J Bouchon Granito Semillon 2016 Maule, Chile

This is a remarkable wine. I tasted it when Tim Atkin brought it along to the International Wine Challenge one morning: he’d opened it the previous evening, and as it was one of his favourite Chilean whites he wanted to share it. I’m glad he did, because it is remarkable. Semillon is a grape that […]

Some lovely South African whites: Crystallum, Gabrielskloof, Momento, Thorne and Daughters

My first night in South Africa began well. I’m staying here 11 days, working vintage in the cellar at Gabrielskloof, a space shared by four of South Africa’s most interesting producers. It should be a fun time. In addition to Gabrielskloof, there’s Crystallum, Thorne and Daughters and Momento. Friday night was intern braai night, and […]

Tyrrell's HVD Semillon 2010 Hunter Valley

Hunter Semillon. One of the wine world’s most distinctive wine styles. This is a good one: the single vineyard HVD from Tyrrell’s with six years’ bottle age. Just beginning to hit its stride. The HVD Vineyard was planted by the Hunter Valley Distillery Company, and the oldest vines here were planted in 1908. It was […]

Black Elephant Vintners Semillon 2015 Franschhoek

This is an important wine, because of the vineyard that it is made from (pictured above). It’s a very old (1905) Semillon vineyard in Franschhoek owned by Basil Landau. Basil makes a wine from these vines, which are now over 100 years ol , called Landau du Val, but he is also selling some of […]

A beautiful South African white: Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2013

This is a brilliant oak aged Sauvignon/Semillon from Duncan Savage at Cape Point. The blend in 2013 is 82% Sauvignon, 18% Semillon and the grapes were all hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed and then the juice settled for 8 hours. Fermentation was with a mix of cultured and wild yeasts, 95% in barrel (half new) and […]

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, comparing 2007 and 2013

Nice to be able to try these two Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillons side by side. As many of you know, Semillon is the speciality of Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region. Despite the fact that this is a hot region, Semillon grown here makes very fresh, low alcohol, pure citrussy wines that age beautifully. Elizabeth, from […]

In South Africa, day 1, two exciting new wines - Patatsfontein and Haarlem 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, […]

Lunch with two great South African wines, and a good northern Rhône

Had a lovely long lunch yesterday. It was at Bread Street Kitchen, part of the Gordon Ramsay empire, located next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

The dining room is huge. Really huge. Impressively huge. It’s beautifully finished in a faux vintage, semi-industrial style, but it’s really noisy. We could hardly hear the waitstaff as they talked to […]

The Mullineux Semillon Gris

Now this is an interesting wine. It’s a Semillon Gris from Swartland (South Africa) stars Mullineux.

This is what Andrea Mullineux says about it:

Sémillon Gris is historically significant in South Africa, not just for the old vine aspect, but for its previous popularity. In the early 1800s, 80% of the vines in South Africa were […]

Si Vintners Chinchecle Semillon 2011, a wonderful wine from Margaret River

Si vintners consists of Iwo Jakimowicz and Sarah Morris, and they have 20 acres of mature vines in Margaret River. They work naturally in both the vineyard and winery, with organics/biodynamics in the former and an additive-free approach in the latter – with just a little sulfur dioxide added at bottling. This Semillon comes from […]