Everybody who knows me knows I hate Merlot. Local Merlot that is. Green, unbalanced, harsh tannins, bitter finish, boring and acidic are the dominating descriptors I associate with the category. I have noted before that Graeme Read’s Hillcrest Quarry Merlot 2008 is one of a handful of local Merlots I’d actually drink, it being a damn pretty wine as results in the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011 confirmed. For the rest, I’d be more prone to chuck it than chase it. Continue reading
Super White wines of 2011 went up against Superquaffers on Wednesday night in Sea Point with pretty awesome results. Members of our social wine club, The Bald & The Beautiful, comprising of myself, Corlien Morris of Wine Concepts, wine writer Christian Eedes and sommelier James Pietersen, were presented with a mixed line-up of “superquaffers” and “super whites”. Since the tasting was conducted blind (labels out of sight) no-one could be influenced by previous ratings or prejudice. Rated purely on sensory appeal, the quaffers did exceptionally well – beating even some of the top-rated wines in the country. Continue reading
“Organic is no longer a movement, it is an imperative.” These are the words of Greg Garden, Group Brand Executive of Nedbank. He was addressing guests at the annual Nedbank Green Wine Awards, held in partnership with Getaway magazine, last week. And although the focus here was on wine and sustainable wine farming, the importance of a holistic approach to the earth and its resources in totality couldn’t be overstated – also in light of the upcoming Cop 17 /United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. Continue reading
Although many commentators expected dynamic couple Andrea and Chris Mullineux, from Mullineux Family Wines in the Swartland, to be awarded the Platter’s crown for Winery of the Year 2012, it was Franschhoek winery Boekenhoutskloof that walked away with this top accolade tonight. Continue reading
Results in the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 were announced at an awards ceremony at the Cellars-Hohenhort on Friday, but instead of triggering healthy debate around its results - questioning why the Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2011 did not make it onto the Top 10 list (or Top 20 for that matter), the lack of any 5-Star ratings and the relevance of its listing – people are complaining about the lack of food at this event. Continue reading
It might not feel like it in Cape Town, but summer has arrived (at least in the rest of the country). And while Capetonians await those sultry summer days filled with the smell of After Sun and sweat, nothing hints at the arrival of the beautiful, drunk season like chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Continue reading
Held annually, and this year for the fourth time, a Night of a Thousand Glasses is one of those events on the wine calendar that indicates the year is drawing to a close. Organised by Distell, this evening’s aim is to showcase wines from the company’s Cape Legends portfolio. The event seats 100 guests and serves ten wines matched to ten dishes. Continue reading
A full day in Bordeaux is not enough. The combination of Bar du Vins (wine bars) and shops mean that retail therapy is interlaced with lots of wine, which isn’t just expensive, it’s timeous. Continue reading
After 25 hours of travelling I arrived in Bordeaux on Tuesday. Two long flights on Etihad with a five-hour train journey from Paris to Bordeaux St Jean station… But it’s all worth it, considering where I am staying.
My base for the next month is Château Haut-Bacalan situated in Pessac-Leognan appelation. I was told this morning that the ‘castle’ was previously home to Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu, during the 17th century. According to official letters, Montesquieu decided to enlarge the vineyard but this choice didn’t sit well with King Louis XIV (due to reasons unnamed). Mr. De Bacalan, an attorney, bought the property and gave it its name in 1748. Today it is owned by Corinne and Charles-Henri Gonet, wine growers in Champagne for seven generations, it forms part of their group of properties in the Pessac – the other s being Château Saint Eugene, Château D’Eck and Château Lesparre.
Castle Bacalan has been revamped, of course, but still no use of lifts, with my room situated on top of a spiral staircase, which presented a problem when my suitcase had to be lugged up to my room…
The plan is to ‘experience’ the harvest and to gain a general impression of Bordeaux. For the moment my harvest experience has consisted of helping out at the sorting table where the Merlot grapes have to seperated from MOG. None of the cellar hands really speak any English so communication is a mix of broken sentences, lots of hand gestures and facial expressions. I’ll have to brush up on my French, but for now I say “Je ne comprends pas” a lot…