is a wine I first enjoyed when I visited the gorgeous, vibrant Kunjani Wines in January 2020.
Not only is this arguably one of the best, most memorable Chenin Blancs I’ve had to date… But a visit to Kunjani, outside Stellenbosch, is something that really stays with you. (Especially when it is one of only two travel adventures experienced during 2020.)
What I love about Kunjani Wines, since their rebrand in recent years, is the eye-catching black and gold labelling and exquisite bottles. They really make a statement, even just reclining in an ice bucket.
And my word, this wine is just a winner on so many levels. It’s not often a Chenin Blanc can impress me more than Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Yet this one did – by a country mile.
Celebrate Any Day With Kunjani Wines
Before the pandemic hit, I had been keeping a bottle back to celebrate a special occasion.
But, as this has since been delayed like everything else in our present virus-ridden world – I decided life is too short not to drink good wine.
So I cooked up a storm one night in May and enjoyed this delicious wine in the comfort of my home.
Unfortunately, this beautiful, refreshing Chenin Blanc has since sold out online.
But fear not: because you can still shop for a few of Kunjani’s other wines and let me assure you: they are superb!
There was not one wine of the three previously sampled that I did not love. These were the Chenin Blanc, ‘Stolen Chicken’ Rosé 2018 (also sold out now) and Shiraz, a Gold Medalist at the 2015 Michelangelo International Wine Awards.
As I said before: “Honestly, each of the wines is deserving of an easy 9/10 rating from me.
I especially loved the Chenin Blanc, which is a definite 10/10 (and not just because I am a biased white wine drinker).
But the wonderful and rare thing about Kunjani Wines is that all their wines are excellent, easy drinking and above all, hugely enjoyable and delicious. The flavours are beautiful across the range… I honestly couldn’t fault one sip.”
All of Kunjani’s wines are easy drinking and memorable… and I definitely recommend trying them sooner rather than later.
Because as I realised this year: every day is an occasion worth celebrating. Don’t wait for tomorrow to order or open your best wines.
2) Elgin Vintners Syrah 2017
If a wine bottle (and delivery) made an impact, this beautiful orange-and-white labelling, with its delicate sketchwork, certainly did.
This was sent to me as a gift from Elgin Vintners and Zelda of Liquid Pulse – and it was a very special gift indeed.
It arrived in June, just nearing sunset, so I decided to make that work in my favour – and I love the resulting snaps.
The Beauty of Elgin Shining Through
There’s something about the greenery and sunshine breaking through the leaves that reminds me of the gorgeous Elgin Valley, one of my favourite wine regions on earth.
I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting Elgin Vintners, which lies nestled up between the beautiful Kogelberg and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges.
But really, I don’t need anyone to convince me of its beauty (having seen many photos online). Or its quality offerings – especially not since trying their wonderful Syrah.
This dark, ruby-coloured, cool climate wine is, as I said before on Instagram, ‘like drinking velvet’. It has a soft, smooth and utterly delicious taste.
I am not always an easy fan of red wines – but this one had me sold instantly. It was also a perfect companion for my homemade lasagne that night.
Aside from its beautiful packaging and divine taste, this wine is also the proud winner of a gold medal at the UK Sommelier Awards. It is one of only 27 wines to receive this honour.
Do yourself a favour and order some of this Elgin Vintners Syrah. It’s the perfect wine to tide you through winter in particular. 🙂
3) Vondeling Merlot 2017
This was another gift from Zelda of Liquid Pulse – but this time, with love from Vondeling Wines.
This wonderful bottle came as a pleasant surprise and immediately made itself noticed. I thought I could wait to unwrap its packaging – but it got the better of me.
I love the touches of gold and yellow on the label and bottle itself, as well as the silver wine foil. These catch your eye at first glance, as you admire the bottle.
And, if that was not enough to make me pause after unwrapping it, then the accompanying handwritten note from winemaker, Matthew Copeland, certainly was.
It is always lovely to receive a handwritten note – but even more so in these times. Especially when human connection feels like a distant memory amid all the Zoom calls, voice notes, emails and quick texts.
Vondeling (which means ‘foundling’) is another estate I have still to visit once ‘normality’ returns to life.
But I can assure you that this historic Paarl estate, found on the slopes of the Paardeberg mountain, offers beautiful wines, a stunning wedding venue and lovely accommodation.
And this particular wine of theirs is already making waves… Vondeling’s 2017 Merlot comes from the maiden vintage of Matthew Copeland’s Barrel Selection Merlot.
Another thing I loved about it, even before opening it, is the fact that it bears the WWF ‘Conservation Champion’ stamp of approval. This is a clear nod to Matthew and Vondeling’s careful, eco-conscious wine production practices.
Deepest of Reds
Now onto the wine… It is honestly one of the deepest reds I have seen. And it is as excellent and sinfully good in taste, as it is tempting by appearance.
This was another wine I savoured during June, so I can safely say it is one that shines, especially during winter – but really, it will be special year-round.
So hop onto Vondeling’s website and order this (or any of their other) excellent wine(s)!
Whether you enjoy sipping wine on special occasions only – or pour yourself a glass every second evening, each of these wines and their estates are sure to impress you as much as they have me.
I hope you will order and try their wines for yourself!
Finally, I would just like to extend a special word of thanks to Zelda Furstenburg of Liquid Pulse, Pia Watermeyer and Kunjani Wines, Vondeling Wines and Elgin Vintners for gifting me these special wines.
Each has made 2020 a little more bearable and enjoyable.
I look forward to visiting each of your estates in the future to enjoy more fine wine and companionship in the fairest Cape! 🙂
Each of these wines was received as a gift – and the views are entirely my own.
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.