2016 New Year tasting trip to South Africa

There is nothing better than on a cold dismal day in mid January to arrive at Terminal 5 to know that in just 12 hours we will alight from the plane at Cape Town Airport to sun and 30 degrees! 



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Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

Marian on Fri 4 Aug

Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

Delicious soup and we served it with Treloar - La Terre Promise

Red Wine Chocolate Pie

Marian on Fri 4 Aug

Red wine Chocolate Pie

This rich Chocolate Pie is superb paired with a full bodied red wines and we served it with Rouquette Le Clos de la Tour

Wild Mushroom Parcels

Marian on Mon 12 Jun

Wild Mushroom Parcels a vegetarian option with quite strong tastes so goes well with red wine!

Pea Mint & Watercress Soup

Marian on Fri 21 Apr

This soup is lovely all year round but really special in the Spring

Mushrooms in Sherry

Marian on Fri 21 Apr

I have used this recipe since the 60’s always a crowd pleaser!!

Lynx Winery - Franschhoek

Marian on Fri 3 Feb

Our last visit today is to Lynx Winery, again one of the first wines we purchased from in South Africa.

On arrival we are called through to the winery where Helgard the General Manager is pressing grapes (see picture attached).

La Chataigne - Franschhoek

Marian on Fri 3 Feb

We leave Four Paws and cross the road to another of our favourite Wineries - La Chataigne.

Four Paws Franschhoek

Marian on Fri 3 Feb

Today we have three wineries to visit and we start at Four Paws.

Again as with Noble Hill yesterday many improvements are being made to the Estate a new entrance and tasting room have been added since our visit last year.

Noble Hill Winery

Marian on Thu 2 Feb

We travel out of Franschhoek and move onto Simondium to visit Kristopher at Noble Hill Wine Estate.

The Winery was one of the first estates we imported wines from and this is our fifth visit here.

Stony Brook Franschhoek

Marian on Wed 1 Feb

We visit Franschhoek each year when in South Africa and are pleased to be back and to catch up with the Wineries we buy from in this area.

Today our first visit is to Stony Brook. We are greeted by Joy McNaught who with  her husband Nigel founded Stony Brook to satisfy their love of quality wines.

Bellevue Winery

Marian on Wed 1 Feb

Whilst here we take the opportunity to explore different Vineyards with the hope of finding new wines to add to our stock.

There are over 100 Wineries in the Stellenbosch area, so getting a recommendation is always helpful and this is how we found Bellevue Winery.

Clos Malverne

Marian on Tue 31 Jan

Tasting treat at Clos Malverne

After three days staying with friends we get back on the Wine Trail.

We are at Clos Malverne to meet with Suzanne and decide on which wines to add to our shipment. Today we had a Tasting Treat a ‘Wine and Ice Cream Pairing Menu’ WOW this was something special and I will try and replicate on our return.

Black Oyster Catcher

Marian on Thu 26 Jan

We are now staying at the most southerly area in South Africa,it is not Cape of Good Hope but Cape Agulhas where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean the coast is very rugged and the sea both dramatic and stunning.

We stock one wine from this area Black Oystercatcher and we are staying at the property.


Arendsig Vineyard

Marian on Mon 23 Jan

On the move, again we leave Wellington and head towards Robertson.

Arendsig Winery is where we are visiting. We have a meeting arranged with Lourens the owner of this Vineyard.

Doolhof Winery

Marian on Sun 22 Jan

Doolhof Winery is an Artisan vineyard on the outskirts of Wellington we are stocking their Malbec and are taking the opportunity to visit whilst in the area.

Nabygelegen Vineyard

Marian on Sat 21 Jan

We have travelled 40K to Wellington and staying on Nabygelegen Vineyard in the Manor House for three nights.

Clos Malverne 18 Jan 2017

Marian on Wed 18 Jan

We have arrived in South Africa and the sun is shining, it is always difficult to believe we have left the UK in the middle of Winter and after a 12 hour flight we arrive in Cape Town, where it is 30 degrees and a hose pipe ban!

