…but not just any wine! It’s so disappointing when going out to eat at a restaurant, looking at the wine list on offer and thinking “I wish I could have brought my own wine”.
Sandy and I have recently invested a lot of time wine-tasting with our selected wine partners and exploring wine routes to bring you what we believe is an exciting selection of wines – wines that are not often seen in your local grocery or bottle stores. Our aim is to introduce wine lovers to some of our own personal favourites as well as some newly discovered gems from bespoke South African wine estates.
Our love of wine spans many years. I first discovered the joy of a great wine in Cape Town, where I lived for 14 years. The Winelands was a great weekend escape from the big City and an excellent introduction to our South African wines.
We first applied for our liquor license for Oak Leaf Café in 2020, just before the first Covid wave hit. Needless to say, it took over a year to be approved. It was also an extremely expensive exercise… to the point of us wondering if we had done the right thing!
The joy of receiving our license was short-lived as after reading the fine print, we were restricted to the most ridiculous hours in which we were legally permitted to sell alcohol. At this point, the question was: turn back now and cut our losses OR carry on and see this through. We decided to pick up the fight again and lodge an appeal with the liquor board. This appeal took over a year to be heard and we have only just received the news that our hours have been extended to more reasonable times. The cost of the appeal was almost the same as applying for a whole new license! If we do the calculations, we would have spent nearly R50,000 just in the application for the license and the appeal process, then there is the cost of the annual liquor license renewals, purchasing of glasses, refrigeration, bar space, stocking up with the alcohol you have chosen to sell and ice!! For anyone who believes ice is free. it’s not!
Now that Oak Leaf Café is licensed to sell alcohol, we have earned the right (at great expense) to restrict customers from bringing their own wine. However, we have chosen not to do that and prefer to give our customers the choice to bring their own wine at a corkage of R70 per bottle, or to try something new on our wine list. We do hope that you’ll choose the latter as we believe we have something for everyone. Let us introduce you to some excellent wines…. you may even discover a new personal favourite!
Our love of wine has seen us through this very long, arduous & expensive journey and we now hope to share with you the joy of a great wine.
We have focused primarily on our red wine selection for Winter 2022 and made a few changes to our white wine and bubbles selections. We’re hoping to launch this new wine list in September 2022.
You will notice that we take care to inform you which wines are vegan and organic, the vintage, the region, and a short description of the wine so that you are not just presented with a list and need to select blindly. You can now make a more informed decision when selecting your wine.
We have also recently discovered that Sania, one of our Front-of-house Managers, has already completed the Introduction to Wine Course, so we will be investing in her education and development in this field, with a view of her becoming our future wine ambassador and certified Sommelier at Oak Leaf Café.
OAK LEAF CELLAR SELECTION 2022
Cap Classique & Sparkling Wine
V Genevieve Blanc de Blanc Cap Classique
Region: Bot Rivier
The search for the perfect terroir and quality grapes led Melissa Genevieve Nelson to Bot River, and there she discovered a beautiful pocket of Chardonnay, located in the Van der Stel Pass. This 2017 vintage presents delicate and generous bubbles with crisp aromatic complexity of citrus blossom and white fruit. Vibrant entry with a delicate concentrated structure. Overall balanced finesse with an appealing acidity offering a long attractive crystalline finish.
V Genevieve Brut Rose Cap Classique
Region: Bot Rivier
This Brut Rose is new to market and is only the second vintage. Made from 100% Shiraz it is unapologetic! Dark salmon colour with a delectable fine mousse. Cherry and pomegranate aromas on the nose accentuate juicy red grapefruit and white peach flavours on the palate making for a lingering and silky finish. This is a truly unique Cap Classique, well worth a try….it may even become your new favourite pink bubbles!
John B Brut Chardonnay Sparkling Wine
Region: Stellenbosch (produced and bottled by Rietvallei Wines)
This is a full-bodied dry sparkling wine with flavors of fresh citrus and orange blossom – pairs well with orange juice to make mimosas.
