South Africa & "Pinot Noir's Next Big Thing"

South African Wine Bottle Wine Glass FlagThe secret is getting out...  Michael's Wine Cellar Co-Proprietor Michael Klauber has been following the rise of South Africa's wine industry for decades. From leading bi-annual wine-buying trips to the Cape Winelands with the Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club, to hosting visiting South African winemakers for tastings and wine dinners and featuring these prized (and often quite affordable) wines in our adjacent restaurant Michael's On East, you can rest assure we have some tremendous wines from South Africa available for Michael's guests.  So this week, Michael was pleased to come across this WineSearcher article covering several of his close winemaker friends and colleagues from South Africa, including Hamilton Russell Vineyards and Paul Cluver Wines. Pinot Noir's Next Big Thing August 8, 2017 ~ "The great grapes of Burgundy have found a rather surprising new home, James Lawrence argues. If one were to imagine the most likely candidate for producing refined, elegant Pinot Noir, South Africa might, to put it mildly, not come very near the top of the list.... ...Yet a recent tasting of various South African Pinots, grown in diverse sites across the Western Cape, strongly hinted that this proud nation is one of world's great unsung heroes of producing memorable and evocative Pinot Noir, albeit in small volumes."  Click here to read the entire article on
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CONNOISSEUR CLUB TRIP: Wines from South Africa

This summer's Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club journeys advance as Michael & Terri Klauber and Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel continue to surprise travelers with remarkable wine experiences in the bush, in addition to wildlife viewing on safari drives. Over the past week, the group has enjoyed spending time with Olive and Anthony Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards while on safari and an extravagent tasting at Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek. Our team in the Wine Cellar would be happy to introduce to you wines from both of these fabulous properties! Click here to browse wines from South Africa through our online wine shop. Stay tuned for more photos this coming week!  We invite you to join the GCCC's next culinary journey(s) around the world: Sip & Savor Europe & Taste of the British Isles. Reservations are booking quickly for these 2018 adventures!  

Boekenhoutskloof GroupPhoto

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Pinotage: South Africa's Grape Varietal As explained by our friends at Wine Access, Pinotage is a recent addition to the wine world, having been created in South Africa in 1925, by Stellenbosch University Professor A.I Perold. Perold crossed the Pinot Noir and Cinsaut grapes with the aim of acquiring the best qualities of both parents: classic Pinot Noir flavors with a bountiful crop from sturdy, disease resistant vines. Pinotage is a versatile and food-friendly wine. If you haven't had the opportunity to explore food pairings at one of our specialty South African wine dinners and menus at Michael's On East, we suggest pairing Pinotage with robust Mediterranean dishes, Cape Malay-spiced lamb chops, blackened fish, charcuterie, or even foods with plenty of spice such as curry dishes.Michael's Wine Cellar's own Robin Schwartz first came across Pinotage while living in New Zealand years ago. (Kiwis love their South African wines when not drinking wines from their native country!) Robin participated in a full-day wine trip while she was vacationing in South Africa, stopping by and loving the wines from Fairview Vineyards. In fact, she bought a few bottles of the Fairview Vineyards Pinotage to take home with back then. Luckily for Robin, today we carry the wines from Fairview Vineyards in the store at Michael's Wine Cellar, which are also available for purchase online. We hope you'll stop in the retail shop or try ordering a bottle of the Fairview Vineyards Pinotage from our online wine shop today. Pinotage-LanzeracInterestingly, the Lanzerac Wine Estate is known as the home to the first bottled Pinotage. Steeped in a history dating back to 1692, the Lanzerac Wine Estate is situated at the foot of the majestic Jonkershoek Valley of Stellenbosch in South Africa. If you are ready to try South Africa's original grape varietal IN South Africa, please join us in the summer of 2017 for the Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club's "A Taste of Africa" trip escorted by Michael and Terri Klauber of Michael's On East and Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel International.) The Lanzerac Wine Estate is just one of numerous winery experiences available during this exclusive food and wine-focused and luxury safari journey.
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South African Wine Dinner

