Lunch at Chez Bruce with some of South Africa's finest, plus some old world stars

Had a special lunch at Chez Bruce last Thursday, with some memorable wines. Keith Prothero was hosting, and also present were Chris and Suzaan Alheit, Peter-Allan Finlayson, Chris Mullineux, John Seccombe, Nigel Platts-Martin, Greg Sherwood and Jancis Robinson. As usual, the food was close to perfection. But what was really interesting was seeing how some [...]

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 [...]

Domaine Jamet Côtes du Rhône 2008

This is the sort of wine I just love, even though it’s one that probably needs to be drunk up now. It’s inexpensive but it’s authentic. It tastes of where it comes from: the northern Rhône, interpreted through the lens of Syrah. It’s not trying to be anything other than what it is, and I [...]

Some lovely reds from Boschkloof

I was so impressed by these three wines, presented to me by Reenen Borman (above), who’s been winemaker here since 2010. Boschkloof is based in the Polkadraai area of Stellenbosch, which is great terroir for Syrah. It’s decomposed granite under Hutton soil with a bit of koffieklip. Reenen has experience making wine in the Rhône, [...]

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 [...]

Wakefield The Pioneer Shiraz and The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon

Wakefield, known in Australia as Taylors, are a leading Clare Valley producer, and they have recently begun making two very high-end wines: The Pioneer Shiraz and The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted the 2012 releases. These are very fine, expressive wines, not just relying on power and concentration. They are fermented in upturned barrels, which [...]

Washington State wine, day 1

So, the first full day of my adventures on the Washington Wine route has ended. I’m travelling with a jolly band – Richard Hemming, Treve Ring and Kate Sweet, and we have a full itinerary that should allow us to get a real feel for this region. We began in the city, and nearby Woodinville, [...]

The 2013 Craggy Range Prestige wines: Le Sol, Sophia and Aroha

These are three remarkable wines. Craggy Range are very excited about the 2013 vintage in these two regions, and on tasting these wines it’s easy to show why. ‘In 2013 we felt it was the first time we had really seen the true potential of our great estates in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough,’ says winemaker [...]

Three from South Africa

Had three interesting South African wines last night. Here are my notes. Two were served blind (Cartology and Blank Bottle).

Cartology 2013 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Chenin Blanc plus a bit of Semillon, from old bush vines. This is richly textured with a bit of spice and lovely bold pear fruit. It’s a generous [...]

Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz 1989

My wine trade buddy Greg Sherwood brought this wine around to dinner, and served it blind. It was a real treat. I reckoned it was properly old, and new world, but didn’t spot Australia. It’s back in the era when top Aussie wines had moderate alcohol levels – this was just 12.5%. These day, the [...]