Green Awards: Shortlist announced

Selected for their exemplary environmental credentials, the drinks business proudly presents its shortlist for its inaugural Green Awards.

Green Company of the Year
Bavaria NV
Bodegas Torres
Fetzer Vineyards
Lanchester Wine Cellars Ltd
Backsberg Estate Cellars
Sponsored by JF Hillebrand
Personality Award
Susan McCraith MW, managing director, Ethical Fine Wines
Adolfo Hurtado Cerda, winemaker & general manager, Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery
Alois Lageder, winemaker, Alois Lageder Winery
Inge Kotzé, project coordinator, Biodiversity & Wine Initiative
Green Retailer of the Year
Vintage Roots
Sponsored by Wines of Chile
Logistics & Supply Chain Green Initiative
Concha y Toro
The Waste & Resources Action Programme, GlassRite: Wine Phase II
Best Green Launch
Viña Ventisquero, Yali
Wakefield Wines, Eighty Acres
The Pure Green Vodka Company, Pure Green Vodka
The Wine People, Purato
Guy Anderson Wines, CanCan
Vranken-Pommery Monopole, Pop Earth
Ethical Award
Stellar Organics
La Riojana Co-operative
Paul Cluver Wines
Viñedos Emiliana
Sponsored by Amorim
Sustainability Award
Fetzer Vineyards
Amorim & Irmãos
New Zealand Winegrowers
Bodegas Torres
Backsberg Estate Cellars
O-I Australia
Spier Wine Estate
Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr Paul Cluver, winemaker, Paul Cluver Wines
Bernard Cazes, winemaker, Domaine Cazes
José Guilisasti, agricultural manager, Viñedos Emiliana
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 11 February.
Posted by: The Drinks Business  Wednesday 27 January 2010

Old Treassures – Once in a lifetime! experience

Christine Rudman, a friend of ours and CWM invited Cathy (another CWM) & Philip (from Platter) van Zyl, the legendary Dave Hughes, Christian Eedes (soon ex-WINE Magazine), Fiona McDonald (Freelance writer), Ann & Pieter Ferreira to her home to what one can describe as the tasting  “once in a lifetime” and at the same time as an incredible spoil. An opportunity that maybe only bestowed upon you once!

Christine has an incredible cellar and a generous personality and she treated us to an amazing experience and together with her long standing friend Frieda van der Merwe (from the once famous Frieda’s Restaurant) cooking for us in the kitchen.

Here follows the evening:

Aperitif: Blini’s with fresh salmon, creme fraische and tarragon

  • Champagne Perrier-Jouet – Blason de France NV (prestige cuvee) –                I would say from the mid 80’s – “Lots of brioche, buttered almonds with lime undertones. lazy bubble but a classic old Champagne flavours and long finish”
  • Champagne Krug Rose NVBought in December 1987 which will means that it is a bottling from at least 1982 – “Colour more amber and have lost the Rose complexion but beautiful structure, rich with some cinnamon spice and some roasty, toasty notes. Great finish”

Starter: Salad of rocket, grilled savoury peach with ham and mustard vinaigrette.

  • Schlumberger Ketterle-Traminer 1981 from Alsace –                                       “Fresh squeezed litchi with some apricot and mineral tones. Still fresh acidity and a touch of dryness on the finish”
  • Moulin Touchais 1947 (from J Touchais) Doue la Fontaine-Anjou, Loire –                                                                                                                                                     YES !!!!! a 1947  “Must be one of my most special moments in my tasting career. Gold liquid amber with some orange rind and honeysuckle. Reminded me of some older Jura wines but this Chenin Blanc will be in-bedded in my memory”

Fish: Steamed Salmon with asparagus served on a Broccoli mash with a horseradish sause.

