Category Archives: Rare wine

The Advantages of Using Bergkelder Vinoteque’s Unique Maturation Service

BenefitsEstablished in 1984, the Vinotèque Wine Bank is part of the historic Bergkelder winery located on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. It offers members a private cellar in which to store and mature the wines they purchase from the Vinotèque under optimal conditions.

Members enjoy access to a number of benefits, including a superb range of wines, private members tasting room, annual maturation reports, a gift service and free delivery to your door.

Learn more about what the Bergkelder Vinoteque has to offer….

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Four new gourmet wines celebrate Nederburg’s past

Nederburg has created four new gourmet wines to be sold exclusively through specialist retailers and fine dining establishments.  Known collectively as the Heritage Anthology, they are individually named in honour of a personality who has played a major role in shaping the winery’s reputation.


The 2009 Motorcycle Marvel that honours the legendary winemaker Günter Brözel, who was at Nederburg from 1956 to 1989, is a three-way Rhône-style blend of Grenache, Carignan and Shiraz. The first two come from old bush vines in Paarl, while the Shiraz has been sourced from an award-winning block in Philadelphia. Fermentation took place in open vats with extended skin contact to enrich colour and flavour, says current cellar master Razvan Macici. No new wood was used for maturation. “We used a combination of 300 litre and 500 litre French and Romanian second-, third- and fourth-fill barrels to ensure a delicate oak extraction.”


The wine was aged in barrel for two years. The result, he says, is a “rich and intense explosion of flavour with spicy, peppery berry and sweet fruit characters, ripe and silky tannins and an excellent integration between fruit and wood.”


The 2009 Brew Master is a Bordeaux-style blend that commemorates Johann Graue, who revolutionised winemaking in South Africa when he acquired Nederburg in 1937 with his efforts to isolate top-performing vines for reproduction and his introduction of cold fermentation techniques.

Led by Cabernet Sauvignon and including Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, all individually vinified, the grapes were fermented on the skins in a combination of open fermenters and stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged in new and older 300 litre French barrels for 24 months before bottling.


Macici says it is very classical in style with “savoury, complex aromas and flavours”.

Both reds have been structured to mature for up to 15 years but show excellent integration between fruit and wood so can be enjoyed now.


The 2011 Young Airhawk is a wooded Sauvignon blanc that pays tribute to Johann Graue’s son, Arnold, who, like his father, introduced many technical innovations to Nederburg and enhanced his father’s award-winning reputation. He died at 29 in a light aircraft crash.

The grapes for this wooded Sauvignon blanc were sourced from vineyards near Gansbaai, Darling and Durbanville, each offering different facets of the varietal’s character.  Grapes were destemmed and the juice fermented in a combination of second- and third-fill small oak, using 228 litre and 300 litre barrels.  Fermentation temperatures were monitored in each barrel, with the wine kept on the lees for 10 months, stirred regularly to add creaminess and complexity.


“Layers of green figs, asparagus and minerality on the nose and palate integrate very well with the wood.  It’s fresh, crisp and zesty with a creamy texture and can age for five to seven years,” says Macici.


The 2011 Anchorman Chenin Blanc is named for Nederburg’s founder Philippus Wolvaart, who bought the farm in 1791 and planted Chenin Blanc, amongst other varietals. Macici describes it as a “most interesting and expressive wine that is a blend of very differently vinifed components and that succeeds in combining a bracing freshness with complexity.” Fruit was sourced from low-yielding, dry-farmed old bush vines in Darling, Durbanville and Paarl.


“One portion was fermented in second- and third-fill 300 litre and 500 litre barrels. A second component was fermented in stainless steel tanks, while a third was fermented in very old, large vats and the remainder involved a fermentation technique usually reserved for red wines. Called carbonic maceration, it allows whole bunches, neither crushed nor pressed, to ferment spontaneously, and the wines tend to be light and fruity.”


Macici chose the technique for the freshness it would impart to the wine.


“This Chenin blanc is very reminiscent of ripe fruits, especially apricots and oranges, with floral hints and traces of raisin and spice with a vibrant mineral spine.”


He believes it has the potential to age for up to 10 years.


The wines are expected to retail for around R97 for the whites and R105 for the reds.

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Featured Vinoteque Wine

Alto is the oldest red wine estate in South Africa has produced numerous special  red wines. Like this week’s Vinoteque wine of the week: The Alto Shiraz 2003.

Tasting notes

Smokey, spicy, and berry nose supported by woody undertones.  Palate – A full-bodied wine with delicate spices, subtle presence of oak, vanilla flavours and round, creamy finish.

Read more and order the wine from the Bergkelder Vinoteque

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A special romantic occasion calls for a special vintage wine

Planning a special occasion for Valentine’s Day? Why not make the night even more special with fantastic older vintages wines.

The Bergkelder Vinoteque stock, mature and sell some of South Africa’s best wines and it probably the best time now to order special vintage wines for Valentine’s Day.

One of the recommended older vintage wines,  is the amazing Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 .

Tasting notes

Dark ruby colour with hints of cigar box,  ripe cherries and mint on the nose. On the   Palate – Cherry sweetness comes to the fore but is balanced by tannins, with oak an vanilla on the aftertaste.

