How are you?

How are you?

This is a question most of us are asked frequently, but it’s a difficult one to answer.

Of course, when we’re normally asked this question, there’s an expected answer, and unless we’re speaking to a good friend in the right context, then it would be unusual not to give this expected answer: I’m good […]

Video: the Marlborough wine region, the grower's story

 

Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, relies heavily on growers. Wine arrived here relatively lately (first vineyard plantings of the modern era were 1973, but things didn’t really get going in earnest until the mid-1980s), and much of the development has involved farming families here planting vineyards, in order to sell grapes to wineries.

I spent […]

The wines of Gabrielskloof, Bot River, South Africa

Gabrielskloof, where I’ve spent the last 10 days working vintage, is a winery on the up.

Bernhard Heyns, owner, Gabrielskloof

It’s owned by Bernhard Heyns. In his previous life, Bernhard’s family owned a brick-manufacturing company, based on a clay quarry that they owned. Then they discovered a coal deposit under the clay. So Bernhard got planning […]

Harvest at Gabrielskloof: managing red wine ferments

Foot treading a whole-bunch ferment to release some juice

I’ve been enjoying working with some of the red wine fermentations this week. Wines are fermented here in two different formats. First, there are the small poly bins which take about a ton and a half of grapes, and which are suitable for small lots, or […]

Harvest at Gabrielskloof: collecting grapes

Driving through the Swartland

The producers working in the Gabrielskloof cellar in Botriver – Peter-Allan Finlayson, Marelise Niemann and John Seccombe – all buy grapes from growers spread across the various Cape wine regions. This means that there’s quite a bit of driving around during vintage time. You need to go to the vineyards to […]

Harvest at Gabrielskloof, pressing Grenache Gris and barrel work

With four different producers working in the same cellar space, there’s always plenty going on at Gabrielskloof, especially because I’m here right in the peak period of harvest. Here are a couple of things I got up to on the same morning. Above we have Marelise Niemann’s Grenache Gris (this will be released under her […]

Harvest at Gabrielskloof: vineyard sampling

One of the most critical decisions at harvest time is when to pick the grapes. Pick too soon or too late and your wine won’t reflect its vineyard origins: you end up with a wine of style. And picking late also results in grapes that need lots of additions in the winery. It’s for this […]

Two from Tokaji star Disznókő, one dry, one sweet

Two wines from leading Tokaji producer Disznókő: one dry and one sweet.

Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2016 Tokaji, Hungary
12.5% alcohol. This is crisp, fresh and fruity with a nice stony edge to the lemon and pear fruit. Subtle herbal notes, too. It’s quite a stony, mineral wine with a light body and good acidity. A bit Chablis […]

Winemaking at Gabrielskloof: pressing Chenin Blanc and sorting Pinot Noir

My first day in the cellar at Gabrielskloof was a busy one. This cellar is shared by Peter-Allan Finlayson (who makes Crystallum wines, and also Gabrielskloof, his wife Nicolene’s family winery), John Seccombe (Thorne and Daughters), and Marelise Niemann (Momento), and this means there’s plenty going on.

The day started with some pressing of Chenin Blanc. […]

Some lovely South African whites: Crystallum, Gabrielskloof, Momento, Thorne and Daughters

My first night in South Africa began well. I’m staying here 11 days, working vintage in the cellar at Gabrielskloof, a space shared by four of South Africa’s most interesting producers. It should be a fun time. In addition to Gabrielskloof, there’s Crystallum, Thorne and Daughters and Momento. Friday night was intern braai night, and […]