Or perhaps I should call this article ‘Top Ten Reasons why you should buy wine from an Independent Wine Merchant!’ I went along to Wine Concepts in Newlands, Cape Town to chat with owner Mike Bampfield-Duggan and had a fabulous half hour finding out about loads of new places, garagiste wineries, special secret bargains and cool new wines hot off the presses. If you’re bored with the same-old sameness of supermarkets, then find yourself an independent retailer and put yourself in their hands – you can’t beat them for knowledge, variety, interest and value for money. All wines sourced from Wine Concepts @ Newlands – and all prices are correct as of 7th May 2010.
2008 Feiteiras Vineyards Verdelho – R63
Odd Portuguese varietal now grown in Walker Bay. Spicy and aromatic with lots of tangy acidity and dried peach flavours.
2008 Withington Semillon – R55
Charles Withington makes wine for Mzoli’s in Gugs but this is his own range and Mike loves this rich and leesy Semillon using crisp, fresh, Darling fruit.
2008 Brothers Chardonnay – R76.50
Don’t bother looking for this in Platter, cos it’s not in there. This is made using Swartland grapes and the ‘brothers’ in question go to school with Mike’s kids. Mike says it is seriously under-priced for the quality so get some quick before he puts the price up!
2009 Hermit on the Hill ‘White Knight’ – R72
Garagiste winemaker, Pieter de Waal’s first white wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscat Blanc. Spicy and lively with a really fun label, this is as off-the-wall as you can get.
2009 Ross Gower Rosé – R32
One of the giants of Cape winemaking and a good friend of Mike’s, the late Ross Gower made delicious wines in cool climate Elgin and none better than this. Cracking price too, proving that quality and value truly can go hand in hand.
2007 Arra Vineyards ‘Unreserved’ Shiraz – R56
Interesting new outfit on the outskirts of Paarl, this is the second label and uses the best bought-in fruit the winemaker can find. Contains a soupçon of Mourvèdre and is an astonishing bargain for the price.
2006 Nativo Red – R91
From Hughes Family wines in trendy Swartland, this is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot, Mourvèdre and Pinotage. Pretty much organic in everything but paperwork, this is smooth and silky with an endless finish.
2009 Crooked Path Shiraz – R86.50
Andy Mitchell produces his handmade wines in picturesque Greyton. Technically this is his second label, but Mike says it completely over-delivers on price. Contains a tweak of Viognier for freshness and vigour.
2009 Doolhof ‘Dark Lady of the Labyrinth’ Pinotage – R74.50
From Mike’s descriptions, I think this should be renamed ‘Drool-hof’ – yummy dark black fruit with hints of chocolate and coffee. One for fans of Diemersfontein, but for less dosh.
2005 Koelfontein Shiraz – R96.50
The only vineyards in Ceres and they produce this award-winning Shiraz. Mike is absolutely besotted with this at the moment – he hardly put the bottle down during my visit! – and says it is packed with juicy black fruit and silky tannins.
Have we missed out your favourite off-the-wall wine? Tell us all about it below.
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