Please join us for a South African wine dinner hosted by special guests from this January as part of the popular Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival! South African Wine Dinner Featuring Babylonstoren & Paul Cluver Hosted by Charl Coetzee, Winemaker, Babylonstoren & Liesl Rust, Paul Cluver, Co-Owner & Sister of Paul Cluver himself!  Friday, January 29, 2016 7 p.m. at Michael's Wine Cellar Admission is $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and reservations are required as seating is limited. Click here to make reservations online or call 941-366-0007, ext. 229. Babylonstoren WineryBabylonstoren Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved werfs (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition. The property includes the manor house from 1777 as well as pioneer structures which date back to the founding of the farm in 1690. The Koornhuis (for storing wheat and hay) and the old cellar are exceptional to see. An ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates embellish a traditional courtyard surrounded by a low, whitewashed wall.
Today, Babylonstoren is a Cape Dutch farm with vineyards and orchards surrounded by the dramatic mountains of the Drakenstein Valley. The Babylonstoren logo, which consists of the pipe, representing the farm, the flower, representing the garden and the bird, representing nature, combines the very essence of Babylonstoren and that is keeping things simple and as true to the earth as possible.
Paul Cluver WineryPaul Cluver This family-owned, family-run winery is located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley, approximately 70km southeast of Cape Town. The property has been in ownership of the Cluver Family since 1896. Recognized as pioneers of wine in the area, the family continues to focus on producing elegant wines that are expressive of the terroir.
The wine business forms part of larger holistic farming business called De Rust Estate. In addition to the vineyards and cellar, there are apple and pear orchards, a Hereford stud and eco-tourism activities, including amphitheater concerts, on the farm. This estate forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the Kogelberg Biosphere. Half of the estate has been set aside for conservation into perpetuity. De Rust is one of the first farms in South Africa to enter into a stewardship contract agreement with Cape Nature. The objective of which is to conserve the pristine habitat on the property in perpetuity by means of provisions attached to the property’s title deeds. The conserved area is in excess of 1000ha, and is now called the Cluver Family Reserve. This reserve includes a game camp for antelope that used to occur in the area.
We are thrilled to host multiple winemaker events at Michael's Wine Cellar, Michael's On East and the Michael's On East Ballroom in January 2016 as part of the annual Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival produced by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals. Click here for more information about other special wine events.  
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Cyber Week - Wine Special

Cyber Monday becomes Cyber Week! Extended! We're extending ouronline #CyberMonday offer through for our wine-loving friends and clients across the country this year!  CyberMonday-Extended2015 Shop online  through Friday, December 4, 2015, and save 15% off all South African wines. Order now to take advantage of our entire Cyber Week of savings and stock-up for all your holiday celebrations and hostess gifts.  Simply enter the promo code ZA15 this Monday - Friday to take advantage of the special offer, valid on more than 75 South African wines Michael has specially-sourced through our Connoisseur Club trips to the Cape Winelands! Click here to shop now.
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South African Wines: Save 15%

Extended! We're extending ouronline #CyberMonday offer through for our wine-loving friends and clients across the country this year!  CyberMonday-WineSpecialShop online this "Cyber Monday" (November 30, 2015) through Friday, December 4, 2015, and save 15% off all South African wines. Order now to take advantage of our entire Cyber Week of savings and stock-up for all your holiday celebrations and hostess gifts.  Simply enter the promo code ZA15 this Monday - Friday to take advantage of the special offer, valid on more than 75 South African wines Michael has specially-sourced through our Connoisseur Club trips to the Cape Winelands! Click here to shop now.
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Top South African Wine Picks

