Three interesting whites: LAM, Gramona Ovum and Montinore Borealis

We tasted quite a few wines at the Tampere Wine Symposium, and one of the highlights was this flight of three whites. These aren’t expensive wines, but they’re really compelling and delicious.

Gramona Ovum Xarel-lo 2013 Catalunya, Spain
From a 4 hectare vineyard, fermented and aged in concrete eggs and amphorae. Lovely complex wine with nuts, lively [...]

Four nice SA reds: Restless River, Pofadder, La Motte Syrah Viognier, Spioenkop Pinotage

A few interesting South African reds tasted together. I’d heard a lot about the Restless River, and didn’t quite know what to make of it: Hemel-en-Aarde is cool climate for Cabernet, and the wine is pretty distinctive. Pofadder is a known quantity: it’s a lovely expression of Cinsault, a variety that’s superbly adapted to the [...]

A new South African great: Savage Follow The Line 2014

This is sensational. It’s a new red wine from Duncan Savage, and it’s a blend of 58% Cinsault, 21% Grenache and 21% Syrah. We were served it blind and I reckoned it was a supremely elegant warmer climate red, but I didn’t get any further than that. It’s such a beautiful wine, but it will [...]

Video: the Franschhoek wine valley, South Africa

Today I began a report on a visit to Franschhoek. It’s a wine region that is often misunderstood: the narrative is, that as the leading gastronomic destination in the Cape, it’s good for restaurants but bad for wine. This is unfair. Here’s a film I shot of the valley and some of its leading vignerons, [...]

The new releases from Delaire Graff, a leading South African winery

Morne Vrey

On my recent trip to South Africa, I had dinner at the lovely, super-luxurious Delaire Graff, preceded by a tasting with winemaker Morne Vrey and marketing manager Katherine Harris. Morne’s wines are just so consistent and pure, but they don’t lack personality. I’ve reviewed them before here. These are my new notes.

Delaire Graff [...]

Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Some lovely reds from Boschkloof

I was so impressed by these three wines, presented to me by Reenen Borman (above), who’s been winemaker here since 2010. Boschkloof is based in the Polkadraai area of Stellenbosch, which is great terroir for Syrah. It’s decomposed granite under Hutton soil with a bit of koffieklip. Reenen has experience making wine in the Rhône, [...]

The Goose wines from SA golfer Retief Goosen

New to the UK, through Daniel Lambert Wines, are these wines from South African golfer Retief Goosen. He has an estate in the Upper Langkloof, a ward in the Klein Karoo on the garden route, quite a way east from Cape Town. This isn’t a major wine region, and it’s the combination of altitude and [...]

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 [...]

Some wine with Ken Forrester

Had dinner with Ken Forrester and tried a few of his wines. Ken is the dude.

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
So impressed with this: inexpensive and deliciously drinkable. Single vineyard, 120 tons, Vin7 yeast. Fruity, generous and ripe with nice clean, ripe, sweet black fruits. Stylish and quite elegant. 88/100

Ken Forrester Renegade 2011 [...]