After 2 weeks in what could very well lay claim to being the world’s most beautiful wine area, Sunday morning dawns over a cold, wet Moseley as a sharp reminder that the hard work to build a customer base for a range of wines that is, without question, the most exciting and well-priced of any that I have encountered in 37 years, is about to start.
With no small amount of help from Tim Atkin M.W.’s 2016 South African report and Platter’s South African wine guide, we assembled a wish list of 18 wineries from which to draw half a dozen or so which would form the basis of a “new to the UK” core for our South African range. The 18 wineries in question provided, I think, an interesting snapshot as to where the industry currently finds itself – from long-established, family wineries such as that of the delightful David Van Velden at Overgaauw to well financed and high profile operations such as Longridge and concluding with “young guns” such as Elemental Bob himself, Craig Sheard. Tragically, time did not permit venturing too far afield and I was particularly disappointed not to get to Swartland on this visit but I suppose that always provides an opportunity for a future trip on another occasion.
Highlights of the trip – stunning scenery at every turn, very high Princess:Frog ratio on wine front, the wonderful gypsy jazz of Manouche performing on the most enormous stage at Stellenbosch wine festival, tasting at Stark-Conde – perhaps the planet’s most beautiful setting for a tasting and lunch at Waterkloof.
And then there was Jordan……..
Our vineyard visits concluded with a visit to an estate whose wines have been a permanent fixture on our list for well in excess of 20 years, that of Gary and Kathy Jordan – widely regarded as the “first couple” of South African winemaking. Having signed the appropriate disclaimer (I kid you not) we piled into Gary’s Landrover for a tour of an estate which probably boasts some of the finest vineyard sites in Stellenbosch and is continuing to expand with their recent purchase of 22 ha from one of their many neighbours. Meeting up with Gary’s Dad Ted en route, we were treated not only to the history of Jordan wines but a Geology lesson courtesy of graduate geologist, Gary. We then concluded with a tasting in Gary’s “office” overlooking the amphitheatre which form their vineyards.
Returning to the winery, we met up with Kathy before being indulged at their internationally renowned restaurant. To say that we finished our trip in style is an understatement – not for nothing is this one of the region’s most highly respected companies and a visit to their vineyards should be on the agenda of everyone touring the Cape. And if you can’t make it that far, you can always get a flavour by calling in on us!
With thanks to all of the wineries that we visited over 2 weeks in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
If Connolly's made a TV advert for “The Italian Collection”, what would it be like?
Hollywood stars? Yes!
And the best director? Let's go for Francis Ford Coppola.
(He also happens to own a well known vineyard in California. Are you getting the theme?)
What film style? Action? With “Mini” car chases? Romantic? Musical? Italian food & drink?
I think I have the answer to the dilemma...
Whisper it, at long last the Connolly's Wine Sale has returned.... We now have distinctly too much wine and can't actually find space for all the new shiny things we've found to fit in either the Shops or the Warehouse, so it's time to change things around.
It all kicks on Thursday 2nd May with the full list of sale wines attached and we're offering 15% off on Thursday, 20% on Friday, and 25% on Saturday...
More updates from Chris- now into the 5th day of the trip, but actually only the third in South America- having lost the 2 days in Chile, it's time to head to Argentina and finally a chance to acquire more socks...
Whilst his fear of flying was causing Michael, the young Armagh medic sat next to me on the plane over the Andes to come out in a cold sweat, I couldn’t help but drink in the most astonishing views during one of the shortest but most spectacular flights in the world