james molesworth

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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Talking Scents with Carlos Huber

Sticking my nose into perfume production with an architect-turned-perfumer whose scents carry a tale of time and place

Posted: March 18, 2013  By James Molesworth

Perfume has always intrigued me. And not just for the lilting effect it has when a deftly scented woman draws close. More than that, I've always wondered how difficult it is to create a perfume, and what kind of nose skills one would need. And surely there are parallels to making perfume and tasting wine, since I often find the greatest wines to be defined more by their aromas than their flavors.

So when I was put in touch with Carlos Huber, I smelled a good opportunity to learn a little something,

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

12 Diverse Wines from South Africa

New reviews of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and other affordable bottlings from South Africa

Posted: March 8, 2013  By James Molesworth

Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2013 Issue  :  Features

James Molesworth

Senior editor James Molesworth has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. He is lead taster for Bordeaux, the Loire and Rhône valleys, New York’s Finger Lakes and South Africa.

Posted: February 28, 2013  By James Molesworth

Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2013 Issue  :  News

Haut-Brion Buys Neighbor

Posted: February 28, 2013  By Suzanne Mustacich, James Molesworth

Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2013 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Finger Lakes Forges Ahead

Riesling makes its mark in this New York wine region

Posted: February 28, 2013  By James Molesworth

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Vins d'Orrance

Christophe Durand brings a French attitude to the Cape

Posted: February 25, 2013  By James Molesworth

It's summer in South Africa. I've got a tan and I'm in my element—kicking the dirt amidst the vines and talking to winemakers.

So how fitting is it that after nearly two weeks of of checking out bush vine Chenin Blanc and comparing granite and schist soils, my very last visit her would be to the most Francophile one of the lot, Vins d'Orrance. As I walked down into the dimly lit cellar at the Steenberg winery, a few bottles were standing up on the head of an upturned barrel. It was an SRO tasting, and one right out of any Rhône cellar that I've ever been in.

Opening the bottles was Christophe Durand, 45. Broad-shouldered, Normandy-born and English speaking with a distinct French accent, Durand arrived in South Africa in 1995 while selling Gillet and Darnajou barrels to the local market (his first client was the rugby player-turned-cult Pinot Noir producer Jan Boland Coetzee of Vriesenhof). It was here he met his wife, Sabrina, who is from Durban. Now married 10 years, they work together on Vins d'Orrance, which he started in 2000.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Buitenverwachting

Lars Maack's estate offers some of the Cape's best values in Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

Posted: February 22, 2013  By James Molesworth

Located just next door to Klein Constantia is Buitenverwachting (bay-tun-veer-vak-ting). It's always been one of my favorite South African names, but alas, market pressures have forced them to change their label: Bayten will now be in large font on the labels in the U.S. market, with the winery's historical name shrunk to fine print. I say, "Boo." After so much time with the original label, I would have liked to see them stick it out and not worry about tongue-twisting their customers.

But at least the wine isn't changing. This is still one of the top Sauvignon Blanc producers on the Cape, along with excellent Chardonnay and a characterful Bordeaux blend. Lars Maack, 46, is the owner of this 370-acre property, which has an ample 260 acres of vines. For background, you can reference my notes from my 2007 visit here.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Klein Constantia

Klein Constantia, one of the Cape's most storied estates, is no stranger to change

Posted: February 21, 2013  By James Molesworth

Klein Constantia is one of the Cape's most historical wine estates. But if may be seeing more change now than it has in its entire history, which dates to its founding in 1685.

The Jooste family, which resurrected the estate in the 1980s, sold in 2011 to a pair of international businessmen, as well as a pair of Bordelais, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest and Bruno Prats, who folded their Anwilka joint venture into the new ownership structure.

Located in the verdant Cape Town suburb of Constantia, which gets considerable rainfall (63 inches annually) and has a lush appearance thanks in part to its many stately homes, Klein Constantia is a 370-acre estate with 200 acres currently under vine. The property produces primarily white wine and production now stands at 33,000 cases, with plans to eventually reach 60,000.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Sijnn

Out to the boonies to see David Trafford's Sijnn project in the remote Malgas Ward

Posted: February 20, 2013  By James Molesworth

The road up to David Trafford's place in Stellenbosch is an adventure. The road out to Sijnn, his second project, in Malgas, is something else entirely. It's a 2.5-hour drive from Walker Bay, with over 45 miles of gravel roads. The constant clanging and thumping of rocks underneath, along the side and occasionally off the windshield of the car drown out any music you might have on the radio.

But of course, it's worth it.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Ataraxia

Chardonnay is the main attraction at Ataraxia as owner and winemaker Kevin Grant awaits his Pinot Noir vineyards to mature

Posted: February 19, 2013  By James Molesworth

Continuing the family tree lineage from Hamilton Russell, winemaker and owner Kevin Grant started his own Ataraxia Mountain after leaving Hamilton Russell in 2004, following a 10-vintage run there. Located a 20-minute drive up the valley from HR, at the highest elevation in Hemel-en-Aarde (1,300 feet, versus 600 feet for Hamilton Russell), Ataraxia is located in the newly created Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge ward, a windy site with a convoluted mix of convex and concave hillsides, though the soils are very similar (clay/shale) to what's down below.

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