In Franschhoek day 4, Petite Ferme, the AGP guys, and Foliage

Day four in Franschhoek started a little sluggishly. It was raining hard at Glenwood, where I’d been staying, so a 3 am bedtime plus the precipitation put paid to rather ambitious plans to run a 10 k in beautiful settings.

I had an interesting day ahead. I started off with breakfast in town, followed by a [...]

In Franschhoek, day 3

So, my third day in the paradise that is the Franschhoek valley. I began at La Bri, with Irene Waller (above), who has been making wine here for a while. It’s a lovely spot, and the wines are really good. Viognier impressed, as did the superb 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release. There’s a lovely freshness [...]

In Franschhoek day 2, Lynx and Landau

Yesterday exceeded my expectations. Just two visits, but they were in depth, and super interesting.

The first was at Lynx, with Dieter Sellmeyer. He and his wife Diana moved here after a rather nomadic existence hopping around the world. He’s an engineer by training, and they bought a lovely property which Dieter planted with engineering-like precision, [...]

In Franschhoek, South Africa

So I am in South Africa again. This time, I’m spending a few days in Franschhoek, with the aim of getting under the skin of this region. I’m staying with Kevin Swart of Black Elephant Vintners, a relatively new enterprise in the valley. I met Kevin through his brother Gary, who is a colleague of [...]

Luke Lambert Nebbiolo, a new Australian classic

This is amazing! Nebbiolo is a difficult traveller – a grape variety that really struggles to perform well away from its Piedmont home. But Luke Lambert has created a new Australian classic here. It’s such a convincing interpretation of Nebbiolo, and it combines structure and beauty. I served it blind to some experienced tasters and [...]

So it's Sauvignon Blanc day

I don’t really like grape variety days all that much. There are, I am told, some 1400 grape varieties grown commercially in the world. So that means that you’d have to share each and every day among at least three varieties, if their allocated days are spread evenly through the year. That could be boring.

It’s [...]

Some gins!

I’m a big fan of gin. Gin also happens to be quite trendy at the moment, especially in Spain, where you can’t move for gin bars and where gin and tonics come in big bowl shaped glasses and are wonderful.

Here’s a round-up of some gins that landed in my sample pile recently. I tried them [...]

Ruggabellus: remarkable wines from the Barossa

I have a soft spot for the Barossa. It was the first wine region I ever visited. I’ve been there a few times now, and know it a bit. But I have struggled with some of its wines, which have expressed a bit too much ripeness, a little too much added tartaric, and a generous [...]

David Williams and Doug Wregg on natural wine and wine writing

Today’s blog post will be about other people’s wine writing. I’m going to provide links to two rather good articles, written by people who I suspect are rather smarter and better than I am. They are also two of the people who I admire the most in the wine world.

The first is by David Williams, [...]

The first week of the International Wine Challenge

So, the first week of the International Wine Challenge is over. I’ve had a nice weekend to recover (the poor team, however, have been busy all weekend sorting out the flights for week 2), and we judges have a day off tomorrow. Then it’s back to work on Tuesday: the exciting bit – deciding which [...]