Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’
Experience 4.5 Paarl Wine 4.5

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

Sunday 19 March 2017

Experience: 4.5/5
Wines: 4.5/5

The shiny bullfrog perched on the circle after the entrance of Anura Vineyards surprised. It shouldn’t have. I am an ecologist, a nature guide and a wildlife lover. I know full well that Anura is the Latin for frog. Nonetheless, the ‘light bulb’ moment happened. I knew nothing of Anura beforehand. I had chosen to visit for 2 reasons: I wanted to taste wines from the Paarl area, and the vineyard was open for tasting on Sundays.

The wide entrance and rectangular water features picked out a wine farm that was going places. Imposing and modern, Anura wanted to impress. The long straight road past the Coopery and mostly empty vines after the harvest served only to heighten the anticipation. I parked in shade beside the Tasting Room and found my way inside.

The grand, open Tasting Room was formal yet comfortable. It was busy with tourist guides shuffling round their guests to tight time limits. The expansive facility was reminiscent of Groot Constantia in the Constantia Valley. Only the Red Bus was missing. I could see that Anura was a busy place. I could see why also. Anura has embraced the new trend to offer a lifestyle hospitality experience to all the family. It offers: cellar tours; cheese pairing and tasting; a micro-brewery featuring craft beers; a deli selling charcuterie, Froggit vinegars and relishes; tapas in the Lilypad restaurant; and a Conference complex. It is developing a retirement estate of mixed housing too.

Luck fell upon me as I introduced myself to my wine host, Rallings. A folder was open in front of him which looked familiar. Rallings was a Diploma student with the Cape Wine Academy. I only completed the Certificate course lectures yesterday and intend, on successfully completing the exams, to enrol for the Diploma Course.

Anura was bought by the Bouma family in 1989. Over the next 10 years, it was developed from 2 vineyard blocks into a single entity of 150 hectares of mainly red vines. The first vintage was made in 2001. Beforehand, grapes were sold to neighbouring estates. Frogs are plentiful on the farm that contains an area called Padda Bult, or Frog Hill, that contributes to the vineyard name.

Rallings was booked for a cellar tour but he invited me along. He put into simple words the complexities of modern wine-making. We started where the grapes were sorted on delivery after harvesting and followed the process through the cellar via de-stemming and crushing, primary fermentation, open fermentation bins, pressing, malolactic fermentation, maturation and bottling. I was struck by the scale of Anura. This was a large winery.

I returned to the Tasting Room eager to sample the wines and to use the new and more involved analysis I learned from the Certificate Course. Tasting is R30 (R50 with cheese) and I asked Rallings to bring me a selection of white and red wines ‘blind’. I was confident to let him choose the varietals as he knew where I was with my studies having been there himself some 2 years previously.

Today was my first chance to try out the new methodology to interpret and record the appearance, nose and palate for each glass. It was far more detailed and structured than what I had been using beforehand. I tasted too many wines today to describe them individually here.

Rallings poured me a classic MCC to start with made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. I did well afterwards to pick out a Sauvignon Blanc and then a wooded Chardonnay. The new tasting method was involved but, if followed with discipline, seemed to make the conclusion easier and more accurate. Rallings was obviously enjoying being my mentor and teased me with the next glass. I could see bubbles when the wine was poured but they disappeared as I assessed the appearance and nose. But, did I detect a tingling in the mouth? Were there a few bubbles rising in the glass? Rallings had slipped in an easy drinking sparkling white/rosé wine that, he admitted, was a little flat in the bottle.

I tasted 3 reds after – Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from the Signature Series, together with a Pinotage from the Anura tasting range – and with mixed identification success. I didn’t mind as Rallings gave me many useful tasting tips on what to look out for. He ‘played’ with me again by giving me a single variety Petit Verdot. I managed using careful thinking of colour, nose, dryness, tannin level, acidity and fruitiness/spiciness, together with some gentle coaching, to narrow down to one of the Bordeaux grapes but not Cabernet Sauvignon. It made for good practice too ahead of tasting exams in June.

Anura has a reputation for producing robust red wines from New World grape varieties with the complexity of the Old World. The foothills of the Simonsberg mountains contain a wide range of soils, slopes and micro-climates and so offer many opportunities to grow a wide variety of cultivars. I looked at the tasting menu, hidden until now, to see what else I could try out. Wow! There were more than 30 wines listed and the largest range I have seen in South Africa. Many were Platter 4 and 5-star rated award winning wines. My eyes though settled on the minority varieties that I rarely see during tasting.

