In Elgin: Corder Wines

I met Ian Corder (above) at Almenkerk, where his wines are made. [As an aside, he kindly offered to take me up in his autogyro to see the Elgin Valley from the air. You can read about this, and watch the video here.] The vineyard that is now Corder Wines  was originally an apple farm when [...]

Elgin wine region: Almenkerk

Almenkerk began when Joep van Almenkerk moved out to South Africa from Belgium in 2002 and bought a 32 hectare apple farm. He wanted to turn it into a wine farm – apples were bad business at the time and the region was looking very promising for grapes – and he asked his son, Joris, [...]

Elgin wine region: visiting Iona, including a Chardonnay vertical

Iona is one of the leading wineries in Elgin. Currently, there are 60 hectares under vine here on two sites, and 400 tons pass through the winery, which on my visit was lacking a roof. Owner Andrew Gunn took it off so he can make the winery a bit taller.

Andrew Gunn, Iona

Winemaking here has [...]

Video and pictures: Elgin from the air

Here’s a short film and some pictures from my gyrocopter flight over Elgin with Ian Corder. It was an amazing experience. But gyrocopters are tiny and it was a little bit scary. Thankfully Ian is a safe pilot.





Elgin Ridge winery

The currently roofless Iona winery

Iona, house


Ian Corder


In the Elgin Valley, South Africa

I’m in South Africa’s Elgin Valley. The reason for my visit is this weekend’s Chardonnay Colloquium, but I’m spending five days here, aiming to get under the skin of the region and understand what’s going on. I previously visited back in 2010, just for one day.

I’m not trying to visit all the producers or try [...]

Iona Chardonnay 2013, a star from Elgin

My South African wine journalist friends have been raving about Elgin Chardonnay for ages. Do you know what? They may just be right. I’ve some good ones of late, including impressive examples from new boy Richard Kershaw, and this stunner from Iona.

Iona Chardonnay 2013 Elgin, South Africa
13% alcohol. A lovely Elgin Chardonnay that blends freshness [...]

Two lovely whites from M&S: Ferricrete Sauvignon and Earth's End Riesling

Two lovely white wines, cool climate, new world.

Paul Cluver Ferricrete Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Elgin, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. Very bright and focused with subtle green herbs, lemons and grapefruit characters. Sophisticated, pure and linear with bright minerality. 91/100 (£11.99 Marks & Spencer)

Earth’s End Riesling 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. Made by Riesling experts Mount [...]

Kershaw, a brilliant new South African Chardonnay

It has been a year of debuts in South Africa. First, the remarkable wines from Duncan Savage, and now this – Richard Kershaw MWs first solo venture, a Chardonnay from Elgin. It’s truly fabulous. Up there with South Africa’s best.

It mentions the geeky term ‘clone’ on the label: this is because Richard’s a firm [...]

Lunch at the Glasshouse

Brian Smith of Elgin Ridge

Had a great lunch at the Glasshouse, Kew on Monday, with Brian Smith, a now-biodynamic winegrower in Elgin, South Africa. I first met Brian and his wife Marion at the same restaurant just over a year ago (so my blog tells me), and they’ve now got to the point where they [...]

Two lovely Rieslings, South Africa and Germany

Yum, it’s Riesling weather. The sorts of places that make great Riesling aren’t always the ones where it is most useful: I find it the perfect hot weather wine, yet it grows best in cool climates. Here are a couple of good ones.

Paul Cluver Ferricrete Riesling 2012 Elgin, South Africa
10% alcohol. Delicate, pure citrussy nose with [...]