B Vintners: an exciting 'vine exploration' winery from South Africa

B Vintners is a collaboration between cousins Gavin Bruwer and Bruwer Raats. They describe it as a ‘vine exploration company’, and the aim is to tell the story of the heritage of the South African wine industry, and looking at sourcing grapes from some of the most interesting vineyards in the Cape. The prime focus [...]

Lunch at Chez Bruce with some of South Africa's finest, plus some old world stars

Had a special lunch at Chez Bruce last Thursday, with some memorable wines. Keith Prothero was hosting, and also present were Chris and Suzaan Alheit, Peter-Allan Finlayson, Chris Mullineux, John Seccombe, Nigel Platts-Martin, Greg Sherwood and Jancis Robinson. As usual, the food was close to perfection. But what was really interesting was seeing how some [...]

South African fine wine comes of age: the new wave South African tasting

Yesterday was the New Wave South African tasting, held in a really cool venue under a vinyl shop in Soho. Rarely have I been to a tasting where the wines are as consistently good and interesting, and the people presenting them so great. There was a real buzz about the place.

There was also the sense [...]

Back to school, in a wine trade sort of way

The new term has started. After the excitement of Cape Wine (which I will not forget for a long time), it’s now back to the busy wine trade calendar. The next few weeks see the major supermarket press tastings (vital for those of us who have weekly national newspaper columns to populate), agency tastings, winemaker [...]

Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 Swartland, South Africa

This was a new discovery at Cape Wine. It’s  the Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 from an old vineyard (1978 plantings) in the Swartland. The soils? Pure granite, no irrigation, picked early (19 Balling), fermented in old barrels. It’s made by Jacques de Klerk whose day job is with Radford Dale. Interestingly, even though this is [...]

Changing views on ripeness in South Africa: a welcome development

One thing that my tastings at Cape Wine has reinforced, is something that I have believed for a while. It’s that it is possible – even in quite warm climates – to make wines with moderate alcohol levels. I tried many lovely wines that had alcohol levels in the range of 12-13.5%, and one or [...]

South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

These are some of the highlights from the Chenin Blanc beach party at Cape Wine, which I caught on Monday afternoon.

It’s great that Chenin Blanc is now fully recognized as one of South Africa’s strongpoints. I guess this isn’t anything new, but the change over recent years is the gain of momentum behind this variety. [...]

In South Africa, day 2, Roberston

I woke up on Sunday early but excited. A few lucky people, including me, had been invited to Robertson by three producers: Graham Beck, Springfield and De Wetshof. And we were to fly there on a small plane (a Beechcraft – from looking on the website, I’m pretty sure this was a King Air 350). [...]

In South Africa, day 1

I’m in South Africa, again. No great hardship: I love this country. I arrived on Saturday, and as usual, I’ve found little time to write blog posts, so this will be a brief update from day 1.

I headed to the pretty Stellenbosch Kloof, which is not yet an official subdistrict of this large region, but [...]

Three interesting whites: LAM, Gramona Ovum and Montinore Borealis

We tasted quite a few wines at the Tampere Wine Symposium, and one of the highlights was this flight of three whites. These aren’t expensive wines, but they’re really compelling and delicious.

Gramona Ovum Xarel-lo 2013 Catalunya, Spain
From a 4 hectare vineyard, fermented and aged in concrete eggs and amphorae. Lovely complex wine with nuts, lively [...]