Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ernie Els Winery.

When I moved to the United States in 1990 there were not that many wineries in Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl and Durbanville.  Every time I return home to visit it seems a few new ones have mushroomed and I need to visit and see if they pass the test.

Entrance to wine tasting room

Many of you may know Ernie Els who is one of South Africa's top golfers, if I knew more about golf I would be able to speak the lingo, but a ball and a stick just don't do it for me.  But I digress, back to wine.  Ernie Els started a winery in Stellenbosch.  I had always heard about it, but had never visited, so on this trip it was on the agenda.

Driving up to the winery the view was breathtaking.  Upon arriving at the winery you could tell that money was no object.  As we walked through the winery to the terrace the view took my breath away.  This is when I hate having a camera and am unable to capture the vast expanse of vineyards and mountains.  I did take a video, but will not even attempt to upload as it will involve a few choice words and my dearest mother has had quite a bit already of the blue language that has slipped forth on various occasions.

Waterfall entrance.

Liberty bell?

Great view.

Ernie Els Big Easy

My cousin and I were ready to taste what Mr. Golfer had to offer.  First up was Ernie Els Big Easy.  The blend is 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Mourvedre, 6% Grenache, 5% Cinsaut and 3% Viognier.  The wine had only been open for approximately an hour and I have found with many South African reds they really do need time to breath and open up.  This wine was served a little too cold for my taste and it was sharp and tannic on the palate.  My cousin and I had a star rating of 4 stars and this wine we gave it 2.

Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon

Next up was the Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon.  Again this wine was a little too cold for me, or should I say cool and it had only been opened for about an hour.  On their wine pamphlet they describe this Cabernet as "Precise and varietally flawless, expect this brilliant Cabernet to have a serious future ahead whilst the tannins find their feet."  I agree.  It is going to take a while before this Cabernet wows the palate.  Right now it is not even at the crawling stage.  We gave it 2 stars.

Ernie Els Proprietor's Syrah

Wine number 3 was Ernie Els Proprietor's Syrah.  95% Stellenbosch Syrah and 5% Viognier.  On my notes all I put down was 2 1/2 stars, so I guess it was okay.  I really do need to take better notes, hence I blog about this for free and not as a job. 

Ernie Els Signature

The last wine we tried as Ernie Els Signature.  This is a Bordeaux-style blend.  60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot.  The wine was very 'beefy' and got your taste buds tingling, but only for a fleeting moment.  The finish reminded me of Star Wars when they would start up their light sabers and then abruptly turn them off again.  I gave it 3 stars and I really don't know why I did looking over my notes.  I really am not good at this, but hey I enjoy the process and that is what matters right?

Tasting area.

I would love this dining area.

Our great wine host, Matt.

The wines are okay, I didn't find them to be WOW.  As we drove down the hill and I reflected over my tastings, the phrase 'bigger isn't always better' came to mind.


  1. I think I'm officially going to start stealing your photos for my desktop. They're just awesome.

    As for your review skills, you sound like a pro to me. Then again, my idea of wine reviewing is, "Hmmm... grape-y."

  2. You hail from a beautiful country. Interesting you found the winery itself utterly spectacular, yet the wines just meh. Sounds like they should put some of their money into a new winemaker. As for sticks and balls, it depends on the sticks and balls :)

  3. Looks superb.

    I'm lucky enough to be in charge of the wine celler in a City of London function hall.Although we don't deal much with New World wines.Mostly well established French Chateau's...Beautiful pics though.


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