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 [...]

In South Africa: the Mullineux new releases

I visited the new tasting room at the Leeu Collection in Franschhoek, to taste through the new releases of the Mullineux wines.

It’s a lovely space, with glass windows looking through to the barrel cellar. Chris and Andrea Mullineux’ wines are now regarded as some of the very best in South Africa. Since their release they [...]

The new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa's most interesting wineries

Craig Hawkins

Caught up with Craig Hawkins to try the new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa’s most interesting and bravest wineries. Craig and Carla left the safety of being based at Lammershoek (which was owned by her parents) and have moved to a remote but beautiful farm on the very edge of the [...]

Three lovely wines: Testalonga, Commando G and Domaine Labet

Had lunch at Moro today with Emily Harman and Laura Rhys. Mark Andrew was supposed to join, but he had to fill in for someone at Noble Rot, so after lunch we headed down to meet him there. Moro: the food is amazing, always, and it didn’t disappoint today. And between Moro and Noble Rot [...]

On change, and the end of the Swartland Revolution

So the Swartland Revolution is no more. After six events, this remarkable wine festival has called it a day. It seems sad, but it’s a wise and brave decision. Everything has its time, and just as there is a time for beginnings, there is a time for endings. It takes courage to end something: it’s [...]

Four nice SA reds: Restless River, Pofadder, La Motte Syrah Viognier, Spioenkop Pinotage

A few interesting South African reds tasted together. I’d heard a lot about the Restless River, and didn’t quite know what to make of it: Hemel-en-Aarde is cool climate for Cabernet, and the wine is pretty distinctive. Pofadder is a known quantity: it’s a lovely expression of Cinsault, a variety that’s superbly adapted to the [...]

Fun with Ryan and Samantha - Skurfberg, Jamet, Silvervis et al

Ryan

Sam

So Ryan Mostert and Samantha Suddons, of new winery Terra Cura, popped round. They brought with them a couple of boxes of wine, so we sat, tasted and drank. Some very interesting bottles.

Sadie Family Skurberg 2010 Olifants River, South Africa
From a vineyard of decomposed sandstone planted between 1940 and 1955, this is Chenin [...]

Three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora

Here we have three brilliant Swartland wines from Mount Abora. They are really compelling, made with low alcohol in a natural way, with lots of interest. They are also living wines, that continue to evolve in the glass, and even overnight in the bottle: I visited them a number of times over a couple of [...]

Testalonga King of Grapes: precise elegance or 'cranberry flavoured wheat beer'?

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 from the Swartland: Mullineux and Testalonga

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 [...]