Buy this wine on our website

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Featured Vinoteque wine: Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distillers Reserve

Today’s Featured Vinoteque wine is the  Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distillers Reserve

Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distillers Reserve has warm golden hues that announce a generous nose of fruit and vanilla. A soft velvety palate of dried fruit and coffee ends on a lingering note.

This Brandy has won numerous awards, including World Wide Best Brandy – International Spirits Challenge 2009, Gold and Best in Class – International Wine and Spirit Competition 2010, and on the 8th of October this year it was awarded a Double Gold Medal at Veritas.

To view our full selection of Fine Brandies go to or visit

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Vinotèque members at the Nederburg Auction

For the second year running Vinotèque members were afforded an opportunity to bid for the selection of wines on offer at this year’s Nederburg Auction, as part of an exclusive membership advantage.

A simple system created by the Vinotèque gives members access to a line-up of best-of-best, rare South African wines that are normally only available for purchase to the trade at this prestigious event. The 2011 Auction saw several Vinotèque members place successful bids for a number of exclusive wines.

View all the highlights from this year’s event, including interviews with key role-players and behind-the-scenes footage, on the auction’s website:

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Today’s featured Vinoteque Wine: Alto Shiraz 2004

Today’s featured Vinoteque Wine: Alto Shiraz 2004

Tasting Notes

Dark ruby.  Nose – Smokey, spicy, laced with berry and ripe fruit, supported by woody undertones.  Palate – A full-bodied wine with delicate spices, subtle presence of oak, vanilla flavours and round, creamy finish. Read more…

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The benefits of using a wine decanter

A decanter is most often used for serving wine, though it can be used for other purposes as well. When used for wine, the glass decanter allows the wine’s sediment to settle at the bottom, thereby preventing that sediment from ending up in the drinker’s glass. It also allows the wine to “breathe,” which means oxygen is allowed to briefly affect the flavour of the wine itself. Other materials are available for decanters, but a glass version will be less expensive than other materials and just as attractive or decorative.

Older wines tend to have sediment mixed in with the liquid, which can have an effect on the taste and texture of the wine when a person drinks it. Pouring the wine out of the bottle and into a glass decanter allows that sediment to settle, positively affecting the flavour of the wine and preventing the sediment from settling in the mouth. It is often recommended that older wines be decanted for this very reason, though young wines also benefit from decanting. When the wine is poured into the decanter, it is allowed to mix with oxygen, which can help mature the flavours of the wine very quickly. This enhances the drinking experience and prevents the wine from tasting too bitter or otherwise unpleasant.

Many wine enthusiasts eschew the glass decanter for a more expensive and beautiful crystal decanter, but for wine enthusiasts on a budget, a glass decanter works just as well. Crystal decanters tend to be highly decorative, with cuts and angles that make the decanter a visually appealing piece for display. Many glass decanters, however, are made more simply, with no designs or cuts to obscure the view of the wine itself. Crystal decanters can also be less decorative, and many enthusiasts recommend plainer designs to prevent the view of the wine from being obscured. This allows the wine drinkers to observe the tones and colours of the wine rather than the decorative filigrees of the decanter.

The process of using a glass decanter will vary according to the type of wine being poured into it. The process of separating the wine from the sediment can be tricky, and the easiest way to do this is to allow the wine to stand up vertically in the bottle for several days before pouring it. Younger wines should be decanted for a much longer period of time than older wines, as the flavours can be affected more dramatically as the new wine sits.


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Tips on how to cleanse the palate

A common ritual in both wine tasting and fine dining is to cleanse the palate. The theory is that it is easier to appreciate all the complex and varied flavours you are sampling if you clear one taste from your senses before attempting the next.


  1. Begin with the lighter offerings and work your way up to the heavier, headier choices.
  2. Eat white bread or crackers and sip unflavoured water between sips.
  3. Pause between tasting each wine or beer to allow your palate time to “breathe.” Clearing your mouth of one taste allows you to better appreciate the next one.
  4. Wait to have a meal until after the tasting. While wine and beer are wonderful together, any foods you eat with them affect their taste.
  5. Skip mints, gum or candy until after the tasting.



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Wine Serving Temperatures- Guidelines

As a rule, white and sparkling wines are best served well-chilled (4 to 12 degrees Celsius), with sparkling wines and lighter whites at the lower range of the scale and fuller-bodied, richer whites, such as Chardonnay, at the upper range. An hour in the refrigerator, a half-hour in the freezer, or fifteen minutes in a ice bucket with water and ice, does the trick. Avoid over-chilling, especially with high-quality whites, because it will blunt the complexity of the wine’s aromas and flavours.

Red wines should be served at cool room temperature (12 to 18°C.), with lighter, fruitier reds (Pinot Noir), at the lower range and fuller-bodied varieties ( e.g., Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, at the upper range.

Certain conditions may dictate exceptions to these rules. On a hot days, for example, it’s a good idea to slightly chill a full-bodied red to mitigate its alcoholic “heat,” which is more evident when the ambient temperature is high. Conversely, it may be advisable to serve an especially rich white wine at close to room temperature to ensure its complex aromas and flavours can be fully appreciated.


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