The last time I tasted Chateau Libertas 1940 was on the occasion of the brand’s 80th anniversary in 2012 when the information to hand suggested that its constituent parts were “predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon but including Cinsault and some of the Port varieties” while the alcohol was given as 14.93%. My tasting note at the time was as follows: “Decaying forest floor, orange rind and caramel on the nose. Rich, thick textured and mellow on the palate. Not unlike Tawny Port.”


Is the gravitas of a wine determined by the producer or brand name on the label?  And if so, how does it influence appreciation and/or understanding of the content? Another to-be-taken-serious marker might also be the look: the label, the packaging, the presentation. (Colleague Tim James pointed out the banality of such superficial posturing in the way of pompously large and heavy bottles here.)


Capensis is the joint venture between Barbara Banke of US wine company Jackson Family Wines and Antony Beck of Graham Beck Wines, the focus exclusively on Chardonnay and Chardonnay designed to succeed in a high-end on-con environment. What then is the house style? As a recent tasting of all vintages across all cuvées to date confirmed, it is very much about massive fruit concentration and assertive wooding.


Consider such fine examples of Syrah as of Boschkloof Epilogue, the Mullineux Single Terroir wines, Porseleinberg and Rall Ava, and it’s difficult to deny that this is the most exciting red wine category in the country right now. That said, you’d be mad to think that deluxe Cabernet Sauvignon is simply going to disappear off the scene.


In what will be remembered as a notorious own goal, the South African government has again halted wine exports. With great disbelief, the wine industry received the news that restrictions on wine have been tightened, through a total ban on the transport of alcohol.


As the Coronavirus plays itself out, I have regular moments when it seems to me that writing about wine during such a time is hugely out of step with what’s appropriate to the circumstances. And yet it’s what I do…


Back in the mid-2000s, I used to write a weekly email newsletter called Gulp!, in which I would regale readers with my misfortunes in courting and the solace I used to find in both wine and music. It was surprisingly popular.


Down the road from me is a delightful takeaway foodie place called Slaai. You won’t be surprised that it is owned by The Salad Co. Over in the beautiful Breedekloof, the enterprising Louw brothers Attie and Zak have launched a take-way of a different kind, comprising fresh produce of the region. They call it Opstal Vars.


Seeking to find the best examples of Shiraz between the R60 and R120 price points, the wines were tasted blind by our three judges: Joanne Gibson, Ndaba Dube and Trizanne Barnard with scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.


During events carried out simultaneously on the Boschendal estate outside Franschhoek, at the Daytona Showroom in Johannesburg and The Ash steakhouse and bar in Düsseldorf, Germany, DGB yesterday launched a new wine, namely Boschendal Nicolas 2016.

Social Connections