My 2014 Highlights

With nothing eventful in sight for the rest of the year, herewith some of my highlights.

Best Wine

On the local front I am going Grenache, and I am going Neil Ellis 2011. Made from old vines on the Piekenierskoof, this is the kind of wine that will urge an Iranian camel-jockey to start drinking. Garnet in colour, brooding tones of fennel and soil, the wine dances a fruit-laced medley comprising berries, quince and ripe fig. Everything is fresh as a showered pom-pom girl and the palate-weight is graceful, while the wine’s length lasts longer than a Julius Malema court appearance.

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Grenache Greatness from Neil Ellis

Old vineyards do not guarantee good wine, as I have always suspected despite the generalised assumption that a wrinkly ancient vineyard planted when Jan Smuts was still being breast-fed just has to produce fantastic grapes. At a recent memorable tasting of Grenache wines from a vineyard in the Piekenierskloof outside Citrusdal, Neil Ellis confirmed these suspicions. However, the Master said, when it comes to Grenache, the vineyard only tends to get a sense of direction after hitting 20 years.

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The Deserved Greatness of Vriesenhof

Wine commentary is often ridiculed for the weighted words and terms strewn about like trashed spittoons. Besides the spirited terminology used to describe taste and aroma – think organic coconut hand-crushed by Tahitian virgins, freshly folded Spanish linen duvet cover and manicured seal whisker – there is the lofty lauding. Here, words such as “icon”, “legend”, “works of art” and “genius” are used, more often than not just a bit too randomly.

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