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MICHAEL GREENíS WINE NOTES #130 (article first published : 2005-05-23)

Groot Eiland Winery is at Rawsonville, about 15 kilometres south-west of Worcester, and you go quite close to it if you are driving to or from Cape Town along the N1 national road via Du Toitís Kloof. It is a big outfit, producing more than 50,000 cases of wine a year (here are some random comparisons: Klein Constantia 40,000 cases, Thelema 25,000, Hamilton Russell 35,000 and Hartenberg 42,000).

The cellar is what used to be called a co-op, a name now out of vogue in the wine industry. It bottled its first wine 25 years ago and is owned by 30 members, most of them wine farmers. It derives its name, Big Island, from the fact that the cellar and its farms are virtually surrounded by the waters of the Breede and Molenaars Rivers. It is a cool area at the foot of the Du Toitís Kloof mountains.

Groot Eiland wines are probably not well known here in KwaZulu/Natal, but it is a familiar enough name in the Western Cape, and like many such cellars it offers good value. Three recent releases from the cellar are good examples of quality wines at reasonable prices.

Groot Eiland Pinotage 2003 is a velvety red, quite free of the astringent taste that used to characterise so many pinotages. It is soft and fruity, deep red in colour with cherry and berry flavours, and quite high-powered at 14,4 percent alcohol. The price at the cellar is R34,50 a bottle.

Groot Eiland Sauvignon Blanc 2004 has the fig, grassy scents and flavours typical of this cultivar. A lovely light wine (11,5 percent alcohol) at a cellar price of R23,90.

Groot Eiland Chardonnay 2004 is oak-matured and has lemon and peach flavours, and a handsome gold colour. It has a lingering aftertaste and an alcohol content of 13,5 percent. Price R30,20.

Other wines from Groot Eiland include cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot, chenin blanc and a sweet hanepoot, and the cellar also has a range called Meander with wines marketed under the names Fruity Red, Fruity White and Crisp Dry.

Groot Eiland wines should be available from Spar shops, supermarkets and some wine shops. If you want to buy them from the cellar at the prices quoted above the address is P.O. Box 93, Rawsonville 6845, phone 023 Ė 349 1140, e-mail: grooteiland@lando.co.za

***** ***** ****

The Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival, which is an annual event in Johannesburg, will be presented at the Hilton Hotel in Durban on July 1 from 17h30 to 20h30.

Juliet is well known for her wine promotion events, and more than 20 high prestige cellars will be featured at this one. Admission is R50, which includes a free tasting glass and unlimited tastings. For more information phone 011 447 1885 or e-mail: cullwine@global.co.za Ė Michael Green




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