Featured-Items-SouthAfrica-StarryNight-FireWine specialist Bruce Nemet is our newest staff member at Michael’s Wine Cellar.  Bruce joins our team this fall having managed a wine retail store in his home state of North Carolina for a number of years and armed with a degree in enology from UC Davis. Studying wine was one of his earliest passions, which continues as strong passion today. Now semi-retired from a business he continues to own back in the Carolinas, Bruce decided to settle in Sarasota to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and the area’s vibrant cultural scene.  We like to think part of culture is, of course, wine! During the 1980s while working in the wine trade, Bruce was exposed to the (surprisingly at the time!) high quality of one of the world’s wine regions that we specialize in today in the wine shop – our South African wines. In fact, when coming to work at Michael’s Wine Cellar, Bruce was astonished and impressed to see the variety we inventory. Now, just in time for our many South African themed events this month, we’ve asked Bruce to select just a few of his favorite South African wines available from Michael’s Wine Cellar and online through [Interested in tasting some of these special South African wines this week? Join us this Saturday, 2-4 p.m. to taste 60+ wines at a special South African Wine Tasting. Admission is $10 per person. Click here for more details and reservations.] Bruce’s South African Picks South Africa has quite a recent history of winemaking, particularly since the end of Apartheid.  In fact, one could say South Africa is undergoing a bit of enological revolution – biodynamic cultivation and sustainability (with a government certificate of approval for those wines that obtain it); an official study into vineyard terroir/varietal plantings; and an overall increase in wine quality and experimentation.  It’s been exciting to see the tremendous efforts of today’s new generation of South African winemakers! Graham Beck Wines All Under $20! The Robertson wine district is one of South Africa’s largest producers of wine in terms of quantity, but a handful of families have chosen quality over quantity.  The Beck family established the Graham Beck winery in 1983 and their “Game Reserve” portfolio of varietals is one of the best values in varietal wines we carry at Michael’s Wine Cellar – all under $20 a bottle!  In fact, the Graham Beck Brut NV (complete with a score of 87 from The Wine Advocate) sells for only $14.95!  These wines represent some of the best values we offer from any wine region in the world. In addition to being some of Bruce’s top picks, Graham Beck Wines have been a favorite of Michael Klauber’s personal South Africa favorites for years. MAN Family Wines All under $10! MAN Vintners fruit comes from a variety of areas throughout South Africa’s most important Coastal wine region, but the intent is consistent: value in varietal character.  The three proprietors’ wives - Marie, Anette and Nicky - do deserve some credit, however. (Not the least having to do with their husbands being on the job most of the time!)  Ever wonder how they came up with the name “MAN Vintners?” MAN was inspired by Marie (M), Anette (A) and Nicky (N). At Michael’s Wine Cellar, we proudly carry the Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz from MAN Family Wines.  All express a mouth-filling, well-balanced fruit forward style with the majority of wine maintained in stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the fruit and allow the wine to best be drunk in its youth. (The Chardonnay is 15% barrel fermented.) In terms of value it doesn’t get much better than this! Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 $42.95 Chardonnay 2014 $29.95 Tim Hamilton-Russell, a retired advertising executive, decided in 1975 to establish a winery in a new (and much colder) region of South Africa: the Cape South Coast region.  The ocean breeze, called “The Doctor,” cools the climate enough to the point that Russell thought it would best suit the Burgundian varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He was right!  In fact, he went on to produce what was regarded then as the finest wines in South Africa!  (Today there are over 15 wineries in the Walker Bay district, including two which were, incidentally, started by Hamilton Russel Vineyard winemakers who went off on their own.) Both of these wines are very rich examples of one of the finest estates in South Africa, both earning 90+ points as scored by The Wine Advocate! Michael and Terri Klauber, plus dozens of our Connoisseur Club Travelers, have enjoyed the great privilege of personally visiting these South African wineries over the years as part of our Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club journeys. If you are interested to traveling to Africa with us in the summer of 2017, click here to learn more about the special departures available through Admiral Travel International
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South African Wine Tasting

