Friday, May 14, 2010

I am in love with Nikela.

With time to spare and the promise of more rain to come I decided to do two quick pitsops in Stellenbosch and taste some wine. But where? With the rain bucketing down and the mood I was in, it could be only one, I actually mean two. So I paid a visit to Grangehurst and Annandale. Both have the same old world wine philosophies, release wines after a few years, no rush here. Both wineries are now releasing their 2002 vintage....yes 2002!

First stop was Grangehurst. Only 3 wines to taste: a Rose , the 2002 Nikela a Cape Blend, and a 2002 Cab Sav. The Rose was quite surprising, very fresh nose, certainly not sweet on the palate (aka 4 Sweet Cousins) or overly acidic. So a really well made everyday easy drinking wine. Next up was the Nikela. Wow! What a nose, so complex, first thing that hit me was spice, like when grandma used to bake Christmas cakes...then little heaps of read fruit. Man I was excited. On the palate it was as fresh as a freshly cut bouquet of roses. Was this really a 2002? That is what impressed me most about this wine, 8 years young and still miles of good legs and structure. It made me think of that song: Things Can Only get better...this wine can only get better. I haven't tasted many old world wines, but I would describe this wine as Modern Old World...fresh, clean, precise and pure elegance. This must be one of the finest wines I have ever tasted. The poor Cab had a hard act to follow. The nose on the Cab was tighter than the Nikela, maybe a little shyer. But the palate showed as much life and interest. Again very fresh, great balance between fruit and silky smooth tannins. All in all a very quick tasting, but if you are looking for serious wines for serious wine lovers, not fast food wines, then this has to be one of the best places in the winelands to find it.

PS: I bought a bottle of the Nikela and decided to open it at dinner with friends. I made a Tagine of lamb, dates and apricots. I let our guests know that they were about to taste one of the finest reds to come out the Cape Winelands in my humble opinion.....(DRUM roll please) and then the bottle was forked, I mean corked. Pity. Real pity. But there is a lesson to be learnt. If you find a wine that you truly love, a wine that is so delicate and poised, a wine so a case not a bottle.

Next up Annandale.


  1. The Nikela is really nice yes! Had to laugh, I mean cry, at your drum roll statement :-) Get it replaced...and share some!

    Looking forward to the Annadale review. Hempies and his family are legends!

  2. Thanks Guys. The funny thing about Hempies was when I got there he had just started an interview with 2 French student winemakers. They were out here doing some sort of research into SA wine. I sat at the table drinking wine with him while these two fired questions. Sat listening to him, his wine philosophy, his opinions on life etc. Fascinating stuff. All the while the rain came down outside, the fire crakled in the backround and his BIG boerbull kept my feet warm. Only at Annandale!