While Johannesburg is not known for its wine tasting experiences, the Tasting Room situated at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways brings Spier wine tasting right to the heart of Johannesburg. It only opened in October, but it has already gained popularity.
It is a fun outing with wine-loving friends and won’t break the bank either. At R60 per person, the Spier tasting experience is worth the money spent. You will choose five different wines from different ranges and a bubbly, and they don’t skimp on the amounts. Take a designated driver, or linger longer while enjoying a bite to eat.
We made our selection, and our sommelier Lanason Ndlovu informed us that we would start with the bubbly and white wines as they are lighter. As an avid red wine drinker not fond of most white wines, the temptation was big to pick red wines only. But adventure is good, and we tasted a white wine that could rival many red wines.
Lanason, who also worked at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, told us that most white wines only go through a fermentation process of approximately 3-4 months before going to the market. Red wines take at least 18-24 months, so they are richer and provide more dominating flavours.
We started with the bubbly, also used as a palate cleanser between the different wines. There was a choice between Spier Secret Sparkling, Spier Cap Classique Brut and Spier Cap Classique Brut Rose.
We chose the Spier Cap Classique Brut, made from 100% pinot noir grapes. Lanason explained the process to create Cap Classique, which is the same method the French use to make champagne.
Our second tasting was the Spier Seaward Chardonnay. It was lightly wooded and delectable. Lanason told us how this wine came to be with 20% of the grapes matured in French oak and the rest in stainless steel. They pick the grapes from sea-facing vines. It was a rich golden colour, and Lanason explained that the winemaker matured it for more than six months.
The last of the whites was a Chardonnay/pinot noir blend. It consisted of 85% Chardonnay and 15% pinot noir grapes, matured separately then blended for bottling. This wine wasn’t nearly as good as the Seaward as it was much more acidic. It was the only wine of our tasting experience that we did not finish.
Next were the richer, mature red wines. On smell alone, the first glass was the best, but once we tasted them, it was a different story altogether. The first wine was an easy-drinking Pinotage in their Signature range. I loved it as Pinotage is my wine of choice. Lanason told us it was a wine for immediate drinking and not ageing, and explained why some wines can be aged, and others not.
The next taster was a Cabernet Sauvignon, also part of the Spier Signature range. It is a full-bodied wine, and one gets hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, vanilla, and fruit. It was much better than the Pinotage and very smooth at the same time.
But the best red wine was the third option. It was part of their Creative Block 5 range, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot). This smooth wine is a winner and can age for an additional 10 years.
The tasting includes wine from the Spier 21 Gables range, but unfortunately, it wasn’t available during our experience. We swopped it for a Signature Wine.
The Tasting Room also offers Wine and Chocolate Tastings, and Winemaker selection Tastings.
Bookings are essential. Visit www.indabahotel.co.za or contact for more information.
Written by René De Klerk. Images by René De Klerk and Indaba Hotel.