The first Saturday of November will bring a very special Open House Wine Tasting to Michael's Wine Cellar. Please join us, 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, November 7 to taste dozens of South African wines! In fact, Stark-Condé's own Hans Schroeder will showcase his prized wines from Stellenbosch and personally talk with guests about South African wines. During the tasting, Londolozi Game Reserve Chef Anna Ridgewell will welcome guests with a selection of hors d’oeuvres from Londolozi as she prepares signature dishes for the wine tasting. Featured South African wineries will include:  *Babylonstoren, Stellenbosch, ZA *Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Franschloek, ZA *Bouchard Finlayson Winery, Walker Bay, ZA *Ernie Els Wines, Stellenbosch, ZA *Graham Beck Wines, Western Cape, ZA *Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, ZA *MAN Vintners, Coastal Region, ZA *Neil Ellis Vineyard, Stellenbosch, ZA *Passages Wines, Stellenbosch, ZA *Paul Cluver Wines, Elgin, ZA *Raats Family Wines, Stellenbosch, ZA *Rustenberg Wines, Stellenbosch, ZA *Rust en Vrede Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, ZA *Stark-Conde Wines, Jonkershoek, ZA *Southern Right Winery, Walker Bay, ZA Admission is $10 per person for this casual, walk-about wine tasting. Click here for online reservations to this South African Wine Tasting.
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South African Wine Dinner

Broadbent SelectionsPlease join us for a spectacular wine dinner at Michael’s Wine Cellar as we feature South African wines with each extravagant course. Melissa Hoffman will host this special affair featuring wines from the esteemed Broadbent Selections portfolio. South African Wine Dinner Saturday, October 3, 2015 7 pm at Michael’s Wine Cellar NOTE: Specific wines and the five-course menu will be announced soon. These special selections are currently under development with our wine specialists and culinary team. Click here for online reservations or call 941-366-0007, ext. 229 to reserve via phone. $95/person, plus tax & gratuity Reservations are required as seating is limited for this special event.
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South African Wines

Michael features South African Wines on ABC 7's Suncoast View

Michael talks South African wines on Suncoast View Michael Klauber, Co-Proprietor of Michael's On East and Michael's Wine Cellar, just returned from leading 80 Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travelers through South Africa's winelands with his wife Terri and Ryan Hilton, our travel partner from Admiral Travel International. Yesterday, he joined the ladies of ABC 7's Suncoast View to take in an altogether different type of view - showcasing photos of the group's wildlife and winery experiences! Of course, Michael just had to offer Rebecca, Linda, Bobeth and Stephanie a taste - or rather a sip! - of South Africa in the studio. (Click here to view the video segment.) Michael showcased the following wines during this in-studio tasting on Suncoast View on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. Each of these great wines are available at a great value from Michael's Wine Cellar! Enjoy these three South African wines, some of Michael's top picks, for under $20 a bottle. Please simply click the links below to purchase any wine online. Sparkling "Brut", Graham Beck, Robertson, ZA, NV Tasting Notes: A blend of 49% Chardonnay and 51% Pinot Noir, the Non-Vintage Brut has a soft, creamy bouquet with touches of apple-blossom and yeast aromas. The palate is well defined with good acidity on the entry, citrus peel, fresh lime with a pleasing, commercially minded creamy finish. Their Story: Graham Beck wines is now entering its third generation as a family winery. It was established in 1983 when entrepreneur Graham Beck purchased Madeba farm outside the Western Cape town of Robertson with a fervent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this region. The success of the Robertson winery has been extended to the second Graham Beck cellar in Franschoek, one of the oldest winemaking regions in South Africa. "Disgorged February 2011, a blend of 49% Chardonnay and 51% Pinot Noir with 8.6 gm/l residual sugar, the Non-Vintage Brut has a soft, creamy bouquet with touches of apple-blossom and yeast aromas. The palate is well defined with good acidity on the entry, citrus peel, fresh lime with a pleasing, commercially minded creamy finish. Unbeatable "bang for bucks" as they say. Drink now." -Wine Advocate Chardonnay, Rustenberg, Stellenbosch, ZA, 2012 Tasting Notes: This is an elegant Chardonnay, with a scent of lemon, mandarin orange and hints of pine needles, complemented by a crisp finish on the palate. -Founded in 1682 and nestled in the valley of the Simonsberg in South Africa’s premium wine region, Stellenbosch. Rustenberg’s rich heritage and ethos has been informed by many centuries of human influence striving to understand and work with nature to produce wines of distinct character true to their terrior, variety and informed style.   Cabernet Sauvignon "Game Reserve", Graham Beck, ZA, 2013 Tasting Notes: The wine has a great complexity of black berry fruit, dark chocolate, plums and tobacco spice on the nose. This wine has a rich, juicy entry supported by a dense fruit core and firm tannins. An elegant creamy palate leads to a long lingering finish. -Graham Beck wines is now entering its third generation as a family winery. It was established in 1983 when entrepreneur Graham Beck purchased Madeba farm outside the Western Cape town of Robertson with a fervent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this region.
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Wine for the 9th Day of Christmas: Graham Beck Wines

