The new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa's most interesting wineries

Craig Hawkins

Caught up with Craig Hawkins to try the new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa’s most interesting and bravest wineries. Craig and Carla left the safety of being based at Lammershoek (which was owned by her parents) and have moved to a remote but beautiful farm on the very edge of the [...]

A lovely wine lunch at La Colombe, Cape Town, with Coche, Raveneau, Jamet and Montrose

It was great to catch up with Keith Prothero, Ryan Mostert and Sam Suddons on Wednesday for lunch at one of Cape Town’s most celebrated restuarants, La Colombe. It was my first time there, and I was impressed. It’s in a beautiful setting high up in the Constantia valley, located in the grounds of the [...]

In the vineyards with Johan Reyneke talking farming and biodynamics

Johan Reyneke

Had a lovely morning with Johan Reyneke at is Stellenbosch farm. Duncan Savage and I swung by for a spot of breakfast, and we had a lengthy chat about how he farms, as well as a chance to wander the property before I had to head off to the airport.

Johan is the standard [...]

Judging the Top 100 South African Wines competition

For the last couple of days I have been judging the Top 100 South African Wines competition. This is the sixth year this competition has been run. Along with Richard Kershaw and Duncan Savage, I’ve been a judge at all six. Sadly, this year there was a clash with Bordeaux primeurs, so for the first [...]

In South Africa: new releases from Craven, Intellego and Hogan

Mick and Jeanine Craven

Caught the end of yesterday’s Ex Animo trade tasting in Cape Town, after a long day’s judging wine. And in the short time available, managed to try new releases from Craven, Intellego and Hogan. These are three very exciting producers.

Of the 2015s, Mick Craven says, ‘if you didn’t make good wine [...]

In Cape Town, the first evening: Meerlust, Villiera, Mossop and Nuy

I’m in Cape Town. I’ve come to judge the Top 100 South African wines competition, which is now in its sixth year. This year, for the first time, we’re not at Rodwell House (it has been sold), so I’m staying in Vredehoek, on the outskirts of the city. It’s a pretty place, and last night [...]

Craven Syrah Faure Vineyard 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa

This is interesting. It’s from Craven Wines, which is a new project from Mick and Jeanine Craven that focuses on single vineyard wines from special sites in Stellenbosch. The approach is to pick early enough so that there’s proper terroir expression, and work with native ferments and older oak to encourage the site to shine [...]

A beautiful South African white: Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2013

This is a brilliant oak aged Sauvignon/Semillon from Duncan Savage at Cape Point. The blend in 2013 is 82% Sauvignon, 18% Semillon and the grapes were all hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed and then the juice settled for 8 hours. Fermentation was with a mix of cultured and wild yeasts, 95% in barrel (half new) and [...]

Three lovely wines: Testalonga, Commando G and Domaine Labet

Had lunch at Moro today with Emily Harman and Laura Rhys. Mark Andrew was supposed to join, but he had to fill in for someone at Noble Rot, so after lunch we headed down to meet him there. Moro: the food is amazing, always, and it didn’t disappoint today. And between Moro and Noble Rot [...]

On change, and the end of the Swartland Revolution

So the Swartland Revolution is no more. After six events, this remarkable wine festival has called it a day. It seems sad, but it’s a wise and brave decision. Everything has its time, and just as there is a time for beginnings, there is a time for endings. It takes courage to end something: it’s [...]