For the last few days I have been in St James, Cape Town, judging wine for the Top 100 South African Wines competition. It’s the fifth year of the competition, and many of our small judging team of seven have been here since the beginning. So it’s a nice family feeling. We’re led by uncle [...]
I’m in South Africa, judging the Top 100 competition. Last night we headed off to Klein Constantia, for a fine wine braai in the vineyards hosted by Hans Astrom (pictured below) and his team. It was a lovely evening with some great wines, including three old treats – one of which was the South Africa’s [...]
I was thrilled by this. It’s the latest red from Craig Hawkins in the Swartland, and it has been a bit controversial in the wine press. Andrew Jefford, normally a hero of mine, seems to have it in for Craig, and in a very mean swipe in his Decanter blog he described it as ‘fermented [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Now this is a wine I have struggled with in the past. I have found it to be excessively dominated by those green methoxypyrazine characters, to the point of unbalance, while everyone else has raved about it. But I’m an open-minded sort of guy, and trying this 2014 – well, I actually liked it. It’s [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
I’ve previously written about the first releases from Duncan Savage on this blog, giving them fairly hefty scores. Fortunately most serious commentators are in full agreement about these wines. The new vintages have hit the UK shores, and here are my notes. The score for the white might go up in time, because this is [...]
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 [...]