South African wine has always had a special place in my heart, having grown up in Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia and SA). My first wine drinking experiences were in my late teens whilst training in hotel management in Johannesburg. Here we drank classic, affordable and quaffable names such as ‘Autumn Harvest Crackling’, ‘Old Brown Sherry’ and ‘Tassenberg’ red wine. A hotel school trip to the Cape Winelands in the late 1990’s helped to develop my young palate and opened my eyes to a flourishing wine trade in post-apartheid South Africa. After a year working as a chef in the USA, I moved to the UK. I started to work for Oddbins in a few of their flagship West London stores, where I came across and got to meet great names such as Anthony Hamilton Russel (Burgundian style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Hermanus) and Bruce Jack (Flagstone Winery in those days). Over 20 years on, here I am, running an Independent wine merchant, selling some of the most highly regarded wines in the world. A large proportion of these top shelf wines are from the Western Cape. The last two years of selling wine during the pandemic has firmly established my commitment to championing South African wine. The resilience and determination of every producer we spoke to, or zoomed with, was inspiring. Drought, Covid and economic and political turmoil have not stopped South Africa continuing to produce world class wines. Long may this continue.
My top Choices from our range:
- Waterkloof Cape Coral Mourvedre Rosé 2020 £13.95
- Scali 'Sirkel' Chenin Blanc Organic 2020 £15.95
- Groote Post Kapokberg Chardonnay 2017 £14.95
- Diemersfontein Coffee Pinotage 2017 £14.95
- Drift Estate Moveable Feast 2017 £21
- Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 £44