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Nine Ladies Dancing Eight Maids a Milking Seven Swans a Swimming Six Geese a Laying Five Golden Rings Four Calling Birds Three French Hens Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree But wouldn't it be lovely if your true love also sent the "Game Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc from South Africa's Graham Beck Wines? Chenin Blanc "The Game Reserve", Graham Beck, Coastal Region, ZA, 2012 $14.95 This 100% Chenin Blanc is from low yielding, 40 - 46 year old bush vines on rolling hills in Paarl, exposed to south eastern winds, rain and lots of sunshine. The grapes were left to ripen fully to ensure the development of the rich and ripe flavours and complexity. The grapes were destalked, then mash cooled with 8-12 hours skin contact and cool fermentation. A small percentage (5-10%) of the Chenin Blanc was fermented in French Oak barrels to generate an added dimension of richness. The complex nose shows upfront tropical fruit, ripe pineapple, melon, peaches and honey flavours, lifted by a citrus element. Good company for al fresco lunches. Also great with grilled chicken or fish, rich pasta dishes and spicy food. Full and juicy palate with layers of ripe tropical fruit complemented by a long, clean, crisp and lingering aftertaste. game-reserve-graham-beckcabernet-sauvignon-robertson-za Cabernet Sauvignon "The Game Reserve", Graham Beck, Robertson, ZA, 2011 $16.95 "Fresh and uncomplicated, showing brisk lime and sea salt notes. Clean finish." -Wine Spectator, 87 points "The eye-catching label design for this classy Cab features one of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ animals, the elusive leopard. As with the other wines in the range it pays homage to Graham Beck Wines’ commitment to preserving the country’s unique fauna and flora. The wildlife reserve situated on Graham and Rhona Beck’s Robertson estate, Madeba, is an unparalleled success story. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from a selection of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards from our Robertson Estate including a site located on the South-East facing slope of the Rooiberg Mountain that incorporates the game reserve on the Graham Beck property. The vines are planted on red Karoo soil which is also home to the delicate, yet tough fynbos that the game feed on next to the vineyard. Once in the cellar, the fruit is destalked, gently crushed and fermented with 4 daily pump-overs to ensure maximum extraction. Once dry, the juice is pressed and transferred into 2nd fill French and American Oak for malolactic fermentation in barrel. The wine is then kept for a further 9 months of maturation in barrel to gain complexity and a full mouthfeel. Great complexity of black berry fruit, dark chocolate and plums on the nose. This wine has a rich, juicy entry supported by firm tannins. An elegant creamy palate leads to a long lingering finish."
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Wine for the 6th Day of Christmas: South African Wines

