Our Top 5 Summer Wines | Royal St Andrews Hotel

Our Top 5 Summer Wines

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I never taste the wine first in restaurants,
I just ask the waiter to pour.  Nigella Lawson

When dining at The Thistle, you truly can trust that our team will be pouring only the best of the best to accompany your meal. With a recent Platinum Award in the Diners Club Winelist Awards, we spoke with our Food and Beverage Manager, Robin Hyde about his favourite summer wines.






Strandveld First Sighting
Sauvignon Blanc

My favourite Sauvignon Blanc at the moment! It’s crisp and refreshing, with tropical fruit undertones and it’s as easy to get stuck into a bottle while relaxing with the view of the Southern Right wales off Kelly’s Beach, as it is to accompany Chef Fred’s Snapper, Nicoise Salad with Lemon Beurre Blanc in The Thistle!


The much loved Strandveld First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc 2017 received a Platinum medal in the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards of 2018. As the first wine produced from the vineyards at Africa’s southernmost winery, First Sighting expresses the cool climate and maritime influence of the terroir, reflecting a combination of flavours created from the four distinctive gravel soil types at Strandveld Vineyard.


Garden Vineyards Rose

Served ice-cold, I absolutely love the complexity of this wine. It has the most amazing nose and sweet berry fruit taste, but it is crisp and dry. Perfect for lunch on a hot summer’s day on the Kowie, or as a sundowner with a bowl of salt-and-pepper squid with garlicy aioli on the Highlander terrace.


DeMorgenzon is, in essence, a 91-hectare garden interspersed with 55 hectares of carefully tended vineyards. It’s necessary to understand the physical context to get a feeling for the gardens – the farm rises from about 200m to 400m above sea level and enjoys panoramic vistas including Cape Town, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Hangklip, the Hottentots Holland mountains, Helderberg and Simonsberg with the ocean as a backdrop. The blue sea and purple mountains do inevitably influence the planting palette.In order to make sense of it all, the garden is divided into discrete spaces.”

An interesting fact: DeMorgenzon Estate, believe that music can influence the growth of a vine and the fruit it bears. We have played Baroque, and early Classical, music to our growing vines in the vineyard, in the winery and in the cellar all day, and every day, for the past seven years.


Alvi’s Drift

I like the balance that this wine strikes between fresh green apples and the lovely white stone fruit aromas. Fragrant and fruity, it’s absolutely the best wine to accompany our legendary Kamikaze Fries served in the Highlander. (Kamikaze Fries have become well known;  it’s a fiery dish of crispy, golden chips laden with freshly chopped chillies, roast garlic, a homemade aioli and a secret mix of hot spices.)


Situated on the banks of the Bree River in a quiet valley outside of Worcester in the Western Cape, family-owned Alvi’s Drift farm has a rich history of award winning wines since 1928.

“Since its inception, Alvis Drift has remained steadfast to its winning values of over-delivering on expectations.In 1928, the All-Black rugby team, known as the “invincibles”, was unassailable. They arrived on the shores of South Africa aboard the Warratah after completing an undefeated tour of the British Colonies and France expecting to continue this record. The rugby world was rocked when a young, unknown, 19-year old Albertus Viljoen Van Der Merwe, “Alvi” to his friends, scored the first try in history against the All-blacks on African soil. Alvis Drift’s charismatic founder gripped the world’s imagination by scoring this try and went on to be selected as the 221st player to play for the South African national rugby team, “the Springboks”. This Springbok team, with Alvi in their ranks turned the tide on the “invincibles” and toured the UK and Europe undefeated.”


The Tin Mine – white

To me, this wine shows the art of blending wine, and I love the spiciness, hint of oak and the intense freshness on the palate. My go-to dish with this wine is the Smoked Salmon, Avocado Mousse, Deep Fried Nori and Whisky Wasabi at The Thistle. It really brings out the complexity of this wine.


“A family owned and managed Estate, the current owners, Harold and Denise Johnson purchased the farm in 1992, and have committed themselves to a programme of development to realise Zevenwacht’srich potential beyond wine production. The estate has a strong commitment to historic and cultural preservation, as well as the active socio-economic upliftment of its workers and their families.

Two prime farming locations supply the Zevenwacht winery. The home vineyards on Zevenwacht’s 450-hectare maritime property supplies the bulk of the wine that fills the 1000-ton cellar. The farm Zevenrivieren, at the crest of the “Helshoogte” (Heights of Hell) Pass, overlooking Stellenbosch, provides equally outstanding grapes and adds fascinating variety to the collection.”


Graham Beck

No list of my favourite wines would ever be complete without a bubbly! One of my favourite vineyards is Graham Beck in Robertson. Peter Ferreira introduced me to this bubbly and his wife Ann, cooked us the most amazing lunch served on their terrace overlooking the Madeba Valley. I love the yeasty flavours and the soft fizz as the bubbles literally melt in my mouth!


“The home of our brand, Graham Beck Estate, is situated in the breath-taking Breede River Valley, only ten kilometres from the town of Robertson and an easy drive from Cape Town along the scenic Route 62. As early as the 1970’s, the Robertson area became acknowledged in the industry for its unique terroir – similar to that of the revered Champagne region in France, this incredible locale has the potential to produce world class sparkling wine. The exceptional climate, combined with the rich limestone soils produce wines with universal appeal and star quality.


Join Robin & the team for an exquisite fine dining experience at our signature restaurant, The Thistle – open Tuesday to Sunday evenings.