Wine review: Kallista 2017 vintage, Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc 

Kallista 2017 vintage- paired with grilled Norwegian salmon with ginger, coriander and chillies and naartjes and dark chocolate for desert

To buy: Kallista 2017 is available on promotion at R325 a bottle online (September 2020). See or purchase at boutique bottle stores, Makro and Checkers Liquor Shops – prices may vary at retail outlets.

We kicked off Heritage Day 2020, South Africa, by opening a bottle of Kallista 2017 vintage. With lockdown in South Africa and alcohol not available for sale until recently, it was a treat to be able to celebrate Heritage Day with this full bodied wine which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It is a wine to be savoured and we have been nursing the bottle, to last the entire Heritage Day Weekend.

First up, I love the fact there is a cork – a real cork- and it is branded with Kallista. Pop- that sound adds to the wine experience. Then, the first sip and the taste of a chocolaty sensation. The tasting notes describe “black pepper, cherries and strawberries”. I get those notes but for me, I sensed chocolate – a semi-sweet good dark chocolate – with hints of fruit. There is absolutely no bitter after taste to this wine. At the moment, we can do without bitterness. It is a 2017 vintage and the three years in the barrel is evident in the blend. It is very smooth and the wine does “linger” as per the tasting notes.

In terms of the wine experience, Vriesenhof glasses added a sense of fun into experience this blend. The glasses, made from plastic- see photo –have an ergonomic handling grip point. As we head into summer, the glasses are a terrific picnic accessory for a wine enhanced picnic. These glasses were available as part of a promotion and that offer sold out. Hopefully, the glasses will be uploaded soon for sale, through Vriesenhof’s online shop. They are a terrific present- with a bottle or six of wine – of course.

Vriesenhof Wine Estate is located in Stellenbosch’s Paradyskloof Valley, on south facing slopes.  Vriesenhof’s owner and cellar master Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee is a Western Province Rugby legend. He bought Vriesenhof in 1980 and the first release of Kallista was in 1984.

After months of lockdown (we are currently in level 1, September 2020), now is the time to stock up on good quality vino. The Kallista 2017 is R325 a bottle, online. Other excellent deals from Vriesenhof – Vriesenhof Grenache Rose 2019 at R75 a bottle; Vriesenhof Unwooded Chardonnay 2019 at R90; Vriesenhof Kallista 2010 is R405 a bottle.

Work that out in US Dollars and Euros. Purchase now for friends and family who are bound to be jetting in to South Africa, when the pandemic is over. International travel into the country is happening with restrictions, from October 1, so hop online now and stock up – in anticipation of post Covid braais. In the meantime, enjoy Vriesenhof with your family unit- inside or outside.

We have made our Kallista 2017 vintage bottle last a few days. It paired exceptionally well with grilled Norwegian salmon with ginger, coriander and chillies (home-made).  Naartjies (South African mandarins) were sublime with the Kallista and Lindt dark chocolate (orange) was definitely enhanced by the wine.

Image credit: TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.