South Africa

publik wine bar cape town
Around South Africa in 80 wines, Bars & pubs, Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa’s best wine bar is?

There are many places to drink wine in South Africa. But there are few wine bars and even fewer that hit the spot like Cape Town’s Publik. It’s a sad state of affairs when rather than visit a wine bar, I prefer to tap into my own cellar at home. But first, let’s look at what we want from a wine bar. In my previous home city of Melbourne, a wine bar would focus on boutique producers of wine (sometimes […]

Bosman family wines with skin contact
amphora, Around South Africa in 80 wines, grape varieties, Grenache Blanc, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Pinot gris/grigio, South Africa, Wellington, Wine, wine regions

Bosman Family wines with skin contact: from pink to orange

Look at the colours of these wines. To the right is a skin contact pinot gris and the left a full-on and delicious orange wine. Ignore the moth that snuck into the picture. I’m back in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley (Heaven and Earth valley) at the 8th generation Bosman Family Vineyards. They have been on the land since 1798 working the vineyards founded by a Huguenot in 1699. For the uninitiated orange wine isn’t made of citrus. It describes the colour […]

Catherine Marshall pinot noir 2017
Around South Africa in 80 wines, Drinks, Elgin, grape varieties, Pinot noir, South Africa, wine regions

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir

Two pinot noirs. Both alike in dignity, (In fair Elgin, where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where truffle oil makes food unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of pinot lovers take their life, Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their chef’s strife. Cool climate pinot noir Apologies to Shakespeare while I spin this yarn on two delicious cool climate pinot noirs from Elgin. And apologies […]

Around South Africa in 80 wines, Drinks, Elandskloof, Elandskloof, Pinot noir, South Africa, Wine, wine regions

Copper Pot pinot noir 2016

Too few restaurants in Jozi have decent wine lists. Sure, many have encyclopaedic lists if you discount the new wave of producers making wines with natural techniques. I’ll return to this subject once I’ve ploughed through that magnum of Beyerskloof pinotage. Lol! It could be some time. One of the few chefs that cares about wine in this city is James Diack, the owner and chef of Coobs in Parkhust, the National, Il Contandino and La Stalla (the reincarnation of […]

Rall Ava chenin blanc 2016
Around South Africa in 80 wines, Chenin Blanc, Drinks, South Africa, Swartland

Rall Ava Chenin Blanc 2016

This was a surprise. And I’m afraid I’m back in Swartland and drinking chenin blanc. Again. This Rall Ava arrived instead of or as a replacement for something I ordered online. In it went to my poorly documented cellar. And then one day it came out. And what a pleasant surprise it was. Swartland Chenin Blanc. Again. I didn’t know that Donovan Rall was a former Young Gun winemaker and one of the most respected vignerons in Swartland. He makes […]

Albariño, Around South Africa in 80 wines, Drinks, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Newton Johnson Albariño 2017

Oh Albariño! It’s one of those grapes to have a love affair with. Grown mostly in Galicia in the cooler north west of Spain, it’s the most gorgeous of grapes. Drinking Albariño was one of the best things about spending a couple of months in Spain back in 2016. It’s alcohol content isn’t high, it’s light and fresh and perfect paired with Spanish food, especially seafood (Oh, for the baked Turbot in San Sebastian). Back in Australia growers imported what […]

Around South Africa in 80 wines, Drinks, Elgin, Pinot noir, South Africa, Wine

Paul Cluver Village Pinot Noir

I could lose my fortune to pinot noir. It’s the hardest grape to grow and pretty much the most expensive to buy. I’ve carted huge maps of Burgundy from England to Melbourne, Sydney and back again and now to Johannesburg such is my love of this fickle grape. Sadly, though, I’ve found that more than any other variety, pinot noir is ruined by a volatile fault, ethyl acetate. Panting for pinot noir My palate and nose have an unfortunate calibration […]

City on a Hill chenin blanc viognier 2016
Around South Africa in 80 wines, Chenin Blanc, Drinks, South Africa, Swartland, Viognier, Wine

City on a Hill chenin blanc viognier 2016

It’s difficult to escape Swartland. Though not the prettiest of the Cape’s wine regions, the wines are so bloody good. I’m talking about those made with minimal intervention. City on a Hill The City on a Hill 2016 is one that knocked me off my perch. Bold, textured, savoury, spicy and with none too much acid, it’s also comparatively low alcohol at 12.5%. The viognier brings that dirty edginess of tropical fruits that balances out the acid of the chenin […]