With so many premium South African winemakers already trying to find their way in the UK it can be a challenge for another name to make their mark. But having recently been taken over by the major German wine company, Reh Kendermann, and its strong ties in the UK, Napier Vineyards in Wellington and its chief winemaker, Leon Bester, are hopeful their time is yet to come.
It certainly turned a few heads last month when it was announced that Paul Schaafsma, the former chief executive of Accolade Wines, was returning to the UK as head of wine packing business, Broadland Wineries. But it is also a further reflection of how traditional bottlers are becoming key suppliers of branded and own label wines in their own right for the on and increasingly on-trade.
Even by today’s standards the story behind Margaret River’s Cloudburst is an exceptional one. How an American biologist looking for a new lease of life plants vines against advice and, from a half hectare plot and with five year-old vines, wins the top Cabernet Sauvignon gongs with his very first vintage in Margaret River of all places. Peter Dean tastes the wines with Will Berliner, owner and winemaker.
Who better to give an insight in to the latest trends within German wine, particularly in terms of what diners are drinking, than Gus Pollard of 10 Cases in Covent Garden that only ever buys 10 cases of any particular wine and when it’s gone, it’s gone. German or not. Pollard was also one of the judges for the upcoming Get it On tasting that will highlight the best 50 German wines looking to find a place on restaurants and bars wine lists.
Emma Diggory travels to Georgia to discover first hand why there’s so much fuss about its wines – visiting a range of wineries, including a 6th Century monastery making 60 tons of qvevri wines, to former Soviet-controlled cooperatives that are resurrecting themselves into modern outfits. Along the way she samples local cuisine and gives insight and tips on what wines to buy and where to buy them.
When The Buyer visited China’s Ningxia winemaking region in August, we discovered many exciting developments in this rapidly changing region. The wine quality was variable, however, especially to Western palates, but there was one winery that stood out head and shoulders above the rest and that was Silver Heights. Victor Smart was blown away by the winery’s Emma’s Reserve – mind you it is only available in magnum and does cost £400 a bottle.
Joan Roca, head chef of El Celler de Can Roca, twice-ranked number one in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, delivered a rare masterclass to the top chefs of Scotland. In it he revealed why he operates a split-shift system in his restaurant, how El Celler’s 70,000-strong wine cellar informs his cuisine and how you go about making a dessert that celebrates a home goal by Lionel Messi.
Ryan Mostert with his Silverwis and Terracura wineries is proud to be one of the younger, smaller players that are making waves of their own in South Africa. But he says he could not be making the wines he wants at Silverwis & Terracura without the support of his fellow New Wave winemakers across the Cape that together have been able to create an “incredible energy” to make “authentic wines”.
“These are exciting times. The possibilities seem endless!” That’s how Reyneke’s Rudiger Gretschel sees the future not just for himself but for South Africa as a whole as it moves ever closer to making world class, site specific, uniques wines. Go and taste his range of organic and biodynamic wines today at the New Wave South Africa tasting on the New Generation McKinley stand.
The countdown really is on for this week’s New Wave South African tasting with winemakers heading to the UK to show their cutting edge wines. Leon Coetzee of Fledge & Co will be exhibiting for the first time and promises not just good wines to taste but to “crack a few jokes and talk the hind leg off a donkey if you drop by our stand”…you have been warned.