Archive for the ‘south africa’ Category

Reyneke, Cornerstone 2009

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Like many British winos, I’ve got a blind spot. And what is worse, based on 1990s cheap Pinotages, almost a distrust of South African red wines. This wine proves me right, and also proves me wrong. A bit like sucking a raspberry teabag off a hot brick, it’s fruity, tannic, earthy and juicy like a southern Rhone. However, drink on and by the third glass there is a hint of rubber in a condom sort of way. It’s is the sort of unusual flavour that many people like – I sometimes taste it in Monastrell/Mourvèdre for example.

In fact not a Pinotage, but a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah, this wine is not for me, sorry, but I can appreciate the quality and attention and love decanted into the bottle, so I’d encourage you to give it a go and form your own opinion. Stocked by the Wine Society and Majestic at around 12 British Pounds, it is not a risky experiment.

Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Sounding like a Vic Reeves’ Shooting Stars comedic expletive is not normally a criterion by which I evaluate whether to buy a wine, but somehow this just grabbed my attention on a recent visit to Majestic, Leeds.

South Africa is a bit of a blind spot in my wine rack and I occasionally have to remind myself that good wine comes from English speaking zones, as well and French and Spanish.

Iranu?  Uvavu!

This wine is made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in proportions 42:32:26 and spends 10 months in French oak.

On opening there was faint Hydrogen Sulphide but this quickly dissipated and left a passable impression of a decent claret.  At first it smelt deep, moody and just a tad yeasty with a raspberry rush.  First sip was raspberry, violet, and vanilla.  Far from being spoilt, it was bright, fresh and almost as exciting as a freshly powdered slope (snow I mean, not cocaine).

Eranu or Uvavu?  Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006 is £11.99 at Majestic and this represents good value.  ERANU!

Bellingham 2007 Bernard Chenin Blanc

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I have a lot of respect for Stuart Pearce.  I liked him as manager of Man City although clearly he was not experienced enough at the time.  For the last couple of years he has been preparing England Under 21s for the European Cup.  We were clearly the best side in the tournament with the possible exception of Germany, who gave us a 4-0 bloody nose in the final.

But for 3 key suspensions, England might well have put up a fight, but what do I know?  I don’t have Sky Sports in the flat so I have had to suffer Wimbledon instead where sulky Scot/plucky Brit (depending if he loses/if he wins), Andy Murray, was on terrestrial TV playing in the latest night ever finish at Wimbledon (no football connection there – not any more anyway) against Stanislas Wawrinka, the more than plucky Swiss.

Bernard Dobber!

Bellingham “The Bernard Series” Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2007 is pretty plucky.  I thought Chenin Blanc tipped a wink to Blandshire, on average.  But this far from average example has more spunk than Murray, more intensity than Pearce and more grunt than Michelle Larcher de Brito.


Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2007

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

It is amazing who you meet online and I am not even a teenager.  I don’t think he is trying to groom me, but my cyber-mate, Peter May, is something of an expert in the wines of South Africa.  He recommended that I drink more Chenin Blanc, and suggested Ken Forrester would take me into the woods and chop me down to size.

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...


Bain’s Way Chenin Blanc 2008

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

The third sample from Rowan Gormley’s new venture, Naked Wines, is a Chenin Blanc from a part of the world Rowan should know well, since he was born there.  Not surprising then that South Africa is well represented in the early offerings from Naked, and Bain’s Way seems to be manning the midfield with several varietals available.

I like Rowan and want to support his new venture but I can’t pretend that I like a wine when it smells of napalm.  Come to think of it, I have never smelt napalm but I imagine it to be a rubbery petroleum mixture.  Anyway, of the first two naked wines that I tried, one was good, one poor.

So with the scores level at the hour mark, can Bain’s Way nip into the penalty box and slot home the winner?

Bain's Way and some cookery books.....for some reason


Churchaven Wellington Malbec 2007

Monday, December 29th, 2008

If you like Malbec (and I do) you might like to explore a bit further than the varietal’s adopted homeland of Argentina.

For example, at the time of writing, Virgin Wines has this South African on offer at £5.99 (normally £9.99).  If you subscribe to Virgin’s Wine Bank, you effectively get an extra 25% discount.  This is stonking value for money.

Churchaven - Purgatory?

Rich and hedonistic with black cherry, leather and spice.  Slightly rough around the edges like your lovable mate, the diamond geezer, this Wellington beaut tastes much more expensive than £4.50.

Dassen View 2007 Chenin Blanc

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Peter May suggested that I get off my Pinot Noir high horse and start thinking seriously about Chenin Blanc.  But this is like asking me to trade in Brigitte Bardot for Barbra Streisand.  Whilst the latter is an interesting multi-faceted personality, a highly talented actress, and capable of singing almost any song, you just wouldn’t would you?

Meanwhile the Bardot of grapes is unreliable, sulky, difficult to master, but if you woke up next to her you would reach for your mobile and ring in sick (well in her prime, anyway, which sort of proves my point).

But perhaps I am missing Peter’s point.  The intellectual challenge of giving a winemaker a blank canvas like Chenin Blanc could create a satisfying long term relationship, rather than a one night stand with some Pinot Noir or other, that leaves one feeling, frankly, used.  Sex delivers the shortest high of all drugs, love perhaps the longest.

Dassen Dachsund - but this one is not German…


Kloovenburg Shiraz 2002

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

By the time you read this, I hope to have made it to Switzerland.  I am making a secret trip to raid my Swiss bank account, buy a big, brash Breitling watch, an army knife, a cuckoo clock and some rosti.

If you are still reading, you must be new to this blog, or you would have laughed out loud and moved onto your favourite sports website.  Just in case any of my investors are reading this, I would just like to clarify that I am indeed taking a humble sojourn, walking around Swiss mountains in nought but sackcloth shoes whilst taking the time out to think through our next business plan.  I will probably take a refreshing dip in mountain lakes, perambulate vigorously and get pissed a lot on the local wine.

Punk rock and wine - good mix


Koha Koha Koha Koha Koha Kameleon

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Just time for a quick review of a very funky little Albanian owned place in London’s West end.  Hidden behind Wyndham’s Theatre on an alley opposite famous fish resto, J Sheekey, it is a wine focussed place with a short but interesting and not over expensive wine list.  It also has a decent looking bistro menu.  We stopped for a quick glass on the way to buy show tickets.

Kool.  Koha also has a funky basement bar.


Shinawatra, Chaophraya & Karaoke

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Dr Thaksin sent me a text message (at his expense) with a personal invite to meet him in Albert Square after the Man City game against Valencia.

Man City invites a European team over at the start of every season for the “Thomas Cook” trophy.  Some would say that this is the only chance we get to watch any European football and I have sympathy with that view.  Valencia were the opponents on this occasion.

City lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, a welcome change to the dire 4-5-1 inspired home performances of last season that resulted in only 10 goals all season.  However, even as pre-season friendlies go, this turned out to be amongst the most non-eventful.

Man City line up 4-4-2 but end up losing 0-1