Flotsam & Jetsam Cinsault, tasted on camera

Another Cinsault! This time, it’s from Chris and Suzaan Alheit. This is an honest wine, made for drinking, and it’s lovely. South Africa is producing quite a few of these wines, and I think that’s a good thing.

Flotsam & Jetsam Stalwart Cinsault 2016 Western Cape, South Africa
12% alcohol. Lovely juicy, bright cherry and berry fruits [...]

The Mount Abora Saffraan Cinsault: bright and luminous

This was a delicious and smashable wine, and it didn’t cost very much. It’s a naturally made Swartland Cinsault, and on the back label it says, ‘this wine harks back to the times of bright and luminous wines.’ Indeed, this is bright and luminous. [By way of interest, here's my note on the previous vintage.]

Mount [...]

Some fine wines at Ellory, with Texier, Stephan, Foradori, Le Soula, Bosman

Had some lovely wines last night with Angela Jordaan and Thor Gudmundsson at the fabulous Ellory (thoroughly recommended: really good small plates style menu and excellent wine list). Here are my notes.

Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2014 Wellington, South Africa
From vines planted in 1952, making this South Africa’s fourth oldest Chenin vineyard. Natural ferment, one-third in concrete, [...]

Video: what makes Elgin a special wine region?

In this video clip, I interview Andrew Gunn of Iona, and his winemaker Werner Muller, about what makes the Elgin Valley a special wine region. We also talk about Elgin’s particular talents: the grape varieties that excel here.

See also, my other Elgin videos:

Elgin vintage experience 4, Elgin Ridge

The final day of my Elgin vintage experience 2017 was spent with biodynamic winery Elgin Ridge.

This is a film of the day:

We went to the vineyards where Sauvignon Blanc was being harvested. The grapes were looking perfect.

The grapes are harvested in lug boxes and then taken a short distance to the winery.

Also being harvested, after [...]

Elgin vintage experience 3, Almenkerk

Day 3 of my Elgin harvest experiences was at Almenkerk, hosted by owners Joris van Almenkerk and Natalie Opstaele. They are great fun and have a really thoughtful, scientific approach to farming. The day began with a farm tour, riding pilion with Joris as he took me through some blocks that were almost ready to [...]

Elgin vintage experience 2, Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver is the pioneering wine farm of Elgin. Dr Paul Cluver, a leading neurological consultant, planted vines here in 1987. ‘Everyone thought we were crazy,’ he said, because at the time apples were the main crop in the valley, and they were commercially successful. In the late 1990s, though, it was a tough time [...]

Elgin vintage experience 1, Iona

Werner Muller, winemaker Iona

The first day of my vintage experience in South Africa’s Elgin region was spent at Iona. I was with Werner Muller, the winemaker, for the day. Iona have three properties: the Iona farm itself, Brocha, and Langrug – all are quite different. Langrug is the first to be harvested and is [...]

In Elgin, South Africa, day 1

I’m currently in South Africa’s Elgin Valley, which I visited last October for the Chardonnay Symposium. I’m here to experience vintage with four different producers: Iona, Almenkerk, Paul Cluver and Elgin Ridge. I’ll be working as a cellar rat, and documenting the experience in pictures and film. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve had a [...]

Wines of the year (5) South African stars

I’m continuing the theme of wines of the year. This year I tasted a lot of very good South African wines, both on my three visits, and also in London. These are the ones I liked the most, out of a very strong selection. These are seriously good wines.

Kershaw Deconstructed Chardonnay CY95 Lake District Bokkeveld [...]