First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Cape Agulhas
Awards: Double Gold Medal: Michelangelo Awards 2021 / Gold Medal: Veritas Awards 2021 / Platinum Award/95+ points: SAWI 2021 / Four Stars: Platter’s Wine Guide 2022
Strandveld Vineyards is a beautiful wind-swept winery located 9km from the sea. Situated between Elim and Cape Agulhas, it is the southernmost winery on the continent of Africa. This wine is wonderfully refreshing with a tropical and citrus fruit nose, a full crisp palate with expressive notes of buchu and minerality.
V Gabrielskloof Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Bot River
Brand new release 2021
Gabriëlskloof is a beautiful wine & olive farm just off the N2 in Bot River. This 2021 vintage presents aromas of lemon verbena, thyme and gooseberry, along with blackcurrant leaf and some unripe guava which leads to a stony and fresh palate showing bracing acidity and a flinty smokiness. The palate is neither overly green nor tropical, with acid and alcohol perfectly in tune with the fruit.
Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Darling Hills
Awards: 2021 Veritas Awards – Double Gold / 2021 Prescient Sauvignon Blanc Report – Top 10
Groote Post is a historic 18th century farm on the Cape’s West Coast where unique & cool climatic conditions of the Darling Hills yield superlative fruit, producing wines that reflect the uniqueness of the vineyards. The wine displays aromas of grapefruit and guava on the nose followed by mouth-watering acidity and upfront citrus fruit on the palate.
V Chamonix Sauvignon Blanc
Steeped in history & boasting some of the highest planted vineyards in the Cape, Chamonix is set amongst 300 hectares of pristine natural beauty on the Eastern slopes of the Franschhoek mountains. On release, this wine shows a pale straw colour with greenish highlights and ample yet refined aromas with scents reminiscent of tropical fruit and lemon grass, with figs and pomelo grapefruit on the palate. It is full and round with rich fruit sensations balanced by bracing natural acidity.
Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc
Dating back to 1685 and described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine estates, set amidst ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg with views across False Bay – the perfect location for cool climate wines. This wine is immediately enticing with hints of pink grapefruit, tangerine blossom, dried green fig, firm gooseberries & fleshy white nectarine. A touch of vanilla bean and cantaloupe edge through too. Simultaneously salivating with salinity and freshness, this wine’s texture reflects the unique Klein Constantia terroir and the finish is particularly long.
V Gabrielskloof Chenin Blanc
Region: Bot River
Brand new release 2021
Renowned for Chenin Blanc, this 2021 vintage was fermented wild and aged in 85% old French oak barrels, with the remainder undergoing fermentation and aging in steel tanks. A complex nose involving green citrus, white peach and jasmine with a full palate showing key lime pie, lemon curd and golden delicious apples. A leesy, salted macadamia mouthfeel sets up a long finish with a lingering, meringue-like creaminess. Freshness from zesty green apple skin acidity cuts keenly against the decadent flavour notes.
V Migliarina Chenin Blanc
Migliarina Wines was founded by Carsten Migliarina in 2002. Originating from a friend’s garage, Carsten Migliarina has expanded considerably and his wines are now produced from rented cellar space at two boutique wine cellars. Carstens’ wines are individually hand-crafted from some of the best vineyards in the Western Cape. This chenin is light yellow with a tinge of green, lemon biscuit, vanilla pod spice and dusty yellow apples, aniseed and pineapple confit on the nose, a natural acidity and a long lingering finish.
V Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc
Awards: Best in Class Decanter World Wine Awards 2022
This wine is golden hued and full bodied, with melon and spicy baked apple aromas. Layered with mineral notes enhanced by honeycomb and caramel flavours from lees contact. This wine is a great example of the harmonious balance which can be achieved between fruit and delicate oak/vanilla flavours, as they combine to form complex, soft flavours. Limited bottles available.
