Springfield Life From Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Now this is a wine I have struggled with in the past. I have found it to be excessively dominated by those green methoxypyrazine characters, to the point of unbalance, while everyone else has raved about it. But I’m an open-minded sort of guy, and trying this 2014 – well, I actually liked it. It’s [...]

Lunch with two great South African wines, and a good northern Rhône

Had a lovely long lunch yesterday. It was at Bread Street Kitchen, part of the Gordon Ramsay empire, located next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

The dining room is huge. Really huge. Impressively huge. It’s beautifully finished in a faux vintage, semi-industrial style, but it’s really noisy. We could hardly hear the waitstaff as they talked to [...]

Some nice wines from Sivervis, Swartland, South Africa

I met up with Ryan Mostert (above right) and Michael Roets (above left) to drink wine. Ryan was until recently assistant winemaker at Reyneke, and with his partner Sam recently moved to the Swartland. There, he’s teamed up with Michael to work on a new project, Avant Garde Wines.

They’ve been scouting top vineyard sites, and [...]

New vintages from Duncan Savage, one of South Africa's stars

I’ve previously written about the first releases from Duncan Savage on this blog, giving them fairly hefty scores. Fortunately most serious commentators are in full agreement about these wines. The new vintages have hit the UK shores, and here are my notes. The score for the white might go up in time, because this is [...]

Iona Chardonnay 2013, a star from Elgin

My South African wine journalist friends have been raving about Elgin Chardonnay for ages. Do you know what? They may just be right. I’ve some good ones of late, including impressive examples from new boy Richard Kershaw, and this stunner from Iona.

Iona Chardonnay 2013 Elgin, South Africa
13% alcohol. A lovely Elgin Chardonnay that blends freshness [...]

Some highlights from the Waitrose Press Tasting

We wine journos are in the middle of press tasting season at the moment, with all the major supermarkets showing off their ranges. Buying standards for UK supermarkets are very high, but what makes life difficult for the buyers are their margin requirements, especially in the days of 25% off entire range special offers. So [...]

The Mullineux Semillon Gris

Now this is an interesting wine. It’s a Semillon Gris from Swartland (South Africa) stars Mullineux.

This is what Andrea Mullineux says about it:

Sémillon Gris is historically significant in South Africa, not just for the old vine aspect, but for its previous popularity. In the early 1800s, 80% of the vines in South Africa were [...]

Notes on wines from the 30th Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

The Cape Winemakers Guild was formed in 1982, and its first auction in 1985 involved 13 winemakers and 18 wines. The guild was formed when South African wine was at a very different stage, in international isolation, with an industry dominated by two big players. The idea was to help lift standards by sharing [...]

Craig Hawkins: Testalonga and Lammershoek

Craig Hawkins (pictured above with significant other Carla Kretzel in the background) is one of South Africa’s most talented and brave winemakers. He’s the winemaker at Lammershoek, and also makes his own wines under the Testalonga label. He’s very experimental, and has worked a lot with skin contact and lees. He prefers picking earlier, making [...]

Some wines from a weekend away

Just been away for a weekend with family, staying in a lovely house in Puddletown, Dorset. It wasn’t a wine geeky sort of weekend, so I brought along some good solid wines that delivered a lot of pleasure, without being at all wine nerdy.

Marks & Spencer Macon-Villages Uchizy 2013 Burgundy, France
From Raphael Sallet, 13% [...]