‘Tis the season and all that, but if you’re like me and you’re struggling to get into the Christmas spirit (but you also desperately don’t want to be a grinch) then I may have just the solution for you. You see, while I love and have always loved the Festive season, I must admit that this being a grown-up gig has taken some of the magic out of the whole thing. Work, deadlines, last minute crises. And let’s not talk about the anxiety of figuring out leave and holiday arrangements. Bah! Humbug! Hardly things that make me want to wrap myself in tinsel and sing Fa-la-la-la-laaaa. So how do we combat The Grinch at this truly lovely time of year? What could we do to dust off the anxiety and “meh-ness” of 2014 and get ready to have some summer fun in the gorgeous winelands? Lucky for you all, I have a secret. It’s called #SecretStellies and it might just put you in the summer festive season mood.
The Incogvino SuperFANS are all about the wine, and not just the tasting and the drinking. Being an inquisitive bunch, the following question popped up on our mailing list this week. “Egg protein? Milk protein? Is this normal?” with reference to a wine label with the aforementioned listed on it. This brought up the topic of fining agents and the question of not only what, but how, these processing aids are used in the making of wine. The science of fining agents can be quite complicated (some Chemistry 101: the molecules of fining agents have either positive or negative charges which affect the way they interact with the compounds in wine, which also have positive or negative charges. Science!) but the basics can be simple to understand. Here’s a quick clarification about fining agents in wine.
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.
Haut Espoir. Literally translated, it means “high hopes”. And I certainly had high hopes for our Haut Espoir Twitter tasting. Not only has Haute Espoir been one of our longest standing SuperFAN Wine Farms, they are also amazing to work with. We don’t play favourites here at Incogvino, but if we had to, Rob and his team would definitely be contenders. But I digress. I could go on and on about the farm all day, but that will have to wait for another post. Right now, I want to tell you about what went down in Twitter town on Thursday evening.
Yes, you guessed it. The time has come for another #SuperFANS Twitter tasting. We’ll be hashtagging it tomorrow night (Thursday 4 September) with SuperFANS from around SA, digging into their Haut Espoir stash and sharing thoughts, opinions, tasting notes and sprinklings of white people.. err… pepper… (you had to be there).
We all know wine is subjective, driven by opinion and taste and balanced out by knowledge and experience. So also, it seems, is the topic of wine glasses. Which glass shape is the best for which wine type or style? Do expensive, exquisite crystal glasses improve the experience above supermarket cheapies? Is there an actual effect or is it all about perception? There are as many opinions on this matter as there are shapes and types of glasses. Where do we even begin?
*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.