V Eenzaamheid Chenin Blanc
Awards: Winemag 95 points & Platter 2022 93 points
Eenzaamheid is situated in the Agter-Paarl area of South Africa’s Western Cape province. The name of the farm is Dutch for “Solitude” and refers to its isolation from Cape Town, when it was named in 1693. Janno Briers-Louw, 7th generation farmer, produces award winning, handcrafted wines from the old dryland vineyards. The grapes for the Chenin Blanc were picked by hand from a 35-year old, low-yielding parcel of dryland bush vines. The 2019 is stylistically very similar to their previous vintages and has the same attractive yellow fruit and richness, balanced by a crisp acidity. An exceptional Chenin!
V Meerhof Chardonnay
Brand new release 2021
This is a subtly wooded chardonnay that belies its freshness. With beautiful citrus, lemon, pineapple, butter and the creamiest of aromas. This is an easy drinking delicious lunch-time wine.
Delaire Graaf Summercourt Chardonnay
Vibrant and pure, this Chardonnay is a classic expression of Stellenbosch’s mountainous terroir. The handcrafted skill of their Winemaker is evident in a regime of precise and reserved oaking to enhance the texture. Sumptuous and opulently juicy, the Summercourt Chardonnay offers bright, zesty white peach and tropical fruit which plays harmoniously on the palate and finishes with a refined minerality.
V Creation Chardonnay
Region: Hemel-en-Aarde, Walker Bay
The beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde wine route is renowned for its Chardonnay. This Chardonnay is slightly more fruit-driven with generous quince, pear and peach aromas and flavours, enhanced by fresh minerality and hints of vanilla. Well-judged acidity contributes excellent balance and a lively, lingering aftertaste.
ROSE / PINOT NOIR WINES
V Gabrielskloof Rosebud
Region: Bot River
Brand new release 2022
Rosebud is the little darling of the Gabrielskloof Estate Range. Beautifully fresh with watermelon, papaya, white peach and hints of Grapefruit on the nose. The palate is juicy and dry with a lingering freshness that will keep calling you back for more. The perfect lunch-time wine.
V Peter Falke Pinot Noir
Awards: Double Gold Gilbert & Gaillard
A small boutique producer, situated in the Golden Triangle under the shadow of the Helderberg mountain, only 14 hectares under vine. Beautiful ruby colour with delicate aromas of pomegranate and rhubarb with hints of spices. On the palate strawberries with a round lingering finish of cherry. An elegant 2019 vintage, this wine is well balanced with subtle French Oak and red fruits.
Awards: Hallo Merlot Top 10 best Merlot 2022
Five generations of passionate winemakers have contributed to making Landskroon one of Paarl’s leading wine farms. This Merlot is rich and full-bodied with delicious flavours of berry fruits and plum supported by a touch of spice from aging in French oak barrels.
V Glen Carlou Merlot
Made in a medium-bodied style, this Merlot exhibits intense raspberry on the palate, balanced by notes of plums, cassis, cinnamon spice and a blackberry earthiness.
V Eagles Nest Merlot
Awards: 90 pts Winemag (top 10) / 4.5* Platter / Gold World Decanter (93pts)
Verreaux’s Eagles have nested on the Table Mountain Range since ancient times. Today, there is only one pair of Verreaux’s Eagles in the Table Mountain National Park that maintains a nest on a cliff face above the upper boundary of the wine estate. Eagles’ Nest has committed to support the Western Cape Raptor Research Program in their endeavours to conserve this last remaining nest. 10% of the proceeds from the sale of their wines go towards this conservation project. This 2016 vintage Merlot exhibits intense flavours of dark berries and spice, with an underlying hint of mocha and tobacco aromas.
V Creation Merlot
Region: Hemel-en-Aarde, Walker Bay
Multi-facetted, like a finely cut ruby in the glass – with a bounty of fruity, spicy aromas to invite you in. On the palate, rewarding dark chocolate and mocha combine with generous ripe berry flavours, supported by the firm structure derived from judicious oak maturation.
