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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wine, South African wine, old wines, Texsom

An amazing tasting of older South African wines, in Texas

By Jamie Goode | 31 August 2016

A huge thunderstorm hit, just as our plane was about to land in Dallas. It was quite dramatic, and we had to divert to Houston, and land there instead. After an hour on the ground without deplaning, the captain told us that there’d been a break in the weather, and we could try to head back to Dallas and land there. After what seemed like an age in the sky, circling the storm and waiting for the OK, we finally made it onto the Dallas tarmac, some 5 hours late. It was my first time in Texas, and I hadn’t a clue about what to expect. Cowboys? Rodeos? Republicans?

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Leuu, wine, sparkling wine, champagne, South Africa, MCC, Method Cap Classique, Colmant, Le Lude, Black Elephant Vintners, Moreson, L'Ormarins

Method Cap Classique and Leeu

By Jamie Goode | 3 August 2016

I was back in South Africa again. It was winter, but it didn’t feel like it as I arrived in Franschhoek on a gorgeously sunny day, with a sky that seemed bluer than it ever gets in summer. There’s a quality to winter light that’s quite special. Everything seems laser sharp and vivid.

 

One of the advantages of travelling to South Africa from the UK is the lack of any jet lag. Yes, an 11 hour flight is an 11 hour flight, and it’s a long time to be on a plane. But as long as you get more than just an hour or two of sleep, you can land and hit the road running, without conking out mid-evening as so often happens with jet lag.

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wine, South Africa, Jamie Goode, Cape Town

Judging wine

By Jamie Goode | 5 July 2016

As I write, I’m about to embark on another South African venture. I’m catching a plane today to Cape Town, to judge the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc competition. While I’m there, I’ll also have a chance to nip down to the beautiful Franschhoek region, to focus on MCC (Methode Cap Classique, South Africa’s traditional method sparkling wine category). I’m looking forward to both immensely, and although it’s winter in the Cape, you never know – if you are lucky with the weather, you can get some pleasant winter sunshine. But you have to be prepared to be rained on. Mind you, I don’t begrudge the rain. Winegrowers here rely on decent rainfall in the winter to replenish ground reserves and fill up dams. If you want decent wine in reasonable quantities, then don’t complain about getting rained on in winter.

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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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