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HK Golfer - - Contents - By The Ed­i­tors

Ernie Els, for­mer num­ber one and four-time World Cham­pion’s vine­yard is lo­cated in the “Golden Tri­an­gle” of Stel­len­bosch, which pro­duces some of South Africa’s most award-win­ning wines.

Wine and golf is a nat­u­ral pair­ing brought to­gether in club­houses around the world. Many golfers would fin­ish off a de­mand­ing (or un­de­mand­ing) round with a sat­is­fy­ing glass (read: bot­tle) of wine over­look­ing some awe-in­spir­ing vista with the sun­light beam­ing on one’s sat­is­fied face. Even bet­ter, imag­ine if the wine was yours. All yours. You own the vine­yards and one of the best re­gional vi­gnerons makes the wine for you.

This is Ernie Els’ dream that launched in 2000 with his first vin­tage of the Sig­na­ture - an im­pos­ing Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon blend that was im­me­di­ately scored on re­lease by Wine Spec­ta­tor as the high­est-rated South African wine yet with 90+ points. The Sig­na­ture re­mains his flag­ship la­bel and ev­ery sin­gle vin­tage has scored the same above 90 points.

Els called upon the ser­vices of Louis Stry­dom, wine­maker and soon-to-be man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ernie Els Win­ery and to­gether the pair have built up a hearty port­fo­lio which now in­cludes the Pro­pri­etors’ Blend, the Sig­na­ture and the Big Easy – so-called be­cause of Els’ strap­ping 6 foot 3 build cou­pled with his easy­go­ing de­meanour. There is also his sin­gle-va­ri­etal range which cham­pi­ons Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Mer­lot and Sau­vi­gnon Blanc.

Like any self-re­spect­ing South African wine, Els’ are big and ex­pres­sive; the vines nes­tle on the sun-baked slopes of Helder­berg Moun­tain but due to its prox­im­ity to False Bay, the grapes are also gen­tly cooled by ocean breezes which slow down ag­gres­sive ripen­ing and re­sult in wines with ex­cel­lent bal­ance and con­cen­tra­tion with abun­dant acid­ity.

Els’ col­lec­tion is pre­dom­i­nantly Shi­raz and Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and Bordeaux-blends but the Big Easy range en­com­passes an­other vi­nous jewel in South Africa’s crown, Chenin Blanc. All the wines are to drink now, but his top la­bels, the Pro­pri­etor’s Blend and Sig­na­ture will also ben­e­fit from longer age­ing.

A re­search con­ducted by Vin­expo placed South Africa in the top 10 of Hong Kong’s big­gest wine im­port­ing coun­tries, mak­ing them more avail­able than ever be­fore. For Hong Kong’s wine and golf lovers, there ap­pears to be no bet­ter time to drink these cape-cru­sad­ing wines and as Els says him­self, “Wine is like golf, in both en­deav­ours na­ture has the last rul­ing.” The con­nec­tion be­tween golf and the sport of wine­mak­ing - both are played out­doors, a gen­teel set­ting that be­lies that chal­lenge of find­ing suc­cess. You have to fig­ure out how to man­age your way around a prop­erty, ad­just­ing for the vari­ances thrown at you by a change in el­e­ments.

Ernie Els’ wines are avail­able in Hong Kong via HK Golfer Store and free gift is in­cluded with pur­chase. Please write to: el­swines@hk­golfer.com

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