  • Domaine Comte de  Lefon – Clos de la Barre – Meursault 1989, Burgundy Golden deep straw with hints of mineral tones. Some nougat and almond flavour. Dried apricot and finishes with some savoury notes”
  • Domaine Jacques Prieur – Clos de Mazeray – Meursault 1995, Burgundy Lime and mineral notes with a developed colour, more so that the previous – Some nutty aromas and we thought it was over it’s best”

Main Course: Coq au Vin with mushrooms serve on Polenta

  • Chateau Ausone 1966 – Saint Emillion, Bordeaux Gorgeous bright in colour with still hints of cherry with lead pencil flavours good structure. Firm but subtle tannins with a long textured finish – Most memorable as it is a special vintage”
  • Domaine F&L Saier – Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 1988, Burgundy “very vibrant colour, strawberry touch of forest floor. The palate little dry but nice mixed of savoury and tannin texture”
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1981, Pauillac, Bordeaux “Classic left bank not a great vintage. Little nervous but good tomato cocktail mix with hints of tobacco spice and velvet tannin on the finish”

Cheese: Gruyere, Camembert and Blue

  • Rudesheimer Berg Schlofsberg 1976 – Riesling Spatlese – Rheingau, Germany “Little oily but like the viscosity. Good orange rind with subtle notes of botrytis – Stood well up to the cheese”Some litchi flavour and good orange rind with subtle notes of botrytis – Stood well up to the cheese”
  • Deinhard Destricher Doosberg 1976 – Riesling Spatslese – Rheingau, Germany Some litchi flavour and good orange rind with subtle notes of botrytis – Stood well up to the cheese”

Dessert: Panacotta with Tangerine & Syrup

  • Chateau d’Yquem 1959 – Sauternes, Bordeaux “Incredible for it’s age good botrytis concentration with lots of honey and floral pear drop. Good oily viscosity – unbelievable!”
  • Vinzergenoffenchaft 1976 Lumburg – Rheinpfalz, Germany Dark, dark caramel colour.  Sweeter concentration than the Yquem but nice viscosity and botrytis flavour”

Before coffee:

  • Ferreira Vintage Port 1960 – Porto, Portugal It was a year that Port did not declare a vintage but some Port houses did bottle a vintage. This wine had to be decanted as the cork crumbled as we try to remove the cork! “Bright brick in colour, certainly not ‘dead’. No dried out character with elegant almond nutty aromas with a velvety silky texture. Well cellared and a port as pretty as old as i am – wow very special!”

Graham Beck Wines – Awards 2009 & 2010

October 2009:

Awarded 5 stars in the Danish internet wine newspaper

Graham Beck Railroad Red 2007

Veritas Awards:

Double gold medal  –  Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Gold medal – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009

WINE magazine TOPS at SPAR Sauvignon Blanc Top 10:

Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009

(Graham Beck Wines is the only cellar to win this award for the third consecutive year, since the inception of this competition)

WINE Magazine (November issue)

5 stars – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009

4½ stars  – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008

4 stars – Graham Beck Lonehill Chardonnay 2007

Selected for November 2009 Wine of the Month Platinum Club

Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2005 (Good Taste Magazine)

November 2009:

Chosen as one of South Africa’s 8 most awarded wines for 2009 by Winesense Wine Club – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Chosen to be served onboard The Queen Mary and Queen Victoria during 2010

Graham Beck The Joshua 2005

Graham Beck Viognier 2008

Listed for British Airways’ First Class – Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2005

MUNDUSvini International Wine Awards 2009:

Gold medal – Graham Beck The William 2006

Rated 90/100 points by Natalie MacLean on line wine review ( – Graham Beck Shiraz 2005 “I keep coming back to this producer year after year, wine after wine:  consistently great wines …”

December 2009:

Chosen as one of the “Top Ten value fizzes” by

Graham Beck Brut NV

Rural Development Network (RUDNET) Farm Health Awards 2009 – category B

winner – Graham Beck Wines, Robertson

John Platter Wine Guide 2010 4½ Stars

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2005

Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2005

Graham Beck The William 2007

Graham Beck The Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2008

Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cab Sauvignon 2008

Graham Beck Pheasants Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Graham Beck The Joshua 2005