I could have stayed all afternoon such was the choice of white and red wines to assess and savour. I planned to visit Noble Hill Estate after so I restricted myself to tasting the Grenache, Tempranillo and Sangiovese red wines. I could have bought many bottles too but restricted my purchase to two bottles each of Chardonnay and the Tempranillo. The latter will come in handy when I hold a ‘Little 5 Red’ evening tasting for the Society later in the year.

Anura was a revelation. I had driven past countless times for tasting and courses at Babylonstoren but never really noticed the vineyard. The farm is definitely worth a repeat visit and Rallings hugely impressed. I know now where to buy those rare red wines too. Oh, and I see there’s a Cape Cuvée, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Malbec inter alia to look forwards too when I next visit ….

Wines tasted (bought *):


2011 Brut MCC (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir) – R195
NV Joy Sparkling White/Rosé – R75


2016 Sauvignon Blanc – R80
2016 Chardonnay – R75* FAVOURITE WINE


2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – R160
2011 LB Shiraz – R180
2015 Pinotage – R95
2010 Limited Release Petit Verdot – R160
2014 Grenache Noir – R98
2014 Tempranillo – R98*
2014 LB Sangiovese – R180

You Might Also Like

Same but Different End to the Diploma Lectures

Altitudes with Wine!

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Peter Puts into Hermanus

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Opening the Book at Elgin Vintners

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Wines to Love on Love Street

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Back to the Future in the Berg of Paarl

The Ladies in Red

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

A Cape Wine Master-class

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

Wines Merely to Lust After

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

A Sparkling Tasting at Charles Fox

Lost and Found at Lomond – 100s!

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier


Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

Swallowing Fine Wines at Paserene

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Real Wines in the Place of God

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Well and Truly Oaked!

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Mutual Attraction

1 Night, 7 Oaks, 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2!

Where Eagles Care

South over the Hills in Elgin

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Red, Red (Spanish) Wine

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Ruddy Red and Blanc Sauvignons

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

Marching into France

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Satisfaction in Getting My Ducks (and Wines) in a Row

Hard Graft without Grafts at Abingdon Wines – No Hail to the Monkeys

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Cork and Talk with Dave

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Elgin Valley is the Cool Wine Tour

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

A Myth, a Princess, History and Destruction, 2 Names and 4 Styles – Shiraz with Pizzazz

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk


  1. Noble Wines without the Rot – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] wine were poured ‘blind’ for starters. This gave me a further chance today, having visited Anura Vineyards beforehand, to practice my Cape Wine Academy learning from the Certificate Course. There’s so […]

  2. Simonsig shows Excellence Today with Past Legacy and Tradition – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] cultivars are easiest to taste ‘blind’. I fell on my feet with Tumi – just as I had at Anura Vineyards – as he was another Cape Wine Academy student. He was studying at the Diploma level, the next […]

  3. Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] and so it was difficult to know where to start. I had tasted wines from few before, Beyerskloof and Anura only, and so I left those until later in the […]

  4. K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] in under 1% of total vineyard area in South Africa. I had tasted only once before previously, at Anura vineyards. The Petit Verdot was purple red in colour and easily recognisable as a Bordeaux grape on […]

  5. Reflections in a Wine-Glass ©: Blend Trends – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] the Tourigos and Tintas – as vineyards produce sufficient grapes to harvest. Morgenster, Anura, La Vierge, Cavalli and De Krans already produce single variety and blended wines using these […]

  6. Where Eagles Care – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] the main players of the Rhône Blend. It is relatively uncommon to taste as a single variety wine (Anura, Diemersdal and DeMorgenzon come to mind; Ken Forrester and Waverley Hills use in their Rhône […]

  7. Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] Stellenbosch Hills, Van Loveren and Whalehaven were new. These took the place of Altydgedacht, Anura, Doolhof, Kaapzicht, L’Avenir, Liepzig, Paradyskloof, Spencer Bay, Stellenbosch Vineyards and […]

  8. Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] from Cape Town together with a fabulous Franschhoek weekend that included a day on the Wine Tram: Anura, Glen Carlou, Backsberg, Babylonstoren, Noble Hill, Vrede en Lust, Plaisir de Merle, Allée Bleu, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *