The latest in wine news and events

The South African wine industry is known for its dynamic and innovative approach as well as its top notch wines and young, creative winemakers.

The industry is progressing and changing at speed, as South Africa is increasingly recognised for premium wines and world-class wine tourism. Read all the latest news from Wines of South Africa...

Read Jamie's latest feature on South African wine

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#SAharvest2018, #2018harvest, #2018SAharvest, winemaking, #winemaking, Gabrielskloof, #Gabrielskloof

Making red wine at Gabrielskloof

By Jamie Goode | 5 March 2018

Last year I caught the winemaking bug. I was invited out to spend time in the cellars of four of the leading producers in Elgin, South Africa's coolest-climate wine region, which is currently a bit of a hotspot. In particular, Elgin is turning out some very fine Chardonnay. The brief experience of being in these cellars meant that when Peter-Allan Finlayson (of Crystallum and Gabrielskloof) invited me to spend some time at his place during vintage, I immediately cleared some time in my diary, and booked flights.

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Ripeness

By Jamie Goode | 1 February 2018

Back in October, Eben Sadie - one of South Africa's most well known winemakers - came to London to present a vertical of his wines, and talk about his journey, since he started out on his own 17 years ago. It's always interesting listening to Eben talk, because he's very thoughtful, and also quite humorous.

 

One of the main changes he's made to his winemaking over the years is a move to picking the grapes earlier. The decision about when to pick is one of the most significant that a winegrower has to make, and this is why ripeness is such an interesting topic. It's also a controversial topic in some circles.

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Grape bunches at Nederburg

South African Chenin Blanc: a top 11

By Jamie Goode | 30 October 2017

Recently I took part as one of the three judges in a tasting of Chenin Blanc wines from around the world for The World of Fine Wine. This is a high-end wine magazine that's aiming to cover the world's best wines, and in each issue they have reports on a number of focused tastings, and this was one of them.

 

The good thing about these tastings is that rather than simply produce a group average score (they do this too), they give the scores of each of the three judges. This is interesting because it lets you see where the experienced judges disagree. For me, one of the most interesting things about fine wine is that even experts come to different conclusions, sometimes. In some cases this could be because even the best tasters have off-moments. Tasting blind is tricky and sometimes you just get a wine wrong. But in other cases, experts genuinely disagree. Wine is complex, and even if we try hard, our personal tastes can get in the way when we try to reach a consensus.

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

Whether you call it Cinsault or prefer the variant spelling Cinsaut (both are OK, but I like the former best), there's no doubt that this once-neglected red variety is flavour of the month in South Africa. Back in the 1920s this grape variety made 75% of South Africa's red wines, but until recently it had been gradually diminishing in importance. From the 1970s onwards, winegrowers' heads were tilted by the Bordeaux varieties Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and these grapes were increasingly planted while Cinsault became unfashionable. Although not fantastically suited to the warm Mediterranean-style climate of the western Cape, these Bordeaux varieties produced dark-coloured, sweetly fruited wines that met the expectations of consumers, as the wine world became seduced by big red wines. 30 years of decline in Cinsault followed.

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In Susan's glass

I fell in love with South Africa and the wines a few years ago. The recent MasterChef UK final took me right back to a holiday I had there. They went to the same Game Reserve that we stayed at and we also went to Reuben Riffel's restaurant in Franschhoek the night before my friends wedding - it was great to see Reuben as a guest judge too! Watching that episode seemed like the perfect excuse to open this beautiful bottle of Semillon from Boekenhoutskloof. What a delicious wine! 

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