Category: Focus/Fokus

The art of degassing wine: ‘You do it by feeling’

If you’ve ever left juice in the refrigerator and returned to find it spritzy, you’re acquainted with a key feature of fermentation, carbon dioxide (CO2). Produced naturally when yeasts convert sugar to alcohol, CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas present in all wines. In sparklers, it’s the bubbles. I …

“Napa Valley is a wine region with incredible diversity,” says Rebekah Wineburg, viticulturist and winemaker for Quintessa in Napa’s Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA). “Looking at differences between mountain and valley AVAs is a good start to understanding that diversity.” Elevation is th …

A top French chef in Paris who had already won 3 Michelin stars was once asked how he managed to maintain those high standards. “By never being satisfied,” he replied, “because once you become satisfied, you start going backwards.” I was reminded of this during a visit to the fabulous Quoin Rock Win …

Malbec: Get to know France’s ‘black wine’

A hearty red grape, malbec has made a home for itself all over the world, perhaps most notably Argentina. But the grape’s roots are in Cahors, a region in Southwest France, where it truly thrives. It is one of the five classic red varieties that make up the famous Bordeaux blends, the others being c …

Wine: Don’t keep it bottled up!

From the adorable little split to the herculean Nebuchadnezzar, wine is bottled in a dizzying assortment of differently sized vessels. Not only does each hold a different volume of wine, but they also have cool names derived from biblical kings and other historical figures. Large-format bottles tend …

Wat is ‘wynlyf’ en hoe proe mens dit?

“Wynlyf” word gedefinieer deur hoe “swaar” en “ryk” ’n wyn smaak. Dis ’n kombinasie van verskeie faktore, naamlik kultivar, alkoholvlak en selfs soetheid. As jy op soek is na nuwe gunstelinge, is “wynlyf” ’n goeie manier om te onderskei tussen kultivars en jou gunsteling-styl te vind. Kom ons kyk na …

Reductive versus Oxidative Winemaking

I have to say that studying oxidative versus reductive winemaking methods has really put into perspective some of the aromas I pick up when tasting. I distinctly remember sitting around a table at a wine tasting and realising that one of the wines was off. I knew it smelled and tasted funny, but I c …

What winemakers don’t tell about their craft

The role of winemaker is romanticized. It conjures up images of daily wine tastings, schmoozing with VIPs and tranquil vineyards. But the truth is that winemakers deal with a lot of variables and uncertainty to produce the wine in your glass. So, let’s talk about what winemakers don’t tell us about …

Few things are as exciting as the come-from-behind winner, the one you didn’t expect – the dark horse. In that spirit, these red wines from the mainland of Southern Italy aren’t well-known, but once you’ve tried them, you just might give them the crown. This region is where Greek and Phoenician trad …

Gamay, die held van Beaujolais!

Al ooit gewonder oor die “old Beaujolais wine” waarna die sanger Gary Moore in sy gewilde Blues-liedjie, Parisienne Walkways, verwys? “I remember Paris in ‘49 The Champs-Élysées, Saint Michelle and old Beaujolais wine And I recall that you were mine In those Parisienne days …” Wel, Beaujolais is die …

“Port, like the rising sun, possession gains, And drives the mist of dullness from the brains, The gloomy vapour from the spirit flies, And views of gaiety and gladness rise.” – Onbekend.  Portwyne is nie net tot die koue maande beperk nie! Inteendeel, dis “gebottelde poësie” wat regdeur die jaar ge …

Chenin blanc may well be the most underrated white wine grape in the world. It makes wines high in acidity that generally take a while to unfurl and show their mettle. But with time in the bottle, the wines can hold their own with the finest white wines in the world and, crucially, continue to impro …

Blending wine to create perfection!

There are almost no unblended wines on the market. Whether you are drinking a red wine, a white wine or a rosé, most are blended in one way or another. Why do we blend wine? There are two main reasons why wines are blended. The first is to create a wine that is consistent with the brand’s style and …

Understanding wine acidity

Ever pull a bottle of wine out of the refrigerator and notice what look like little glass shards swirling around the bottom or stuck to the underside of the cork? It’s freaky, yes, but they’re actually harmless tartaric acid crystals. Welcome to the strange world of acidity in wine. These acidic com …

The Virtues of Viognier

It’s not a grape I pursue, but viognier has rather been pursuing me in recent weeks. And getting caught has given me more pleasure than expected, from both older and newer bottlings, varietal wines, and blends. My wariness about the grape is that so often it comes in the most strident and obvious of …

What is wine body and how to taste it

Wine body is defined by how heavy and rich a wine tastes. It’s a combination of several factors: grape variety, alcohol level, and even sweetness level. If you’re trying to find new favorites, wine body is a great way to differentiate grape varieties to find your style preference. Let’s break down t …