The remarkable Cortez 2014 from Testalonga

I’ve admired Craig Hawkins’ Testalonga wines for a while now. They are just so brave. And delicious. [See here, here and here for reviews.] This is his Chenin that’s made without skin contact. It’s fully beautiful, and has no additions at any point: it’s a truly natural wine. Just 10.5% alcohol, too!

Testalonga ‘Cortez’ [...]

Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 Swartland, South Africa

This was a new discovery at Cape Wine. It’s  the Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 from an old vineyard (1978 plantings) in the Swartland. The soils? Pure granite, no irrigation, picked early (19 Balling), fermented in old barrels. It’s made by Jacques de Klerk whose day job is with Radford Dale. Interestingly, even though this is [...]

South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

These are some of the highlights from the Chenin Blanc beach party at Cape Wine, which I caught on Monday afternoon.

It’s great that Chenin Blanc is now fully recognized as one of South Africa’s strongpoints. I guess this isn’t anything new, but the change over recent years is the gain of momentum behind this variety. [...]

Judging Chenin Blanc in South Africa

Photo: Bettina Botha

Three days. Seven judges. 145 South African Chenin Blancs.

It was the second year of the new look Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc Challenge, and I had been invited back to be the overseas judge again. So I spent an enjoyable time at Longridge Estate, where the judging took place, poring over [...]

Fun with Ryan and Samantha - Skurfberg, Jamet, Silvervis et al



So Ryan Mostert and Samantha Suddons, of new winery Terra Cura, popped round. They brought with them a couple of boxes of wine, so we sat, tasted and drank. Some very interesting bottles.

Sadie Family Skurberg 2010 Olifants River, South Africa
From a vineyard of decomposed sandstone planted between 1940 and 1955, this is Chenin [...]

The Breedekloof Chenin Blanc initiative

Before this tasting Breedekloof was totally off my radar. So it was great to catch up with three Breedekloof guys, Pieter Cronje, De Wet Lategan and Attie Loew to hear about a new Chenin Blanc initiative in the region.

Breedekloof is a relatively undiscovered area. You reach it by going through Paarl, through the tunnel in [...]

In South Africa, day 1, two exciting new wines - Patatsfontein and Haarlem to Hope

I’ve been in South Africa for one afternoon and a sleep, and already I have much that I want to report on, but for starters I will talk about two exciting new white wines that I have tasted. I had them at dinner last night with Reneen Borman and Gavin Bruwer.

The first is from Reneen, [...]

Chenin Blanc and Grüner Veltliner

Two nice wines, from two of my favourite white varieties. The first is an own-label from Berry Bros & Rudd. It’s a sort of better class of own label: Nikolaihof is one of Austria’s top producers. The second is from Mullineux, the current darlings of the South African wine scene, and it’s a lovely old [...]

Three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora

Here we have three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora. They are really compelling, made with low alcohol in a natural way, with lots of interest. They are also living wines, that continue to evolve in the glass, and even overnight in the bottle: I visited them a number of times over a couple of [...]

Two from the Swartland: Mullineux and Testalonga

Two lovely South African wines recently enjoyed. The first, quite conventional: the 2012 vintage of the fabulous Mullineux Syrah. While I love their Granite and Schist bottlings (I haven’t yet tried the new Iron cuvee), this is the wine to go for. It’s lovely, and a comparative bargain compared with its expensive peers. The second [...]