WINE-lovers showed their hearts earlier this month, putting R115000 in the kitty for Rotary Club PE West's fundraising drive for the paediatric ward at Dora Nginza Hospital.
A wide selection of wine and bubbly tastings got the auction- goers ready to open their wallets in bidding on more than 20 choice wines, luxury getaways, indulgent meals and collectors' items, all donated to the cause.
Auctioneer Mike Bosch wielded his gavel with lightning speed and wit, talking up the bids by reminding the audience "you can't take it with you".
The host of estates on show offered a great opportunity to taste something different. Highlights included Blaauwklippen's White Zinfandel 2011, a pale golden-pink colour similar to a Pinot Noir Chardonnay, with a delicious nose, hints of spice and fresh peach and quince flavours. It's a substantial wine that would go well with rich, strong flavours like blue cheese or seafood (about R120).
The estate pioneered the growing of Zinfandel and is still one of just a handful in South Africa to produce this favourite of Californian winemakers, in both its traditional red and a white- from-red version.
Warwick's White Lady 2011 is a wooded chardonnay that moves from honey on the nose to zippy lime on the tongue and a buttery finish. The woodiness is subtle rather than heavy-handed, and sufficiently woody for those who like their chardonnays big and oaked. As one reviewer said: "Expensive, but impressive" (it retails at about R160).
Another powerful chardonnay came from boutique winery Bartinney which perches high up in Stellenbosch's Helshoogte Pass. With a fairly pungent nose of blossoms, lemon, vanilla and a whiff of acetone, the flavours are pineapple, green fig, ripe pears, with a creamy, nutty finish. Well worth a try with a special meal (around R120).
Favourite red of the evening was Knorhoek's 2009 Shiraz – dubbed "the yummy wine". It's a full-bodied red, with its liquorice and jelly bean undertones balanced by white pepper and spice (as bizarre a combination as that sounds!) producing a wine that's almost chewy in the mouth.
For the smartphone addicts, check out http://realtimewine.comon your Blackberry browser, find it in the Apple or Android app store, or follow @realtimewine on twitter, for wine news and reviews, and an easy yum/hmm/yuk rating system. A nifty tool to quickly look up a wine while browsing the shelves in your local and see what other real people thought of it.