Podcast: Wine Sona 2024

By , 8 February 2024



David Clarke of the agency Ex Animo Wine Co. provides a podcast consisting of a series of interviews with industry figures, the latest episode featuring a discussion with Winemag.co.za editor Christian Eedes about the state of the (wine) nation. Listen to it here.


4 comment(s)

Please read our Comments Policy here.

    Alexander Wilson | 12 February 2024

    In the wine sona discussion on SA pinot noir, an uneven vintage outcome was mentioned as a challenge.

    Referencing the winemag.co.za rating database and looking closer at for instance Crystallum Cuvée Cinema, Storm Ridge, Restless River Le Luc and Newton Johnson Seadragon – it appears that no distinct year by year rating fluctuation can be observed. Would this not be expected?

      Christian Eedes | 13 February 2024

      Hi Alexander, You raise a fair point that there is not much fluctuation in scores for the wines mentioned. I would counter that Pinot Noir is difficult to make and confusing to judge. I think it’s relatively easy to achieve perfume and fruity charm under local conditions but texture and structure are often missing – when some tannic shape is achieved then its often at the expense of prettiness (and so scores get “stuck”). Crystallum, Newton Johnson and Storm (with Restless River showing promise although not possessing the same track record yet) are our leading practitioners of the variety and deserve to be recognised as such. However, I’m inclined to view local Pinot Noir as work in progress rather than the finished article.

        Alexander Wilson | 13 February 2024

        Hi Christian,

        Thank you. To be clear the inquiry is out of curiosity, and not to question the assessment. However, even with aspects of quality rather than overall rating fluctuating, your assessment in the sona conversation implies preference to certain vintages over others? Or merely that the result is very vintage dependent?

        To unpack this a little further on the review interpretation side.

        Should the following description be read as a “pretty” vintage? “Red and black cherries, beetroot, earth and spice on the nose while the palate is substantial yet seamless – good fruit definition, fresh acidity and smooth tannins. This has weight and texture in the best sense.”

        Should this description be interpreted as a vintage where the elusive “tannic shape” was achieved? “Enticing aromatics of red and black cherry, rose, fynbos and a little earthiness. The palate is delicate and precise – striking fruit purity, bright acidity and powdery tannins. A wine of remarkable definition and drive.”

        I appreciate your critique of wine scores also featured in this edition of wine sona, as they are inevitably destined for overinterpretation.

          Christian Eedes | 14 February 2024

          Hi Alexander, For the benefit of other readers, the two tasting notes you quote are for Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma Pinot Noir, the first being the 2020 vintage and the second 2021. As for how they should be read, I think 2020 was the more structured of the two (and to my mind this applies generally to Hemel en Aarde). “Beetroot, earth and spice” are aromatically base notes for me while “rose and fynbos” are top notes and hence lighter and more immediately attractive. Similarly, “weight and texture” go towards substance while “drive” is meant to suggest energy and tension. Deciding whether to privilege structure over prettiness or vice versa ultimately comes down to personal preference but I guess what I’m looking for in SA Pinot Noir are tannins without the wine becoming rustic or dour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Like our content?

Show your support.