I am not a fan of the traditional wine club format. I was duped into joining one ages ago – not a wine farm affiliated club, just a general wine-of-the-month type. It was horrific. I could put together a better selection than the ones I received by tossing glue-covered corks at a supermarket wine shelf and taking the first ones they stick to. It’s horrendous and nearly always “good idea, bad execution”. There are many reasons why this is the case, probably mostly because of badly sourced wines or budgetary constraints; if you want to offer people 6 or 12 wines of a certain quality, then there is a certain cost associated. And if you don’t happen to like the selection, you’ve just paid a bundle for a case or two you don’t care for. Thankfully, there are those among us who have wrestled with this problem on behalf everyone who has have suffered through the annoyance of being sold awful wine in bulk. Could it be that Tank & Barrel has managed the impossible? Have they created a cool wine club?
Established in 1918 as a winemaking co-operative, KWV is a famous and inextricable part of the local wine industry. The company today encompasses a multitude of award-winning wines and brandies. While the iconic Roodeberg may have been the first ‘flagship’ wine, in recent years The Mentors range has taken over that role. These wines strive to be a true expression of terroir, experimenting with different cultivars from different areas and creating a new standard of excellence and consistency.
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.
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.
Several of the Incogvino SuperFANS recently attended the Old Mutual Trophy Tasting. Their wine picks make for a really interesting shopping list. Which is why we’re sharing it with you, dear Reader. Enjoy!
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 post was originally published on Real Time Wine by guest writer Ricardo Gouveia*
It has been a while since I have posted to my blog, as I have been busy setting up a property valuation company. I guess this will be a good time to punt such, so if you require a property valuation, be it a wine farm, commercial or residential property, visit: www.valuetec.co.za! (Editor – SHAMELESS self promotion!)
All I needed was a little inspiration to get back into the swing of things and Bouchard Finlayson, which I have now dubbed my Muse, did exactly that!
I attended a Bouchard Finlayson tasting held at Great Domaines in Johannesburg, which was superbly presented by Jessica Saurwein. It was an enjoyable evening with delicious canapes and humorous banter about smoked chicken, or should I say gerokte kiep, to be more precise 😉
*This post was originally published on Wine-SA.com – 15 July 2013*
Nestled in the historical Constantia wine valley is the Eagle’s Nest estate. Purchased by the Mylrea family in 1984, the farm was nearly destroyed by the devastating fires that tore through the Cape in 2000. The historical buildings were spared from the destruction and in rebuilding the farm it was decided to plant varietals that are best suited to the terroir and climate of the valley.
This decision, combined with the non-traditional styles used by the winemaker, has proven successful. Of the 38 ha farm, only 14 ha is planted with vineyards. The main varieties are Shiraz, Viognier and Merlot. The varied soil types on the estate offer the ideal conditions for each varietal and the cool breezes that blow in from False Bay ensure enough cooling on hot afternoons.
*This post was originally published on Wine Whiskers – 12 March 2013*
A confession. Until recently, I have never really known Pinot Noir. I knew it as a cultivar. I knew it was quite a light, red wine. I knew it was popular in other parts of the world. Yet I had never truly known it to be popular here. I must have encountered it in tastings over the years, but none so memorable as to stand out or encourage me to pursue this slightly unusual varietal.
I have, I fear, been missing out.