Opinion, Rants, and Stories

Holding On To The Past: The Cape Vintner Classification


It made a dull thwack. A  thwack, full of bewilderment, confusion and wonder. It was the sound of my palm hitting my forehead.  Continue reading “Holding On To The Past: The Cape Vintner Classification”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

In Defence of the Weird

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 by Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968


This post first appeared on WOSA’s Cape Chatter Blog

Reading was my first love. Before girls, before wine, before cricket. I use it to explain how, like wine, the more you know the more enjoyable it is. If the first glass of wine I ever drank was a brilliant Burgundy, or an excellent old South African Pinotage, there is no question that my enjoyment and appreciation would be less than it is today. Similarly, if I tried reading Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne when I was 12, I would not have understood very much. Continue reading “In Defence of the Weird”

General, Opinion, Rants, and Stories

The ProWein Song: Basically Eurovision for Wine (with lyrics)

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From the helpful sing-a-long video on the ProWein site. All that is missing is a bouncing grape over the lyrics.

Oh deary me. Via @thirstforwine today on twitter I came across this song that ProWein – a huge “international…trade fair for the wine and spirits business” – has commissioned for the fair in 2014. It is possibly the worst song I have ever heard in my life. I really think ProWein should submit it for Eurovision 2014.  Continue reading “The ProWein Song: Basically Eurovision for Wine (with lyrics)”

Drunk, Opinion, Rants, and Stories

Platter 2014: The Launch


For the last three years, on a Saturday morning around this time in November, I have woken to a dull thud behind the eyes, a thirst, that if quenched, would bring about a hosepipe ban, and the woeful admission that have no idea where I am. As I was not attending the 2013 Swartland Revolution, I had expected this last Saturday morning to be somewhat more convivial. Continue reading “Platter 2014: The Launch”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories, Wine Reviews

Reverie Chenin 2012 (and some other ramblings)

REVERIEI love talking to winemakers. They are so wonderfully opinionated. And, most of the time, they have some sort of explanation for their opinions too. Whether it be philosophical, scientific, populist, or controversial, they all are damn sure they are right. Once you get a winemaker going – some will launch into their spiel, others you have to wind up – they take a lot of stopping. It’s great. I love hearing all of these opinions of wine, sulfites, acidity, the market, other winemakers, other regions, labeling, sugar content, new-oak, old-oak, Chenin, Pinotage, whatever. I love it because much of the time it makes me reconsider what I had previously thought on a subject. Only to speak to another winemaker and find myself disappearing down a different path of vinous contemplation.  Continue reading “Reverie Chenin 2012 (and some other ramblings)”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories, Wine Reviews

Are South African Wine Drinkers A Little Green?

“Harry, come in here.”*

I stopped trying to charge my phone from a dying macbook – so I could inform the dearly beloved I was picking up some wine from Wine Cellar so I’d be late – and walked through to Roland’s office.

“Harry,” Roland, Wine Cellar’s head-honcho, said as soon as I walked in, “you’re young, represent the new wine drinkers of the country, tell Graeme here what you think of Durbanville, their Merlot’s and Cabernet’s specifically.”

I took a chair next to an older gentleman in khaki pants, a check shirt, with pens poking out the top pocket, and short, curly grey hair.

“ummm, well…”

Continue reading “Are South African Wine Drinkers A Little Green?”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

The Last ‘Writing About Writing’ Post


Before I get back to writing about specific wines, you know, wine writing, I thought I would get a few more thoughts out about  – to use the current phrase – wine communication.

Over the weekend I have been drinking some micro-brews (Lakeside’s APA, and Devil’s Peak IPA. Devil’s Peak,  think I love you.) while thinking about what people want to hear about wine. Coincidentally, during this time, I saw many tweets relating to the #dwcc, the Digital Wine Conference, no, wait, Digital Wine Conference Conference? Damn Wine Competitions Creepy? Disillusioned Wine Chaps Converse? Duh,  Wine Cheese Crackers? Disaster, Wine’s Cheap Cheerful?  Oh, I see, sorry, it was the Digitial Wine Communication Conference. Obviously.

Continue reading “The Last ‘Writing About Writing’ Post”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories



While many seem adept at carrying on a 9-5 and blogging as if their bank account’s depend on it, I seem to value ‘harry time’ too much. Yes, that does mean I have a new job. Yes, that is the reason for the lack of posts last week. No, I am not sure what is going to happen going forward.

The first thing is to get through the backlog of stuff I was planning on writing about.

Most importantly, Eben’s new releases, a historic point for South African fine wine.

