September 5, 2016
Great Britain may have dominated the Olympics but the Surf Dudes, Walker Bay Freestylers, Stellenbosch Gangsters and Swartlands Rebels are coming to take over London Docks and Little Bedwyn this September.
The excitement may be curtailed as all the South Africans have to arrive by British Airways or Emirates, but rest assured this is certainly going to be a massive boost for the South African Wine Industry.
All winners, The NZ High Commissioner, Sir Lockwood Smith and his wife, Heads of WOSA UK and NZ Wines enjoying the Tri Nations at Little Bedwyn
Back in July we hosted our 4th Tri Nations Wine Challenge, with New Zealand up again against South Africa after the draw in Cape Town in January, and despite another draw there were a few shock results, New Zealand won the Chenin Blanc round and South Africa won the Sauvignon Blanc round. But it was all smiles at the end as the New Zealand High Commissioner got on stage and came out in song. I will be hosting the next leg against New Zealand at Craggy Range in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand on Sunday 5th February, although there is a small challenge against Australia in Cape Town firstly in January. Full report below.
Cape Winemakers Guild
CWG Chairman Miles Mossop will be launching the Great Britain leg of this prestigious Auction at Berry Bros & Rudd, St James on Monday 5th September. I have luckily be invited to the Press launch for this for some years and had the privilege to try some outstanding rare wines, highlighting the unique and wonderful history that South Africa has in wine and sprits, Brandy especially comes to mind.
Intrepid South Africa
Wines of South Africas trade tasting, Intrepid South Africa, takes place on Thursday 8th September 2016 at Tobacco Dock, London. The tasting will showcase wines from over 100 South African producers, putting the spotlight on South Africas bold and dynamic winemaking nature, which has shaped the countrys international reputation as one of the worlds most exciting, fast-paced wine regions.
Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines South African Roadshow
One of Great Britains most exciting and dynamic Importers will be hosting their South African Roadshow at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (thats our place) on Friday 9th September from 11 a.m. to 4p.m. This is a Trade Only event to highlight some of their producers including;
Ezanne Gouws from Ernst Gouws & Co. (Stellenbosch)
Elizma Visser & Paul Leeuwerik from Olifantsberg (Breedekloof)
Samantha O Keefe from Lismore Estate (Greyton)
Sean Nieuwoudt from Swartland Winery (Swartland)
Lombard Loubser from Bloemendal (Durbanville)
Boela Gerber from Groot Constantia (Constantia)
There will also be an array of Michelin Star Canaps matched specifically to wines from each producer.
Consumer Gala Dinner with Hallgarten Druitt & Novum South African Winemakers
We are delighted to host this dinner in conjunction with Hallgarten to highlight their range of winemakers from South Africa over an 8 course Michelin Dinner in a marquee in our grounds on Friday 9th September. With some 70 guests attending it will be a great opportunity to showcase a fascinating cross section of old and new, modern and traditional.
The South African Safari
This is the big one; completely sold out months ago, not only have we amassed a lively Safari of winemakers, owners, supporters and hangers on but also our loyal customers are over joyed by the delights that we have arranged for them.
The very first blending of The Jones Family Collection wines
More importantly we will be launching the first 2 editions of our Jones Family Collection wines, which involves both our children Rhiannon (22) and Richard (20) and of course Sue and I. Our aim is to bottle/blend/produce wines from all over the World to reflect our favourite styles and winemakers, and to share the very best with our friends and customers (there has to be some financial undertaking). Hopefully from my experience as a judge for Decanter and numerous other bodies I have chosen well. Our two South African Heroes will be announced on the day.
However as a small gift to our South African friends we have asked them to turn up at 11a.m. a good hour before the consumers to taste through some 50 Sparkling Wines from around the World, from Vintage Champagne (Krug) to the finest from Tasmania in Australia to Vintage Cava from Spain and real Italian Sparkling from Franciacorta, to Wales and maybe a few blind MCC wines.
Here is the list confirmed to date;
Ken Forrester, Forrester Wines
Gary and Kathy Jordan, Jordan Estate, Stellenbosch & Neleen from High Timber
Murray Barlow, cellarmaster, Rustenberg, Stellenbosch
Danie Steytler, winemaker, Kaapzicht Estate, Stellenbosch,
Lia Poveda, Global Ambassador, Bouchard Finlayson, Walker Bay
Nic Bureau, Export Director, Glenelly, Stellenbosch
Jocelyn Wilson, Winemaker and owner, Hogan Estate, Stellenbosch
David Sadie, wine maker David & Nadia Sadie, Malmesbury, Swartland
Bevan Newton Johnson, Newton Family Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde
Kevin Arnold, owner Waterford, Stellenbosch
Tertius Boschoff, owner and winemaker, Stellenrust, Stellenbosch
Alex Starey winemaker, Keermont, Stellenbosch
Julian & Cathy, winemakers, Villiera, Stellenbosch/Western Cape
Ernst Gouws JNR from Ernst Gouws, Stellenbosch
Paul Leeuwerik & Elizma Visser winemakers from Olifantsberg,
Sean Nieuwoudt winemaker Swartland Winery
Roger and Sue representing Hamilton RusselI and Crystallum
Boela Gerber winemaker Groot Constantia
Sam OKeefe, owner and winemaker, Lismore Estate
Grant Dodd, CEO, Haskell Vineyards, Stellenbosch
Carolyn Martin, Creation Wines, Hemel-en-Aarde
Darren Brogden, Vincisive
Andrew Johnson representing Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch
And of course The Jones Family Collection Wines
The Tri Nations Wine Challenges
Announcing the results after each course South Africa v New Zealand at Little Bedwyn
The Tri Nations Wine Challenges is now truly a Global affair with key dates already set for next year in Cape Town, Hawkes Bay and Little Bedwyn.
