In a nutshell:

  • Supplier of Shiraz to many a more fashionable appellation
  • First rate Fairtrade wines
  • Best blended whisky in the world

The Back Label

He who dares, eats dim sum

The trouble SA wine exports to the UK (largest export market) are in is confirmed by the figures.  Trade and industry chief director agro-processing Stephen Hanival noted in August that wine exports to the UK run to R997 million a year or just over half the R1.7 billion SA spends importing whisky from Scotland.  Although quite why SA wonks are so keen on the Scottish stuff is a mystery as earlier this year one from Wellington, Three Ships Premium Select 5YO, was voted best blended whisky in the world by Whisky magazine.

WellingtonTerroirists were not surprised as the appellation at the foot of the Du Toitskloof Mountains has site specificity to burn.  From Bovlei Valley Cabernets like the De Bos 2011 from Bosman Family Vineyards, which taste almost Chilean with a blueberry/mulberry favour profile, to tangy Chenin Blancs like the Welbedacht 2012 from Groenberg to dense and intense Malbec 2010 from Diemersfontein, Wellington has a taste profile defined by its towering mountains that hold up the southern end of the great plateau that comprises the centre of South Africa.

Named after the Dublin-born general who kicked Napoleon out of the Iberian Peninsula and victorious at Waterloo, the battlefield and best song by Swedish songsters ABBA, wines and whisky from Wellington take no prisoners.  The declaration of Wellington as an independent wine district distinct from neighbouring Paarl continues the process of mapping terroir that Europeans have been busy with for two millennia.  Consumers will now be able to home-in on Wines of Origin Wellington (WOW! for short) and seek out mountain wines of singular intensity, authenticity and palate power.

Wellington bursts out of the closet in September with a spectacular dinner at Kleine Vallei, halfway up the Du Toitskloof Pass.  Moerbykultuur, the wittily named partnership between designer Eugene Nortje and chef Mynhardt Joubert (formerly of Bar Bar Black Sheep, the iconic Riebeek-Kasteel bohemian restaurant) have come up with perhaps the ultimate terroir menu for the coming out dinner, combining as it does Wellington ingredients: food and wine.

Presented in bite-sized portions a Chinese would recognize as a dim sum, an Indian as a samoosa or a Wellington farmer as a small pastei, the tyranny of three wines (one for starter, main and dessert) is elegantly side-stepped.

For non-Afrikaans speakers, “moerby” means either “throwing together” or mulberry, the hallmark flavours of Wellington Cabernets.

That Moerby menu in full:


1.       Slow roasted duck Biryani rolled in homemade rooti with Wellington’s mango chutney

2.       “The Railway Hotel’s” Avocado and Cucumber Ritz with crispy prawn and micro shrimp

3.        Spicy Hoisin peas in the pod rolled in Bontebok Kudu carpaccio


1.        Carpe Diem Viognier 2011

2.        Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2011

3.        Welbedacht Bohemian 2008


1.     Pan fried Snoek Viskoekies with Augusta Kleinbosch guava salsa

2.     Marinated Foxenburg Oyster Mushroom and Foxenburg Quesso Blanco goat’s cheese salad with edible spring flowers and Bloublommetjies Kloof micro lettuce and herbs

3.       Vrugbaar pork terrine with watercress and honey, soy and ginger dressing


1.        Wellington Winery Chardonnay 2012

2.        Napier St. Catherine Chardonnay 2010

3.        Doolhof Cape Roan 2010

Dim Sum:

1.       Bontebok Eland bobotie with Wellington’s fruit chutney

2.       Vine roasted ‘Skilpadjies’ with ginger and mustard sauce

3.       Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella and Hildebrandt caramelized olive steamed bun

4.       Slow roasted lamb and mint stew dumplings

5.       Springbok and Waterblommetjie bredie pastei

6.       Vrugbaar pork  and sage potstickers with Wellington’s Apple sauce


1.        Welbedacht Patriot 2008

2.        Bosman Cabernet 2007

3.        Alkmaar Old School Mistress 2010

4.        Mont du Toit Mont du Toit 2007

5.        Le Cave Pinotage 2010

6.        Bovlei Mad Hatters Mourvèdre 2010


1.        Trio of Foxenburg hard Cheese tart (Shepherd, Gouda and The Foxtail) with Elsabe du Plessis’ Pinotage jam


1.        Welbedacht Cricket Pitch 2003


1.        Upland’s Grappa, ginger and shortbread ice cream with fresh strawberries, blueberries, white chocolate ganache and fortune cookie


