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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Old Vine Project

Saving Old Vines

By Jamie Goode | 6 July 2017

There's a lot of buzz around the subject of old vines in South Africa at the moment. To the outsider, this may seem very strange, but one of the keys to making fine wine is working with older vines, which, for one reason or another, seem to produce grapes that make more interesting wines. South Africa is very lucky because it has a treasure trove of old vineyards, many of which are currently unrecognized because their grapes are being sold cheaply, only to disappear into large blends. Now there is a concerted effort underway to identify all the old vineyards, and ensure their survival by making sure they are financially viable, lest they be pulled out.

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Tasting History

By Jamie Goode | 13 June 2017

One of the compelling things about wine is that fine wines have the ability to age, which means that you can, if you are lucky, taste a bottle that even pre-dates you, or which was produced from the harvest of a significant year. Some of these wines are remarkable merely because they have survived and are still drinkable; for others, this age has imparted extra dimensions and complexity. This is why we cellar wine: in the hope that it will be transformed during its gently slumber into something special.

But there are three South African bottles that I've been lucky enough to drink, which really have involved tasting a bit of history.

 

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Creation

Jamie in Hermanus

By Jamie Goode | 9 May 2017

If you are going to drive to Hermanus from Cape Town International Airport, you have two choices. The first is the most direct route: you hit the N2 and just keep driving, over the pass into Elgin and then over the pass out of Elgin, and you'll be there is about 80 minutes. The second route takes a bit longer: head to the coast at Somerset West and then follow the gently winding coast road. I reckon this is one of the world's great drives, with stunning sea views. There's something very special in this landscape, and the real challenge is keeping your eyes on the road. If it's the weekend you'll be sharing the road with a lot of cycles and motorbikes.

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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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