Best of 2011: Jiko—The Cooking Place (Lake Buena Vista, FL)

This Orlando restaurant's décor and cuisine is inspired by a Disney classic.

Located in the park’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the restaurant offers African-inspired cuisine presented in a showplace kitchen, while the décor is inspired by Disney’s The Lion King.

Destination Bottles:

Kanonkop 2008 Pinotage (Stellenbosch)
Rust En Vrede 1998 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)
de Trafford 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)

One of the largest South African wine lists in the U.S., which boasts offerings from 65-plus boutique wineries.

For more information about this Orlando, FL, restaurant, click here.

For more Florida restaurants, visit Angle, Baires Grill, Bern’s Steakhouse, Hakkasan and Prime One Twelve.

Jiko Sommelier Megan DeVries on South African Boutique Wineries

Jiko carries releases from many of the boutique wineries that dot South Africa, but even at first glance it’s clear Winery De Trafford takes the notion of artisanal wine a few steps further than most: bottles are sealed with an old fashioned cork press and labeled by hand. The Trafford family never did take the easy route. In 1976 they purchased land on a dramatic slope more than 1,200 feet above the Stellenbosch and Helderberg Mountains, far too high for grazing but deemed eminently suitable for superior red grapes.

While quota restrictions prohibited planting a commercial vineyard they used these vines to experiment. From 1984 to 1991 they tried different grape varieties, clones, rootstocks, vine densities and trellis systems, took advice from neighboring winemakers and applied techniques they learned in Bordeaux. It was a long learning curve, but by the time restrictions were lifted in 1991, the Traffords had honed the ideal wine for this unique high altitude site. Production is small (3,500 cases) which lets the family spend time on each phase of the winemaking process, from label art painted by David Trafford’s wife Rita, to hand distribution by his mother, Mavis, known on her route from warehouse to wine stores as the most elegant delivery person in South Africa.