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In The Press

  • South African Sweet Wine Awards Launches Inaugural South African Sweet Wine Report

    South African Sweet Wines have been pitted against one another and an international contender in the inaugural Sweet Wine Report. The South African Wines proved their quality and according to the Report they "can stand alongside the same from anywhere in the world" with very good results.

    The inaugural Sweet Wine Report focused on wines in the categories of Natural Sweet, Noble Late Harvest, Straw Wine, Hanepoot and Muscadel.

    Wines were tasted blind by the panel of three with scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.

    For more on the report, visit


    To see which of the award-winning Sweet Wines Hard to Find Wines has available, read on!


    Grand Duc Noblesse NV

    GlenWood Grand Duc Noblesse NV

    91 Points
    Stunning dessert wine produced from Semillon and a dash of Sauvignon Blanc, cosseted in oak for 3 years. Hedonistic yet superbly balanced with deep layers of kumquat, honey and fynbos.


    A bottle of Buitenverwachting 1769 2015

    93 Points
    Noble Late Harvest dessert wine produced by Buitenverwachting in Cape Town's Constantia Wine Route. Honey and apricot embrace a sweet sticky liquid with a lingering sugary aftertaste.


    Orange River Cellars
    Straw Wine

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars Straw Wine

    91 Points
    The grapes for this wine were air dried for 3 weeks before crushing. Allowed to ferment in second fill 225-litre oak barrels. Amber colouration with white stone fruit and peach and just a gentle hint of spiced almonds.


    Orange River Cellars
    Red Muscadel NV

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars Red Muscadel

    91 Points
    Orange-red colouration, a lighter style of fortified wine. Raisins and sultanas with a light fruity sweetness and just a hint of orange peel.

    Orange River Cellars
    White Muscadel NV

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars White Muscadel

    90 Points
    A deep golden hue, intense ripe fruit blossom and dried figs. Light and fresh with a balanced sweetness.

  • IWC Winners for 2018!

    The International Wine Challenge is in its 34th year. The IWC is a meticulously judged wine competition where each wine is judged blind for faithfulness to style, region and vintage. During the judging process, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three occasions by at least 10 different judges. Awards include medals (Trophy, Gold, Silver, Bronze) as well as Commended and Great Value awards.

    Our South African wines put on quite a show this year. Below are the winners of Trophy, Gold and Silver awards.


    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016
    IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy and Gold Medal

    A bottle of La Couronne Chardonnay 2016

    Congratulations to Eldorette, Henk and the team at La Couronne in Franschhoek on winning the IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy and Gold Medal for their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016. This is a lovely, complex, medium weight chardonnay with scented vanilla spice, some honey and pear. A tangy, saline acidity and a long, refreshing finish.

    In addition to this Gold Medal and Trophy, La Couronne also won Bronze Medals for their Limited Release Pinotage 2015 and their Merlot Rose 2017 and a Commended for their Malbec 2015.


    The Bell Tower 2013
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Asara Bell Tower 2013

    Sleek, intense and packed with sweet black plum and bitter chocolate, with an edge of balsamic. A sweet intensity and structure.

    Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Asara Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2016

    Fresh tight lean style with vanilla oak characteristics on the finish. Warm, Waxy, ripe style, juicy melon and ripe apple fruit and some lingering honeysuckle.


    Vigneron's Selection Chardonnay 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of GlenWood Vigneron's Selection Chardonnay 2016

    Bold and powerful citrus burst, mouth-fillingly rich and creamy vanilla with beautifully integrated oak. Butterscotch and glycerine, creamy balance with great length and lift.

    Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Grand Duc 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    GW Sem Saus Grand Duc 2016

    Baked apple and cinnamon, buttered popcorn with savoury notes. Long and complex.


    Shiraz 2015
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of GC Shiraz 2015

    The 2015 Shiraz shows textbook black pepper spice and violets on the nose with hints of Cape fynbos and black currant.  The intense fruit flavours follow on the palate with firm tannin and a fresh acidity that promises great ageing potential.

