Zonnebloem, Charlie and the Angels
Anyone who has ever walked into a wine shop knows that there are an enormous amount of wines to pick and choose from. Picking a bottle is like russian roulette. You never really know what you are going to get until you pull the cork.
Over the past couple of years I decided to skip the commercial wines on the shelf and rather go for something unknown, yet affordable. I blame this on my student days, 7Elevens and Tassies, who ruined most of the Distell brands for me. Little did I know what I was missing…
Zonnebloem wines have been around for many years. It’s one the most recognized wine brands in South Africa and a house hold name in bottle stores, big retail stores and wine shops. Up until today it never crossed my mind to buy a bottle and saw it as just another big brand that will add little value to my palate. I was horribly mistaken! After tasting some of the wines in the Zonnebloem range over lunch at the Test Kitchen, I wanted to kick myself for my stupidity. All these years I’ve missed out on wines that are not only tasty but extremely affordable.
During lunch I met the team behind these proudly South African wines. One could call them Charlie and the Angels, with Deon Boshoff playing the roll of Charlie and Elize Coetzee, Bonny van Niekerk and Annelie Viljoen representing the Angels.
And the Angels
As in the movie, the roll of the winemaker was traditionally reserved for men only but, these three ladies have busted that theory. Deon believes the ladies add refinement to the brand and the proof is in the bottles. Bonny makes the red wines and Elize the white wines while Annelie, the viticulturist, works very closely with supplier growers.
Now here’s the weird thing: Frederik Furter, who bought the farm back in 1893, had a granddaughter called Mari who took over the farm in 1940 when her father died. Her maiden vintage earned three trophies at the 1940 and 1942 Cape Wine Show. It is therefor a fitting tribute to the courageous, talented Marie Furter that in a new century, the Zonnebloem team is also dominated by women.
This year Zonnebloem walked away with three gold and four silver Veritas medals. A great and well deserved achievement.
Must try Zonnebloem wines
Zonnebloem Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – around R47
Zonnebloem Chardonnay 2011 – around R47
Zonnebloem Laureat 2009 – around R81
Zonnebloem Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2009 – around R64
Zonnebloem Ltd Ed Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – around R69
Zonnebloem Ltd Ed Chenin Blanc 2011 – around R69
Zonnebloem Ltd Ed Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – around R64