John Platter Wine Guide 2010 4 Stars

Graham Beck Brut NV

Graham Beck Brut Rosé 2007

Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV

Graham Beck Coffeestone Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Graham Beck Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Graham Beck Shiraz 2006

Graham Beck The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009

Graham Beck The Andrew 2006

Graham Beck Lonehill Chardonnay 2007

Graham Beck Rhona Muscadel 2004

Graham Beck Pheasants Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008

January 2010:

Graham Beck Wines, Robertson’s Block 23 Chardonnay is the winner of the

Winetech Vineyard Practice Evaluation competition in the Robertson area.

Chosen as one of the “Ten of the Best South African Wines” by

Graham Beck Brut NV

4½ Stars WINE Magazine (February issue)  and runner up in the SA Wine Magazine Chenin Blanc Challenge – Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2008

BOWED HEAD Chenin Blanc 2008

Published: 14 Jan 10 by WINE MAGAZINE

Guala Closures Chenin Blanc Challenge 2010

Based on this year’s Guala Closures WINE magazine Chenin Blanc Challenge, it would appear that the top end of the Chenin Blanc category is finally undergoing the premiumisation that industry commentators have so long predicted.

In general, Chenin Blanc still sells at a discount relative to hugely fashionable Sauvignon Blanc: the average price of the 134 wines tasted in this year’s Challenge was R55 a bottle compared to R65 in the case of 226 examples of Sauvignon tasted for last year’s November issue. However, of the 11 examples rated 4 Stars or better, the average price was R102 a bottle, compared to R77 a bottle for the 39 Sauvignons in the same quality bracket.

It bears mentioning that all 11 wines to rate 4 Stars or better in this year’s competition had some kind of wood influence, the use of barrels for fermentation and maturation typically more expensive than making the wine in tank and done to achieve greater complexity. Thanks to these higher levels of quality, Chenin becomes more aspirational and hence more worthy of a price premium.

Put differently, what appears to be happening is top-end wooded Chenin starting to take on a price that is just high enough to make the buyer aware that he is treating himself without actually feeling real pain (overall winner and 5 Star-rated Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2008 at a mere R50 a bottle surely the exception that proves the rule).

When it comes to unwooded Chenin, there is still plenty of good everyday drinking to be had, but it should be noted that in the 15- year history of the competition, unwooded wines have only been judged outright winners twice, namely the L’Avenir 1997 in 1998 and the Mooiplaas Bush Vine 2008 last year.

There were 134 entries in total. These were tasted blind (with no indication of vintage, cellar treatment or technical analysis) by the five-person panel, scoring done according to the 20 point/5 Star system.

After this first round of judging was concluded, 16 wines were considered to have particular distinction and these went through to a second round where the panel could give them more detailed examination.

Once this round was completed, there was one wine that emerged as the outright winner on the basis of having the highest arithmetic average score, this being Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2008. It rated 5 Stars, improving on the 4 Stars it received in last year’s Challenge.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ five stars

Graham Beck Bowed Head 2008
Alc 13.23% RS 5.5g/l TA 6.8g/l pH 3.35
Golden yellow. The nose shows pronounced
honey and some toasty oak. The palate is
full and intensely flavoured showing dried
apricot, honey again and spice. Tangy acidity
lends freshness. Drink now or over the next
three years.
MF 18.5 CE 16.5 CF 15 MC 18 MN 17

Winemakers and their Cars! by Danie Nel

Last year, for the October issue of Wine magazine I was commissioned to shoot winemakers and their cars. 6 winemakers were selected and I was sent to shoot each. This was exciting, as it left me with some creative license, some brief in terms of layout and then two of my most enjoyable subjects: winemakers and cars. Perfect marriage? Possibly.