Here is a report by Nigel Greening, Owner of Felton Road who attended the evening in Little Bedwyn in July and proudly declares that The Harrow has one of if not the best vertical listing of Felton Road wines in the World.
The Sauvignon Blanc flight was really a battle of two schools, rather than a battle of two countries. South Africa fielded a funky, probably wild, definitely reductive example from the school pioneered by Te Koko, and Section 94. While New Zealand went for a classic aromatic iteration of Marlborough. Of course either country could have fielded an example of either style.
The vote went for the more complex, some may say more sophisticated approach of the wild and funky wine. Personally I felt the reduction went too far and preferred the NZ wine for its unashamed fruit and aromatic appeal.
Chenin I expected to go South Africas way. But James Clos St Anne 2013 was utterly sublime; the best Millton I can remember tasting. It had a precision, and restraint that is rare in Chenin: bone dry, but without a hint of aggression. The Ken Forrester was a very good wine, very young and started pretty clunky, but rounded and opened in the glass really well. If they had been poured and left an hour before tasting then it might have been the winner, but I doubt it; that Millton was just brilliant.
Chardonnay was always going to be tough if you field Moutere Chardonnay and in fielding the 2014 there was a hundred point wine on the table. Whos got an answer to that? The 2014 is taut, the epitome of restrained power and at least a decade off drinking. My commiserations to Hamilton Russell, they had a very well made wine there, but it was taking a knife to a gunfight.
Pinot was the most interesting flight of the night for me. We had two 2014s of very different expressions. Calvert looks restrained against the other Felton Roads but here it looked opulent and quite fruit forward compared with the Crystallum which was a masterclass of perfectly ripe phenolics. These wines are the best SA Pinots I've ever tasted and are quite unlike any of the early groundbreaking SA Pinots. Either wine could win this one, just down to whether people went for fruit and perfume or structure and perfectly polished tannins.
The Syrahs were another pair from two different schools. Le Sol is about perfect honing: deep ripe fruit, polished chocolate tannins, and really needs more age to start show a bit of its feral side. The Lismore was animale, bouncing with all those secondary characters that come from the funky side of the Rhone. It was fresh, lively and positively cheeky. It deserved the win, just for being more interesting; more to talk about. Le Sol was probably the better wine, but didnt shout on the night.
Lastly the bubbles. Nautilus is a very good example of NZ bubbles, but was solidly outgunned by the Graham Beck. If NZ wanted to win this flight it would have needed to field something more about depth, a vintage wine, not about refreshment. Another knife taken to a gunfight.
I say a draw was a fair result. Not a bad wine on the table at any point. On balance, SA was a bit more daring, NZ a bit more staid. A different flight of wines could have shown it the other way round, but I think that is a reflection of where the countries stand: SA is on something of a roll right now with a new energy. Maybe NZ is resting on its laurels a bit?
The Riedel Tri nations Wine Challenge Trophy
Rogers fantastic challenges have helped to raise awareness of premium South African wines. We have been delighted to see South Africa do so well against tough competition, helping to cement our image as one of the worlds most exciting wine producing nations. The exquisite food that Roger and his team have prepared, both in South Africa and at our tastings in London, perfectly demonstrates the versatility of our wines.
Siobhan Thompson, CEO, Wines of South Africa
Guess we had some important Kiwis in the House
We are again proud to be part of Rogers Tri Nations fixture. It is a great opportunity to put us up against some of the great wines of the world. Our aspiration is to be a world-class winery and the only way to continue to evolve is to put our self out there. At Vinexpo in Hong Kong we represented New Zealand in a Syrah Tasting up against Penfolds and Guigall among other world greats. Rogers Tri Nation is exactly the same. It gives us an opportunity to benchmark, learn and also to take confidence in what we are doing. By hosting a fixture at the winery in Hawkes Bay, it also gives the local Hawkes Bay community an opportunity to gain some insight into the great wines coming out of South Africa…an opportunity that is rarely seen in rural New Zealandâ¨Aaron Drummond, General Manager, Craggy Range Vineyards
The picturesque Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town
The Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town
Over the last 3 years Sue and I have become very much residents in this hotel every January (plus at other times when we feel the need), together we have built up a fantastic relationship and have even had exchange visits for their kitchen brigade to The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.
This coming January we will be hosting three events there;
8th January 2017
The Vineyard World Sparkling/MCC Challenge
10th January 2017
6 Course Gastronomic Bubbles Paired Michelin Star Dinner
13th January 2017
Tri Nations Wine Challenge Dinner South Africa vs Australia
The team at The Vineyard, January 2016
The Vineyard Hotel is always looking for ways to contribute to the wine tourism of South Africa and to build relationships that can showcase what can be achieved in the wine space. The Dinner with Roger Jones is an example of how long standing friendships based on a similar philosophy- can work together to bring a showpiece of international acclaim to the shores of South Africa, while also assisting our kitchen team to new culinary thinking. Hosting Roger and the Tri Nations Challenge is a wonderful extension of the Vineyards legacy of involvement with wine.
Roy Davies, General Manager, The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town