Royalists let down Riebeek

Neil Pendock November 2, 2013 3

Riebeek Cellars has a hard row to hoe. In the bar of the Royal Hotel, wine by the glass is Wolftrap or Porcupine Ridge while their own bottles are also screw cap closed, have hipper labels from Fanakalo, are cheaper and taste better.  The cellar is a five minute walk down the hill and shares half the name of the town.  This is wine tourism in action with locavore authenticity aplenty.  Go figure. Perhaps that the brands are owned by Reg biggie smalls Lascaris, the new small but perfectly formed corporate controller of the Platter sighted wine guide, has something to do with it.


Still the light burns brightly on the horizon as after many years of trying, Riebeek Cellars have secured a listing at Shoprite/Checkers and now Mrs SA Public can taste fresh and fruit forward Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc for under R30 a bottle and one of the best Rosés this side of Avignon, for the same price.

Reds are a couple of Rand more and a couple of grams sweeter with the Cab my favourite as I’m a sucker for black currants although the spicy Merlot will likely be the more popular pick.

The SB hails from an empowerment vineyard in Abbotsdale on the Cape Town side of Malmesbury and makes an honest and ethical change from the Sauvignon Scams embraced by the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group where supplying wine for the panel chairman’s wedding five years ago still seems to get you two berths in ten.  Now that’s what I call a long after taste!

Thank heavens the tasting was blind or the whole boxendice may have been compromised.  Observers are waiting for Friday with anticipation to see if resignated SBIG secretary Hermit on the Pill finally gets his five Platter stars for a wine nominated sighted by the FNB panel chair. A cynic might call this payback time. Lets see.

Invited as a guest of a senior visualiser to the Vineyard Hotel festivities this Friday, I’ve had to cry off as I’ll be carousing with my Karoo Kerels at Food|Wine|Design in Hyde Park. I also lack a spoon long enough to sup with these devils.

PS 5/10/13

Great comment from Royal owner Robert Brendel this evening.  I must admit I was not even drinking wine on Friday afternoon – I started off on a Bloody Mary and then moved to a Pink Gin & Tonic (pink, because its healthier) and then divers shots. It was only the next day after developing a photo of the bar (below) that I thought I was in Franschhoek, there were so many Biggie Smalls brands.  But thank heavens a Darling Cellars peaks through – Abe Beukes is my Swartland homeboy and his wines rock way more than the daisies.



  1. Robert Brendel November 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm -

    Dear Neil,

    Let me start by saying that at The Royal we are honored to see our name so many times in your blogs. And great to read you had such a good time in our bar. I would just like to set the record straight regarding this particular blog as it might create an impression that The Royal Hotel does not support local wines. First of all our hotel has always supported Riebeek Cellars as we believe they have some excellent wines. As Morne showed you in our bar last week even our house wines (under the label “The Royal”) come from Riebeek Cellars. The Royal wines are being sold in the USA and had (especially the Chenin) raving reviews from both Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate) and the Washington Post. Besides our house wines we also sell their Sparkling wine, Cap Classique, Merlot, Rose, Port and Viognier. In total we offer 36 wines that are produced in the Swartland. I don’t think any establishment will beat us in that regard. At The Royal we always have and always will support local. That we happen to be in the “hottest” wine region of SA with so many great wines makes it a real pleasure to do so. As oldest licensed hotel of the Western Cape we are proud of our heritage and that makes us as local as can be.
    Thank you and have a great Revolution!

    Robert Brendel

  2. Neil Pendock November 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm -

    Thanks Robert. Added a PS as I don’t know how to include pictures in comments (yet).

  3. Robert Brendel November 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm -

    Your welcome and all the best with your blog.

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