Sankara’s New World

Jean Wandimi of and Penelope Kirui of began an exciting social collective where open themed conversations can take place between all wine lovers on Wednesdays from 10 am to noon! Using the hashtag #WineinKenya, they’ve managed to create quite a buzz over the 6 tweet ups they’ve organised so far.

This has stirred things up so much so in this bustling country hungry for wine that SHK Consulting took notice; deciding to host a pre-tweet up tasting at the swanky Sankara this last Tuesday! With the week’s theme as New World Wines, Assistant Sommelier Geoffrey and Executive Assistant Manager David had set up four wines for us to taste through to help kick-start the conversation.

Courtesy of


Incredibly thirsty for any kind of tasting (always), I was there early exuding with classic “Tomness” (just coined that up now but anyone that knows me knows exactly what I’m talking about), which Chandni and Sylvia initially didn’t know what to make of. With Jean, Penelope and Evans (their official photographer) arriving shortly after to rescue the spirits drinking ladies, we kicked off the tasting.


First on the list was the 2011 unwooded Chenin Blanc from Raats Family in Stellenbosch, South Africa. It showed good tropical fruit of pears and oranges that followed through on the palate. Given some time it bore entertaining minerality that finished off rather tangy. It had held up well in age, but should be drunk within the next couple of months.

Friendly banter, an impromptu rating and delectable bitings introduced, we moved on to wines exclusively made for the hotel by Giorgio Dalla Cia, as their house wine. Again from South Africa, this 2010 Chardonnay had an inviting nose of stone fruits engulfed in a slight floral passion character which evolved towards honey. On the palate though, I believe the wine had long since passed its prime as it was rather hollow and short, with a lingering sour character and some heat. I can imagine it had once been lively and fruity, but at this point it was a simple shell.

Following this, we moved to the red, a Merlot, which was of the same vintage. This, I must commend Dalla Cia, for he produced something exactly tuned to what the target market likes. It showed remarkable red fruit weight with prominent plums that gave it an ‘almost sweetness’ with a rather earthy core. It had obvious oak that although alternative, was not offensive in any way. It was well integrated with a silky mouth feel that left the table in awe! As far as house wines go it was fun and very quaffable.

Fun & Quaffable










Last, we left the continent and dove into Argentina, specifically Mendoza, for their widely acclaimed Malbec. Producer, Norton, had packaged what would be my wine of the evening. Starting off with darker fruit of Cassis and blueberries, it later morphed into luminous juicy red fruit. The entry was sleek, with a green – wild herb character that added to its complexity. A 2012, it showed its youth yet was pleasantly approachable.

All in all it was a delightful tasting where we learnt how fruity and approachable New World wines can be. Geoffrey was charmingly informative while David provided much entertainment with his dry British humour…

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