Menings oor wyn en wynverwante aangeleenthede/Views on wine and wine related maters.

WINE OF THE MONTH: GlenWood Chardonnay Grand Duc 2013

Our Wine of the Month for February.

From chenin blanc to semillon, from merlot to shiraz, and from rosé to bubbly, they all featured in this month’s “battle of the taste buds”. Seven whites, three reds, three pinks and a bubbly: it was a good wine month!

Making sense of sparkling wines

South Africa's Cap Classiques are a match for French Champagne any day!

I was recently challenged to find a wine that would match a delicate dessert and continue to drink well into those lazy, mellow moments that follow every memorable meal, writes John Downes MW. There were several contenders, but I went for Demi-Sec Champagne. Controversial I know, but most Houses produce Demi-Sec including Moet et Chandon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, Lanson and Laurent-Perrier, so it wasn’t so difficult to find.

As he popped open the Demi-Sec bubbles my host asked, “How do you tell how sweet or dry a Champagne is?” Good question! The answer is on the label. Read on to learn all the ins and outs of French letters and numbers so you’ll be in the know in time for your next big celebration!

The world’s most undervalued wines: Chilean Pinot Noir

A pinot noir vineyard in Chile.

Everyone wants a good deal, writes Gabe Sasso. It doesn’t matter what you’re buying, we all like to save a buck.

In the wine world there are several ways to save money and get a good bottle of wine. One in particular is to shop in categories that aren’t as popular, well known or highly scored as some others. There are a multitude of reasons a particular category might not be as highly valued as it should be; too often it’s simply public perception or consumer awareness. My goal here is to uncover those smoking gun classifications that are criminally underrated and report on them. If I do my job well, they’ll eventually just be good wines at a fair price.

Undervalued wine categories: Late Bottled Vintage Port

Port, pure class and breeding in a bottle!

Port is a category of wine that conjures up different images depending on your experience or taste, writes Gabe Sasso. The styles and methodologies used to produce and, in particular, age Port are also pretty wide ranging.

There are two kinds of Port that are more commonly known and leap to the forefront of people’s brains more often than others. One is Tawny Port which is often aged for many years, undergoes gradual oxidation and generally uses an average age statement rather than a specific vintage year. So if a Port bottle says “20 year Tawny” it means that some of the wine used to make the blend was more than 20 years and some under, but the average is at minimum 20 years. With this style the Port House in question is aiming for a flavor profile.

SA's cabernet franc touted as hot grape variety for 2016

Cabernet franc grapes in full swing!

The impact of climate change and new technologies (like the ability to check wine prices on smartphones) are on my vinous radar for 2016, writes Elin McCoy. Sparkling wine, especially ubiquitous prosecco, is still going strong, but “premiumisation” is coming. Ditto for rosé.

WYN VAN DIE MAAND: Baleia Bay Chardonnay 2013 & Ondine Cabernet Franc 2009

Ons twee wenwyne vir Januarie.

Daar’s eintlik net een nadeel aan la dolce vita, en dis die feit dat mens ’n voortdurende stryd met jou lyf het, veral as jou metabolisme teen die spoed van ’n bewegende gletser werk! Ek glo aan balans … in alles! Dis hoekom ek stap, fietsry en oefen as teengewig vir al my heerlike kos- en wyn-vergrypings. Die les? Daar’s ongelukkig altyd ’n prys te betaal vir ’n dekadente, hedonistiese leefstyl. Maar ek kla nie.

Ons onlangse besoek aan Portugal met sy heerlike kos en wyn het weer eens sy tol geëis ondanks al die voetslanery. En glo my, ons het voet geslaan!

You are not allergic to sulphite!

Don't blame sulphite in wine.

One of the things I hear frequently from people who find out I’m a technical guy for winemaking is, “I’m allergic to the sulphite in wine. What can I do?” My heart sinks when I hear this, writes Tim Vandergrift.

Why organic and biodynamic wines matter

Organic or biodynamic, or traditional.

We hear a lot of talk about organic and biodynamic wine, but do we understand its importance in the world of wine? asks Christina Pirello. And its impact on the planet? It’s pretty big picture stuff.

In the early 1920s, a group of farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soil, plants and animals (yes, even back then it was a concern) worked with Rudolph Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy (spiritual science). He had spent his adult life researching and investigating the subtle forces in nature that influenced the health and wellness of all life. From his work and lectures emerged the fundamental principles of biodynamic agriculture that related the ecology of the farm to that of the entire cosmos. I told you this was big picture!

The greatest tragedy in the wine industry

Wine: keep it simple and just enjoy it!

I’m a wine insider, writes Ryan Opaz. I’ve met, or known, most of the big names in wine today; and from time to time, have had the honor to collaborate with them. I run a large-ish conference about wine communications. I’ve judged in wine competitions, consulted wineries on marketing strategies, blogged about wine for 10+ years and drank many wines that I can’t afford. I offer this as context.

Size does matter, really!

The different wine bottle sizes.

You learn something every day, and last Saturday was no exception, writes John Downes MW. Did you know that at a Christening the bottle of celebration Champagne should be bigger than the baby? That means of course that a single bottle that holds a mere 750 millilitres is nowhere near big enough.

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