Loire adventure: Nicolas and Virginie Joly, Coulée de Serrant, Savennières

La Coulée de Serrant (Chateau de la Roche aux Moines) is a domaine with a narrow focus. It’s just whites. Just Chenin Blanc. Just dry wines. But it is this narrow focus that has contributed to its fame. These are distinctive wines from a distinctive terroir, and they are not without controversy. Some regard this [...]

Loire adventure: Vincent Carême, Vouvray

Vincent Carême

The drive from Montlouis to Vouvray took us past the famous troglodyte residences built into the tufa (soft limestone) cliffs that follow the Cher and Loire rivers. Here, homes and wine cellars have been built into caves that were created when limestone for building was extracted. They are quirky and wonderful.

For winegrowers who [...]

Loire adventure: Taille aux Loups, Montois, with Jacky Blot

Amboise

The view from my bedroom window!

We finished our appointment at Puzelat and headed to Amboise. It was a beautiful sunny evening, and we were quite excited, because we were staying in a castle right in the middle of town. Nicole, who booked accommodation for the trip, is officially the queen of Airbnb, and [...]

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 [...]

Some fine wines at Ellory, with Texier, Stephan, Foradori, Le Soula, Bosman

Had some lovely wines last night with Angela Jordaan and Thor Gudmundsson at the fabulous Ellory (thoroughly recommended: really good small plates style menu and excellent wine list). Here are my notes.

Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2014 Wellington, South Africa
From vines planted in 1952, making this South Africa’s fourth oldest Chenin vineyard. Natural ferment, one-third in concrete, [...]

Interesting wines from Bosman Family Vineyards with Corlea Fourie

Corlea Fourie is the winemaker behind Bosman Family Vineyards, based in the Wellington region of South Africa. I caught up with her to taste some interesting new releases, including the fabulous Optenhorst Chenin Blanc, made from vines planted in 1952.

Bosman Fides 2013 Wellington, South Africa
This is a skin-fermented Grenache Blanc. This particular vintage had 8 [...]

Video: interviewing Adi Badenhorst about his new wines

I caught up with Adi Badenhorst at Intrepid last week. He’s got some new wines out. Two in particular really appealed to me: a flor-aged Sauvignon Blanc called John Strikes Again from Under a Veil of Good Fortune, and a stunning Chenin Blanc called Dassiekop Steen.

Here’s the interview:

And notes on the wines:

Badenhorst John Strikes Again [...]

Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012

I love this wine so much. I had it with Doug Wregg at Terroirs. It’s Chenin Blanc at its best.

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012 Loire, France
Chenin Blanc on tufa (limestone). Very spicy, smoky and linear with a hint of hay and bright lemony acidity. Such precision here with amazing linear acidity. [...]

A Chenin Blanc seminar at Texsom

Patrick Cappiello and Pascaline Lepeltier presented this Chenin tasting at Texsom.

‘I deeply believe that Chenin is the best white grape in the world,’ says Pascaline, a very highly regarded sommelier. She’s been working in New York for the last eight years, but she grew up in the Loire, and is a keen evangelist for Loire [...]

Mother Rock and Force Majeure: brilliant wines from Stompie Meyer

Johan Meyer

Johan ‘Stompie’ Meyer is one of the most highly regarded of South Africa’s new wave winegrowers. He makes the wines for Mount Abora (as a consultant), and has his own project, JH Meyer Wines. And this is a new venture for him: Mother Rock/Force Majeure, a joint venture with his UK agent Indigo [...]