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Heron’s Nest Reserve Chardonnay 2013 | Clos Malverne

A gleaming, pale straw colour in the glass, this wine smelled immediately herbaceous and, interestingly, it had the faintest whiff of yoghurt somewhere in it. On first sip, there is a tartness akin to biting into a Granny Smith apple – yet it almost immediately turns to the sweetness of a Golden Delicious. Green melon, lemon sherbet and white peach all dance enticingly across the tastebuds. This is certainly one of the more layered white wines I’ve tried recently. I found the fruit and acid to be in satisfying balance and it had a long, lively finish. With only a subtle hint of oak, it’s clean and crisp. Refreshing and uncomplicated, it has a lot to offer without you having to deliberate on it. It’s also a bargain: I picked this bottle up for less than 30 bucks…So stock up and enjoy it (in large quantities) by the poolside this summer.

*I highly recommend forfeiting the likes of a retail outlet if you wish to buy this and heading straight to Clos Malverne instead.  It is one of my favourite Stellenbosch wine farms.  Their tasting room and restaurant offers an exquisite view framed by wrap-around glass.  Don’t miss their gourmet lunch and dinners at a very reasonable price (the latter being on the last Friday of every month). I confess to never having left one of these sober, they are very generous with their wine pouring. Bookings for these are essential. 021 865-2022, Ext.1.  Oh and the Spa, you HAVE to go to the Spa.

Polkadraai Pinotage Merlot 2012 | Stellenbosch Hills

The fun and funky black and white dotted neck makes for an immediate eye-catcher. The cursive scribble on the label hints at a carefree femininity…until you crack open the bottle and realise this is actually quite a buff wine. Its colour resonates that of purple plum skins and the nose is greeted with a smack of strawberry and cacao powder.   Swirl your glass a few times and a scrummy blackberry-mulberry jam comes at you. I wanted to find a hot, buttery croissant and pour it all over it. A second layer reveals whiffs of wood shavings and Christmas-cake spice. The first sip gives rise to a twang of tannin with a pronounced acidity that lingers long after swallowing. Then, a gigantic POP of sour red cherries hijacks your mouth, intertwined with whispers of aniseed and cassis. I served this up at home with spiced chicken livers on gemsquash-onion ‘mash’…Proe soos…Nog.