    Pinotage 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Groot Constantia Pinotage 2016

    A bold, generous, rich, plummy fruit with notes of dark chocolate and mocha. A traditional style of Pinotage, of earthy farmyard qualities interlaced with full dark fruits.

    While we do have the Groot Constantia wines in stock, you will need to wait a bit longer for some of these other award winners. We expect the arrival of the Glenwood Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay 2016 over the course of the next month. The Asara wines and the La Couronne Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 will be arriving at Hard To Find Wines over the next few months.

  • Haute Cabriere Launches New Summer Menus

    Haute Cabriere, an iconic Franschhoek wine farm and a favourite stop on many of our clients' visits to South Africa, has released their 2017 summer menus. To complement the new menus and the beautiful setting of their location, Haute Cabriere will be extending their Tasting Room and Restaurant opening hours from 1 November.

    “With summer approaching it only makes sense to make this beautiful setting available for longer, and extend our food and wine offering,” comments Marketing Manager Lientjie McLachlan.

    New tasting room tapas and oyster menu for summer

    The Tasting Room will extend its hours 1 November 2017, and will be open from Mondays to Saturdays and Public Holidays from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

    A tapas-style, small plates menu has been introduced at the Tasting Room as a perfect accompaniment to the range of Haute Cabriere wines and Méthode Cap Classiques. 

    Various plates of tapas style food from Haute Cabriere's Tasting Room summer menus with Haute Cabriere's Pierre Jourdan Brut and other wines

    The small plates menu will be served on the terrace from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday during the South African summer season to allow guests to linger a little longer while taking in views of the valley.

    Restaurant dining now open seven days a week

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  • Low Alcohol Wine, Monopole Brut just 8.5%

    With new UK guidelines on how much booze we should drink now at the paltry level of just 14 units per week for both men and women, just how can we make our units stretch?

    Probably the best way is to lower the alcohol content of your wine (although the 7 glasses a week quoted are based on just 10.5% alcohol anyway). Many of the large supermarket chains have already started to move in this direction with some "wines" offering a meagre 3.5% alcohol, great to keep within the guideline limits, unfortunately not so fantastic on the taste front.

    However, on our travels we have stumbled upon an unlikely solution in the form of a Luxembourg wine from the Moselle region. Domaine Vinsmoselle Monopole Brut is a semi sparkling white wine in the same style as many of the ever popular Prosecco Frizzante from Italy. A wonderfully easy drinking wine with a refreshing effervescence, hints of apples and pears and an alcohol of just 8.5%.

    Just £7.49 a bottle imported exclusively by Hard to Find Wines, the lower alcohol level means you can indulge in an extra glass every week and still enjoy a quality wine. Of course everything in moderation, so I will not be throwing out my Chianti at 15% just yet!

    You can find the Domaine Vinsmoselle Monopole Brut here

  • HTFW @ The Three Wine Men Manchester tasting event

    Last weekend saw us showing off our wines at the Manchester leg of the three wine men tour. Oz Clark, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin are on hand all weekend to pose for the odd photo, but more importantly give advice and tasting tips on all of the wines on show.

    From our corner of the tasting room, we had brought along a varied selection of wines, starting with magnums of Pierre Jourdan Brut from the Haute Cabriere Estate in Franschhoek, with imbibers enjoying the fine tingly bubbles and also the chance to win a bottle in our prize draw.

    The selection of whites included a particularly fruity Riesling from wine maker Mark Davidson at Tamburlaine, our all time bestseller Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir and the beautifully grassy Bladen Sauvignon Blanc from Dave and Christine Macdonald in Marlborough. To finish off the whites, a new wine in our portfolio from just North of Sancerre, Domaine de Villargeau, 100% Sauvignon Blanc and with all the beautifully subtle characteristics of nettles and freshly mown lawn.

