It’s often said that Cab is King in Stellenbosch, and that the area is generally considered “Cabernet Country”. I’ve heard winemakers and others in industry mumble the sentiment that if you can’t make a decent Cabernet Sauvignon in Stellenbosch, you have no business being a winemaker. Perhaps a harsh sentiment, but it rings true in many ways. South African wine is going in many different and exciting directions, but perhaps we must be wary of spreading ourselves too thin in a cultivar sense? Of course diversifying and experimenting is great in terms of new offerings and discovering what is possible (and equally, what is not) but there is also no sense in moving rapidly away from our strengths – of which Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely one. The annual Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report take a good look at what’s potting with local Cab, and this year continued the showcasing of the top specimens.
I first met David Clarke a few years ago when I traded him lessons on wine (he is a sommelier, after all) for Afrikaans lessons. He’d just moved to SA – married to an Afrikaans-speaking local and he wanted to improve his local lingo. Packed schedules eventually got the better of us both and we only really had a few lessons, but his incredibly knowledge and honest, down-to-earth love for wine stayed with me. Back to present day, David and his wife Jeannette have started Ex Animo Wine Co. and they’ve been bloody busy since. They had their first trade show in early March and it was packed to the rafters with some of the most exciting and enjoyable wines I’ve encountered in ages.
South African wine farms are diverse with many offering not just wine, but experiences, pairings and world-class gastronomic experiences. Diversity aside, there is a golden thread that runs through and binds many of our most well-known estates: history. Since the humble beginnings of our country as a halfway station between Europe and India, wine has been an established part of that history. Groot Constantia, Vergelegen, Blaauwklippen, Muratie, Alto (to name a few) were all established within the first century of the Dutch setting foot in the Cape. In 1791, Nederburg was bought by Philippus Bernardus Wolvaardt for 5600 guilders and the estate took its place in SA wine history. And this historical (and oenological) gem is hiding in plain sight.
After one of our most interactive and exciting Twitter tastings with Lithos wines, one of our SuperFANS, Stephen Brierley, went along to the farm to discover where the magic is made. If you want to follow Stephen on Twitter for his magnificent tweets about wine, you can find him at @sbrierley75. If you’d like to visit Lithos, contact them at @wines_lithos or visit their website.
I had a long overdue engagement with Tim Hoek, the winemaker from Lithos wines and just under two hours in traffic from Century City to Somerset West was not going to stop me. The farm is on Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road, on Wedderwill Country Estate. The Estate has another wine farm on its property, but that is a topic for another post. Lithos wine farm is situated between the Schapenberg mountain range to the east, the vistas of False Bay, that go on and on all the way to Cape point, to the west.
For the most part, I feel that day-to-day winos don’t really think much about wine auctions. Personally, I’m not too phased by the amounts spent on wine at auctions, it’s just that I don’t have that type of cash to spend (at least, not all at once), so the word “auction” inspires a mental separation of sorts. A bit of “that’s nice” and then I move on to something more relevant to me. Like the bottle of bubbly in my fridge. I started taking notice of the Cape Winemaker’s Guild auction last year when I attended my first CWG Auction Showcase. It was exciting, engaging and excellent. It’s almost time for the 2014 CWG Showcase, so let me tell you a bit more about what to expect.
As someone who attempts to blog about their full-time hobby while holding down a full-time (unrelated) job, I’m the first to admit writing when you’re working 10-12 hour days is pretty tough at times. As a wine lover with the occasional opportunity to attend really exceptional events, I’m stubborn about putting content I care about out there, even if it is a couple of weeks after the fact. The Wine Concepts Burgundy Lover’s Festival is one of those events.
On the 3rd of June, a whole lot of lucky winos were enticed to join Siris Vintners and go way underground for a trade show with a difference. Adding a solid helping of mystery beforehand with secret invitations and tokens building up to the day, Twitter was abuzz with excitement. The event was their annual trade show, exhibiting their wine portfolio and this year they went all out and underground, hosting it in the basement of the Double Tree by Hilton, four storeys underground.
If you love wine (surely everyone reading this does?), and you love the Burgundies, then you’ll love this: Wine Concepts is hosting the fourth annual Burgundy Lover’s Festival. And I can assure you, this year we are all in for a treat. Definitely an event all lovers of fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay need to take note of.
The Cape Town event will be hosted at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands on Friday 13 June 2014, from 17:00 to 20:00. Incogvino has gotten a sneak preview of what’s in store at this year’s popular event.
The festival is all about getting the big names in the business of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in one room and offering tasters some undiscovered gems in between.
In early April, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a very special tasting of some very special wines. Arriving at Mondiall on a balmy Autumn evening, I had no idea what a treat I was in for.
One of the first wine farms to be established in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, Bouchard Finlayson has become synonymous with the production of outstanding Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Winemaker Peter Finlayson remembers starting to make wine there before it was the buzzing wine route of today. Mostly dirt roads and largely underdeveloped for viticulture, it became apparent that the area had the ideal soil for vineyards.
*This article was originally published on Real Time Wine by guest writer Bryce Gillespie – 10 January 2014*
Earlier in the year, SuperFAN Charl Engels and I were invited by another SuperFAN, Charlotte Spicer, to head over to De Toren for a special VIP tasting with them. The De Toren tasting is already pretty special, so I was extra excited for this one. I had absolutely no idea it would turn into what it did… This is my attempt at an enthralling “recap” of the afternoon’s events.