Arcangeli, an exciting new addition to the South African wine scene

Arcangeli is an exciting new addition to the South African wine scene. The home of this project is a farm on Bot River that used to be called Freiteras Vineyards. It was bought a while back by Sandro Arcangeli, who tasked Krige Visser (Mount Abora, La Vierge et al) with making the wines. The property [...]

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen, a thrilling South African Chenin

I’ve spoken of my love of Adi Badenhorst’s Dassiekop before: it’s one of my favourite Chenins. I brought a bottle to New Zealand and shared it with friends. It was lovely.

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen 2015 Swartland, South Africa
This is thrilling. Powerful and spicy with citrus and pear and white peach. Lovely lemony brightness under the [...]

Eben Sadie shows his wines and describes his philosophy (with video)

[Eben Sadie, in a suit, in the glam surroundings of the Lanesborough Hotel in London. Fortunately even these can't keep him down. He was his usual thoughtful, opinionated self. He really cares, and he understands wine deeply. But he's also fun.]

It was great to catch up with Eben Sadie, Swartland pioneer and one of South [...]

Video: in Elgin for the Chardonnay Colloquium

Here’s a film from my recent visit to South Africa’s Egin wine region for the Chardonnay Colloquium:

Lunch at the Short Market Club, Cape Town

Had a brilliant lunch experience today in Cape Town, at the Short Market Club. It’s a newish restaurant that’s an offspring of two of Cape Town’s most celebrated eateries, the Test Kitchen and the Pot Luck Club. So how did this, the latest venture from Luke Dale-Roberts, stack up? It’s a project he has handed off [...]

Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium: Elgin versus the rest of the world, a blind tasting

This was very interesting: as part of the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium, we did a blind tasting with 21 different wines, pitching Elgin’s finest against some international benchmarks. Michael Fridjhon and I tasted blind, too, and gave our comments on each wine before revealing their identity. These are my notes and scores as written blind, and [...]

Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium: tasting 16 Chardonnays from 2016

This weekend is the second instalment of the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium, and as part of yesterday’s proceedings, we tried 16 different wines from the 2016 vintage. This is a warmer, drier vintage than 2015, with slightly uneven fruit set. But despite this, the results were pretty good, as these wines showed. Elgin Chardonnay is in [...]

Neil Ellis Op Sy Moer 2016, a distinctive white bottled with fine lees

Warren Ellis, son of Neil, showed me this wine on a recent trip to South Africa. It’s a blend of Palomino from Piekeneerskloof (450 m, Table Mountain sandstone soils), with a touch of Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc. All old vines. The interesting thing about this wine is the lees contact: it’s even bottled with [...]

Wild Air Sauvignon Blanc: one of South Africa's finest

I was really impressed by this South African Sauvignon. Available in the UK from agent Indigo Wines: retail is c £20 and stockists include The Sampler, Highbury Vintners. Vincognito, Handford and Honest Grapes.

Wild Air Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. Collaboration between Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wine and Hannes Storm. Grapes are from [...]

Video interviews with top South African winemakers

Just posted a write up of the excellent wines from Mick and Jeanine Craven, who make superb single-site wines from Stellenbosch. While I was doing it I thought I’d share some of my video interviews with various South African wine stars, beginning with Mick and Jeanine: