Tim James: On Clairette Blanche

Let me start by digressing. I was browsing today through R.U. Kenney’s biography – more a hagiography, really – of Abraham Perold, and paused at the advice the great viticulturist gave to Hans von Carlowitz about vines for Uitkyk, the Stellenbosch estate that the aristocratic German bought in 1929. Carlowitz told Kenney that “under [Perold’s] […]

September 12, 2016
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Tim James: On the continuing emergence of natural wines

It was the most unusual line-up I’ve experienced at one of the big final Platter’s tastings. (For those who don’t know, this event has in recent years evolved into one where a number of three-person panels blind-taste the many hundreds of wines that have been nominated for more than four stars.) This small category was […]

September 6, 2016
by Tim James
with 6 Comments

Tim James: More on Portuguese varieties in SA

It was only in the 1990s that Portugal’s Douro region started to produce red table wines in a big way, using the varieties that had long gone into its famous ports. The international success of those dry reds (more blends than varietals), coupled with a renewed South African will to experiment, has led to a […]

August 29, 2016
by Tim James
with 3 Comments

Tim James: On the state of SA Chardonnay

It’s six years since Grant Dodd (Australian MD of Haskell) and Christian Eedes organised a tasting of Australian and South African chardonnays (see here and here): seven top producers from each country, two vintages each. Insofar as it was a test match, South Africa won on average, though Australia’s Pierro was reckoned the best pair. […]

August 22, 2016
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Tim James: On Samuel Pepys and home blending

This is not at all what I intended to write about. In fact I had almost finished an earnest and highly enthusiastic little piece for you about Portuguese varieties in South Africa – but then I had my supper and felt it my duty to accompany it with some of my today’s Platter wines. And, […]

August 15, 2016
by Tim James
with 2 Comments

Tim James: On wine allocations

There are various ways of coping with a demand that exceeds supply. The basic method dictated by our splendid economic regime is, of course, price: you can only have it if you can afford it. Stalinist Eastern Europe relied more on a willingness to queue for any luxuries available to the general public. As for […]

August 9, 2016
by Tim James
with 7 Comments

Tim James: On Gabriëlskloof as a centre of excellence

When Chris and Suzaan Alheit shared their Hemel-en-Aarde cellar with Peter-Allan Finlayson of Crystallum, and more briefly with John Seccombe of Thorne & Daughters, they all spoke occasionally of it as a “centre of winemaking excellence” (and even made the T-shirt). There was obviously humour behind the pompous grandeur of the words – but that […]

August 1, 2016
by Tim James
with 3 Comments

Tim James: On being a taster for Platter’s

I’m so used to people thinking that tasting wines for Platter’s’s can only be a drunken, hedonistic delight that I was greatly pleased the other day when someone asked if it didn’t sometimes become just a chore. The experience, in fact, while not always pure delight, is often exciting, invariably at least interesting. Though the […]

July 26, 2016
by Tim James
with 0 Comments
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Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 & now lives on in digital form as Winemag.co.za. We cover everything to do with SA fine wine.

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