Tasting trip 16 January to 17 February

Marian on Sat 14 Jan

Torquil and I are packing our bags ready for an annual tasting trip to South Africa.

Watch this space for details of vineyards visited and new wines found etc

Bacon & Olive Apéritif Cake

Marian on Tue 13 Dec

Bacon & Olive Apéritif Cake

We were given this cake one time on a visit to Champagne by our suppliers mother as an apéritif with their Rosé Champagne - Absolutely delicious!

Here is a link to all Sparkling wines

Fish Chowder

Marian on Tue 25 Oct

Fish/Shrimp Chowder is one of my favourite recipes and I have been cooking this soup since the 60's. don't be afraid to change the fish or even do a chicken version.

This recipe is just a guide - please try different versions and please let me know if you find something really delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower & Ham Soup

Marian on Fri 14 Oct

This is a great Autumn soup and goes we had it with the following wine

Noble Hill - Viognier

The end of a great trip

Marian on Sat 24 Sep

WOW what a trip

Three weeks gone is a flash. 3500 miles travelled, 15 vineyards visited and over 1,500 bottles purchased and on their way to the UK.


Pierre & Fils Brigandat Champagne

Marian on Fri 23 Sep

What a lovely lady!

This is the last day of our 3 week tasting trip and what a place to finish at Pierre & Fils Brigandat Champagne.

Madam Brigandat gave us a tour of the winery and then a degustation, what a warm and kind lady she is,

Domaine Bourdon

Marian on Thu 22 Sep

Domaine Bourdon & Bouchard Aine & Fils Posters.

Further north to the Burgundy region and on a beautiful sunny morning we make our way to see Francois at Domaine Bourdon in the Pouilly Fuisse area.


Domaine Grangenueve

Marian on Wed 21 Sep

Domaine Grangeneuve

Back in the car and we have arrived in the Cotes du Rhone to visit Domaine Grangeneuve.

The Bour family started this Domaine in the mid 60’s, its geographical position in the heart of the Rhone Valley is crucial and gives the character to wines crafted at this vineyard.


Domaine Grangette

Marian on Tue 20 Sep

Domaine Grangette – Picpoul de Pinet

Grangette is situated in the northern region of Languedoc and is where we purchase one of our most popular white wines Picpoul de Pinet. The welcome here is always very warm this is the fifth year we have visited this small family owned vineyard.


Chateau Rouquette sur Mer

Marian on Mon 19 Sep

Chateau Rouquette sur Mer

After a lovely relaxing weekend we drive towards the sea where we call in on Chateau Rouquette sur Mer.

We have an appointment with Jacques and Francois (the father and son team here) Rouquette in the La Clape region of Languedoc, this is one of the largest Chateau’s we buy from, in total the estate covers 420 hectares but only 50 hectares are planted with vines.


Domaine Sicard

Marian on Fri 16 Sep

Second visit is to Domaine Sicard just a few miles up the road from Spencer in the Minervois region.

This is a new wine producer we are adding to our cellar, we had a comprehensive tour of the vines, cave and then onto the tasting room.


Chateau Spencer

Marian on Fri 16 Sep

Last evening we stayed with friends from the UK who have kindly welcomed us for the weekend whilst we are visiting vineyards in the Languedoc region - back on the wine tasting trail we are to travelling to two different Domaines today.

First visit to Chateau Spencer la Pujade in the Corbieres region of Southern France.


Domaine Treloar

Marian on Thu 15 Sep

Domaine Treloar – Harvest has started.

First thing today we leave Spain after nine very enjoyable days visiting our suppliers, travelling daily through the beautiful countryside and receiving a warm welcome where ever we stayed.

Over the boarder to France and to Domaine Treloar, this is one of the original Wineries we bought from, Jonathan and Rachel own this 12 hectare’s vineyard. 


Almiral de la Font

Marian on Wed 14 Sep

We have travelled across the plains of Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees and arrive at Almiral de la Font which is situated a few miles South of Barcelona.

