Four nice SA reds: Restless River, Pofadder, La Motte Syrah Viognier, Spioenkop Pinotage

A few interesting South African reds tasted together. I’d heard a lot about the Restless River, and didn’t quite know what to make of it: Hemel-en-Aarde is cool climate for Cabernet, and the wine is pretty distinctive. Pofadder is a known quantity: it’s a lovely expression of Cinsault, a variety that’s superbly adapted to the […]

Lanzerac Pinotage 1966

Had an excellent tasting at lunch at High Timber today, focusing on older South African Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. It was really cool to be able to try this bottle, in particular – the Lanzerac 1966 Pinotage – because it’s older than me, and it’s still in great condition. This wouldn’t have been an expensive […]

Beeslaar Pinotage 2012, a fabulous debut

Abrie Beeslar (above) is the winemaker at Kanonkop, and he’s doing a bit of homebrew. This, his debut vintage, is one of the most profound interpretations of the often tricky Pinotage grape that you can imagine. It’s the Grand Cru Burgundy of Pinotages: structured, fresh, complex, ageworthy and elegant despite its obvious concentration. Website is […]

Some great old wines at Overgaauw, Stellenbosch

Had a remarkable dinner at Overgaauw, a wine estate in Stellenbosch, on Wednesday night. David van Velden, who hosted us, is the fourth-generation winemaker of this family property. Overgaauw has been in the van Velden family since 1905, and David began making wine in 2003, took over from his father in 2007, and has been […]

The best Pinotage?

Could this be the best Pinotage of all? Previously I have liked a few. The Scali example springs to mind,do the regular and black label Kanonkops. This is up there, certainly, and shows what can be done with this variety. It’s from Neil Ellis.

‘We take a Burgundian approach with extraction techniques and use Burgundian wood,’ […]

First look at a new high-end Pinotage from Flagstone

The wonderful Bruce Jack sent me a bottle of a new wine that he’s making under his Flagstone label. Just 200o bottles of this Pinotage, from a single vineyard high up in the Bredekloof mountains, were made. It’s just an infant, and although it will be released this September, it’s a wine to hold onto for […]

Sink the Pink Pinotage!

I’ve ranted here before about how stupid the export approval systems in some countries can be. They are well intentioned: for a wine to be exported from South Africa and New Zealand, it must pass a taste test. The idea is that this keeps bad wines from being exported and letting down the country’s reputation, […]

Lunch at La Trompette with Scali Pinotage

Lunch at La Trompette today, the Nigel Platts-Martin restaurant out in the wilds of Chiswick, west London.

It was very good indeed. Starter: smoked haddock and creamed leeks with grain mustard, poached egg and toasted crumbs. It was brilliant, with strong but balanced flavours. To match? Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2010 Swartland, South Africa, at […]

A Pinotage made without any added sulfur dioxide

Dudley Wilson, winemaker at Stellar Organics in South Africa, seems to have got the hang of making wine without adding any sulfur dioxide. His Cabernet Sauvignon has been listed by Sainsbury’s in the UK for a few years now and is delicious – an inexpensive (£5) wine that holds up in bottle fine for a […]