Christmas Wine 6: Porcupine Ridge Wines from South Africa On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Six Geese a Laying Five Golden Rings Four Calling Birds Three French Hens Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree But wouldn’t it be lovely if your true love also sent you South African wines from Marc Kent's Porcupine Ridge? porcupine-ridge-sauvignon-blanc-western-cape-za Sauvignon Blanc, Porcupine Ridge, Western Cape, ZA, 2012 $13.95 Tropical fruit flavors with gooseberries and a hint of nettles. The flavors carry on to the palate with a good long dry finish. Crisp natural acidity and good balance ensure a streamlined wine with easy drinking. porcupine-ridge-syrah Syrah, Porcupine Ridge, Coastal Region, ZA, 2010 $13.95 Intense red colour with opulent red fruit flavours and hints of pepper. A silky full bodied texture with soft tannins and integrated wood. "The 2010 Porcupine Ridge Syrah sees three-quarters of its Swartland-sourced fruit raised in French oak for nine months, the remainder un-oaked. It has a ripe, blackcurrant pastille scented bouquet that is simple but pure. The palate is sweet and ripe on the entry with fleshy blackcurrant and dark plum fruit. The finish is easy drinking and mouth filling. Drink now-2014. It may still be difficult to pronounce but Boekenhoutskloof continues to affirm itself as one of South Africa's leading estates. Mark Kent is an astute helmsman, branching out to regions beyond his base in Franschhoek, for example, into Swartland for his Syrah. I still feel that he could rein in the new oak a little, but otherwise this is another set of superb South African wines." -The Wine Advocate , 86 Points
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Rustenberg Wine Dinner

Rustenberg Wine Dinner If you've been following our travels to some amazing wineries, you may already know that my wife and I just had the great privilege of leading dozens of Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club members through South Africa’s winelands in partnership with Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel International. Throughout six weeks of travels this summer, we were fortunate to meet, and drink, with some of South Africa’s top winemakers at historic wine farms and beautiful estates. In particular, I enjoyed visiting with Simon Barlow, proprietor of the Rustenberg Wine Estate. (His family is considered almost royalty in South Africa!) In fact, Simon and his wife Roseann were surprise guests who joined the GCCC group on safari for a unique bush dinner. Gracious hosts, the Barlows even invited our group to their private home later that week as we traveled through the Cape winelands. Now, Simon will be traveling to Sarasota to host a special wine dinner this month! Simon Barlow will host a five-course wine dinner designed to complement eight South African wines at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24 in one of my favorite spaces, Michael’s Wine Cellar.

Rustenberg Wine Dinner Menu*

Passed Hors d’Oeuvres Crispy Baby Artichoke & Manchego Cheese Wrapped in Lavender-Honey Bacon Rosemary Beef Tenderloin Skewers Crusted with Porcini Mushroom Rub Coffee-Rubbed Yellow Fin Tuna Mango Ginger Chutney & Micro Greens White Blend “1682″, Western Cape Red Blend “1682″, Stellenbosch    First Course Pan-Roasted King-Klip with Date & Roasted Pine Nut Chutney Curried Shrimp Bisque, Swiss Chard & South African Lobster Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape   Second Course African Pork Three Ways: Moroccan BBQ Pork Belly with Dried Cranberry Gastric Wild Boar Bobotie with Apricot Chutney Spiced Pork Tenderloin Sosaties with Roasted Pearl Onion, Thyme-Scented Tear Drop Tomatoes & Pomegranate-Tamarind Glaze Chardonnay, Stellenbosch Chardonnay “5 Soldiers”, Stellenbosch   Third Course Coriander-Crusted Rack of Lamb Turmeric-Spiced Butternut Squash Cake, Tempura Oven-Dried Tomato, Grilled Baby Zucchini & Rustenberg Fig Demi-Glace Meritage “John X Merriman”, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon “Peter Barlow”, Stellenbosch   Dessert Malva Pudding Traditional South African Pudding, Crème Anglaise, Mango Ice Cream & Fresh Mint Grand Constance, Groot Constantia   *No substituions, please. Each month, Michael invites a visiting winemaker or industry colleague to host an extravagant, five-course dinner designed to complement the intricate layers of hand-selected wines. $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Space is limited and reservations are required. Please be sure to make reservations now: 941-366-0007, ext. 224. Click here to view our current selections of Rustenberg wines available for purchase online through Michael's Wine Cellar. Click here to view additional upcoming events.
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Spice Route’s Swartland Terroir-Style Wines