This is our first visit to the Winery although we have stocked the two wines made here for a year. Paul the owner gave us a tour of the vineyard which is a small estate of only 5 hectares. 


Bodegas de los Rios Prieto.

Marian on Mon 12 Sep

Today Ribera del Duero and we visit Bodegas de los Rios Prieto.

We have stocked red wine from this vineyard for four years and have lovely memories of our previous trips here.

Via Arxentea - Phone a Friend!

Marian on Fri 9 Sep

We left Rioja and now have travelled a further 300 miles to the Spanish Region of Galicia.

Carte-du-vin has stocked wines from this area for a while.

David Moreno

Marian on Wed 7 Sep

Bodegas David Moreno – our old favourite.

As always our welcome here was very warm, we were met by Lara who now deals with Export sales and again a full tasting was on offer!

All I can say is we do sip and spit,

Bodegas Urbina

Marian on Wed 7 Sep

Bodegas Urbina is a family run vineyard with two generations of the family still very involved in the day to day running.


Marian on Tue 6 Sep

Rioja is a very beautiful place and today there isn’t a cloud in the sky and light breeze – Perfecfto!

Rioja wines have featured on our list since we started selling wine in 2010 and today we are to visit two Bodegas, firstly Bodegas Urbina and then we visit David Moreno who we found on a cycling trip many years ago in 2005.


Chateau Viella

Marian on Tue 6 Sep

First thing Tuesday morning we leave the Lot continuing our trip to Chateau Viella in Gascogne region, a long drive through Rural France travelling along ‘D’ roads passing beautiful countryside and winding our way between fields of sun flowers.


First visit is to Chateau de la tour Chollet

Marian on Mon 5 Sep

It is a long trip from Normandy to the Bordeaux Region but travelling on French roads on a Sunday is easy and we arrived at our Hotel on the out skirts of St Emillion in plenty of time for a ‘POP’ (pink on’t patio!)

Depart from Portsmouth

Marian on Sat 3 Sep

PHEW - Made it!!

Coq au vin

Marian on Sun 31 Jul


Marian on Thu 7 Apr

It has taken a while but we are very pleased to say that all the wine we ordered during our trip in January are now in stock.

Goodbye South Africa

Marian on Mon 15 Feb

One month has flown by. Suddenly we are back in Cape Town waiting to catch a plane back to UK.

Black Oystercatcher

Marian on Tue 9 Feb

Just a few days left here in South Africa and we found ourselves at the Southern most point of this Continent.

We have been following @BOC onTwitter for a while and hoped that we would get a chance to visit.


Marian on Thu 4 Feb

We promised ourselves a couple of days by the pool to relax - however we were told of  couple of vineyards which were worth visiting!

First visit to Bosman Vineyard where we were turned away at the tasting room door as hosting a private tasting for Sainsburys, Waitrose and Majestic - INSULT OR WAIT!!!!

Not deterred went to the 2nd recommendation which was 100% worth leaving the pool for.

Nabygelegen Private Cellar is a special place to visit.


Noble Hill Winery

Marian on Sun 31 Jan

Like Lynx and La Chataigne, Noble Hill in Simondium is one of original wines we mported to the UK.

Four Paws

Marian on Fri 29 Jan

What happens when you have a group of cats who own three wine lovers? Well, you start your own wine label of course!

Clos Malverne

Marian on Thu 28 Jan

Today we left Franschhoek and travelled to Stellenbosch to the Devon Valley area and Clos Malverne Winery.

Lynx Winery

Marian on Wed 27 Jan

Today 9.00am saw us knocking on the tasting room door of Lynx Winery. 

La Chataigne Winery

Marian on Wed 27 Jan

Just one mile from Lynx is another carte-du-vin favourite ' La Chataigne '.


Suzanne and Richard were here to welcome us, they are having a busy year not just with the harvest - picking has just started -  they are also are building a new tasting room which will be situated in the vineyard ,near to their Holiday Cottages so making management of the whole business more streamlined.


