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 [...]

Fun with Ryan and Samantha - Skurfberg, Jamet, Silvervis et al

Ryan

Sam

So Ryan Mostert and Samantha Suddons, of new winery Terra Cura, popped round. They brought with them a couple of boxes of wine, so we sat, tasted and drank. Some very interesting bottles.

Sadie Family Skurberg 2010 Olifants River, South Africa
From a vineyard of decomposed sandstone planted between 1940 and 1955, this is Chenin [...]

The Breedekloof Chenin Blanc initiative

Before this tasting Breedekloof was totally off my radar. So it was great to catch up with three Breedekloof guys, Pieter Cronje, De Wet Lategan and Attie Loew to hear about a new Chenin Blanc initiative in the region.

Breedekloof is a relatively undiscovered area. You reach it by going through Paarl, through the tunnel in [...]

In South Africa, day 1, two exciting new wines - Patatsfontein and Harlem to Hope

I’ve been in South Africa for one afternoon and a sleep, and already I have much that I want to report on, but for starters I will talk about two exciting new white wines that I have tasted. I had them at dinner last night with Reneen Borman and Gavin Bruwer.

The first is from Reneen, [...]

Three from South Africa

Had three interesting South African wines last night. Here are my notes. Two were served blind (Cartology and Blank Bottle).

Cartology 2013 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Chenin Blanc plus a bit of Semillon, from old bush vines. This is richly textured with a bit of spice and lovely bold pear fruit. It’s a generous [...]

Chenin Blanc and Grüner Veltliner

Two nice wines, from two of my favourite white varieties. The first is an own-label from Berry Bros & Rudd. It’s a sort of better class of own label: Nikolaihof is one of Austria’s top producers. The second is from Mullineux, the current darlings of the South African wine scene, and it’s a lovely old [...]

Three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora

Here we have three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora. They are really compelling, made with low alcohol in a natural way, with lots of interest. They are also living wines, that continue to evolve in the glass, and even overnight in the bottle: I visited them a number of times over a couple of [...]

Two from the Swartland: Mullineux and Testalonga

Two lovely South African wines recently enjoyed. The first, quite conventional: the 2012 vintage of the fabulous Mullineux Syrah. While I love their Granite and Schist bottlings (I haven’t yet tried the new Iron cuvee), this is the wine to go for. It’s lovely, and a comparative bargain compared with its expensive peers. The second [...]

Site-specific Chenin Blanc from Mullineux - Quartz and Schist

As you all know, Chenin Blanc is officially one of the two coolest white grape varieties, along with Riesling. Chenin’s attributes are its good acidity, its structure, its ageability, its flexibility and, of course, its terroir transparency. It’s a grape that is good at interpreting soils, and making wines that are different depending on the [...]

Two lovely whites: Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 2013 and Ganevat Grusse en Billat 2012

I have just been in the Netherlands, presenting a talk and tasting to wine professionals here over two days, with the same 10 wines both days. I met some really great people and enjoyed talking about organic/biodynamic/sustainable/natural/authentic wine. It was also nice to look at the wines over two days. Interestingly, the wines seemed all [...]