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



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 [...]

Site-specific Chenin Blanc from Mullineux - Quartz and Schist

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 [...]

Some nice wines from Sivervis, Swartland, South Africa

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 [...]

The Mullineux Semillon Gris

Now this is an interesting wine. It’s a Semillon Gris from Swartland (South Africa) stars Mullineux.

This is what Andrea Mullineux says about it:

Sémillon Gris is historically significant in South Africa, not just for the old vine aspect, but for its previous popularity. In the early 1800s, 80% of the vines in South Africa were [...]

Craig Hawkins: Testalonga and Lammershoek

Craig Hawkins (pictured above with significant other Carla Kretzel in the background) is one of South Africa’s most talented and brave winemakers. He’s the winemaker at Lammershoek, and also makes his own wines under the Testalonga label. He’s very experimental, and has worked a lot with skin contact and lees. He prefers picking earlier, making [...]