We tasted the new vintages and have bought wines needed to re-stock the cellar in UK

Springfield Wines

Marian on Mon 25 Jan

A short trip up the road from Arendsig and we were at Springfield Estate.

Arendsig Wine Estate

Marian on Mon 25 Jan

Today we had an appointment to meet Lourens the owner and winemaker at this vineyard.


Star Hill Estate

Marian on Sat 23 Jan

We have stocked Star Hill wines now for 2 years but this is the first time we have visited the vineyard.

Stony Brook Winery

Marian on Thu 21 Jan

Wine tasting starts today!

Topiary Winery

Marian on Wed 20 Jan

For three nights we have stayed on Topiary Wine estate they have just opened 2 cottages to rent situated in the middle of the vineyards with views to die for!

Accommodation in South Africa

Marian on Tue 19 Jan

We have flown into Cape Town and start our trip with a day relaxing.


Back Home

Marian Jack on Sun 14 Jun


It is always a little sad when our summer trip to the Continent is over.

What have we learnt?

Domaine Berthet-Rayne

Marian Jack on Fri 12 Jun

Domaine Berthet-Rayne

Another early start to visit Domaine Berthet-Rayne in the Southern Rhône village of Cairanne.

Domaine Bourdan

Marian Jack on Fri 12 Jun

Domaine Bourdon

The final visit on our 2015 summer trip is to Domain Bourdon in the heart of Burgundy region situated on the edge of the village of Pouilly–Fuissé.

Domaine de Grangeneuve

Marian Jack on Thu 11 Jun

Domaine de Grangeneuve

Another day – another winery.

I must admit after 13 days visiting wineries we felt a little tired at the start of today but the visit to Grangeneuve revitalised us!

Chateau Roquette sur Mer

Marian Jack on Wed 10 Jun

Château Roquette sur mer

Firstly today we visited Château Roquette sur mer in the La Clape region of Languedoc, this is a brand new wine for us and we were so privileged to visit this unique site.

Château l’Argentiers

Marian Jack on Wed 10 Jun

Château l’Argentiers

After lunch in La Clape we joined the A9 and travelled north to Sommieres here we visited yet another new winery to us.

Chateau Spencer la Pujade

Marian Jack on Tue 9 Jun

Third stop Chateau Spencer la Pujade

Today 3 visits & 3 different regions!

Domaine des Homs

Marian Jack on Tue 9 Jun

Second stop Domaine des Homs

Today 3 visits & 3 different regions!

Domaine la Grangette

Marian Jack on Tue 9 Jun

First stop Domaine la Grangette

Today 3 visits & 3 different regions!

Domaine Treloar-8 June

Marian Jack on Mon 8 Jun

Jonathan and Rachel Treloar own and run this small, highly-regarded vineyard and winery in the Roussillon, France's most exciting wine region.

Bodegas de los Rios Prieto-4 June

Marian Jack on Thu 4 Jun

4th June - Ribera del Duero is situated approximately 200k south west of Rioja.


Bodegas Urbina-3 June 2015

Marian Jack on Wed 3 Jun

5.00 pm and we are tasting for the 2nd time today here in beautiful Rioja Alta.

Bodegas David Moreno

Marian Jack on Wed 3 Jun

QUOTE from The Telegraph 16/2/15

"Sacre Bleu! Rioja boom will see Spanish wine outsell French rivals"

Chateau Viella

Marian Jack on Tue 2 Jun

Today we visit Chateau Viella, Alain Bortolussi is the thrid generation of wine maker at this estate.

Château La Tour de Chollet

Marian Jack on Sat 30 May

Château La Tour de Chollet just 30 minutes from St Emillion

Chateau de Sours

Marian Jack on Fri 29 May

Château de Sours in the Bordeaux Region.

Cork v Caps

Marian on Wed 17 Sep

This month I thought I would research the pros and cons of screw caps being used to seal wine bottles rather than the traditional cork.

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