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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Affordable Chenin Blanc

By Jamie Goode | 4 September 2018

While reviewing wines for my weekly Sunday Express column, I tasted through a number of affordable or value for money South African Chenin Blancs.

 

How can Chenin Blanc be made affordably? Yield is a factor here. It costs a certain amount to farm a hectare, so if the vineyard produces more grapes then that means more wine for the same output. With most red grapes, there's a steep fall-off in quality if the farmers are too greedy and try to grow bigger yields, but with white varieties, this doesn't always apply to the same extent. So high yield Chenin can still taste quite good, whereas high yield Cabernet or Shiraz often tastes thin, green and weedy. Also, larger crops take longer to ripen and so with reds, which need to be a bit riper than whites, this can also create difficulties.

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Pinotage

By Jamie Goode | 11 June 2018

It's every wine producing country's marketing dream: to have your own unique grape variety. These days the wine world is very competitive, and it's all very well making great Chardonnay, or Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of countries make good examples of these wines, and you are just one of a crowd. What everyone wants is their own unique offering, and South Africa has just such a grape variety, and quite a bit of it. There is a problem, though. How do I put it kindly? This grape variety is not, to use a nice British phrase, everyone's cup of tea. It is Pinotage, until recently the marmite of red grape varieties.

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Attending the Old Vine Project's heritage seal launch

By Jamie Goode | 10 May 2018

Don't you just love coincidences? Well, how's this for one. During my last trip to South Africa in February, I took a break from vintage to head over to the Swartland, for a tasting of old wines from Piedmont – mostly Barolos and Barbarescos from the 1960s. This was on Friday night, and it was amazing. I stayed over with my friends Ryan Mostert and Samantha Suddons, who make wine under the Silwervis, Smiley and Terracura labels. The next day they took me for a drive to see some of the vineyards that they work with. We headed out along the backroads of the Swartland, travelling from one farm to another, on a gorgeously bright, sunny Saturday morning, riding in Samantha's Range Rover. Now a Range Rover is a four-wheel drive car for fancy people, and this one was a bit pimped up with low profile tyres on after-market alloy wheels. You can guess what happened next.

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

There's been a lot of talk of late about the potential of buying South Africa's fine wines as investments. This is a completely new development, and it's not without its sceptics. But many think the fact that it is being talked about suggests that South Africa's top wines have come of age.   Wine investment is nothing new. The classic well-to-do English wine connoisseur would typically buy more Bordeaux en primeur (the process by which the top wines are offered in the spring following the vintage as futures, before they are even bottled) than he or she needed. Typically, between buying the wines and drinking them, the value of the wines would have increased, so they would sell off some of their wine and, if they were lucky, drink for free.

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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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