Nkululeko Bhekizwe Mkhwanazi

My love for wine started in 2000 when our post matric class visited Rustenberg Wine Estate during a trip to Cape Town. Simon Barlow hosted us and took us on a vineyard and cellar tour of his farm before he presented wines. I studied at UCT and naturally joined the UCT Wine Society where I became Chairman in 2005. While in Cape Town I studied wine through Cape Wine Academy, starting off with The Introduction to Wine Course followed by the Certificate in Wine Course. In 2009 I completed my Diploma in Wine through Cape Wine Academy
In 2009 I founded the JHB Wine Series and 031 Wine Society which recently changed to Shamase Wine Club. This is a platform for wine lovers young and old to explore and taste unique local and international wines in a relaxed environment. Past guest presenters include Marilyn Cooper, Jean Philippe Colmant, Martin Meinert, Jeremy Borg and David John Bates to name a few. Look out for #ShamaseWineClub monthly tastings in Durban and Johannesburg

I am Chairperson of the Highway Wine Society which was founded in 1982. I represent the following brands in KZN and Gauteng, Creation Wines, Reciprocal Wine Trading Company, Riedel, David and Nadia and Remhoogte. In 2011 I obtained a Certificate of Competence with distinction from the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy and I attended the Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014.

In 2017 I made Team South Africa that competed at The World Tasting Championships in Burgundy France. I achieved this by coming 5th at The South African Wine Tasting Championships. Travelling to Burgundy for the World Tasting Championships was a highlight of 2017. On the same trip we also travelled to Champagne, Alsace the Mosel and Rheingau in Germany. My future wine destinations include Bordeaux, Rhone Valley France, Rioja Spain, Sicily and Piedmont Italy, Central Otago New Zealand and Beeka Valley Lebanon

Wine Judging Experience
1. RECM 10 year Old Wine Awards in 2013
2. Associate Judge at The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show from 2011 to 2014
3. Judge at The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2015/16/2017
4. Judge at Veritas 2014 (Bordeaux style blends panel)
Favourite Wine Festivals/Tastings
Top of the list has to be the epic Michael Fridjhon Wine Experience, The Swartland Heritage Festival, The Pinot Noir Festival, Stellenbosch Cabernet and The Cape Winemakers Guild Showcase

Favourite Wine Regions
1. Hermanus Hemel en Aard
2. Stellenbosch
3. Franschhoek
4. Swartland

Other Interests
I enjoy golf I am a founding member of the #2 PuttMasters, I love art, gardening and running. I’ve completed numerous marathons since 2009 including 8 Ultra’s, 4 Two Oceans, 5 Chatsworth Marathons and 3 Comrades Marathons. I hope to run the Medoc, New York, London, Dubai and Rome Marathon’s in future. I am fanatical about sport. I support Liverpool, Orlando Pirates, Sharks, Proteas and the Springboks.

My most memorable wines of 2017 (in no particular order)
1. Fram Chenin Blanc
2. Creation Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016
3. Ataraxia Chardonnay 2016
4. Steenberg Semillon 2011
5. David & Nadia Semillon 2016
6. Naude Cinsaut 2014
7. Bartinney Skyfall Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
8. Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
9. Rall Red 2015
10. MR De Compestella 2015

Up Close and Personal with Creation Chardonnay

On the 20th December 2017 I had a wonderful opportunity to present a #ShamaseWineClub Creation Wine Chardonnay tasting. What made this tasting extra special was that it was vertical tasting (same wine just different vintages starting from 2012 to 2016). As a result this was a 1 bottle tasting, the wines we tasted were all sold out therefore only 13 wine lovers could attend this special tasting. Fortunately I had a few bottles of each vintage in my wine collection which I was more than happy to share. When it comes to wine, sharing is caring and there’s no greater joy that sharing a special bottle of wine with fellow wine lovers.

Creation is situated in the Hemel en Aarde Valley in Hermanus about 120km from Cape Town. Creation is a relatively young farm owned by Jean Claude Martin who’s Swiss and Carolyn Martin. JC is the Cellarmaster and Carolyn is the Marketing Director of Creation Wines and both come from winemaking families. Carolyn’s father Walter Finlayson established Blaauwklippen, Hartenberg and Glen Carlou. Her uncle Peter Finlayson started Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel en Aarde Valley. JC is a 3rd generation winemaker, his family farmed on the Northen shores of Lake Bienne in Switzerland where he took over from his father before deciding to pursue a winemaking dream in South Africa. JC and Carolyn purchased Creation in 2002, the vineyards were planted in 2003 and the first Creation Wines were harvested in 2006 The farm is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

Creation lives up to its name as it’s at the centre of innovation and setting trends you need to visit the tasting room to see and experience this yourself. The farm attracts 70000 visitors annually, it offers an exceptional cellar door experience, food and wine pairings and lunch. They were the first South African farm to exclusively use Riedel glassware in their tasting room. Creation Wines has won numerous awards including the Klink Wine Tourism Awards for Best Food and Wine Pairing for the last 4 years.

Back to “5 years of Creation Chardonnay” this was a first of its kind in history of Creation Wines. There’s a perception that white wine doesn’t age and it needs to be consumed when young. I personally prefer to drink white wine that are 2 years and older. The oldest Chardonnay I had was a 1996 Clos de Ciel and the oldest Sauvignon Blanc was a Thelema 1992. Both wines were amazingly fresh and were in great shape with lively fruit. The Creation Chardonnay showed very well and it was unique to taste them next to each other. Each guest had 5 glasses with 2012 to 2016 from left to right. The colours of the different wines were very similar, pale, yellow and bright. The wines were gracious and so well integrated and drinking beautifully.
My notes below

5 years of Creation Chardonnay
1. 2012: Developed nose of hazelnut, citrus and ripe golden delicious apple. The palate is fresher than the nose with lively acidity well balanced with the oak spice and citrus notes. Drinking beautifully. Some of the words the guests used to describe this wine “Classic Beauty, Sunset and delicious”
2. 2013: Green apple, melon and pear with hints of spice. Precise, youthful and elegant. A beauty that needed time in the glass to open up. There’s a lot going for this wine. Guests used the following words to describe this wine, “elegant and luscious”
3. 2014: Citrus, melon and granny smith apples, vanilla spice on the nose. The palate is fresh and expressive. Long and fine detail on the finish. Guests words used included “happiness, pleasant and sleeping beauty”
4. 2015: Citrus, peach pear and touch of spice. Fine texture, precise with fine clarity of fruit and elegantly balanced acidity, fruit and oak. Words used by the guests included “superlative, elegant and fruity”
5. 2016: Grapefruit, pear and green apple with touch of oak spice. Fresh youthful and expressive palate. Fine concentration and balance

My guests also had a chance to taste the superb Art of Chardonnay 2016, Reserve Chardonnay 2016 and the newly released Estate Chardonnay 2017. Chardonnay is the signature white variety of the Hemel en Aarde valley.
Cheers to Chardonnay

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Creation Wines in the Hemel Aarde looks forward to welcoming you soon