So the Wine Speculator has released their Top 100 wines for 2012 and Hamilton Russell storms in at # 32 with their 2010 Chardonnay while Rust en Vrede are up in lights at # 78 with their red blend 2008. But the real curiosity are the vintages. When Aníbal Coutinho and I were on our peregrinations around the Winelands a couple of months back, we also liked Hammo’s Chardonnay and Jean’s red blend but the vintages we tasted were 2011 and 2009 respectively which presumably were current releases.Read More…
So now the Halloween cat is well and truly out of the bag after the Platter Guide released their annual list of 62 five ★ wines last night at the Vineyard Hotel. The ★★★★★ wines come from a shortlist nominated sighted by the tasters. Aníbal Coutinho and I tasted over 2000 wines blind in their home appellations and came up with a list of 147 ♥♥♥♥♥ wines. Ten differences between the Platter planetarium and our five heart heroes from Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 listed here.Read More…
The big question on everyone’s lips, is who is Gismoer, new wine voice in Die Burger? For on the very day of the annual launch of the Platter Wine Guide, Gismoer launches a withering attack and accuses it of:
1) Jingoism (“among the panel of judges there is not a single Afrikaans speaker”) when Afrikaans is the lingua-franca of the industry;
2) Being a scam, as wines are rated sighted. The infamous example of a 2007 Cabernet from The Goose Wines which was rated 4 stars but was exactly the same wine as a 2007 Cabernet from Uitvlucht Cellar in Montagu, a much more humble brand rated ½ star, is hauled out, run up the flagpole and saluted.
Last Sunday I had some price sensitive information for readers of the Sunday Times Food Weekly. Selling price is the elephant in the drawing room of SA wine and deserves far greater emphasis in tasting notes and commentary. Price and tasting blind are key, something notably absent from the Platter publication that appears this week.
Perhaps the best autopsy for the recent Cape Wine 2012 jamboree was penned by Dr. Liz Thach MW on winebusiness.com. Liz makes the point that the SA should “lead with Chenin Blanc. New Zealand took the world by storm with its unique style of Sauvignon Blanc. South Africa should consider leading with its Chenin Blancs, which are some of the most beautiful I have ever tasted. Furthermore, except for the Loire Valley, no other region is focusing on Chenin Blanc to the extent of South Africa.
South Africa has a wide variety of Chenin Blanc styles that should appeal to multiple consumer segments. My favorites are the bone-dry Chenins with a peach nose, mineral palate, and clean high acid finish — wonderful food wines. At the same time, I also tasted some exquisite semi-sweet Chenins with aromatic peach and honey notes that make a great sipping wine. Then there are the fuller-bodied and more serious oaked Chenins with complex flavours that have been developed through oak fermentation, battonage, and malolactic fermentation. These wines give Chardonnay a run for its money.”
ZA, a pop-up Chenin Pizzeria at Food|Wine|Design next month, anticipates Liz, as I reported in the Sunday Times Food Weekly on Sunday. Teaming up with Gianni Mariano of Mastrantonio fame, one of the first people we invited was Charles Banks who loves za so much, he lured Paul Gouveia (below) away from the Temptations of Tulbagh to Mulderbosch, were he now does the business.
Last week was Chardonnay Week when Christian Eedes unveiled his Top Ten Chardonnays at French Toast in Bree Street. After a decent interval, I thought I’d show mine, distilled from a couple of hundred tasted blind with Anibal Coutinho (below, looking pensive in Rawsonville) over the past couple of months. Alas, no sponsorship from banksters or insurance salesmen and we also didn’t charge any entrance fee. All ten wines scored ♥♥♥♥♥ and are listed alphabetically. They are just a handful of wines presented in Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 which will be launched next month.
All wines are terroir wines made from grapes grown in a particular appellation which is where they were tasted. Tastings were organized by the respective wine routes so any auditing queries should be addressed to them. There is a fair amount of similarity between our two lists – far more than in the case of the controversial FNB Sauvignon Blanc selection, which raises plenty of interesting issues around terroir and cultivars.
So two different sets of oracles have thrown up two completely different lists of Top Ten Sauvignon Blancs. A panel of “experts” paid by First National Bank at a tasting organized by the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group and two enthusiasts (Aníbal Coutinho and yours truly) who do it because they love wine, sans sponsorship or salary.Read More…
Paarl used to be the appellation winemakers would fall over themselves to get out of. Wellington has decamped en masse and later this month I’m MC’ing a WOW dinner at Kleinevalleij for 300 guests to celebrate snipping the umbilical cord connecting Wellington to Paarl. A dinner which is shaping up as the hottest ticket in the Winelands.
There has also been a steady trickle of wineries leaving Paarl for Franschhoek. Wineries like Backsberg which was a blow as Michael Back was a former chairman of Paarl Vintners now renamed Paarl Wine Route. Now under dynamic new management, it has seen five producers sign up so far this year.
But the real revolution in Paarl is in wine quality. If you have R65 to spare, buy a bottle of Rhebokskloof Rhone blend 2010 (Mourvedre, Grenache and Shiraz) simply called R. Below is a happy Anibal Coutinho modeling his bottle of R at Burrata last night.
The only appellation not tasted in situ for our Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 was the Klein Karoo, Oudtshoorn being just too far to drive given our pressing schedule and Wednesday’s outrageous fuel hike. So hats off to Stellenbosch for hosting the 55 wines tasted blind this morning. A 75% hit rate for Shiraz confirms the terroir credentials of the Karoo. Planting Shiraz instead of fracking sounds like a sensible development path for the region. Here is Anibal in the sculpture garden at Grande Provence in Franschhoek after visiting the environmental exhibition in the GP art gallery – which addresses fracking in the Karoo.
Today’s twitter hoax announcing the death of Colombia’s greatest novelist Gabriel García Márquez came as a shock for less than a week ago, Juan-Carlos Rincon, the Colombian wine writer living in London and I were discussing magic realism in the drive from Tras-os-Montes to Porto. “He was born in Aracataca, a town famous for its large beach towels and three sleeping policemen. One at the entrance to the town, one in the middle and one at the end” said JC. Which sounded like a piece of magic realism.