In 2012, according to Platter’s South African Wines 2014, the official count of South African wineries was standing at 582. I am often asked, how out of all these wineries and the numerous wines they produce, we manage to narrow the list down to select the best to stock at Londolozi.  The first thing to remember is that we only stock wines from Family run estates. Secondly it’s handy to follow the writings of the big guns such as Christian Eedes, Tim Atkins, Cathy Marston, Michael Fridjhon, etc and keep up to date with trends and top wines.  And thirdly, my favourite part, is to taste, taste and taste some more.  An easy and fun way to do this, whilst being exposed to as many wines as possible, is to attend wine shows.

This past week, Sarah Calasse (Tree Camp chef) and I attended the Mbombela Flute Fair hosted by Emnotweni in Nelspruit.  It is a show for bubbles, and had the best on offer from the top local sparkling wine and Méthode Cap Classique producers. Whilst Sarah used the opportunity to fuss over the canapés on offer and taste the occasional bubble, I relished in opportunity to try as many different sparkling wines as possible to compare what we currently have on offer at Londolozi and to ensure that we are still stocking the best.


Sarah Calasse indulges in the canapés at the Flute Fair.

Some of the top producers were at the show, donning their stuff, from Allee Bleue to Krone, Moreson to Villiera, my all-time favourite Graham Beck, and many, many more.

Something interesting which Graham Beck had on display was a newly released wine called Gorgeous. “Gorgeous!” a favourite term of endearment by the late Graham Beck. The wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and has been crafted by cellar master Pieter Ferreira, it is the first still wine under the Graham Beck portfolio which he has made (the other Graham Beck still wines are created by Erica Obermeyer).  Pieter is in charge of making the sparkling wines for Graham Beck and what he has done here is used fruit from young, newly planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, destined to become the foundation of their Méthode Cap Classique range.  It’s a beautiful lunch-time wine with low alcohol at only 11%, has lovely textured mouth feel, and beautiful aromas and flavours of orange blossoms, jasmine, peaches and lime zest.  As their slogan for the wine goes, “Gorgeous by name. Gorgeous in nature”.


Graham Beck’s newly released ‘Gorgeous’.

The one French Champagne on offer was an old favourite, Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial N/V.  Sarah and I couldn’t resist a photo opportunity with the handsome sales representative, Grant Machanik, and our “friends”.  For some reason he started limiting us on the bubbles, I wonder why?


Grant Machanik, Sarah Calasse and Kim Drake enjoying their Champagne tasting.

Are there any South African sparkling wines you could highly recommend we look at to stock at Londolozi? What is your favourite sparkling wine?

Written by: Kim Drake

Filed under Cuisine Life

About the Author

Kim Drake

Wine Curator

“When a winemaker gets the wine right, it is pure joy, like sipping a wonderfully painted artwork from the Louvre.” These are the words of Kim Drake, Londolozi’s Procurement Manager turned part-time Sommelier. Kim’s love of wine first started developing in 2010, shortly ...

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on An Affair to Remember – The Mbombela Flute Fair
    Kate Collins says:

    Mmmmm The new Graham Beck ‘Gorgeous’ looks delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    Kim Drake says:

    It is delicious, will get in a case or two for the staff to try out!

    Kate Collins says:

    Goody! Look forward to the tasting. Thanks Kim.

    Jill Grady says:

    I agree Kate, ‘Gorgeous’ does look delicious! My favourite South African sparkling wine is Graham Beck’s Brut Rosé, which I am very happy to say, we can now get here in Canada! Not quite the same experience as we had enjoying a flute of it while watching a beautiful South African sunset from our Tree Camp sala, but very enjoyable all the same! Graham Beck’s sparkling wines are all very good.

    Kim Drake says:

    Graham Beck is definitely leading the pack with their sparkling wines, can’t go wrong with the wine Barrack Obama and Nelson Mandela used for their inaugurations! The Brut Rosé is one of my favourites as well Jill, especially in summer here after a long hot day!

    Jill Grady says:

    I didn’t realize Graham Beck wines were used at the inaugurations Kim…that’s fantastic and a well-deserved honour for Graham Beck!

    marinda drake says:

    Lovely blog. Love the Gorgeous, such a nice lunch time wine. Graham Beck bubbles still the best.

    Kim Drake says:

    Thanks Marinda for the lovely comment

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