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Aug
05

Grape vs Grain round 2 – the Cheese is ON!!

If you were at Taste of Cape Town, you might have caught Lucy Corne, beer supremo, and me having a face-off about what beverage goes best with food. Wine and I won that round, although it was a worryingly close encounter (especially with her trump card of Boston Breweries Pumpkin Ale) and now she’s out for revenge this weekend! The SA Cheese Festiv...
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Aug
05

Grape Vs Grain, Pick a Side

© Cape Times Thursday 17th April 2014 In days gone by, people didn’t move around very much. They stayed in their little corner of Bordeaux or Piedmont, ate the food that they grew or caught and made wine to go with that food. Personally, I think wine is much better with food and I’m not talking about grease-laden plates of junk food used to soak up...
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Aug
05

How do you buy your wine?

© Cape Times Friday 20th March 2014 How do you buy your wine? Do you load a couple of bottles into your basket as you scurry around the supermarket? Do you take time out to go and get specialised advice from a store? Or do you prefer to do your shopping online in the wee small hours of the morning and get it delivered later? A few decades ago, we w...
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Aug
05

Finding the key to Chardonnay

© Cape Times Friday 21st February 2014 I seem to be going through a bit of a Chardonnay craze at the moment. I began the year with an interesting clonal tasting of Richard Kershaw’s 5 star chardonnay from Elgin which was re-tasted again in a well-organised Elgin Wine Valley ‘tweet-up’ last week at Caroline’s Fine Wines. And now here is another wine...
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Aug
05

First Jordan Wine Estate Women in Wine Interns arrive in Stellenbosch

The first two candidates for the Jordan Wine Estate Women in Wine Initiative, launched in October 2012 in London by Kathy Jordan, have arrived in South Africa to experience and participate in the 2014 vintage at Jordan Wine Estate. The response to the invitation to apply for this experience was overwhelming with candidates applying from all over th...
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Aug
05

Future tastes of Albarino

© Cape Times Friday 17th January 2014 In the world of wine, the biggest globetrotting grape varieties are all French. The French vignerons got themselves organised a lot earlier than any other European country in terms of knowing what grapes go best where and how to make the best wines from them, so when it came to new plantings in the New World, p...
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Aug
05

Over the barrel

© Cape Times Friday 20th December 2013 Whenever I talk to winemakers about their jobs, I always become rapidly bewildered at the incredible number of choices which face them at every turn. On the surface, winemaking is pretty easy - pick grapes, squash grapes, add yeast, watch it bubble, filter it, bottle it, sell it for huge amounts of cash – that...
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Aug
05

Family time, sans whine

© Cape Times Friday 15th November 2013 Parents out there – the countdown has begun! Yes, it’s now a mere three weeks until the school holidays with all that that entails. In my house, it means a long nightmare of organising playdates, fetching and carrying, arguments about playing on the Wii and the Xbox and grizzles of “I’m bored!” appearing at re...
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Aug
05

Pinot Noir reaches new heights

© Cape Times Friday 18th October 2013 Over the years, winemaking has become increasingly scientific, and what started out as an unexpectedly-frothing bucket of split grapes by the side of the field in Ancient Greece, has turned into an industry dominated by computers, machinery and technology. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this has i...
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Aug
05

Ntsiki full force

© Cape Times Friday 20th September 2013 Everyone’s got a dream of something they would like to achieve before they die. It could be the holiday of a lifetime, somewhere we really want to visit or an amazing band we want to see live. Perhaps it’s a bottle of wine we want to taste or some restaurant we really want to eat at – those things would defin...
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Aug
05

In the grip of Grappa

© Cape Times Friday 16th August 2013 “Waste not, want not” was my grandmother’s mantra. She was a child of austerity, living through two world wars and bringing up her family in a time of rationing. Like most Brits of her age, she was no great drinker, but I reckon if any drink was going to appeal to her, it would be grappa. Why do I say that? Well...
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Aug
05

Hard work pays off

© Cape Times Friday 19th July 2013 “Wine doesn’t like change, especially not with people.” That’s the opinion of Carl Schultz, now celebrating his twentieth year making wine at Hartenberg Wine Estate. Some cynics might think “well, he would say that wouldn’t he?” but Carl is not a person who says things without thinking them through. Hartenberg dir...
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Aug
05

Super Chenin

© Cape Times Friday 14th June 2013 When it comes to South Africa’s signature grape, it’s very easy to paraphrase Pliny and say ‘Ex Chenin semper aliquid novi’ – there is always something new from this amazing, versatile variety. Maybe it’s because the people who make Chenin are a particularly enthusiastic bunch who get excited about every latest in...
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Aug
05

How green is your screwcap?

© Cape Times Friday 17th May 2013 I’ve just come back from a fabulous week in Portugal sponsored by the biggest cork manufacturers in the country – Amorim. We ate far too much, drank far too much and, in the midst of our gastronomic orgies, we actually learnt a lot about cork. I have to say that given the choice between cork and screw-cap for my wi...
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Aug
05

Reputation Rescue for Merlot

© Cape Times Friday 19th April 2013 When Miles completely rubbished Merlot in the movie ‘Sideways’, he opened the door to a whole host of bandwagon-jumpers who have so far failed to change their view that the grape is either blowsy and over-ripe or lean, green and under-ripe. Poor Merlot – it seems it just can‘t win either way and whereas most of t...
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Aug
05

Tastes of the Med

© Cape Times Friday 15th March 2013 Have you ever thought how strange it is that we are all totally familiar with Italian food yet most of us know hardly anything at all about Italian wine? Last weekend everyone was a-buzz with carbo-loading for the Argus and ‘bolognaise’ ‘carbonara’ and ‘fettucine’ were showing up on every chalkboard in town. It’s...
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Aug
05

Cape Sparkle

© Cape Times Friday 15th February 2013 When is champagne not champagne? When it’s an MCC of course. If you have no idea what I’m talking about – not to worry, it’s a subject that often confuses a lot of people. Champagne is a region in France and the term ‘Champagne’ can only be applied to wines made there. Here in South Africa, we make sparkling w...
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Aug
05

Giveaway!

Win a case of 6 wines PLUS 2 tickets to the Stellenbosch Wine Festival Wine Expo! The Stellenbosch Wine Festival has gone large this year – stretching itself to 10 full-on days of wine-filled activities and events. There are special menus at all the top restaurants (and remember that Stellenbosch is currently claiming the Top Dining Town in the Win...
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Aug
05

Power of The Plank

© Cape Times Friday 30th November 2012 Unwooded chardonnays – good, but are they good enough? This is the question I found myself asking after the marvellous De Wetshof Celebration of Chardonnay the other week. Danie de Wet is generally considered the Father of Chardonnay in South Africa, being one of the very first people to plant it, to recognise...
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Aug
05

Helping to fill the new Platter

© Cape Times Friday 16th November 2012 This year was the first time I’ve tasted for the Platter Wine Guide. This institution in the wine world (and not just the South African wine world either) celebrates its 33rd year this year – a far cry from something started on the dining room table of John and Erica Platter back in 1980. They took on the then...
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