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WINE FROM THE CELLAR OF RESTAURANT MOSAIC

Posted On: 19 May 2021 by Stephan Welz

Restaurant Mosaic was one of South Africa’s great fine dining restaurants and after fifteen exhilarating years recently closed its doors. The reputation carved out over this period was so impressive that it significantly helped put South Africa on the gastro-tourism map and along with the unprecedented global media coverage over the years, brought in many visitors from abroad. Chantel Dartnall is one of South Africa’s most decorated and celebrated chefs and alongside her culinary journey, wine formed an integral part of the world-class offering at Restaurant Mosaic. As a result of the restaurant’s closure and the family’s imminent departure to pursue new adventures in France, wine-loving South Africans have been left with the exciting proposition of being able to access bottles of wine from their otherworldly 85,0000 bottle collection. The collection consists of over 5500 different labels and wines that have come directly from some of the most admired estates in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany as well as a vast and deep collection of some of South Africa’s finest and rarest wines.

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This astonishing collection has evolved over many years thanks to the expertise of Cobus du Plessis, cellar master of Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient Hotel. While Chef Chantel Dartnall has been raking in award after award for her culinary genius, her international renown has been matched by the recognition bestowed on Mosaic’s cellar – dozens of prizes, including 2019’s La Liste Award for the Best Wine List in the World and a prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator in 2021 (the fourth year in a row).

The scope of the Mosaic collection, however, is able to accommodate a much wider market of vinophiles seeking to acquire some of its gems. Seasoned connoisseurs and aspiring wine collectors alike will identify this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start or expand their own wine cellars. Restaurateurs are able to build a wine list that will give them a post-Covid boost. Wines of this quality require time to mature – and, usually, “you can’t buy age”. But in this case, the waiting has been done already!

Of equal importance is the wines’ provenance. Every one of the labels in the collection was selected with care as the Mosaic team travelled to farms across Europe and South Africa. They also ensured that each bottle was appropriately transported: the cold chain managed and intact until the consignment was delivered to the safety of the Mosaic cellar, with its constant humidity of 70% and temperature of 14ºC.

Du Plessis, who (in addition to the many prizes he has received as cellar master) was invested in 2018 as a commandeur representing the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux, emphasises this commitment. “A huge part of the cellar’s reputation comes from the fact that we visited every farm and tasted the wines under the guidance of the winemakers,” he notes. “Sometimes we enjoyed rare wines only available to select guests; always we became close friends in the bonhomie of a shared passion for wine.”

The wines will be sold over a long period of time via a variety of platforms but we at Welz are excited to have secured a parcel of wines which we can now offer out to all our collectors. This initial sale encompasses a wide range of some of their collection. It includes one of the purest and most respected Rieslings on the planet from Domaine Trimbach in Alsace, France. This is their 2006 Cuvée Frédéric Emile which only gets released after 5 years of aging in the Trimbach cellars and now with some extra cellaring done under Mosaic’s watchful eye,  is ready to start drinking. There is also some Champagne on offer including Billecart Salmon’s underrated brut cuvee as well as some special bottle of Charles Heidsieck’s 1999 Rose release. Still in France, there are some beautiful Bordeaux wines on offer. One of the featured lots is the 2009 Château Beychevelle, giving claret lovers a great opportunity to acquire some high-quality Bordeaux that has entered its drinking window. In addition there is some great value on the right bank in Bordeaux from an equally (if not better) vintage and that is the 2010 Bellefont Belcier from Saint Emilion. Not to be overlooked are the region’s famous dessert wines and there are some wonderful offerings including 375mls of  Château La Tour Blanche’s 2003 as well as Sauternes’ high reliable,  Château Suduiraut, and this is from the fantastic 2007 vintage. The other French region with a strong following locally is that of Chateauneuf du Pape and there are two lots from two of the region’s most reputable names, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and Château de Beaucastel. 

South Africa is also wonderfully represented in this parcel and highlights include aged wines from highly reputable estates such as Klein Constantia, Newton-Johnson, Warwick, AA Badenhorst,Tokara, Vergelegen, Kaapzicht. There is also a mixed case of Craig Hawkins’ (Testalonga) El Bandito Cortez, which is now much sought-after for all the right reasons. Duncan Savage is another name that has set tongues wagging in recent years and the lot with the mixed case of his delicate and elegant “Follow the Line” is worth looking out for. 

Overall, this first parcel from Mosaic covers a wide variety of styles and price points and offers wine-lovers an amazing opportunity to acquire some of the great wines of the world that have importantly been impeccably sourced and stored.