2008 compostella

Cellar Favorite: 2008 Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, May 2021

On my bucket list of wine-related things to do, apart from tasting the 1947 Romanée-Conti and climbing K2 with Lalou Bize-Leroy in order to overcome my debilitating vertigo, is to conduct an unabridged vertical of Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella.

Alheit bottles.jpg cover

Finding Cool Sunshine: South Africa

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Apr 2021

Postponed several times due to matters beyond my control, thankfully the intermittently showstopping wines of South Africa were worth the wait, proving that the pandemic has not slowed down the momentum of the Cape.

Stars in the dark 2019

Cellar Favorite: 2019 Minimalist Wines Stars In The Dark

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Mar 2021

“It smells and tastes of the sea,” my wife remarks after handing her a glass of wine, completely blind. She had no clue that the Syrah vines that contributed fruit to the 2019 Stars In The Dark are rooted on the wild and windswept Agulhas coast at the very southern tip of the African continent. That’s translating terroir straight into a glass of wine in all its unfettered glory.

Iona line up

South Africa – A Delayed Primer

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Feb 2021

It was early March 2020, and I was meeting dear friends for our annual lunch at Limewood in the New Forest, where we put the world to rights and gossip like there’s no tomorrow. And in a sense, there was no tomorrow. This turned out to be the last time any of us enjoyed a day trip, mingling with others without fear of falling ill. But the normal world was slipping away, as evidenced by the manner in which the receptionist kept her distance, the novelty of widely spaced tables and, on the train journey home, news that my daughter’s exchange trip to Germany was canceled. I remember the wine that day, a delicious bottle of 2017 Chardonnay from Ataraxia, prompting thoughts of visiting the Cape in the late summer, when surely the pandemic would be in the rearview mirror.

Bosberaad label %281%29

Cellar Favorite: 2019 Paulus Wine Co. Chenin Blanc Bosberaad

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Dec 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed Joaquin Hildago’s recent article on collectible Argentinean wines, and it got me thinking about parallels with South Africa’s own collectibles. It’s not just Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Cwg 2020 bottles

Cape Winemakers Guild – 2020 Auction Wines

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

The annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction plays an important role within the South African wine industry, showcasing limited edition cuvées from some of its most revered winemakers, as well as raising money for vital internship programs. This year’s forthcoming auction is studded with gems.

Klein constantia vineyard

Constance Craving: Vin de Constance 1992-2017

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

In Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, one of literature’s finest works detailing the ups and downs of courtship and matters of the heart, Mrs. Jennings suggests to Elinor Dashwood that she drink a slug of finest old Constantia to recover from a fever brought on by her romantic interest, John Willoughby. Jennings counsels that the sweet wine not only cures “colicky gout,” but possesses “healing powers on a disappointed heart.” Like those characters in Austen’s novel, I do appreciate one of the iconic sweet wines of the world – one that, as I shall describe, is undergoing a quiet revolution.

Olerasay 2 bottle

Cellar Favorite: NV Mullineux Olerasay 2°

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Jul 2020

Readers that saw last month’s Vinous Live with Chris and Andrea Mullineux will have noticed that both interviewer and interviewee in Surrey and Swartland respectively, were drinking a sweet wine, the Olerasay 2°. Having received the bottle a few weeks earlier I kept it back for that interview. My expectations were high since the maiden release had received my highest ever score for a South African wine. Until now.

Naude chenin blanc 2013

Cellar Favorite: 2013 Naudé Old Vines Chenin Blanc

South Africa, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Apr 2020

Winemaker Ian Naudé is one of the unsung heroes of the South African wine scene, a quietly spoken man who shies away from the limelight and quietly goes about producing limited runs of stellar wines.

David and nadia copy

South Africa New Releases: Don’t Deny Yourself

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2019

As someone privileged with more than his fair share of rare and expensive Grand Cru Burgundy and First Growths, I can unhesitatingly state that the best of South Africa punches at the same weight. This report burgeons with wines born in climactic knife-edge, dry-farmed vineyards, often from ancient vines, and with minimal intervention by talented and frequently young winemakers in the opening chapters of long careers. Those winemakers are creating a scene that is incredibly exciting and dynamic.