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What's new in the world of wine

Food24's wine columnist Michael Olivier introduces us to some new wines on the market, just in time for the holiday season.

by: Michael Olivier | 08 Nov 2007

Smook Shiraz 2005
Anthony Smook's Shiraz 2005 is an elegant Shiraz with a lower alcohol content than the previous vintages. This wine offers multi-dimensional aromas of herbaceous flavours while freshly ground black pepper and ripe, red berry fruit all add to the complexity and flavour of this wine. This is a wine for a pan fried rib eye steak, game birds like pigeons or guinea fowl simmered in a red wine sauce and crispy duck with a fruity berry sauce.

This wine will further mature for six years, though it is easy drinking now and I could not wait for six years. Anthony made only 250 cases of this beautiful wine, so make sure you get your hands on a bottle or two.

Available at specialist wine shops or direct from the producer. Visit for more information.

Simonsig Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Simonsig Wine Estate recently released 3 new wines under their bright new labels. A Chenin Blanc 2007, a Chardonnay 2006 and the high flyer of this sublime threesome, the aptly named Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

This wine just brims with refreshing green tropical notes akin to the vibrant malachite sunbird that is drawn to the Cape's indigenous fynbos hills where superb Sauvignon blanc is grown. Raising the profile of crisp, easy-drinking dry whites, this vivacious Sauvignon Blanc satisfies with a significant 'greener' taste appeal and has great flavours of tropical fruits, textures of nettles and green peppers and lower sugar than in previous years.

Bilton White 2007
Bilton Wines, on the slopes of the Helderberg renowned as one of South Africa's finest wine producing areas, recently launched its Bilton WHITE 2007.

Bilton Winemaker Rudi de Wet together with consultant Giorgio Dalla Cia, have made a complex blend of made up of 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 23% Chenin Blanc and 17% Semillon grapes. The blend is greater than the sum of its parts. While the style of the wine will remain year on year, Rudi feels that he may vary the percentages of the components.

In the cellar, a portion of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 4 months with bâttonage [stirring with a wooden baton] every week to enhance the opulent mouth feel and to add the alluring vanilla, toast and butterscotch flavours from the toasted oak.

It's straw green in colour, the nutty vanilla of the wood shines through as a background to the citrus blossom, winter melon and sliced fresh pear aromas. The wine has a cape gooseberry tartness and some figgy flavours too.

Well priced at just under R50

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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