Category: Focus/Fokus

Versatile Sauvignon Blanc has many Partners

Wine and food are two of life’s great culinary pleasures, and, like a good marriage, they were meant for each other. Finding that perfect match can be a delicious endeavour where each enhances and strengthens the experience of the whole. Sauvignon blanc is a versatile, food-friendly wine that can co …

The differences between new and old oak explained

A cellar filled with rows of barrels is an iconic image, popular on wine websites and travellers’ social media feeds. The worlds inside these wooden vessels are hardly homogenous, though. Each barrel has a life of its own, chosen to develop and contribute certain qualities to the final wine. One key …

What is Pét-Nat wine?

What’s light, natural and fizzy all over? That’s right, we’re talking Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, for short. Despite its recent surge in popularity, Pét-Nat is actually far from being the new kid on the block. In fact, this spritzy sparkler dates back pre-Champagne, making it the OG way to produc …

Considering it’s the parent of household varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot, cabernet franc deserves more respect than it gets. In France’s Loire Valley, it’s considered a noble variety and the best examples — from sub-regions that include Chinon and Saumer — are sought after by discern …

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 …