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Our two-part online tasting session, at 7pm each evening, will explore one of the most exciting wine countries on the planet. Your ticket covers both sessions, on 27th August and 3rd September.
South Africa emerged from the apartheid era only 25 years ago and the wine industry embraced the opportunity with zeal. The decades since have seen the Western Cape become one of the most dynamic wine regions in the world as new vineyards sprang up, explorers delved into little known corners to find glorious ancient vines, and new wineries emerged with young winemakers entering the scene. This tasting will tell the story through some of South Africa’s most exciting producers, regions, and our six premium wines.
One of Tom’s specialist areas of interest having toured the Cape winelands ten times over the past 20 years, he will be our expert guide. Swartland, for example, is a remote corner of the Cape where ancient unirrigated bush vines have survived in the hot, dry climate to yield naturally concentrated wines. We’ll taste the Mullineux Kloof Rhône Blend from superstars of Swartland, Chris and Andrea Mullineux, currently South African winery of the year.
Moving even further north from Swartland, Piekenierskloof may well be an unfamiliar name, but it is one everyone in South Africa is talking about, a mountainous area of old bush vines, from which ace Swartland winemaker Donovan Rall makes our next wine, the Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc.
The Underworld Grenache Blanc also uses Piekenierskloof fruit, blended with old, bush vine Grenache Blanc from Paarl. Partly barrel fermented with wild yeasts, it’s another great example of unheralded old vine material now being put firmly in the spotlight.
Waterkloof Circle of Life Red comes from a more traditional area around Stellenbosch, but certainly qualifies for our ‘new wave’ theme: certified as organic and biodynamic, vineyards are ploughed by horse, ferments are with wild yeasts and a low-intervention philosophy permeates the operation. This unusual blend is Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot, and it’s a beauty.
A scoop for this tasting is being able to include the very limited release of Anysbos Grenache from fantastic young winemaker, Marelise Niemann. I met Marelise on my last visit to the Cape, tasting her super-impressive boutique wines from the on-trend Botrivier wine region. Never heard of it? It’s now home to some of the best cult labels of the Cape. This maiden release of Marelise’s wine scored 95/100 from Master of Wine, Greg Sherwood.
Finally, the Method Cap Classique (or MCC) traditional method sparkling wines of the Cape are a well-kept secret. Charles Fox Reserve Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the ultra-cool (in more ways than one) Elgin region, aged for over two years on the lees. A simply sensational wine, made by Champenoise Nicolet Follet.