SASA Brandy Tasting at Backberg Estate

On Monday 3rd July Matthew and I were invited to join the South African Sommeliers association for their monthly get together. This month the theme was Brandy and we met at the Backsberg Wine Estate just outside Klapmuts near Paarl.

We were met on arrival by Tinashe Nyamudoka (in charge of memberships, SASA), Simon Back (CEO of Backberg Estate Cellars) and Danie Pretorius (general manager of the SA Brandy Foundation). Once Tinashe had welcomed everyone he handed over to Kobus Gelderblom. Kobus has spent decades perfecting his craft, with a number of accolades won throughout this time. Working at KWV for 26 years, he served as Chief Brandy Master for the final 10 years before forging his own way in the brandy world. Since 2001, Kobus has served on the judging panel at the International Spirits Challenge in London as one of six internationally acclaimed judges. What an amazing gentleman. We all learnt so much for his presentation.

The SA Brandy Foundation

The South African Brandy Foundation aims to facilitate the long term growth and preserve the integrity and heritage of the South African brandy industry. The Foundation represents more than 95% of South African brandy producers. It was established in 1984. It is a registered non-profit organisation with offices in Stellenbosch.

Brandies Tasted

Tokara 5 Year Old
Slow French oak maturation added the distinctive characteristics. The mellowed spirit abounds with subtle complex flavors of dried fig, peach and raisin fruits, pot-potpourri floral aroma and heady jasmine, orange blossom and vanilla notes with spicy pepper and saffron overtones. Innovative final blending enhanced the balance and synergy of the subtle flavors to create a distinctive spirit with fine length and depth of aftertaste.

Avontuur 10 Year old
It is clean and crisp on the nose with strong cedar and vanilla undertones. On the palate it has an attractive herbaceousness with complexity added across the full floral and fruit spectrum. The finish is smooth and the beautiful golden caramel colour is due to the ageing process in the oak.



Blaauwklippen 10 Year Old
Blaauwklippen’s 10-year-old Pot stilled Brandy is made from Colombard, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This high quality offering was double distilled in an old copper pot still before maturing in specially chosen 225l French oak barrels for a period of 10 years. Complex and rare, it draws you in with wafts of attractive vanilla and spicy cloves, while the palate offers opulent fruit flavours.

Sydney Back 10 year
Rich golden hue. Honeyed nose of rose, honeysuckle, dried peach, apricot and nuts. Distinct sweet tobacco notes with hints of tea and cinnamon make this a beautifully layered, complex palate. A smooth mouthfeel with a gradual warming sensation and long genteel finish.



Sydney Back 15 year
15 years of maturation contribute a vast array of complex aromas and flavors. Hazelnut, peach and subtle liquorice aromas overlay the body of fine, pure spirit. The palate is warm, yet gentle, contrasting sweet peach and almond flavors with savoury notes.



Sydney Back first distillation
A crystal clear spirit of lively golden – amber colour. Full- bodied with a complex bouquet of aromatic oak shavings, polished teak, spice and potpourri. The delicate palate of walnut, spicy vanilla, sweet caramel and butterscotch is refined and subtle, with a lingering fruity, but dry, finish.



After the tasting we were treated to a delicious lunch in the restaurant.


On the table

Home baked bread with a variety of spreads.


Sweet potato soup

Main Course

Fish & Chips
Aromatic Lamb Curry
Mushroom & Cheese Burger
Creamy Mushroom & Basil Pesto Pasta

Thank you so much to the South African Sommeliers Association

And to the South African Brandy Foundation

And to Backsberg Estate Cellars

For more photographs, go to:

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