La Petite Vigne Amazing Grace Cabernet Sauvignon, Franschhoek, South Africa

This wine is really impressive. It’s from a Franschhoek winery I was introduced to through a friend (the brother of owner and winemaker Kevin Swart), who also make wines under the Black Elephant label. This is an estate wine made in their home cellar from grapes grown on the property, which borders Chamonix. 10 000 [...]

Some great old wines at Overgaauw, Stellenbosch

Had a remarkable dinner at Overgaauw, a wine estate in Stellenbosch, on Wednesday night. David van Velden, who hosted us, is the fourth-generation winemaker of this family property. Overgaauw has been in the van Velden family since 1905, and David began making wine in 2003, took over from his father in 2007, and has been [...]

Some lovely older South African wines

So I arrived here in St James, Cape Town, South Africa, in time for lunch. It was with the other judges of the Top 100 competition that I am participating in, and it was accompanied by some older South African wines.

We began with decade-old Sauvignon. These are wines you wouldn’t have expected to age well. [...]

A lovely no-sulfites MCC from Villiera

Methode Cap Classique, aka MCC, is the South African designation for quality sparkling wines. I was really taken by this example, from Villiera. It’s made without any added sulfur dioxide, and aged for a decent length of time in the bottle before disgorgement. I love the rich flavours and the way they are nicely countered [...]

The best Pinotage?

Could this be the best Pinotage of all? Previously I have liked a few. The Scali example springs to mind,do the regular and black label Kanonkops. This is up there, certainly, and shows what can be done with this variety. It’s from Neil Ellis.

‘We take a Burgundian approach with extraction techniques and use Burgundian wood,’ [...]

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This is a lovely South African Sauvignon Blanc from biodynamic winery Waterkloof, which I visited last year. It’s the first release of a Waterkloof wine made by new winemaker Nadia Barnard.

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ripe, rich pear and peach notes as well as lively grapefruit freshness. There’s a rich texture and mouthfeel [...]

Kershaw, a brilliant new South African Chardonnay

It has been a year of debuts in South Africa. First, the remarkable wines from Duncan Savage, and now this – Richard Kershaw MWs first solo venture, a Chardonnay from Elgin. It’s truly fabulous. Up there with South Africa’s best.

It mentions the geeky term ‘clone’ on the label: this is because Richard’s a firm [...]

Reyneke Reserve Red 2010 one of South Africa's finest

This is probably one of the best South African reds I have tasted. And I have tasted quite a few. It’s a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a third of the Syrah fraction was whole bunch, crushed by foot, with the remaining destemmed grapes added on top. It was wild yeast [...]

A lovely South African Chardonnay, and a top Champagne

I have been judging wines at Tranche 1 of the International Wine Challenge this week. The idea is, for the first time, to split judging into two sessions: the customary April two weeks, plus an additional week in November. This helps with southern and northern hemisphere wineries releasing wines at different times.

But I wanted to [...]

A brilliantly affordable sweet South African

Very impressed by this affordable sweet wine from South Africa. It’s remarkable value for money.

Nuy Red Muskadel NV South Africa
16% alcohol. This is something a bit different: an old-fashioned fortified sweet red muscat from South Africa, offering lovely flavours of rosehips and raspberry jam on toast, with a bit of spiciness. There are also subtle notes of [...]