Spice Route Winery In 1997 Charles Back, having established Fairview in Paarl as a successful and popular wine estate, bought a farm called Klein Amoskuil near Malmesbury in the Swartland region northwest of Paarl, then better known for its wheat rather than its wine. It was the next step in applying his philosophy to ‘go where the terroir is’. Says Charles: “I wanted to break away from the estate concept, which constrains a property owner, not necessarily blessed with the best viticultural land, from exploring the wine styles and levels of quality he aspires to. For me the quality of the wine became more important than the name of its source.” This Malmesbury-based farm is now home to Spice Route’s Swartland terroir-styled wines. The Spice Route Winery has found its signature wine style in the warm rolling hills along the Cape West Coast. Matching traditional practices in the vineyards with modern, minimalist approaches in the cellar, they produce exceptionally ripe and deep-flavored wines.
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Southern Right Wines for Whale Conservation

Southern Right Wines Southern Right is a small Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc specialist located on a strikingly beautiful property in the cool, maritime, Hemelen-Aarde Valley appellation. Founded by Anthony Hamilton Russell in 1994, Southern Right's aim was to produce a serious, age-worthy Pinotage combining a distinct South African fruit and flavour expression with classic styling and refinement. It is Anthony's belief that as an early ripening grape, Pinotage is best suited to cooler areas. It was also his conviction that the stony, high clay content, shale-derived soils on the sites he chose for the vineyards, were best suited to creating the more classic style he was aiming for. Rigorous yield management and extreme care to ensure harvesting at full physiological ripeness, combine with the terroir to re-define South Africa's red grape variety. The Sauvignon Blanc remains a local and international best seller with its classic, tight minerality complementing the prominent varietal fruit. It has been rated best South African Sauvignon Blanc in the Wall Street Journal and was the only Sauvignon Blanc to win a Gold Medal at the Classic Wine Trophy awards in 2009. The wines are named after the rare Southern Right whales, which frequent the cool South Atlantic Walker Bay, 3 kilometres from the vineyards. With each bottle sold, Southern Right makes a contribution to Southern Right whale conservation.
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Proprietor Jean Engelbrecht's Rust en Vrede Estate

Rust en Vrede Winegrowing came to South Africa in the middle of the 17th century, courtesy of the Dutch East India Company. Rust en Vrede was established not long afterwards, in 1694. Naturally endowed, the country produced wine in volume, but geographical, cultural and political isolation left the Rust en Vrede vineyard neglected and in disrepair. This all changed when Rugby Champion Jannie Engelbrecht purchased the winery in 1977. He immediately set about making changes, and the Rust en Vrede estate was reborn. Rust en Vrede became the first private winery in the country to specialize in the exclusive production of red wines, and in the early 1980s became the first producer in South Africa to make a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. This award winning wine would become known as Rust en Vrede Estate. In 1998, Jannie handed the reins of Rust en Vrede over to his son Jean. Shortly after assuming control, Jean appointed Louis Strydom as head winemaker. Together, they worked to accelerate the evolution of Rust en Vrede's wines and image, making it more relevant on the international wine stage and enabling it to compete with the leading wines of the world. Their efforts were rewarded when Wine Spectator named the Rust en Vrede Estate to its “Top 100 Wines” four years in a row, a first for a South African winery, and they continue to be consistent performers on the international stage. Jean Engelbrecht is also the proprietor of Guardian Peak. He reflects: “A lifestyle without wine is incomplete. Our Live with Wine philosophy is built on our firm belief that wine and food should be inseparable in our daily diet - it being not as much a matter of appreciating wine with food, but rather the enjoyment of wine and food. I trust that our wines and our food will fulfill the latter."
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Rustenberg: Producing Wines Consistently Since 1892 in Stellenbosch