1.        Bovlei Hanepoot 2010


Eight Chenin Blancs

♥♥♥♥♥ Bosman Optenhorst 2011 ripe tropical, pineapple, tangy peaches and cream

♥♥♥♥♥ Bosman Optenhorst 2009 rich, exotic nose, camphor and limes

♥♥♥♥ Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2011 fat palate, complex tropical, oily palate

♥♥♥♥ Wellington Wines 2012 exotic floral nose, fine and delicate with some citrus

♥♥♥ Welbedacht Barrel Fermented 2005 still wonderfully fresh, limes and gooseberries, tangy fruit

Welbedacht Barrel Fermented 2009 sweet fruit, some mint, honeycomb nose

Bellingham Citrus Grove 2012 dusty with some citrus notes

Klein Doolhof 2012 benchmark boiled sweets flavours with tangy acidity

A Trio of Chardonnays

♥♥♥♥ Wellington Wines 2012 floral nose, butterscotch palate, tangy citrus finish

♥♥♥♥ Napier Saint Catherine 2010 ripe fruit, fresh and well balanced

Doolhof Cape Eagle 2010 oily palate with minerals and some citrus

One Viognier

♥♥♥♥♥ Diemersfontein 2011 floral peaches, tangy, perfumed.  Superb with Asian food

A Brace of White Blends

Lion Creek 2012 delicately fruited, fresh and lingering, some pith on the finish

Val du Charron Four White Legs 2011 dusty, grassy nose, fresh breakfast fruit salad palate

One Mourvèdre

♥♥♥♥ Mad Hatters 2010 spicy, fresh, lively, red and black berries

A Trio of Pinotages

♥♥♥♥ Wellington Wines La Cave 2010 complex, black plums, densely fruited

♥♥♥ Bovlei Vineyard Selection 2010 quiet nose, spicy, savoury, grippy palate

Bosman 2010 juicy fruit, tangy, lively acetone notes

A Brace of Merlots

♥♥♥ Welbedacht 2006 light, clean, green and black spicy olives

Bovlei Vineyard Selection 2009 classic tomato leaf nose, grippy tannins, savoury style

A Quintet of Cabernet Sauvignons

♥♥♥♥ Jacques Smit 2003 fresh, red and black plums, benchmark mountain Cabernet

♥♥♥♥ Bosman 2007 austere, spicy, minerals and length

Bovlei Vineyard Selection 2010 meaty bacon, some cassis and blueberries

Les Coteaux 2010 densely fruited, silky palate with embedded tannins

Wellington Wines La Cave 2009 blackcurrant palate, fresh and light

A Pair of Malbecs

♥♥♥♥♥ Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2010 densely fruited, black plums linger with good palate weight

Mad Hatters 2010 exotic nose, light and fresh palate

A Six Pack of Shiraz

♥♥♥♥ Welbedacht Bohemian 2008 savory tobacco, good grip and intensity

♥♥♥ Diemersfontein 2011 smoky, chocolate and mocha

♥♥♥ Les Coteaux 2010 sweet fruit, vanilla, good palate weight

Bovlei Vineyard Selection 2010 burnt hair and spice, fresh palate

Wellington Wines La Cave 2009 fresh raspberries and plums

Wellington Wines La Cave 2010 tangy fruit, dry tannins

Nine Shiraz Blends

♥♥♥♥ Bovlei Vineyard Selection Shiraz\Mourvèdre 2010 clean, lovely red fruits with lingering mineral notes

♥♥♥ Bosman Adama 2007 smoky nose, fresh palate with spicy tobacco flavours

♥♥♥ Diemersfontein Summers Lease 2010 spicy red fruit, good length

♥♥♥ Doolhof Cape Roan 2010 racy, fresh palate, good fruit with lingering sweetness

♥♥♥ Val du Charron Black Countess 2011 grippy tannins, exotic palate, green walnuts

Alkmaar The Old School Master 2010 light palate, fresh and fruity

Bosman Adama 2009 bacon and smoke, dense and meaty flavours

Thokozani 2011 coffee mocha style, sweetly fruited

Meerkat Burrow Blend 2008 some tropical fruit, clean and fresh

Five Blends

♥♥♥♥♥ Mont du Toit Mont du Toit 2007 complex, broad spectrum, intense and dense

♥♥♥♥ Welbedacht Cricket Pitch 2003 tomatoes, tomato paste, good bottle age complexity

♥♥♥♥ Welbedacht Patriot 2008 great balance and integration, fine texture

♥♥♥♥ Wellington Wines La Cave 2010 savoury, good oak management

♥♥♥ Alkmaar The Old School Mistress 2010 classic Bordeaux, restrained, elegant

One Potstill Brandy

Upland Pure dried fruits and chocolate, grippy palate

One Whisky

♥♥♥♥♥ Bain’s Cape Mountain glorious golden colour, rich floral nose, honeyed palate, oaky finish