south africa

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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Glenelly

Owner May-Eliane de Lencquesaing and winemaker Luke O'Cuinneagain bring a Bordeaux influence to the Cape

Posted: January 23, 2013  By James Molesworth

The last time I was in South Africa, in 2007, all Glenelly was was an idea. It was basically a hole in the ground and a large crane. Now, the cellar is finished, the vineyards planted and winemaker Luke O'Cuinneagain has settled in nicely.

The estate, purchased in 2003 by former Château Pichon Longueville Lalande owner May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, was planted in 2004 and began making wines with the 2007 vintage, combining some purchased fruit with estate-grown grapes. Since 2010, all the bottlings are from the estate's 148 acres of vines, which are now producing a hefty 25,000 cases annually, with plans to max out around 32,000 cases.

O'Cuinneagain is a good fit: He trained in Bordeaux and brings that mindset to Glenelly, which is focusing primarily on Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, though Syrah, Chardonnay and other grapes are in the mix.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Reyneke

At Johan Reyneke's biodynamic estate in Stellenbosch, grapevines share the workload with Jersey cows and earthworms

Posted: January 22, 2013  By James Molesworth

"Howzit, howzit, howzit?" enthusiastically asked Johan Reyneke as I walked up to his Stellenbosch winery. The wiry, flip-flop-and-sunglass-wearing, well-tanned owner of Reyneke Wines is both laid back and ebullient at the same time. "Come on man! Let's go look at my new cows."

A new pair of female Jersey cows have been brought in to augment the herd at this biodynamically farmed estate located in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch, and they've found a home with the herd of native cattle. They're all part of the biodynamics program at this improving Cape estate.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Bartinney

Rose Jordaan's Stellenbosch up-and-comer has a new winemaker set to bring Bartinney to new heights

Posted: January 18, 2013  By James Molesworth

On the Banhoek mountainside, opposite Thelema, is Bartinney, a new face on the South African wine scene.

"A new face?" asked owner Rose Jordaan, looking at Ronell Wiid, her winemaker. "Maybe some old faces," she joked. "But they are lines of happiness."

Bartinney is a former fruit farm that had been in Michael Jordaan's family (Rose's husband) for generations, but had been sold off. Michael, a Johannesburg-based banker, bought the family property back in 2006 and it quickly became a labor of love for Rose.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The South Africa Diary: Thelema

Day 1 begins with a visit to Thelema, where I toured the vineyards and tasted with winemaker Rudi Schultz

Posted: January 17, 2013  By James Molesworth

Up and at 'em on my first full day back in the Cape since 2007, and I couldn't think of a better place to start than at Thelema, the estate of Mr. Precision, Gyles Webb.

Webb is enjoying his veteran winemaker status, spending a bit more time fishing and boating these days. His son Thomas, 36, continues to take on responsibility, while winemaker Rudi Schultz, 43, has been on board since 2001. Rudi has been joined by his brother Werner, 41, who has helped oversee the vineyards since 2008.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa Diary: Back to the Cape

Six years later, a return visit to South Africa's vineyards and wineries

Posted: January 16, 2013  By James Molesworth

I'm loading up on espresso in the Swiss Air lounge, waiting for my flight to Johannesburg and then on to Cape Town. It's my first trip to South Africa since 2007, and it's safe to say things have changed since then.

I'll be traveling around the Cape for the next two weeks, visiting wineries throughout Stellenbosch, the Cape's wine center, as well as Paarl, the frontier-like Swartland, lush verdant sector of Constantia and out to Walker Bay and beyond. They drive on the left side of the road on the Cape, so I've hired a driver. That way I can focus on the vineyards and the people behind the wines, rather than fiddling with a GPS while driving myself. Since I taste in my office, these trips are more to kick the dirt and get to know what goes into the wines, technically and spiritually, via the producers who put the hard work in. So follow along here on the blog for notes on the producers I visit with, along with my Twitter and Instagram feeds for additional snippets, pictures and sometimes witty one-liners. As always, if you have questions, post them here or to my forthcoming blogs and I will try to get back to everyone in due time.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