Rustenberg Winery in South Africa Founded in 1682 and nestled in the valley of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch, Rustenberg’s rich heritage and ethos has been informed by many centuries of human influence striving to understand and work with nature to produce wines of distinct character true to their terrior, variety and informed style. Rustenberg has a wine-growing history dating back to 1682, when Roelof Pasman from Meurs, near the Rhine, recognized its winegrowing potential. By 1781, some 3000 cases of wine were produced on the farm. Production doubled by the end of the century and a new cellar was built. Wine has been bottled at this cellar for an unbroken period since 1892. In the early 1800s, Rustenberg was divided by owner Jacob Eksteen and a section was given to his son-in-law, who named it Schoongezicht and sold it soon after. Rustenberg and Schoongezicht were at their peak around 1812, with beautiful homesteads and flourishing vineyards. But by mid-century, recession coupled with disease in the vines and brought bankruptcy and dispossession. Schoongezicht was rescued in 1892 by John X Merriman (who was to become Prime Minister of the Cape), and Rustenberg by his brother-in-law Sir Jacob Barry. Together they revitalized the farms. In 1941, Peter and Pamela Barlow bought Rustenberg, later acquiring Schoongezicht and reuniting the properties. Their son Simon took over the running of the farm in 1987. The Barlows have been at Rustenberg for over 60 years: the longest period any one family has owned the farm. Click here to browse Michael's Wine Cellar's current Rustenberg wine selections, including several great values from this historic property. Proprietor Simon Barlow will be traveling to Sarasota to host a special Rustenberg Wine Dinner at Michael's Wine Cellar on September 24! Click here for event details.
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Porcupine Ridge Wines

Porcupine Ridge Wines Marc Kent is the winemaker for the Boekenhoutskloof wines as well as the range of wines called Porcupine Ridge. Porcupine Ridge is a handcrafted range of wines, celebrated for its uncompromising commitment to quality. The wines carry a distinctive label featuring an original pen and ink of the crested porcupine drawn by leading South Africa wildlife artist, Zakkie Eloff. These crested porcupines inhabit the vineyards of the Boekenhoutskloof homestead. Click here to learn more about the Boekenhoutskloof Estate. Click here to shop for Porcupine Ridge wines online.
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Neil Ellis Wines

In 1986 Neil Ellis took a calculated leap of faith into the wine negociant arena, buying and vinifying grapes from selected vineyards and marketing these hand-reared wines under his own label. Mindful that exceptional terroir and assiduous vineyard cultivation form the bedrock of great wine, Neil forged long-term supply partnerships with top grape-growers in premium areas. Today the same philosophy—sourcing superior grapes from low-yielding, hand-selected vineyard lots in the Cape’s top terroirs—remains the mainstay of the Neil Ellis wines. In the very year Neil Ellis set out as a negociant, his future partner Hans Peter Schroder purchased the Stellenbosch wine estate, Oude Nektar, in the spectacular, viticulturally-ideal Jonkershoek Valley. This coincidence gained fresh resonance some years later when Neil and Hans finally met. Neil, recipient of many accolades since flying solo, had outgrown his leased cellar; Hans, in search of a like-minded partner for a quality-focused winery, had extensive cellar facilities (and, moreover, prime-quality grapes). After four decades of making wine, the next stage of the journey has begun with Neil’s son, Warren, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist. Click here to browse the current Neil Ellis wine selections available through Michael's Wine Cellar.
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Hamilton Russell's Terroir-Driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea, is located in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Founder Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa’s top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. His son Anthony Hamilton Russell, who took over in 1991 (buying the property in 1994), narrowed the range to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Anthony with winemaker Hannes Storm and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly individual, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply. Check back soon to browse Hamilton Russell wines for sale online through Michael's Wine Cellar.
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Michael's Wine Cellar
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239