Next, and equally historic, will be the Hermit on the Hill’s new label, followed by posts on Webersberg, Waterkloof, Breneissance (I have decided I don’t like the name), and a cool box worth of wines I have not yet posted reviews of.After which i think I will be again shifting my focus here. The second task is to win those damned wine writing prizes. At least it’ll make getting into this ridiculous racket pay for something other than hangovers.

With a job the daily review nonsense will probably pass, scores will become a moot point (you’re lucky, I had a whole post lined up on that front) and well I don’t know.


Opinion, Rants, and Stories, Wine Reviews

A Thelema Cabernet Vertical and Notes on Greeness


Last week saw some rather good wines find their way down my gullet. The first few of those was at a vertical tasting of Thelema’s Cabernet Sauvignon and single vineyard Cab, The Mint. At a time when the idea of ‘greeness’ is on many a South African wine anorak’s tongue, I hoped it would prove an informative tasting, as the latter wine prides itself on its minty note.

[This post got away from me. I feel I am not well-suited to the digital age of short pithy SEO optimized posts. If you want just my thoughts on the Thelema wines feel free to skip down to the bottom. First though, a little introduction to greeness in wines] Continue reading “A Thelema Cabernet Vertical and Notes on Greeness”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories, Wine Reviews

Iona Chardonnay 2012 and a Musing or Two

iona chard 2012

Have you ever tasted a wine and been unsure of yourself? In blind tastings this will happen almost immediately, but I’m talking about a sighted, straighforward tasting. You taste a bit of wine and just are not sure what you think. It’s weird. It doesn’t happen that often to me, especially with straightforward wines, but it happened last night, and it’s why I’m sitting here at 9:30 am with a small pour of Iona Chardonnay in front of me, awaiting my final decision. Continue reading “Iona Chardonnay 2012 and a Musing or Two”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

The Zuma Obama Dinner Wine List [UPDATED]

Obama Attends Luncheon At UN

UPDATE: As I thought, by trawling twitter over the weekend I managed to find out which wines were served at  President Zuma and Obama’s official dinner. I’ll leave the original post below.

It turns out the wines were not every exciting, and I would have far preferred to have drunk from my selection. According to Christiaan Smit  the Presidents drank: Continue reading “The Zuma Obama Dinner Wine List [UPDATED]”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

Another Damned Wine Competition

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 11.41.08 PM

I noticed this a little while back, but I think I subconsciously blocked it out. I have steered clear of writing anything about wine competitions because rants get tiring. Like ’em, hate ’em, or be entirely ambivalent about them, wine competitions and awards are going to be here forever.

I have made peace with this idea. But the thought of more competitions is ludicrous; especially one so obviously determined to print as many stickers as possible, that were I a conspiracy theorist, I’d start looking for printing companies putting up the cash to run the damned thing. Continue reading “Another Damned Wine Competition”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

WTF is going on with the Wine Wizard


Michael Fridjhon is a great wine taster with a difficult surname to spell right the first time round. He has recently started calling himself a wizard. I hope he has bought a hat with runes on. The reason he has started the wizard stuff is because he launched his new website winewizard.co.za. Continue reading “WTF is going on with the Wine Wizard”

Drunk, Opinion, Rants, and Stories

On Drunkenness

Eduard_von_Grützner_Falstaff_mit_Handschuhen (1)

I realized this morning that there have been no posts this week. I considered after posting my first video that, as a picture is apparently worth a 1000 words, and video is simply 24 pictures a second, I’d get away with it.

I have, however, always found that assumption to over value pictures. Take Gigli, the film was composed of hundreds of thousands of pictures, and it takes only two words to describe it. Goddamn awful. So, what to write about.

The only worthwhile wine endeavor I have taken part in this week was the Young Guns 3 tasting at Wine Cellar. The problem is I was so busy playing music, changing Power Point slides and pressing play that I didn’t properly taste the wines. I drank as much as I could of them, but came away with nothing but a hangover. Luckily I had tasted most of them last week. 

And that’s when I realized what the topic of this post should be.


Continue reading “On Drunkenness”

Opinion, Rants, and Stories

Tim Atkin’s 2013 Classification



Well well well, isn’t his all exciting.

Tim Atkin MW has given us a little teaser this morning of his comprehensive 2013 South Africa report which will come out on May 31st, with this classification of South African producers  à la the famous Bordeaux classification of 1855. While he tweeted that most are familiar with this, I reckon many South African drinkers may be scratching their heads.

Continue reading “Tim Atkin’s 2013 Classification”