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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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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MCC, Methode Cap Classique

An epic tasting of MCC

By Jamie Goode | 20 July 2017

On a recent trip to South Africa, I was treated to a remarkable, one-off tasting. It was of Mèthode Cap Classique (MCC), which is the South African name for bottle-fermented sparkling wines. Canadian wine journalist Treve Ring, who I was travelling with, has a keen interest in sparkling wine, as do I, and so we were thrilled when WOSA managed to get word out that we wanted to do a serious, in-depth deep-dive into MCC, to see how things are going with sparkling wines here.

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

It's hard to travel to Italy and not to fall in love with it. There's something unique about the country, and this extends to its wine regions. One of the appealing factors, I guess, is that Italian wines aren't all that easy to 'get'. They are an acquired taste, and these often end up being the most enduring tastes. The first time you try a Barolo, made from the Nebbiolo grape, you wonder what the appeal is: these wines are often pale in colour, with fierce tannins, and a beguiling mix of savoury flavours as well as some fruit character. And Sangiovese, the grape of Chianti, can be angular and firm in its youth, sometimes verging on rustic. Yet these tastes, initially challenging, can be quite addictive. Italy also has a fabulous range of unique varieties, and from top to toe of this long thin country there's an almost bewildering array of wine regions, each with its own personality. I've mentioned Tuscany and its Sangiovese, and Piedmont and its Nebbiolo. But Piedmont also has Dolcetto, Freisa and Barbera, and then there's the Veneto with Corvina and Rondinella, and Campania with Fiano and Aglianico, Sicily with Nerello Mascalese, Nero d'Avolo and Frappato, and Puglia with its Primitivo (aka Zinfandel). This is just scratching at the surface.

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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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