Allesverloren landscape

Haskell vineyards on the Helderberg.

Swartland panorama from Pulpit Rock

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form


Posted by on in Blog


It’s always a pleasure to contemplate new releases from Bouchard-Finlayson, whether white or red. In the past Peter has sometimes been a little dismissivb2ap3_thumbnail_Bouchard-Finlayson-unw-chard.JPGe about his Blanc de Mer whereas I have nearly always applauded it as a blend of consistent quality and enjoyment.

The 2014 vintage, recently released, is, quite simply, the best and most delicious ever sampled. Then I read the press release and see that Peter has changed from a sauvignon/semillon combo to one that is nearly 70% Riesling, melded with 24% viognier, finished with splashes of chardonnay and chenin blanc. This accounts for the fragrant nose, luscious fruitiness and subtle structure. The predictable Bouchard-Finlayson fresh elegance is also very much in evidence. A beautiful buy at R85.

I have long been a fan of unwooded chardonnay, often preferring them to their well-wooded heavy cousins. Among my favourites is Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique. The 2014 vintage is sourced from the Elands Kloof valley behind Villiersdorp – where Rupert and others are also growing chardonnay. This vintage is particularly flinty, with wafts of green apple reflecting the orchards in front of the vines. Elegant, frisky and patrician, it will complement scallops and lobster with distinction.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Blog


Since the start of the year , many white wines have come my way. Nearly all of them were quaffable, some were boring, a few were wildly acidic and several were pleasant, if forgettable. Then there were a few that were good to the point you didn’t want to finish them…


This maiden white blend in its attractive, tissue-wrapped screwcapped bottle with its fishy label instantly transported me down the long drive to the Springfield cellars and lakeside tasting room just outside Robertson.

Twelve years in the making before Miss Lucy was ready to be presented to the world, the blend was produced from grapes especially planted for this purpose. Over the following decade several vineyards were uprooted and replaced before the maiden harvest. Four years of ageing and blending in the cellar followed before results were considered to be the perfect partner to a beautiful just-braaied red Stumpnose, both to be savoured preferably at the seaside.

For Miss Lucy is one of seven nicknames given to the delicious, and now, sadly endangered species that fishermen love to catch along the Cape southern coast. For Abrie Bruwer and his family, summer holidays were always beach holidays, where daily fishing produced the supper braai . The memories that those weeks engendered are dear to the Bruwers, and this’ summer in a bottle’, as Abrie calls it, was created as an ode to the bounty of our ocean. The farm’s renowned sauvignon blanc grapes (46%) are blended with 35% semillon and 19% pinot gris into a dry, crisp wine with discernible structure, offering a racy mouthfeel . The explosion of grapefruit that follows fills the palate with citrus zing. Any grilled or fried white fish would be hugely enhanced by this companion. Best enjoyed on board or at the beach, but make sure you have a few bottles to pair with your seafood over Easter. R90 from farm.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Blog

Mid-February and the wine harvest is in full swing, frenetic in some areas, The trucks that growl past our garden carrIed bins loaded with chenin and colombar, on route from the McGregor hills to local cellars, a scene repeated in Robertson, Ashton and Bonnievale. Now there are as many piles of black grapes heading down the road, interspersed with vehicles, loaded with crates of taaipit peaches and field tomatoes .

It’s a glorious time to be living in the winelands, as that special aroma of the crush wafts from open cellar doors, and that tingle of excitement that comes with anticipating what this vintage will yield. Power cuts add to the angst, as generators increase production costs.

Winemakers, viticulturists, producers and marketing teams are optimistic people, who would not want to work anywhere else, no matter what the future holds. In spite of zero financial assistance from government our wine holds its own overseas but the local market needs work as not enough South Africans have discovered the joy of wine as an aperitif and complementary partner for good food.

Let’s also hope that brandy can reverse its downward spiral among spirit-drinking South Africans. We make such good brandy, sell it at a fraction of its Gallic equivalent, and yet still cannot get the market back from the canny Scottish whisky salesmen. Of course with our government officials choosing Scotch over brandy and French champagne over our top bubblies, there’s no help from that quarter.

We need to be practical about pricing as the vast majority of wine drinkers still baulk at paying much more than R40 for whites and R60 for reds: While this can be rightly be regarded as unrealistic pricing for our top wines, there’s a whole middle- of- the- road category that sells at this level and it is possible to hunt down very drinkable products if you persist.

A case in point – let me share the ultimate rosé bargain with you. Recently, I was given a glass of McGregor pinotage rosé 2014 to try at a village lunch party. I tasted it without expecting much,  hoping at least it wouldn’t be sickly sweet. On the contrary, it was dry and its agreeable fruitiness well balanced by discernible structure – I was impressed. Retail price? R20 . And yes, they still have stock – it seems that an overseas buyer ordered a large quantity then reduced it before shipment. A budget-watcher’s bonus for those planning autumn picnics with Mediterranean fare on the menu.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Blog

An updated version of article commissioned for Classic Wine's May/June 2014 issue, which never materialised. The magazine has ceased publication.

The Western Cape has  the most diverse and best organised wine routes in the world, meandering through, arguably,  the most beautiful winelands on the planet. They draw visitors from across Southern  Africa and around the globe, contributing  substantial revenue both to the hospitality and agricultural sectors.  Maps and guides abound, restaurants and accommodation range from simple to sophisticated, and numerous additional attractions makes planning of itineraries no easy task.

Is there any region still waiting to be discovered? Anywhere where travellers and winelovers can wend  their way along rustic roads fringed by orchards and vineyards, where cows chew the cud and sheep graze? Where one needs to phone and ask the winemaker if you can come and sample his wares in his living room, maybe buy a bottle or two?

There is one such patch of the Western Cape that ticks all those boxes. And it’s not that far off the beaten track either. Join me in a leisurely trip around the cellars of  Voor Paardeberg, where grapes of exceptional quality are grown and some great wine has been made by unsung heroes for  decades. The prices are palatable too.

Last modified on