After our amazing visit to Klein Constantia it was time to squeeze in a beach walk at arguably one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in the Cape,Llandudno Beach, Cape Town. Although the sea looked alluring with its breakers crashing onto the beach its icy chill is the reason why the local surfers were all wet suited up, even in summer!
As the height of the summer season approached it was quite remarkable that this beach was so empty but then I caught sight of several signs warning of the dangers of swimming here due to a proliferation of Great White Sharks!
After a brief paddle in the icy cold water it was off to Zenero in Camp’s Bay for our final lunch. This restaurant has an incredible location right next to the main boulevard running parallel to the beach.
Here we enjoyed a delicious lunch of feta cheese salad followed by simply pan fried stone bass with fresh gremolata and savoury rice, which was accompanied by two delicious wines, both equally enjoyable; a fresh 2015 Warwick Estate The First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay and a Shannon Vineyards 2015 Sauvignon Blanc.
For dessert we had the indulgence of a perfect pannacotta with strawberry compote paired with the ultimate dessert wine a glass of the Klein Constantia Vin de Constance that we’d sampled earlier that day!
With lunch over we headed back to the One and Only Hotel where we had probably about 2 hours to spare before our departure. We really wanted to squeeze as much as we could into those last few hours and so like a great opera that builds with a rousing crescendo for its finale we set about maxing out our last few hours!
A farewell dip in the tranquil oasis of the hotel infinity pool set us up nicely. I was also really keen to sample some of the large selection of wines that they had in the hotel’s Reubens’ restaurant Enoteca machine. Earlier that morning I’d enquired as to what time the head sommelier, Luvo Ntezo, started work, indicating that if possible I’d like to meet him. I was informed that 4pm would be a good time to catch him in the bar.
What I wasn’t prepared for, was the warm welcome that Gillian and I got from Luvo when we turned up. He’d been tipped off by one of the other waiters that I wanted to meet him and so wanted to give us a personal tutored tasting of some of the best South African wines that they had. Luvo’s knowledge was encyclopaedic and it came as no surprise that part of his sommelier training was spent with one of my favourite sommelier, Eric Zwiebel, at Summer Lodge in Evershot, Dorset.
Luvo started with an introduction to the wines of Chris and Andrea Mullineux. As well as making great wines there’s a really romantic love story behind this vineyard. Chris (South African and a graduate of Stellenbosch University) and Andrea (US born) met in France whilst on a wine exchange programme to further their wine making education, having English as a common language they hit it off and now they are married and have 2 kids! Mullineux Family Wines was established in 2007.
In 2014 they won Platter’s Winery of the Year! This year in the 2016 Platter’s guide they have been awarded an impressive three 5 stars. Based in Swartland the estate had a new injection of finance in 2013 when Indian billionaire, Analjit Singh purchased shares in the vineyard from investor Keith Prothero. The Mullineux’s still own the company and remain in operational control.
The wine making operation is now moving to a prestige h-tech in estate in Franschhoek. Chris and Andreas will still continue to make their original Swartland wines and these will carry the Swartland independent label. To distinguish the new wines of Franschhoek from the Swartland wines, the new estate is being labelled Mullineux and Leeu. Leeu is Afrikaans for Lion and Singh being the Sanskrit word for Lion which is also the family name of the new owner! Very neat!
The Mullineux style is not to focus too much on new wood, more on an old wood. Luvo introduced us to their …
2013 Mullineux Family Wine Syrah. This was an elegant Northern Rhone style Syrah, perfumed with notes of blackcurrant and cassis, a really beautiful wine. Drinking well now although with great ageing potential where the acidity and tannins will brome even more balanced. In time its youthful dark plum colour will change to brick red over time.
2013 The Chocolate Block, Boekenhoutskloof Winery. A multi layered and very popular blend not just in South Africa but worldwide with strong cherry notes. You can pick out the flavours of the component Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Unusually the wine is made in smaller 100 litre barriques rather than the larger 225 litre.
2013 Meerlust Chardonnay. Previously the style of this wine was heavy on new wood. Under the direction of Cellar Master Chris Williams since 2004, the emphasis on new wood has shifted to one of less new wood and earlier picking so that more varietal characteristics come through in the finished product; for example, more lemon sorbet rather than lemon cream.
2013 Ken Forrester The FMC . This wine is an ultra premium Chenin Blanc created by Ken Forrester to challenge the world view of Chenin Blanc and in so doing became the first to break the 2,000ZAR price barrier! Its unique taste in part comes from the 5% botrytised grapes which are caused by the repetitive harvesting. The style is almost like an Alsatian Pinot Gris with a combination of apricot, honey and savoury spice. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc old vines.This is a great wine to enjoy with food and would work well with spicy dishes, even mild seafood/shellfish and curries. The key here is to choose something where the wine will not disappear into food.
After this impressive tasting my head was spinning with both the infusion of alcohol and amazement that we had been privileged enough to sample so many great wines. We just had time to make use of one of the day rooms to change and freshen up before boarding our coach to Cape Town airport.
As the sun set over the city we both reflected on an amazing 4 days spent in the Cape and vowed to return again one day but for longer.
We had one last surprise before we left the Cape and that was at immigration. We were the last 2 passengers to go through the gate as our flight was called. A very jolly immigration official gave us a warm Capetonian smile and asked us about our holiday and was keen to know if we’d had a good time. I was somewhat taken aback as this mode of communication is alien to most immigration officials that I’ve come across. So, out of curiosity I asked him why he was so happy, his answer said it all ” It’s the legacy of Mandiba!”