V Croydon Covenant Pinotage
Region: Stellenbosch / Somerset West
Croydon Vineyards (located between Stellenbosch and Somerset West) has 8 Hectares of vineyards and began initially as a private residential estate. The vineyards grow between the houses & creates an ideal location to call home. A fully operational cellar & tasting room, Croydon Vineyards produces award winning wine and is now recognized for its quality, and sold globally. This Pinotage is made in the style of its parent grapes, Pinot Noir & Cinsault, both light bodied red wines and is matured in seasoned French Oak barrels for 16 months. This wine has a fruity & soft entry with ripe raspberry & red fruits showing on the palate which follows through on the finish. Well balanced with firm tannins & good acidity.
V Painted Wolf The Den Cabernet Sauvignon
The painted wolf (also known as African wild dog) is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Painted Wolf wines is dedicated to raising money for the organisations that are working to secure a better future for these remarkable animals. This is an easy-drinking style of Cabernet Sauvignon with classic flavours of blackcurrant and cigar box with some subtle yet toasty oak.
V Neethlingshof Cabernet Sauvignon
Awards: Gold Veritas and 4.5 stars Platters
This wine was described to us as a “hug in a glass” and we couldn’t agree more. The Estate occupies an incredibly privileged site with ideal natural conditions, soils, slopes, altitudes and climate to produce a variety of great wines. All the grapes for the Neethlingshof wines are grown on the estate and all the wine is made, matured and bottled in the cellars of the estate, adhering to strict vegan guidelines during the entire farming and winemaking process. This 2018 vintage is a full-bodied wine with well-integrated flavours of sweet tobacco and cherry with spicy characteristics coming through on the palate.
V Peter Falke Cabernet Sauvignon
Awards: Double Gold – Gilbert & Gaillard 2022 / Grand Gold – South African Wine index (93 pts) / World Decanter – Gold (95 pts)
A small boutique producer, situated in the Golden Triangle under the shadow of the Helderberg mountain. Peter Falke wines is a specialist red wine producer focusing on Cabernet in particular. With only 14 hectares under vine, it is important the wine is of exceptional quality! This is a beautiful wine with rich garnet hues. Full bodied with exceptional character, intense dark fruit flavours, subtle violet undertones with a hint of liquorice and earthiness. The French Oak is perfectly balanced for a lovely lingering finish.
V Starke Conde Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch
Awards: Tim Atkins 93pts
The majority of the Jonkershoek Valley is a nature reserve well known for its fynbos, trails and waterfalls but the mouth of the valley is known for its distinctive conditions best suited for grape growing. With its high elevation terrain, ample winter rainfalls, and the cleansing Southeaster breeze that blows through the valley, this area has perfect conditions for the production of premium grapes. The Stark-Condé vineyards are farmed organically and 80% of the estate remains rugged virgin terrain. The flora mirrors the rich biodiversity of the neighboring Jonkershoek National Park, which has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site for its fynbos biome. Cabernet Sauvignon is their signature varietal and this particular wine is the bedrock of the winery. This 2018 award-winning Cabernet is blended with traditional Bordeaux varietals grown on the farm. This wine displays a rich palate, a long finish, and fine tannins typical of a Jonkershoek Valley wine.
Shiraz / Syrah
V Painted Wolf The Den Shiraz
The painted wolf (also known as African wild dog) is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Painted Wolf wines is dedicated to raising money for the organisations that are working to secure a better future for these remarkable animals. This 2019 vintage is spicy, black cherry and berry fruit abound, with soft tannins and medium body.
V Hartenberg Doorkeeper Shiraz
This 2019 vintage is dark red-black in colour with perfumed notes of black cherry and pepper on the nose, with a hint of violets. Beautifully elegant on palate entry, juicy, succulent mid-palate; ending with lingering red and black fruits and fine dry tannins.
V Gabrielskloof Syrah
Region: Bot River
The vision at Gabriëlskloof is to produce fine wines that reflect the complexity, richness and diversity of our unique terroir. They strive to do this in the most environmentally friendly way possible, showing respect for our region’s biodiversity at all times. Both red and black fruits and the signature blue flowers, mainly violets, lead to a tense and complex nose supported by blackberries, rhubarb and white pepper on the palate. Fennel and black olives with oregano and rosemary add savoury notes, and there is an earthy, beetroot-like character to the grippy tannins. Focused and structured, this 2020 vintage is delicious!
