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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Experiencing harvest

By Jamie Goode | 4 April 2017

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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Why is Cape Town such a great tourist destination?

By Jamie Goode | 7 February 2017

Why is Cape Town such a great tourist destination? Oh, there are so many reasons. I first took my family there back in 2003, when our boys were still young. I remember that before we travelled, most of the people we spoke to were surprised: isn’t it risky to take your family on holiday there? What about the crime? This planted little seeds of doubt in my mind, so for the first day of that trip I was scared and overly cautious. But I quickly realised that the concerned friends were completely wrong. While crime certainly exists, and I’m not making light of it, I’ve been multiple times and never felt threatened any more than I would in London or Paris.

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Some wines that inspired me last year - by Jamie Goode

By Jamie Goode | 6 January 2017

I’m in the lucky position of trying a lot of wines each year, both on my travels and also in London, at organized tastings and at home. I recently looked back on all my notes from the year and pulled out the very top wines. This is quite a tricky exercise, because there are a lot of very good wines out there. As a result, the list I compiled was a very strict selection of just the very best. I use a 100 point scoring system for wine: not because I think it’s necessarily the best, but because it’s the industry standard. The major wine critics from the USA established it, and it’s the default system that’s understood by the wine industry. Its weakness? It’s very congested from 90 points onwards. So a very good wine might get 90 points, and an exceptional wine 93 od 94 points, and then something great will get 95 points or above. The cut-off I used was 95 points for this list. There’s no real science here. I just use points as a way of saying how much I like a wine, and my scores probably tell you as much about me as they do about the wine. So these are some of my very top-rated South African wines.

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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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