English Fizz – Update

On the 9th July I will be doing going on a short study tour and tasting of presumably and arguably the Top 10 English Fizz producers in the UK. Through friends I have managed to arrange a detailed visit and route which I am looking forward to – to taste and getting an update. Some four years ago I have been to some of these producers and knowing that so much has changed in the time – it is time to catch up with them.

The producers I will visit and report back on will be:

  • Acre Hill Estate – Richard Morris
  • Exton Park Vineyard – Fred Langdale & Corinne Seely
  • Hattingley Valley – Emma Rice
  • Coates & Seely
  • Nyetimber – Cherie Spriggs
  • Wiston – Dermot Surgue
  • Ridgeview – Simon Roberts
  • Breaky Bottom – Peter Hall
  • Rathfinny Estate – Jonathan Medard
  • Gusbourne – Charlie Holland
  • Hush Heath – Victoria

With two Champagne Houses that has recently invested in some vineyards in the UK, these producers are enjoying the benefit of these investments.

Earlier this year Michelin Star UK chef Roger Jones, arranged over 24 local MCC’s and UK Sparkling Wines to be sampled and scored.  Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira from Graham Beck led the South African team of judges while Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Estate in Wales led the Wales and UK team. This was held at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town.

‘Bubbles’ Ferreira took the SA team to victory with 8 of the 11 blind tastings going in SA’s favour and also claimed the overall win on the night for his Graham Beck’s Cuveé Clive. Said Roger Jones about the evening, “It was not ultimately about winning. But the idea behind the evening was more to highlight the enormous steps UK sparkling wine has taken in recent years, as well as put more of an international spotlight on South African MCC”.

I cannot wait to give feedback, once I have been there and to meet up with friends on the other side.







Nice review of Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005

From Champagne Poodle Ted via Twitter


The best in drinks and food, and yeah, we think Champagne is fine for daily use too. Living in New Hampshire

Website: ChampagnePoodle.com

Tasting   Note: Graham Beck 2005 Brut Zero – May 2013, rated B+/A-

I was looking forward to finding a better bottle or two of Graham Beck,   some non exported bottles, and was happy to find this zero dosage (no   added sugar) wine in Johannesburg.

I’m not always a zero dosage fan, and think some wineries do it because   it is fashionable, but I like what they wrote on the bottle – how zero   dosage is “like walking a tightrope without a safety net: there is no   margin of error.” Yup, indeed.

The nose is very nice and delicate with lovely fresh apple. Slightly   creamy lemon.

Very dry on the palate as expected. Man I like this a lot. Reticent yet   lovely apple. A slight sparky spicy quality, toasty and little bit of   lemon.

A little stark, some may use the word “transparent,” and despite liking   it a lot, it’s not a wine for everyone. I can’t help but wonder if it   might be better with a very few grams of dosage?

Still, they set out to make a zero dosage and made a damn good one – I   respect that! I’ll be very glad to drink this again if I get the chance.

Graham Beck Wines Activities during Wacky Wine Weekend

GBW_WW flyer_SocialMedia_2013 BOTH

Some great shows awaits you on Friday and Saturday evening en there are many different treats that will be on sale:


Beans about coffee:

 Americano – 250ml R15 / 350ml R20

  • Cappuccino – 250ml R15 / 350ml R20
  • Latte – 350ml R20
  • Hot Chocolate – 350ml R25


Oyster & Bubbly Bar:

  • Single Oyster – R 15.00
  • 6 Oysters  – R 75.00
  • 12 Oysters – R 120.00
  • 6 Oysters & a glass of bubbly  – R 100.00
  • 12 Oyster & 2 glasses og bubbly – R 220.00


Burgerlicious :

Lightly spiced Blesbok burger, toasted milk bun, onion marmalade

Smoked Paprika chips



Sticky smoked pork belly wrap, sweet chilli dressing


Pot Pies?

Lamb shank Rogan Josh in a creme fraiche pastry pie



Cheese selection

Cold meats

Potted duck liver parfait

Freshly baked breads

Marinated olives




We hope to see you there on one of the days during the Wacky Wine Weekend & Graham Beck Wines in ROBERTSON!!!






