Video: judging the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition

Here’s a short film of the judging of the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition

A new 'icon' Chenin from South Africa: Dirty Little Secret

This is the much talked about high-end South African Chenin Blanc from one of the grape’s greatest ambassadors. I managed to catch up with Shawn Mathyse, a young winemaker who works with Ken on some of his small lot projects like this, and he told me more about it. It’s a 100% Chenin from a [...]

In South Africa: the Mullineux new releases

I visited the new tasting room at the Leeu Collection in Franschhoek, to taste through the new releases of the Mullineux wines.

It’s a lovely space, with glass windows looking through to the barrel cellar. Chris and Andrea Mullineux’ wines are now regarded as some of the very best in South Africa. Since their release they [...]

A lovely Loire Chenin: Richard Leroy Les Rouliers 2012

I’ve had this wine a couple of times now (both times at Noble Rot, but Sager & Wilde are also listing it). It’s a stunning wine that has the most amazing matchstick reduction integrated into the richer Chenin flavours to great effect. This is a perfect example of a wine character that could be seen [...]

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 [...]

The remarkable Cortez 2014 from Testalonga

I’ve admired Craig Hawkins’ Testalonga wines for a while now. They are just so brave. And delicious. [See here, here and here for reviews.] This is his Chenin that’s made without skin contact. It’s fully beautiful, and has no additions at any point: it’s a truly natural wine. Just 10.5% alcohol, too!

Testalonga ‘Cortez’ [...]

Lunch at Chez Bruce with some of South Africa's finest, plus some old world stars

Had a special lunch at Chez Bruce last Thursday, with some memorable wines. Keith Prothero was hosting, and also present were Chris and Suzaan Alheit, Peter-Allan Finlayson, Chris Mullineux, John Seccombe, Nigel Platts-Martin, Greg Sherwood and Jancis Robinson. As usual, the food was close to perfection. But what was really interesting was seeing how some [...]

Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 Swartland, South Africa

This was a new discovery at Cape Wine. It’s  the Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 from an old vineyard (1978 plantings) in the Swartland. The soils? Pure granite, no irrigation, picked early (19 Balling), fermented in old barrels. It’s made by Jacques de Klerk whose day job is with Radford Dale. Interestingly, even though this is [...]

South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

These are some of the highlights from the Chenin Blanc beach party at Cape Wine, which I caught on Monday afternoon.

It’s great that Chenin Blanc is now fully recognized as one of South Africa’s strongpoints. I guess this isn’t anything new, but the change over recent years is the gain of momentum behind this variety. [...]

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 [...]