Duncan Savage, Savage Wines: video interview and notes on the latest releases

Duncan Savage was until recently the winemaker at Cape Point. He made a great reputation there, coaxing profound, mineral, saline white wines with proper ageing potential from these interesting, exposed terroirs. A few years back he began his own project, Savage Wines, in tandem with his day job. Earlier this year, he decided to strike [...]

Video: tasting the Cape Winemakers' Guild auction wines 2016

Back in 1981, when the Cape Winemakers’ Guild was first formed, the South African wine scene was very different to how it is today. One of the founder members of the CWG, Kevin Arnold of Waterford Estate, recalls how the organization began as a way for isolated winemakers in the Cape to share knowledge and [...]

A Chenin Blanc seminar at Texsom

Patrick Cappiello and Pascaline Lepeltier presented this Chenin tasting at Texsom.

‘I deeply believe that Chenin is the best white grape in the world,’ says Pascaline, a very highly regarded sommelier. She’s been working in New York for the last eight years, but she grew up in the Loire, and is a keen evangelist for Loire [...]

Mother Rock and Force Majeure: brilliant wines from Stompie Meyer

Johan Meyer

Johan ‘Stompie’ Meyer is one of the most highly regarded of South Africa’s new wave winegrowers. He makes the wines for Mount Abora (as a consultant), and has his own project, JH Meyer Wines. And this is a new venture for him: Mother Rock/Force Majeure, a joint venture with his UK agent Indigo [...]

Testalonga Cortez El Bandito 2009 Swartland

I’m a big fan of Craig Hawkins’ Testalonga wines. They’re very brave and distinctive. He works pretty naturally, so the big question: how do they evolve? This one had evolved very well indeed, and was spectacular.

Testalonga Cortez El Bandito 2009 Swartland, South Africa
This Chenin Blanc was made with no added sulphites, so how does it [...]

Mount Abora Saffraan 2014 Swartland, South Africa

This is a lovely wine. It defines smashable. I had it while I was solo dining last week, and if you are solo dining then you need something like this to drink.

And: I love the term smashable. I don’t know where I picked it up. Maybe Australia. Or South Africa.

Not all wines need to be [...]

Brilliant new SA wines at an amazing lunch at Schoon de Companje

Finished my South African trip with an incredible informal lunch at Schoon de Companje, Stellenbosch, with a group of wine producers. Present were Ryan Mostert, Samantha Suddons, Reenen Borman, Mick Craven, Tremayne Smith, Andrew Wightman, Gavin Slabbert, Stompie Meyer, Adam Mason and Pieter van der Merwe. Quite a gathering. These are very exciting wines: the [...]

Video: judging the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition

Here’s a short film of the judging of the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition

A new 'icon' Chenin from South Africa: Dirty Little Secret

This is the much talked about high-end South African Chenin Blanc from one of the grape’s greatest ambassadors. I managed to catch up with Shawn Mathyse, a young winemaker who works with Ken on some of his small lot projects like this, and he told me more about it. It’s a 100% Chenin from a [...]

The remarkable Leeu Estates: luxury accommodation in Franschhoek

After staying overnight at Leeu House, part of the Leeu Collection, I visited the newly opened Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, which began receiving guests just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a five-star boutique hotel in a dreamlike setting, backed by mountains and with an unparalleled view of the Francshhoek Valley. There are 17 rooms, and [...]