South African Brandy on the Rocks


Brandy legend Pietman Retief


During a presentation I did at Educvin in Burgundy last year, one of the winemakers said it was every so often necessary to take one’s palate out of the comfort zone. “Electro-shock” he called it. Put something in your mouth that shakes, rattles and burns your flavour sensors, re-awakening them for the next period of wine tasting.

I don’t know if this was what Yves had in mind, but I am partial to a double brandy-and-Coke poured to the ratio of a third brandy and two thirds Coke. This hefty dose of spirited sweetness is met with alarm by my cultivated tasting tools, having them cry out in anguish before they are ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ like their possessor ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ lulled into a lovely alcoholic comatose state.

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To Rustenberg with Cruz – and Love


Penelope Cruz shows Burgundy bottles, but likes Cabernet.

I was looking at the prostitute and thinking about a wine from Stellenbosch. Okay, the aforementioned was not a real slut. It was just Penelope Cruz playing one. One called Anna in Woody Allen’s masterly new movie To Rome with Love. Halfway through watching Cruz-Anna’s pouting?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+bending?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+seducing?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+stroking and my mouth was dry as a Keimoes pot-plant, my rampant heartbeat disturbing the chick with the hearing-aid sitting next to me.

A skilled, classic acting technique with Pinteresque comic timing tends to do this to us artists.

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Bilton Viognier and the Dissing of Generalisation


The Bilton Wines sales team about to drop off some Viognier 2008.

Yes we can. Viognier, South African that is, is deliciously drinkable. But then again, whoever said it wasn’t?

Like Merlot, Viognier has been victim of the shallow throwaway line: “We can’t make that in South Africa.” Said thrower then goes on to pontificate about “excessive greenness”, a perceived hiccup in Merlot’s ripening procedure under South African conditions. Really? So how, pray, is the country making such sterling Bordeaux-style blends if the Merlot is deemed to be so tart?

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Wineries Show Quiet Confidence ahead of Testing Cook-off

The spate of Cold Fronts lashing the Western Cape over the past few weeks were only the precursor to the real storm set to take place this Friday when wineries Muratie Estate and DuToitskloof Winery square off in the first Boland Waterblommetjie Championship Cook-off. The ubiquitous waterblommetjie, a classic local ingredient used in preparing a traditional hearty stew, takes centre stage when a panel of esteemed judges line-up to decide who is the Boland’s Waterblommetjie Champion.

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20 Finalists for Absa Top 10 Pinotage

The Swartland, Stellenbosch and Durbanville regions,lead the way in this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, ,with each region having three wines in the final 20.

Pinotages from Swartland Winery, Riebeek Cellars and Painted Wolf Wines are made from Swartland fruit, while the wines from Altydgedacht Estate, Diemersdal Estate and Durbanville Hills Winery establish the Durbanville region’s Pinotage credentials.

The Pinotage capital of Stellenbosch also sees three producers in the top 20: Simonsig, Delheim and Spier.

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Terroir Awards Leading the Way in Site Recognition


A band of terroirists. Annareth Bolton of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, with two of her members who shone at the awards - Gary Jordan from Jordan and De Wet Viljoen from Neethlingshof.


It is definitely not the final word on recognising the role of terroir and terrain in the South African wine landscape, but the Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards is a doped-up Chinese swimmer’s length in front of the rest. Started by the ebullient Marius Labuschagne some seven years ago, the Terroir Wine Awards recognises wines produced on demarcated pockets of South African terroir. Single vineyards. Estate. Ward. Or small district (districts not divided in wards.)

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Sympathy for the Chenin – Keith Richards on Wine


In a wine world exclusive, WineGoggle gets down with Keith Richards, the guy who plays a bit of guitar with a certain rock band.

WineGoggle: The Stones. Wow! 50 years. You kicked off your career in 1962, one of the great French wine vintages.

Keith Richards: Obviously at the time we were not aware of this ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ weren’t aware of anything, really. But since learning a bit about the stuff, I am proud of the connection. Just like Mick is,?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ he’s the real wine ponce.

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GMO Giant Eyes Cape Winelands for Experiments

Well hello, look who just slipped into the Cape Winelands under the radar? If it isn’t our friendly,genetic modifiers Monsanto.

In today’s Die Burger newspaper Monsanto advertises plans to test its genetically modified (GM) maize in Lutzville, one of the major vineyard regions of the West Coast. The advertisement calls for comment and/or suggestions, and let’s hope that the local farmers ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ led by wine industry bodies and local government ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ will put in the necessary objections. Although an outright, assertive ban in gravelly the toned voice of Premier Helen Zille would be better.

I mean, why bring the process of testing for Frankenstein maize down to the damp Western Cape to begin with if Monsanto is looking for ways to make maize drought-resistant? Is the Western Cape being targeted for such experiments after being shut out of other provinces?

News of the industry allowing GM experiments in vineyard areas is the last thing the image of Wine Brand South needs right now, thank you very much.

The last time GM news hit the Cape Winelands, industry bodies joined forces in accepting this was part of agrictultural,progress. This time around it would be wise for local minister of agriculture Gerrit van Rensburg and wine body Vinpro to let Monsanto know to shove their experiments in a place the sun don’t shine, not even if it is genetically modified to do so.

For a copy of the advertisement, buy Die Burger.

South African Wine-makers with French Souls

Like the rich, the French are different. In what way? Well, going into detail cannot be done before proper broadband comes to South Africa as the reasoning is bound to be expansive.

Wine, for example, is one area in which the French are different from other nations.

Still the greatest wine country on earth. Has been and always will be. Blah.Blah. Agreed.

In the spirit of Bastille Day celebrations, thus, I’d like to take a look at five South African winemakers who to my mind have ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ knowingly or otherwise ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ been infected with French genes of vinous brilliance. Doubting Thomases can taste it in their wines.

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