Entries by Frank

Radford Dale 1 February 2019

The wine industry attracts eccentrics the way cliffs attract lemmings. Nothing else explains the way that otherwise intelligent people throw themselves headlong into a space whose defining characteristic is free-fall. After all, even the most cursory examination of the ground immediately below shows a landscape littered with the parched bones and rotting carcasses of those […]

Pinot Noir 8 February 2019

It’s easy to understand why pinot noir is called “the heartbreak grape.” It is deeply susceptible to the influence of climate, soil and viticultural management. Heat, sunlight hours, rainfall and the geology of vineyard subsoils all play a disproportionate role compared with other varieties – though exactly how and in what way is by no […]

Aggregated 18 January 2019

The pursuit of useful or valuable information – obtained in the least time and with greatest accuracy – appears to be the primary objective of internet usage. There are different ways of achieving this: some people assess suppliers, resources or contractors early on and stay with those they trust. Others take whatever their search engine […]

International Taste 7 December 2018

The famous “Judgement of Paris” tasting in 1976, in which a line-up of Californian wines substantially dented the French claim to vinous supremacy, vindicated the American belief that their wines stacked up comfortably against the top French examples. For the wine world however the result was hardly uncontroversial. How competent were the judges? (Pretty good: […]

International Taste 7 December 2018

The famous “Judgement of Paris” tasting in 1976, in which a line-up of Californian wines substantially dented the French claim to vinous supremacy, vindicated the American belief that their wines stacked up comfortably against the top French examples. For the wine world however the result was hardly uncontroversial. How competent were the judges? (Pretty good: […]

Chardonnay 30 November 2018

My recent review of some of the country’s best and most interesting white wines – all of high quality, all true (though often diverse) expressions of the cultivar – indicated that chardonnay would need a column all on its own. South Africa’s best examples are world-class and plentiful in number. Unlike viognier, where, despite extensive […]

Wonderful Whites 23 November 2018

The quality and diversity of South African white wine is unique in the world of wine. Most of the best examples are produced within 100 kilometres of Cape Town, an area significantly smaller than Bordeaux (where only two white cultivars hold sway). The effect on climate of two ocean currents (one equatorial, one originating in […]

Platter 2019 Edition 16 November 2018

The Platter Guide hosted its annual book release and awards ceremony in Cape Town in early November. With the Five Star laureates, category winners and various “Wineries of the Year” there are now so many awards that the press release reads a little like a middle school year-book. By 2020 expect the list to include […]

Building a brand 9 November 2018

When I first visited Lafite in the 1970s the great Bordeaux estate had a very primitive packaging line: it took several months to bottle the vintage. The wine which came off the line last was clearly going to be different from the bottle which had been first off some time earlier. At Chateau Margaux in […]

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