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Butler Training: A Taste of Wine – by Min

By Butler Academy

A Taste of Wine – by Min


This is the first time I had the opportunity to be Head Butler and what a day it was.


After going through the morning routine we were off to the winelands and the first port of call? Fairview.


We were presented with six cheeses which were paired with six wines and to add just a bit extra our Fairview wine and cheese guide gave us an extra wine for tasting just for comparison and we were off to a great start.


  • Darling Sauvignon Blanc was paired with Brie – It was clean and scrip would actually go very well in wine cocktails for an apéritif


  • Fairview Viognier paired with White Rockwith Apricots (which was a form of blue cheese) – This was one of my favourite cheese


  • Fairview Pinotage with Roydon (their award winning cheese with 70% cow and 30% goat) –  How ever I loved the cheese it over powered the wine


  • Fairview Shiraz paired with Chevin Black Pepper & Paprika – I really enjoyed this wine and I would’ve loved it with some Balsamic Herb Lamb Chops (see link bellow)


  • Fairview Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Cream Cheese with Black Pepper – I actually found this wine over powering and it would go well with some springbok or ostrich


  • Fairview Sweet Red paired with Blue Rock – was what I found the best pairing of the wine and the cheese. The sweet port like wine offset the harshness of the Blue Rock, it was perfect


  • The wine that was added to the tasting was a Mourvedre, it was an easy drinking red wine which could go with a nice fillet


This was a lovely experience and I do think that Mr. West got quite happy by the end of the tasting.


But before we departed from the lovely Fairview we were treated to a lovely lunch at their restaurant. A nice cheese and ham sandwich with the freshest olive ciabatta.


Then we floundered in the flowers for some photo ops before embarking on out next winery. Simonsig


There’s a quote by Robert Mondavi also a wine maker himself which I think explains the Simonsig history and culture:


“Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living”


They take great care in their workers and puts time and effort into ensuring the future of the workers and their children.


We were given an extensive tour of the cellars and of the making of the wine and of their famous Méthode Cap Classique which was also served at the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.


Then came the tasting…


  • From the Méthode Cap Classique we tasted the Cuvée Royale and the Kaapse Vonkel Brut – I prefer the Kaapse Vonkel, which I found easier to drink and felt more like a celebratory drink


  • Then it was two white the Chenin Blanc and the Chardonnay – I would first say that I am not a Chardonnay drinker I prefer Sauvignon Blancs and the Chenin Blancs, but I really enjoyed this one and the well roundedness of the taste maybe with a nice fish dish like sole


  • Then we rounded off with the Red Hill Pinotage (2009) their flagship wine and the Cape Vintage Reserve (2009).
    • That Pinotage is one of the best I have tasted and it deserves the two gold Veritas award, there was a lovely suggestion to serve this with a creamy chocolate mousse dessert incase a person does not like port with their dessert


    • The Cape Vintage Reserve was made again by Simonsig in fifteen years in 2009 and you can only get this at their farm. Extremely flavourful should go well with some dark chocolate


That we thought was the end of our wine journey for the day, but there was a surprise waiting for us.


We were fortunate enough to go to the oldest wine farm in South Africa, established in 1699 and given a tasting of the best port there was to offer in South Africa. The establishment is old and they’ve decided to keep the old style charm with cob webs and all (I know I saw some really big spiders in between the webs). This was however an excellent way to end off the day, with a piece of history and world class wine.



Link to above:

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