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In a tranquil setting, guided by a narrow timber walkway over a dark water pond, past two massive granite boulders that enforces a sense of humbleness, I suddenly realised that this was going to be an impressive evening. Wine Village was very privileged to be invited for a private Ernie Els Tasting as part of a media release.

Andrew, the Sales Manager led the way to Ernie Els private trophy room. Never before have I felt so intimidated, not for the wines we are about to taste, but I was surrounded by trophies only seen on TV. At display, right in front of me was “The Claret Jug” I could not believe my eyes. As I turned around, another trophy, this time it was the US Open Trophy. A room covered wall to wall in silverware and memorabilia. I then knew that this opportunity was never to be repeated again and I visually printed every image that crossed my eyes, printed in memories.

Only after a few moments could I close my mouth and take note of a yellow A4 paper in front of us. My eyes popped out. Thirteen wines on tasting, but not your everyday stuff, unless you are Bill Gates, the “Signature” from the maiden vintage (2000) to the current release, the 2012.

Andrew and Louis (Winemaker) informed us that the Winery will be closed for eighteen months to undergo severe upgrade with a more modern and natural approach. Ernie Els Wines will focus more on the top brand namely the Ernie Els Proprietors Blend and the Signature range. The tonnage thus will reduce from 320 tons to 60 tons. The style will remain the same and more emphasis will be put on elegance and definition.

After an informal chat it was time for some serious tasting. I last tasted the 2000 vintage back in 2005 and could gladly report that she is doing just fine. Eighteen years later and that distinct Signature style of dark cassis, leather and mocha is still on full display. This classy DNA carries through all the vintage.

It was one of those evenings that shadows all other tasting. Standing outside on the terraces, taking in what just happened inside and glaring over the city lights far in the distance, I said to Paul, “Am I dreaming, or was this for real”.

What an honour it was for Wine Village and to bear the flag at such an exclusive tasting.