Original post by John & Lynne Ford of Main Ingredient


This is the logo for Graham Beck’s newly launched range of wines, The Game Reserve. The media lunch was held today, appropriately at The Camps Bay Retreat and Nature Reserve in the Glen in Camps Bay, a magnificent old house now part of the Village and Life Group, built in 1908 overlooking the bay, the crashing waves and its magnificent gardens. We sat at long tables underneath the pergola and listened intently to Mossie Basson, formerly of the Department of Conservation, and now Graham Beck Wines’ conservation manager; and award winning Cellarmaster, Erika Obermeyer tell us about the Graham Beck Nature Reserve and the range of wines they are launching to support the reserve. Each of the 9 wines: 4 whites, one rosé and 4 reds, represents the precious animals on the Reserve. Graham Beck Wines is the only wine brand in the world associated with a private nature reserve that can demonstrate measurable actions taken to conserve the natural environment, something so necessary in our world.

The Graham Beck property, Madeba in Robertson, is situated in the heart of the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem in the Breede River Valley, an area extremely rich in plant and geological diversity. Of the 1,500 species of vegetation in the area, 115 are endemic and, of these, 77% are succulents. Only 2.4% of the region is formally conserved. Graham Beck Wines is proud to be one of the earliest pioneers in the initiative to conserve the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The winery was appointed the second BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) Biodiversity Champion and is currently still one of around only 28 wineries in South Africa that can lay claim to this prestigious status.

Bordering Madeba is the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve, an area that extends to the eastern slopes of the Rooiberg. The reserve was set aside in the 1990s shortly after the Becks purchased the farm, in the hope of reversing the devastating effects of 200 years of over-utilization of the natural resources. They have even discovered a new mop head vygie (mesembrianthemum) now named Esterhuysenia grahambeckii and this now is on the Rosé label. Each animal or plant depicted on the label is endemic to the region and nature reserve on the property.

In July 2007, 27 neighbouring landholders pledged to join the conservation effort. The Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy was born, and remains a strong focus of the efforts, comprising no fewer than 13,500 hectares of natural vegetation. For every 1 hectare of land utilized for producing wine or stud horse farming on the Graham Beck Estate at Robertson, 4,5 hectares of land are conserved today.

The list of wines we tasted and Fauna and Flora depicted on the labels are:

•        The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc – The Riverine Rabbit

•        The Game Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – The Fish Eagle

•        The Game Reserve Chardonnay – The Cape Eagle Owl

•        The Game Reserve Viognier – The Honey Badger

•        The Game Reserve Rosé – Esterhuysenia grahambeckii

•        The Game Reserve Pinotage – The Bat Eared Fox

•        The Game Reserve Merlot – The Cape Clawless Otter

•        The Game Reserve Shiraz – The Eland

•        The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – The Cape Leopard

The white wines retail for around R60 per bottle and the reds for around R85

We particularly liked the Honey Badger 2010 Viognier, full of white peaches and honey but crisp and dry and elegant with a long finish.  Also the spicy and fruity Eland Shiraz, full of perfume and ripe red berries. This over-delivers with white pepper, cranberries, raspberries and is made in quite a serious style with 18 month in 1st to 3rd fill barrels: 80% French, 20% American. But all the wines are good and well worth drinking. Some, like the white wines and the rosé are easy drinking and ready now. Others like the Merlot and the Cabernet may need some time and could be put down in your cellar for a year or two.

Canapés were served on the lawn before lunch, while we drank glasses of Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc and then we sat down to a very nice lunch, the best course being a rack of pink lamb which was the most tender and flavourful lamb we think we have ever had.  After coffee we wandered around the house and gardens and got a feel for its history.

Swartland Revolution – It is HERE!

It’s (pretty much) here.

Believe it or not, the much anticipated Revolutionary weekend is upon us.

As you start to pack your bag with excitement, allow us to add a few items to your survival pack.

Bring sunblock, sunglasses (for the sensitive eyes) and a lekker hat.

It is hot. You will be learning just as much about the soil as the sun of the appellation.


Friday night’s BBQ is outside, like any real braai, and it can get chilly (read: windy) so bring a jacket and a (SR2011) scarf.


