Focus/Fokus

Wine producers, winemakers, wines, etc./Wynprodusente, wynmakers, wyne, ens.

Zonnebloem’s John November is ‘doing what he always wanted to to’

John November.

John November, Zonnebloem's new white wine maker and an avid cyclist, doesn't have much time for his hobby at the moment.

"This is my first harvest at Zonnebloem and I'm tremendously excited. The drought has meant that the crop is smaller than in previous years, although it's too early to say how much. The grapes are very healthy though with lovely, concentrated flavours that we're capturing in the cellar.  The big challenge is the juggling to get all the grapes in at optimal ripeness, but we're managing, so watch this space!"

Northern Italy’s big little secret wine region is making history

There's sparkle in dem wine!

“When was the land first used to grow grapes?” This is a common question addressed to New World wine regions, writes Claudia Angelillo.

The United States, in all of her blushing youth, wears a thirty year-old vineyard plot like a badge of honor. But to ask the same question in Italy’s Franciacorta wine region would be absurd. Grape growing has been a part of life in the region since the beginning of recorded time, and winemaking is a culturally embedded practice contributing to the region’s spirit and character.

Open your eyes (and palates) to German red wines

Germany is the next stop on our journey into wine.

Spät” means “late” in German, writes Christy Canterbury MW. In (that crazy) German noun compounding, Spät + Burgunder = “late-ripener from Burgundy”. That, in turn, means Pinot Noir. Chances are good you’ve never seen a bottle of Spätburgunder, much less tasted one, but hopefully that soon changes. Today over one-third of German wine is red, and Spätburgunder is the leading black grape. There’s so much that Germany ranks third in global plantings after France and the US.

Portugal’s wine story is about much more than just Port!

Food and wine, two of Portugal's greatest gifts to mankind.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta.

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton.

Campania wine: Something very old, something very new

Campania, Italy.

We feel that if a geographic area has shown wine excellence throughout a long history, then even more sublime heights can be reached with the addition of a dose of passion and attention, writes Victor Rallo Jr and Anthony Verdoni.

Campania was the bread basket of Ancient Rome. Fruits, nuts, grains, seafood, meats, olive oil – authors from Virgil to Pliny to Columella agreed that if those ingredients were of Campanian origin, they were the best. The wine poet Horace was lavish in his praise of Falernian white, which is produced today, as in the Roman era, from grapes grown on the hillsides of Campania.

The rise of South African chenin blanc

Raats Family Vineyards, one of the finest producers of chenin blanc in SA.

Chenin Blanc is a very versitile grape and can be made into many different styles of wines, writes Christopher Barnes.

 

The relationship between winemakers and yeast

Yeast, the "other" party!

I have a confession to make publicly. I am a Yeast Wrangler, writes Nova McCune Cadamatre. In every fermentation, every harvest, I try to get inside the minds of these tiny fungi and discern what they want to eat, how they would like to be treated, and what temperature they would like their environment to be. They make the wine and winemakers try to keep them happy. They are like the ultimate prima donna who refuses to work unless everything in their environment is to their liking. If something is out of place, they immediately let you know by sending off Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), which smells like rotten eggs, to voice their displeasure.

Chenin blanc: complex, perplexing but also accomplished and versatile

Chenin blanc, from workhorse to thoroughbred!

Rich, complex whites are well suited to cooler weather, particularly when they have the body, texture and character to enjoy at “cellar temperature” of 10-12C, writes Treve Ring, writer, editor, judge, consultant, educator and certified sommelier based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

When it comes to complex, and possibly perplexing whites, I think of chenin blanc. Chenin blanc is one of the world’s most versatile grapes. Wines from this early-budding, late ripening grape arc from searingly bone dry to sweet nobility and from serious fizz to potent fortified pours.

Pinotage takes centre stage!

The aromas of the "Brady Bunch" grape in a bottle!

Pinotage is a “Brady Bunch” grape. It was created by enmeshing two previously unrelated grapes to create a brand new entity which possesses its own compelling characteristics. In viticultural language this is called a crossing. If you really want to get technical, a crossing results when two grapes, both grown from vitis vinifera parent seed, are melded into a single being. (This differs from a hybrid. A hybrid combines two separate species, one of which may or may not be vitis vinifera.) When pinot noir meets cinsault (also known as hermitage), together they create pinotage.

Ditch your rosé, orange wine is burning hot

Yep, it's orange wine!

Orange wine is something I feel I have read about more often than I have seen it in the past few years, writes Sandra Crittenden. It is definitely not on every wine list I encounter nor is it taking up a lot of shelf space in the places where I buy wine. When the opportunity for a taste has arisen usually as a temporary novelty on a wine bar list, I am always eager to try it; sometimes I’ve loved it and other times I’ve been more neutral. Whether the orange wine trend will continue to grow is still under discussion but, as a style, it seems to be here to stay. Recently, I made a point to seek out as many orange wines as I could find in my own market and collect my thoughts on the wines that are available now.

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