It was a chilly and rainy Saturday in Johannesburg this past weekend but the weather/and fomo could not stop me from checking out the Tops Wine Show. This is its 11th year running, yes it has been that long and this would be my first time so I could not miss out.
I have been to quite a number of wine shows and tastings but what attracted me to this one was the wide variety of fairly unknown/ not so popular wine brands that would be exhibited there such as Malabarista, Pierre Mignon and Fantinel but to name a few.
The event was held at the Sandton Convention Centre from Thursday through to Saturday. It was R180 per ticket online and R200 at the door aswel. It was great that they were selling weekend passes for those who wanted to taste as much as they could without spitting or passing out. The venue was warm, spacious and inviting. You almost forgot that it was cold and raining outside and would not guess what time it was unless you looked at your watch (casino varbs).
This years theme was “Wine is a Cabernet”. They had a super taster theatre presented by the Cape Wine Academy where you could learn about the different grape varietals such as sauvignon blanc, cabernet and chenin. The wine-extra theatre had Vinotria speaking about the sangiovese, Glen Carlou speaking about the chardonnay and the Marianne wines biltong pairing.
This time I decided to do things differently. I went to the fat butcher for a snack of cabanossi and sliced beef biltong and the antipasto bar for some calamata olives went for the sparkling wines/ methode cap classiques(MCC)/ champagnes first.
The bubblies that stuck out for me most in this category were the Krone Phoenix MCC, the Lourensford MCC, and the Giusti Asolo Prosecco. Although we are all probably quite familiar with the following, I decide to go see what they had to offer and new to me was the Spier Secret Sparkling and the JC Le Roux La Vallee Rose MCC, they are a definite must try
I then went on to try the white wines. From this category the wines worth mentioning were the Stellenbosch Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Delheim Sauvignon Blanc, Lust en Vrede “Jess” and the Credo Chardonnay was my favourite, it tasted like creme brûlée.
After the white wines, I took a dinner break and went on to food stands. I tried the beef kebabs with grilled vegetables and creamy buttery mash which were beautifully seasoned. The chicken skewers were tasty and succulent. The seafood paella with chorizo was one of the best I’ve had in a long time and the pulled pork tacos were so good, I went back for a second helping. Overall the food was really good. All dishes were around R70
From there I moved on to the red wine blends, trying to find unusual/ rare blends to the norm. Interesting wines in this category was Strandveld The Navigator, Glen carlou Petite Verdot Tannat and the Nitida Calligraphy
For “dessert” I started with the wine cocktails. I had the popular Ice Tropez 0% with a shot of Trojka vodka instead of the alcoholic 6.5%. The Abinfusions wine cocktails were absoluetly amazingly flavourful, fragrant and refreshing, I unshamingly bought a case. And to finish off the evening I had the Enrico Serafino Moscato D’Asti from Italy.
I wish I could have had a night cap at the Neat Whiskey Bar, their stand was absolutely beautiful. Hopefully they will be at the Pretoria wine show in August. A fun evening out with zero babalas in the morning. Spitting saved my life and uber of course.
In the near future, I will be writing about the featured wines in more detail. Cheers
Tebogo Makama l Kopanong Moveine