New (and old) revolutionaries should read what the veterans at Batonage say in their excellent post: A survival guide to a revolution: The Swartland Revolution 2012

“Nobody “attends” a revolution; you live through it and you experience it.”

With advice on wardrobe, pharmaceuticals, your liver, Babbelaas Burgers and Social Media they conclude: “Arrive in whatever mood you feel like… you will leave in a jovial, relaxed and revolutionary mood.”


REGISTRATION, on the legendary Stoep of The Royal Hotel, starts at 4pm Friday. It is over at 5.30pm, we want to start tasting! Make sure you know UNDER WHO’S NAME your ticket is booked.

You will receive a neck tag that you must wear all weekend to enter tastings and events. Wristbands for MEAL ONLY TICKET HOLDERS must also be collected during this time.

SHUTTLES at previous events revolutionaries have hassled us for shuttles to get home, this year I organised it but they received to few bookings to warrent the trip .This is your last chance to try get them there! BOOK NOW> arrive alive.

And lastly, as you get ready to come to our lovely patch of earth, please

step away from your perfumes, aftershaves and lipsticks.

(The sharp scents interfere with your tasting experience and the lipstick makes the glasses hard to wash. Simple as that)

We look forward to welcoming you!

From Durban to Deutschland and anywhere else, travel safe and see you at the Royal!

Excited Helena

Helena Sheridan

PR and publicity – The Swartland Revolution


+27 (0)83 558 6594



Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival Presented by MasterCard

Boasting some of the country’s top Cap Classiques from estates such as Colmant, Graham Beck Wines, House of Krone, La Motte, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Poncracz, Simonsig, Silverthorne, Steenberg and Villiera, the festival will offer patrons the opportunity to sip and sample the finest of bubblies without having to venture into the Winelands. World-renowned Champagnes will be presented by brands such as Follet-Ramillon, Tribaut and Veuve Clicquot.

Tickets cost R250 per person and are available online at http://www.webtickets.co.za


See you there!!!

Bastile VIP Tasting during Bastille 2012

The following wines have been selected to be shown in the Bastille VIP tent on Saturday 14th July and Sunday 15th July from 12-5pm in Franschhoek.

Farm & Wine & Vintage

Glenwood – Chardonnay Vignerons Select 2010

Backsberg – Family Res White Blend 2009

Chamonix – Chardonnay 2009

Moreson – Chardonnay 2011

La Bri – La Bri Syrah 2009

La Motte – Pierneef Shiraz Viog 2009

Graham Beck Wines – Cuvee Clive 2005

Morena – Morena BrutNV

Dieu Donne – Merlot 2009

Rickety Bridge – Paulina’s Reserve Cab 2009

La Vigne – Naturally dried – Viognier 2011

Boekenhoutskloof – Syrah 2006

Rupert & Rothschild – Baron Edmund 2009

Vrede en Lust – Vrede en Lust Boet Erasmus 2009

Antonij Rupert – Antonij Rupert Merlot 2006


Gorgeous by Graham Beck – a bubbly bar in Cape Town By Jeanne Horak-Druiff

It had been one of those days. We had arrived in Cape Town early in the morning from London after a night of little sleep, non-functioning seat-back TVs and rather too much alcohol (refer to previous item regarding seat-back TVs!). I had purchased a data bundle at the airport to load onto my South African phone, only to discover that the fact that it was unlocked from the clutches of T-Mobile to accept calls on an SA SIM card did not mean it could accept data. One fruitless hour later spent in a mobile phone shop and still no prospect of a data connection, Ma-in-law had suggested we visit a nearby shopping centre that had been refurbished. But up until the point that we found ourselves stuck in the mile-long traffic jam she had neglected to mention that it had only re-opened the day before and was evidently jam-packed with customers. Many others might, at this point, have said “just shoot me” and given up. I, on the other hand, spotted the signpost to Steenberg and said “Let’s go to Gorgeous”.

