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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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Four regions, four winemakers

By Jamie Goode | 5 December 2016

This month, I’m writing about Chenin Blanc again, and I’m making no apologies for this. It’s such an important and interesting variety for South Africa, it’s only natural that it’s going to get plenty of coverage. But this time I’m getting more specific, and speaking with four key figures who each make very distinctive, and delicious, expressions of the variety.

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Exploring Elgin

By Jamie Goode | 3 November 2016

I was visiting the Elgin wine region, where I was due to be taking part in the Chardonnay Symposium. My hosts, Brian and Marion Smith of biodynamic winery Elgin Ridge, had arranged a treat for me: a flight across the valley in a light aircraft. But there turned out to be a problem. The pilot had sold his plane, and thus was planeless. But Brian had another plan. One of the growers in the valley, Ian Corder of Corder Wines, had a gyrocopter. Ian, Brian and I just happened to be tasting together at Almenkerk, and Brian asked Ian, ‘could you take Jamie up?’ So it turned out that the next morning I headed over to small landing strip on Oak Valley’s farm, where Ian was preparing his gyrocopter for the flight.

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Top 10 Chenin Blanc

By Jamie Goode | 4 October 2016

So, for the third year, I have been involved in judging the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition. Judging took place over two days in July. The results are out and make interesting reading. It’s always fun to see which wines made the grade, because the tasting is done totally blind, and we have no idea even which wines entered. In particular, there was one wine which some of the members of the judging panel were keen on, but which I didn’t think was good enough to make the Top 10. So I was really looking forward to finding out which one it was.

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

The interesting thing about wine is that you only get one chance a year to make it. So for the average winemaker, retiring at a normal age, you might get to make 40 or so vintages in your lifetime, unless of course you switch hemispheres in your winter and go to work somewhere else.   Wine is an expression of place; it's also an expression of a particular year. For the winegrower who also tends their own vines, there's a special significance to vintage time. From the time the vine buds, to the point where the flowering occurs, to the point where grapes begin developing, to the point of veraison when the skins soften and red grapes chance colour, to the point of deciding when to pick, the winegrower tracks the progress of vintage. That year is then something they try to capture in the wine, as the grapes enter the cellar. It's only after several months that they will really know the personality of the vintage they have just lived through, when the baby wines begin to show what they are about. Along the way, there are many things that can go wrong: frost, disease, pests, microbial disasters in the wine. It's a complicated business, but when it does well, it’s worth all the anxiety and toil.

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In Jo's glass

I was recently in South Africa for Cape Wine and managed to taste several vintages of the delicious Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia. I usually opt for a sweet wine at the end of a meal instead of a pudding and The Vin de Constance is a perfect way to end a meal. It's rich and opulent with stone fruits, vanilla and a hint of spice yet it is also fresh, balanced and has a long, moreish finish. Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, highly rated both the 2011 and 2012 in his most recent report on South Africa which is available to download for £15 on timatkin.com.  

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