The 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Wines

New reviews of the limited-production wines that will be available—via live Internet bidding for the first time—in South Africa's annual auction

Posted: October 5, 2012  By James Molesworth

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit-Down with South Africa's Marc Kent

The Boekenhoutskloof owner and winemaker debuts a new high-end Syrah

Posted: September 21, 2012  By James Molesworth

I caught up today with Marc Kent, owner and winemaker of South Africa's Boekenhoutskloof winery, a top producer of high-end Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sémillon, as well as several value brans such as Chocolate Block, Wolftrap and Helderberg Wijnmakerij. The vintner has a new Syrah to add to his lineup and as is usual with Kent, he's got a good story to go with it as well (you can read this previous blog entry on the genesis of a previous wine called The Journeyman).

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

17 Cape Standouts

New reviews of outstanding South African Syrahs, plus Chenin Blancs, Sauvignon Blancs and more

Posted: August 24, 2012  By James Molesworth

News & Features  :  News

Wines of Olympic Proportions

What do you serve 4 million guests from around the globe? London has plenty of options, including English bubbly

Posted: July 25, 2012  By Victoria Daskal

News & Features  :  News

2012 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Report: South Africa

A first look at vintage quality in South Africa, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Posted: June 20, 2012  

May 31, 2012 Issue  :  Alphabetical Listing

South Africa Alphabetical Listing

Posted: May 31, 2012  

May 31, 2012 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Hidden Gems

South Africa’s rich array of high quality wines waits to be discovered

Posted: May 31, 2012  By James Molesworth

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit-Down with Importer André Shearer

The South African wines importer still sees a bright future after a long, hard road

Posted: February 1, 2012  By James Molesworth

I sat down with André Shearer, chairman of South African importer Cape Classics, Inc., to talk about selling South African wines in the competetive American and Asian markets. The youthful looking 50-year-old father of three lives in Somerset West, speaks with a gentle South African accent (he was born in Johannesburg) and is now celebrating his 20th year importing South African wine into the U.S. market. His company accounts for one in every three bottles of South African wine in the U.S. and exclusively represents 20 brands, including top names such as Thelema, Mulderbosch, Kanonkop and Ken Forrester. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

News & Features  :  News

South African Wineries Deny Accusations of Worker Misery

Report finds inhumane worker conditions, but investigators visited 0.5 percent of grape farms

Posted: September 27, 2011  By Mitch Frank

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

46 Cutting-Edge South African Wines

Some of South Africa's best, rarest and experimental wines can be yours through the 2011 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

Posted: September 23, 2011  By James Molesworth

Aug. 31, 2011 Issue  :  News

Deal Watch

Posted: August 31, 2011  By Alison Napjus, James Molesworth

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit-Down with South Africa's Kevin Grant

The winemaker’s Ataraxia label makes its return to the U.S. market

Posted: August 1, 2011  By James Molesworth

Apologies for the rather quiet blog recently. I've had my nose to the grindstone, or at least to the Riedel glass, as I'm in the midst of an intensive tasting period working my way through the bulk of Rhône wines for my annual report, slated to appear near the end of the year as usual. While I've still got a ways to go, it's clear that 2009 provides the best buying opportunity for ageworthy Northern Rhône reds since the superb 2005 vintage. Stay tuned for more on those ….

I did manage to take a short break from the tasting room to catch up with Kevin Grant, winemaker and owner of South Africa's Ataraxia winery, which is now back in the U.S. market after a short hiatus. Ataraxia is one of the small, top-quality producers that's been head-scratchingly absent from the U.S. market, along with the likes of Kevin Arnold's Waterford Estate and Beyers Truter's Beyerskloof.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

14 Value Reds from South Africa

New reviews of Cabernets, Syrahs and more, all priced at $25 or less

Posted: July 1, 2011  By James Molesworth

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

24 Value Whites from South Africa

New reviews of diverse and delicious wines from the Cape region

Posted: June 24, 2011  By James Molesworth

News & Features  :  News

2011 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Report: Part 3

A first look at vintage quality in South Africa, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Posted: June 3, 2011  

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