One of the happy coincidences of being married to Nick is that his mom lives in the middle of a wine-making area in Cape Town. This means that if you have a little time on your hands and some comfortable walking shoes, you can actually walk from her house to Steenberg estate. Steenberg has been a farm since 1682 and wines were first produced there in 1695. Initially called Swaaneweide (“feeding place of swans”), it was later renamed as Steenberg, in honour of the imposing mountain which towers over it. It is the southern-most wine farm in the Constantia Valley, and is today also home to a luxury hotel, a golfing estate and some outstanding restaurants including Catharina’s, Bistro Sixteen82 and most recently, Gorgeous by Graham Beck. Anybody who has read my blog for any length of time will know of my deep affection for Graham Beck sparkling wines which I rate as some of the very best that South Africa produces – so you can imagine my excitement when I read on Twitter that the Graham Beck estate in Robertson was to launch an outpost at Steenberg in the shape of a brand-exclusive champagne and canapé bar. And so when the going got tough, I decided it was time to pay Gorgeous a visit for a quick, bubbly pick-me-up.

The first surprising thing about Gorgeous is how small it is – and the second is how perfectly formed it is. The sleek bar beneath the glowing Gorgeous signage seats only about a dozen people and the 3 or 4 secluded booths opposite the bar with their plush crushed velvet circular banquettes seat propably only about 4-6 each. Frosted glass cabinets behind the bar cover the racks where the bubbly is stored and are decorated with the swirls surrounding the GB logo. Colours are muted mushrooms and purpley greys, and the Vivienne Westwood-designed “paper jewellery” wallpaper adds a bit of sparkle. But the main sources of sparkle are the super-friendly staff, and the wines themselves.

As far as the menu goes, Graham Beck sparklers are the only beverages on offer at the bar and are available either by the bottle or glass. Prices start at R40 per flute and R200 per bottle, but you can also choose to try a specific range: a flight of the three non-vintage Graham Beck sparkling wines; the three Graham Beck vintage cuvées; or their iconic Cap Classique flagship range, Cuvée Clive. Gorgeous to Go also allows guests to buy the Graham Beck bubblies by the bottle to take home, at cellar door prices. For those who are feeling peckish, Executive Chef Garth Almazan of Catharina’s restaurant has created a selection of canapés to complement the sparkling wines. The selection includes fresh Saldanha Bay oysters; poached tiger prawns; and an asparagus and goat’s cheese risotto croquette; as well as a couple of dessert canapés. On our first visit, we sat in a booth and tried a flight of the non-vintage bubblies which reaffirmed my belief that these offer some of the best value in South Africa. The Brut was bright with grapefruit and light yeasty flavours, as well as a super-fine mousse; while the Rosé (50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir) had a delicate salmon colour and subtle notes of ripe strawberries – although not cloyingly sweet.

On our second visit, about ten days later, we sat on the terrace to take advantage of the gorgeous late-afternoon weather and the view. On this occasion we opted for a bottle of the 2005 Graham Beck Brut Zero. Launched in late 2011, this is one of South Africa’s few non-dosage bubblies (dosage being the process whereby a small amount of sweet liquid is added to bottle-fermented sparkling wines at the end of the production process, to replace the volume lost in disgorgement and to add balance). It doesn’t make the wine taste sweet, but merely offsets the usually very high acidity. Sparkling wines without dosage are a niche category, and are the driest category of sparkling wine you will find. The Brut Zero 2005, made with 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir, spent six years on the lees, and the resulting wine is crisp with the flavours or tart, fresh green apples. It’s not for everybody, but it will silence the critice who think South Africa cannot make a French-style sparkling wine – and it makes a wonderful accompaniment to a Cape sunset!

So if you find yourself at a loose end in the Tokai/Constantia area, or if you are a simply a fan of beautifully crafted sparkling wines, do make a plan to visit Gorgeous. The staff are super-charming and friendly; the space is sleek and, well, gorgeous; and the wines are definitely among South Africa’s best.

Gorgeous by Graham Beck
Steenberg Estate
Cape Town

Open Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 22h00

Tel. +27 (0) 21 713-7177
Website: http://www.gorgeousbygrahambeck.com
Twitter: @GorgeousbyGB

Gorgeous by Graham Beck by Chris von Ulmenstein


Graham Beck Brut NV at Vintages