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Warm the winter away

Food24 columnist Michael Olivier finds some delicious fireside wines and realise it's not too difficult to knock off a bottle at one sitting, to keep away the winter chill.

by: Michael Olivier | 06 Aug 2007

Mark Lindhorst is a busy little beaver. Not only does he produce really stunning reds and a really zippy Sauvignon Blanc, he has also found time to bottle a special entry price stunner called Strategy.

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 % Merlot, matured in Oak Barrels, it's an elegant wine with lovely oak shining through the stunning fruit. Great value at R39 a pop.

Guardian Peak
Ernie Els and Jean Engelbrecht's Guardian Peak red wines are well recognised by wine fundis both in South African and abroad.

At last years Old Mutual Trophy Wine Awards, the judges selected the Guardian Peak Frontier as the country's leading Shiraz-based blend, and handed it the Trophy for Best Red Blend (Shiraz-based).

The Frontier is an elegant wine that demonstrates winemaker, Louis Strydom’s, passion for blending. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, each contribute unique flavours and character to the wine that leads to a wonderful drinking experience.

Rhinofields Reserve Merlot 2005 is made from the Merlot grapes from seven vineyards in Durbanville Hills. Close to the chill breezes of the South Atlantic, the hills of Durbanville are prime grape growing land.

All the grapes are sourced from growers who fall under the limited appellation of Durbanville and who subscribe to IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) growing practices, designed to sustain natural resources.

Meticulous crop control applied to these vineyards further limits yields and promotes concentration of varietal flavour, encouraging a process of natural selection.

You'll find a great glass, full of dark ruby wine with whiffs of blackberries, eucalyptus and the elegance of oak. I love the fruity flavours with some flavours of sundried prunes and Christmas pudding spices.

Hot on the heels of his fabulous Fino Sherry Dirkie Christowitz has released his first vintage Muscadel since 1992; the wood matured Monis Vintage Muscadel 2000.

Matured for five years in 500 litre old French oak barrels, (only a few Muscadel producers age their wine in wood) making it a truly unique and exclusive full sweet Muscadel using red Muscadel grapes from the Breede River.

It is ruby maroon of hue with a full nose of hanepoot raisins, Christmas cake spices, marzipan and subtle orange and pink grapefruit flavours.

I loved the delicate woodiness contrasted with the smooth richness ending with a wonderful long aftertaste. This is fireside wine and it is not too difficult to knock off a bottle at one sitting!

Michael Olivier trained at The London Cordon Bleu Cookery School and is a well known Cape food and wine fundi. He is now a food and wine specialist with Pick 'n Pay, occasional broadcaster and hospitality industry consultant. His book Michael Olivier – a Restaurateur Remembers, is published by Double Storey Books. Michael's website is which he would love you to visit. Email him on if you are not able to source any of the wines mentioned above.

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