    For the red drinkers we started with an easy drinking Trapiche Malbec fom Argentina, followed up by a rich smoky number from Glenwood in their Shiraz 2007 which has aged superbly. Porters Pinot Noir represented New Zealand, a more old world style Pinot from Martinborough showcasing there is more than just Central Otago for NZ Pinots. Then with the added interest of using our Vinturi Wine Aerator was the Casa Emma Chianti Classico 2011 which although drinking nicely without, was transformed when the flavours and aromas were opened up by the aerator.

    And for those with a sweet tooth, De Leuwen Jagt Red Muscadel rich in raisin and current flavours and a De Krans Tawny to end on with its huge array of international awards behind it.

    For those who missed the show, a selection of the wines we tasted can be found here , or if you are in London on the 7th or 8th of December there are still tickets available via the three wine men website for the final event of the year which we will also be attending!

  • De Krans Award Winning Wines!

    >Dekrans Logo

    De Krans Wine Cellar, situated in Calitzdorp, has received a 5 star rating for its Cape Vintage Reserve 2011 in the latest edition of the authoritative and internationally recognized 2014 Platter's South African Wine Guide, due for release this month. This is the ninth consecutive year that De Krans has been awarded a 5 star rating for its award-winning fortified wines, reaffirming their position as one of the fortified leaders in the industry. A total of 7 434 wines were judged by a panel of esteemed judges who selected 80 wines for the prestigious 5 star rating.


    Other fortified wines within the De Krans portfolio also did extremely well in the same guide with the De Krans Cape Vintage 2012, Cape Tawny Port and White Muscadel 2013 each receiving 4½ stars. De Krans’ latest flagship red wine, the Tritonia 2011, Touriga Nacional 2012, Cape Ruby and Reserve Muscat 2011 each received an impressive 4 stars, with the Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (also produced by De Krans) also receiving 4 stars.

    The De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2011 is produced in the traditional style using the Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca and Tinta Roriz port cultivars. This rich full bodied fortified wine has excellent maturation potential, similar to the De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 1993 which was sold at this year’s Nederburg Auction for a record price of R7 000 (£500) for six bottles. Winemaker and co-owner Boets Nel describes this flagship offering as having a vibrant plum colour, with dense aromas of prune, spice and tobacco.  A fleshy, chewy mouthful of flavours, showing tannic grip, concentrated red fruit nuances, and a firm structure ensuring considerable longevity. Savour this premium fortified wine on its own, or serve with stronger cheeses.

  • Jamie Goode from reviews our wines

    As one of the most respected wine bloggers, Jamie Goode has been informing wine lovers for well over 10 years with his regular blogs and reviews at

    Last month he sampled three of our top Australian and New Zealand Wines including:

    Oakridge 864 Chardonnay 2008 Yarra Valley, Australia From the Van der Meulen vineyard, dry grown, near Seville, cropped at 5 tons/hectare on red volcanic soils. There’s a mineral, spice and matchstick edge to the precise pear and white peach nose. The palate is complex, powerful and quite mineral with fig, toast and nut complexity as well as lively citrus fruit. Complex and fine, this is quite amazing. 95/100

    Remarkable Pinot Noir 2007 Gibbston Valley, Central Otago, New Zealand A single-vineyard Pinot Noir that spends 15 months in French oak, named after the Remarkables mountain range. Lovely ripe, perfumed nose of damson, plum and cherry, with some warm herbal notes. The palate is ripe but fresh with lovely vivid cherry and plum fruit, as well as meaty spicy notes and good acidity. Tingly acid finish. 93/100

    Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2006 Central Otago, New Zealand 11 months in French Oak. Bright black cherry, blackberry and spice nose with some herby notes. The palate shows ripe black fruits with warm spiciness, nice structure and good acidity. Sweet and approachable with some warmth. 92/100

    To read more from Jamie visit

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