Entries by support

24 November Luxury Wine

At a time when there is so little life in the economy that there’s talk of the high priests at the Reserve Bank administering last rites, it’s bizarre to discover that new wines are being released at such stratospheric price points you could probably buy a decent house in the platteland for the cost of […]

17 November Wine Test Matches

International wine test matches – such as the “Judgement of Paris” tasting of 1976 which put California on the map, or the SAA Shield between South Africa and Australia in 1995 – work best when the outcome defies the rational expectation of an influential audience. The Paris tasting acquired its historical importance precisely because 40 […]

10 November Winemakers

It’s interesting how often a change of winemaker transforms the wines coming from a producer’s cellars. On the surface this seems like a contradiction of the perennial message about how the “wines are made in the vineyard.” You might expect a result like this following a change in the viticulturist, or a different farming regime […]

3 November New Wave

Much has been written lately about South Africa’s New Wave winemakers, with a couple of articles on Jancis Robinson’s website in the past week alone (and literally hundreds of thoughtfully assembled tasting notes available to purple pages subscribers). Many of the wines are produced in minuscule quantities, often from sites identified by The Old Vine […]

27 October Spier and niche

Much has been made of the great divide (socio-economic rather than merely geographical) separating the major South African cities. Someone once explained it to me as follows: in Johannesburg they want to know how much money you have; in Durban they want to know how you made it; in Cape Town they want to know […]

20 October Stellenbosch

The least controversial observation that could be made about South African wine is that the overall quality has improved dramatically over the past 15 years. It’s only once you dig into the detail that points of dispute emerge. Is the Swartland the Cape’s saving grace? Are the prestige districts of the so-called Coastal Region our […]

13 October Elgin

Despite the relative proximity of the Cape’s wine regions – many of the better known appellations are little more than an hour’s drive from each other, and not much further from the Mother City – it is clear that regionality, together with varietal specificity, is not some kind of wine writer’s fiction. Paarl is warmer […]

6 October Price and Value

It’s not all that difficult to find great value wines in South Africa: high tech skilled wine making marries easily enough with massively under-valued good quality fruit. The growers who complain that they can’t make ends meet are not trying to sell a sob story to their customers: VinPro, the grape growers’ organisation, has published […]

29 September Summer Whites

With summer powering its way through our ever more abrupt spring days, the swing to white wines has been faster than the fall of Bell Pottinger. A month ago restaurants and wine stores were still doing a roaring trade in robust reds. Now even the Rosés are battling to get a look in as “fresh […]

22 September Auction Season CWG etc

With the 43rd Nederburg sale done and dusted and the Cape Winemakers’ Guild Auction scheduled for the end of this month, wine auction season is now in full swing. Judging from the results of Nederburg (over R6m in turnover, from under 1000 dozen on offer, and no unsold lots) the recession has not eaten too […]

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