Consider Chenin

For the last couple of days I have been judging the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, held at Klein Zalze in Stellenbosch. 126 different wines were entered, and the panel of five, chaired by Cristian Eedes, tasted all of them, and then retasted the top 32 wines to select 10 winners. So here [...]

Off to South Africa again

So this evening I am flying to South Africa again. Just for a few days this time. And I’m going while it’s winter there, which is bad planning. There’s nothing like a dose of summer dropped into February or March to raise the spirits. Fortunately, Cape Town winters are pretty much like bad English summers, [...]

A classy natural South African - JM Meyer's Ivory White

I don’t know a great deal about this wine, other than it’s a naturally made my Johan Meyer, who makes the wines of Mount Abora and Meerhof. Johan is based in the Swartland but for his own wines he sources from vineyards further afield. 1000 bottles of this were made and the UK agent is [...]

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 [...]

Three lovely, great value South African wines

So much fun to be had with South African wine right now. Here are three wine that are full of interest, and massively over-deliver for the price. They are available from The Wine Society. The Kloof Street wines come from Swartland star winery Mullineux, and the Liberator is the latest in a series of special [...]

A rarity, a Portuguese Chenin Blanc

I enjoyed this: it’s the first time I’ve had a Portuguese Chenin Blanc.

Now Portugal is blessed with a wide array of its own varieties, so you might ask why any serious Portuguese wine grower would look elsewhere for foreign varieties to play with. But Chenin could be a worthy exception to this rule, because it [...]

Video: an interview with Chris and Suzaan Alheit of Alheit Vineyards

One of my visits last week was with Chris and Suzaan Alheit of Alheit Vineyards, who were propelled to fame with the critical success of their first wine, the 2011 Cartology. They are now just about to release the 2012 Cartology, and also the first of their single vineyard wines, Radio Lazarus 2012. Here’s an [...]

Chenin Blanc in South Africa, a short film with some leading wine growers

Here’s the second of my short films from Cape Wine. This time I quiz some of South Africa’s leading wine growers about Chenin Blanc in South Africa. They have some interesting things to say.

Cape Wine 2012, day 2, the Chenin conference

Up bright and early on Monday morning to head into Cape Town for the Chenin Blanc Association conference.

Ken Forrester, Chenin advocate

Chenin is a super grape and South Africa has half of the world’s plantings. It represents 18% of South Africa’s vineyard area, so it’s a big deal here.

I learned a lot from the conference. [...]

Lammershoek's LAMS - brilliant value from the Swartland

Two wines I shall go out and buy: the red and white LAMs by Swartland start Lammershoek, who since the 2010 vintage have been on fire. These were tasted today at the Richards Walford tasting. Retail price on both is £11, which makes them real bargains. And I love the labels.

LAM by Lammershoek Chenin Blanc/Viognier [...]