From the January issue of Decanter: A vivid illustration of how dire the drought currently affecting the Swartland is the superfluous “No Swimming” sign in front of a dam on Spice Route, any water long since dried up and its shoved-earth walls covered in grass. Spice Route, of course, is the property owned by Charles […]
The practice of sand mining looks set to begin in the Swartland, one of South Africa’s most high-profile wine producing areas. The website Grape.co.za first broke the story here. Those opposing the initiative are invited to sign an petition here.
Earlier this year, I rated the Malabar 2012, the Rhône-style red blend from Charles Back’s Swarland operation Spice Route, 90 on the 100-point quality scale (see here). Once the score was published, Back expressed his disappointment saying “After all the time and effort we’ve invested in this project, I thought we’d be further ahead”. Out […]
Swartland property Lammershoek was sold to a trio of German investors in 2014 leading to the replacement of the maverick Craig Hawkins as winemaker by Schalk Opperman, previously of Holden Manz in Franschhoek. The first wines under the new regime have now been released, the Franz Beckenbauer Libero No 5 2015 sitting at the top […]
When I first found out, a few years back, that the famous footballer of the 1960s and 70s, Franz Beckenbauer, had joined the German consortium owning Lammershoek, I was asked to keep quiet about it. Well, that discretion is one of many things that have changed at Lammershoek in the past year or two, as […]
Until now, the wines from Swartland property Kloovenburg have been no more than workmanlike but Jolandie Fouché moved across from Saronsberg in Tulbagh to become winemaker at the end of 2014 and on the evidence of the newly released Grenache Noir 2015 and Eight Feet Red 2013, a very positive transformation is under way. Tasting […]
“It’s been a battle!” says Eben Sadie, just a third of the way through his 2016 harvest. In his voice is the hyping up, the adrenalin flow that harvest – and battle – brings, but also weariness. In 18 years working in the Swartland, he says, he’s never seen conditions like this, with implacable drought […]
The Chenin Blanc Swartland Reserve 2014 from Delaire Graff is a slow burner. From unirrigated bush vines 30 to 40 years in age, it was matured in a combination of 2 500-litre foudre and 400 litre barrels for 10 months. The nose initially appears very closed but with time in glass, notes of citrus and […]