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 [...]

Millton Chenin Blanc Te Arai Vineyard 2013 Gisborne, New Zealand

I’m quite a fan of James and Annie Millton’s wines. I’ve visited them twice in Gisborne, once in 2008 and then again in 2013. It’s a pretty place, and for some reason Millton seems to be able to make thrillingly good wines here, while most of the rest of the vineyards make simple stuff for [...]

Some nice wines from Sivervis, Swartland, South Africa

I met up with Ryan Mostert (above right) and Michael Roets (above left) to drink wine. Ryan was until recently assistant winemaker at Reyneke, and with his partner Sam recently moved to the Swartland. There, he’s teamed up with Michael to work on a new project, Avant Garde Wines.

They’ve been scouting top vineyard sites, and [...]

Two lovely Loire Chenins

These were two wines I enjoyed at the IPNC Grand Dinner, sandwiched between Pascaline Lepeltier and Rajat Parr. Totally brilliant examples of Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Quite different in style, but beautiful. In particular, watch out for the wines of Thibaud Boudignon, a new star of Savennieres.

Thibaud Boudignon Savennieres 2012 Loire, France
His first [...]

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 [...]