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:






Three interesting whites: Luis Pato, Cape Point and De Wetshof

Grabbed these three interesting whites from the rack for a bit of comparative tasting. The Luis Pato is amazingly fresh at 8 years of age, and will be good for another decade on this showing. The Cape Point is brilliant, and is testament to the skill of winemaker Duncan Savage, who is now concentrating on […]

The fab 2015s and 2016s from Alheit, one of South Africa's star producers

Chris Alheit and Franco Lourens

Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s story is one of discovering great vineyards, and then making wine from them, very simply (see my article from a visit three years ago, when they were just starting out). ‘I’ve spent innumerable hours looking on google earth and driving around, looking for the best sites,’ […]

Tasting some interesting South African Chenin, with a video

Tasted some nice Chenins lately. It’s such an interesting and adaptable grape variety.

Raats Granite Block Chenin Blanc 2015 Coastal Region, South Africa
Very fruity mandarin and lime notes with some pear richness. Hints of herbs with a nice bright mineral edge to the fruit. Lovely precision to this bright wine with plenty of flavour but a […]

Saturday morning in Stellenbosch, in pictures

Had a lovely Saturday in Stellenbosch. Such a pretty town. At the heart of South Africa’s winelands, it’s an easy place to hang. These are some street pics.


Incredible sweet wines, from Mullineux and Klein Constantia, including the 1875

In the space of one day I had the chance to try some mind blowing sweet wines, new and old. The first experience was at Klein Constantia. Back in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the Constantia estate made world renowned sweet wines. The estate was later split into three, but by this stage the production […]