Find the wine you like best
BEING home to some of the country's most popular tourist destinations, Mpumalanga has also proved to be the ideal spot to host some of the best winemakers in the country.
So a visit to the annual Mpumalanga Wine Show recently was inevitably something of a sensory adventure - appealing to the senses of sight, smell and taste.
The countryside ambience made for laid-back tasting at the Ingwenyama Conference Centre and Resort in White River, where more than 200 visitors experienced the pleasure devoid of the pressure of time or the airs and graces of wine snobs.
First the idea of going through hundreds of wines exhibited by 68 wineries - each having brought between three and eight different wines - seemed a daunting task.
But ensuring a plan from the start made the exercise seem as seamless as water off the duck's back.
Especially if day one was dedicated designated to white and sparkling wines and the following day to reds and fortified wines.
There were generally good wines, reinforcing South Africa's reputation as one of the top wine-producing nations in the world.
As usual, one will always like one wine more than the other, which is natural.
This, however, does not mean other wines are particularly bad or not up to the requisite standard.
This is what makes wine appreciation interesting, in that the rule of thumb of wine appreciation is that you, the imbiber, are finally the judge of your preference. The wine that you like is the best.
The trick, though, is always to challenge your palate by tasting as many different wines as possible to enjoy the experience.
* Not to be missed is the annual Joburg Wine Show at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg from tomorrow until Sunday.
More than 100 estates will be offering their range of wines to the public to sample.
The organisers said the show is aimed at "demystifying wines to ensure that wine connoisseurs and novices alike find new favourites among the 1,000-plus wines on offer".
The organisers have offered a few tips to visitors to enhance their experience. These are:
- Take a look at the show map to familiarise yourself with the layout and find out where your favourite wineries are situated;
- Start off with bubbly and then work your way to white wines, leaving red and fortified wines till last;
- Check out the wine you enjoy, to see what type of grape it is. For example Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Pinotage. And then try wines made from the same grape varietal from different estates; and
- Be sure to take a break from tasting and enjoy some food and a cool drink at one of the in-show restaurants.
It is impossible to taste all of the wines on show, or even a selection of wines from every winery, in just one day. Tickets cost R100 a person and the weekend pass is priced at R180.
* The Gugulethu Wine Festival will be held in the Cape Town township on May 25 and 26.
It takes place at the rooftop of the Gugulethu Square Mall.
The annual event, launched last year, attracted top wineries from the Cape.