V Migliarina Syrah
Migliarina Wines was founded by Carsten Migliarina in 2002. Originating from a friend’s garage, Carsten Migliarina has expanded considerably, and his wines are now produced from rented cellar space at two boutique wine cellars. Carstens wines are individually hand-crafted from some of the best vineyards in the Western Cape. This 2018 vintage Syrah is soft on the palate with a nose of blackberry, coriander seed, lavender, and subtle hints of wild strawberries.
V Glen Carlou Syrah
The nose on this wine is wide-ranging with upfront berry fruits and a lavender perfumed background supported by sweet warm spice. Subtle black peppercorn, cumin and a hint of star anise add complexity to the aromatics. Wonderfully structured tannins on the palate reveal a well-balanced wine made in a definitive style with an unmistakable Rhone reference.
V Starke Conde Syrah
Region: Region: Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch
Awards: Tim Atkins 93pts
This Syrah is made primarily from a unique vineyard on the estate which is scattered with large river stones. The resulting old-world style Syrah is elegant and floral, and is a contrast to the bold ripe style of the warmer growing regions. A small amount of Viognier and Roussanne grapes are co-fermented to add aromatics and a finely textured tannin.
V Reyneke Organic Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
The Reyneke Organic and Biodynamic farm believes that the future lies right at the beginning and that there is a lot to be said about the way winemaking used to be – just the land and nature. This blend is a well-balanced and structured wine with juicy fresh tannins and a dry finish. Distinct notes of red fruit and spice on the palate will add to this complex and enjoyable wine.
V Gabrielskloof The Blend
Region: Bot River
Engaging with and being a part of uplifting the local community is the driving force behind their employment approach and the farm has both been part of and initiated several local upliftment programs in the vicinity. This resonates well with Oak Leaf Café. This 2019 blend is both a complex and balanced vintage with a generosity of fruit led by cherries, plums and blackcurrant alongside cloves, fennel and a hint of cocoa with a long and sumptuous finish.
Steenberg Five Lives
The Cape’s first farm, established in 1682, has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Steenberg Wine Estate is now a destination where legendary elegance and traditions of the 17th century blend harmoniously with the most refined comforts and conveniences of our modern age. This 2019 brand new release is a medium to full-bodied wine, showing a silky texture and depth, as well as an elegant tannin structure. Merlot forms the backbone of this wine with clean, bright fruit which add subtle freshness while Cabernet Sauvignon brings a formal, earnest profile to the blend.
V Chamonix Cabernet Franc Reserve
Awards: Winner – Cabernet Franc Challenge 2022 (top Cabernet Franc in the Country)
Steeped in history & boasting some of the highest planted vineyards in the Cape, Chamonix is set amongst 300 hectares of pristine natural beauty on the Eastern slopes of the Franschhoek mountains. Cape Chamonix Wine Farm once formed part of the historic Huguenot Estate, La Cotte, which dates back to 1688. On release, this Cabernet Franc shows a deep ruby mulberry colour and intense bouquet with scents reminiscent of bell pepper, red berries, spice and cigar box. A wine of ample structure fills the mouth with concentrated fruit and berry sensations.
Villafonte Seriously Old Dirt
Seriously Old Dirt 2020 displays a youthful, deep ruby-red colour. This Cabernet-based blend exudes rich layers of fresh fruit on the nose; black raspberry, ripe strawberry, plum and black currant. Undertones of star anise, nutmeg and fragrant tobacco-leaf add to the hedonistic experience. The entry is smooth, round and gracefully expands over the palate. Deliciously plush, the palate further develops with an abundance of fruit flavours and finishes with spicy nuance. The vintage reflects a quintessential elegance, with a core of satin textured tannins and youthful energy. Matured for eighteen months in older French oak barrique. Seriously Old Dirt 2020 consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (eighty-six percent), Merlot (eight percent), Malbec (four percent) and Cabernet Franc (two percent).