Andrew Gunn – Iona Wines: this is his first car he ever owned. A Porche. I decided on tracking. Getting to his farm near Elgin is a bit of a bundu bash, so I’m not sure the car gets a lot of road time out there! I was also not keen on missing out on the beauty of the surrounds. Unfortunately Wine mag decided on a posed image of them at his house. This was my favorite, though. I left with a fabulous bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that was enjoyed some months later with Rudi’s Jagermeister or Blue Cheese Boerewors. Magic.

20090728_0995 Andrew Gunnlr

Gyles Webb – Thelema: the Mini Cooper S just shone like a jewel the moment we put lights on it, so we ended up with this baby. Initially I tried on-car tracking, but the point was missed, so we opted for the more styled approach. The winery in the back with the mountains full of ominous clouds also worked in my composition. Afterwards he entertained us to some coffee, talk on gardening, eco-farming and his golf handicap. (If memory serves me correct, he used to play from a scratch handicap.) I left with a Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. Magic.

20090729_0923 Giles Webblr

Pierre Wahl – Rijks: for this shot I had to head out Tulbach way, with the ever present threat of rain following me there, but once there, Pierre and I quickly found a spot that showcases the farm and gave the image a proper English country estate feel. Oh, he drives a Z3 for fun. He bought it with his dad. Normally he travels by bakkie, like most winefarmers! I left with a Sauvignon blanc among other really killer wines.

20090731_0060 Pierre Wahllr

Ken Forrester – Ken Forrester: Mr. Chenin himself was caught slightly unawares, as the car we were supposed to photograph, his 1976 Jag, was in for a serious panel job, but no worries, a 1950’s BMW motorcycle was handy. I much preferred this anyways. Although he was dreadfully busy, he gave us such a nice time, and afterwards sat us down for a tasting of some incredible French Sauvignon Blanc (R400 per bottle ex Cellar) and entertained us with knowledge on viniculture, the fallacy of green Sauvignon Blanc’s, stressing vines and traveling.

20090729_0949 Ken Forrester and Bikelr

Pieter Ferreira – Graham Beck: I feel like Pieter is somehow embedded in my camera, so many times have I photographed him. Anyways, little did I know he owned a seriously old Citroen, he imported from France. One of those typical 1970’s foreign film cars. Anyways, we met in Franschhoek and drove to Robertson for the sum-total of 30 minutes to do the shoot and then come back. Again, good fun. I don’t recall leaving with Sauvignon Blanc.

20090817_0022 bubbles Ferreirralr

Boela Gerber – Groot Constantia: Boela’s little Morris Minor is a beauty, and would’ve been even more impressive had it been able to start and drive itself to the location. It had recently been flooded in the garage and left the engine with much damage. However, on a farm there is always a tractor handy and we were able to pull it to where it needed to be. Then there was the case of the baboons always lurking nearby being rather threatening. All in all, we had good fun and left with some really awesome Sauvignon Blanc, and a dessert wine.

20090730_0043 Boela Gerber Finallr

Posted by Danie Nel at 1:08 PM 1 comments Links to this post

Graham Beck Wines and LA Opera

213.972.8001 fine sparkling wine and grand opera, a classic combination THE HENRY WINE GROUP and LA Opera share a dedication to producing the finest the world has to offer. As part of The Henry Wine Group’s premium portfolio of wines, Graham Beck Brut has been selected as LA Opera’s sparkling ine. Located in South Africa, Graham Beck, is an award-winning supporter of biodiversity, committed to conservation and
environmentally responsible agricultural practices. For more information about The Henry Wine Group’s excellent selection of wines, visit
Graham Beck available:
Vendome Wine & Spirits Fine Wine House

The Telegraph Top 10 SA Wines

Whether it’s honeyed Chenin Blanc’s or silky Pinot Noir’s, South Africa’s wines are improving in leaps and bounds.

In preparation for the FIFA World Cup, the Telegraph newspaper in the UK has selected its choice of top 10 South African wines.  South Africa is the world’s 9th largest producer, according to the report, and has more than 600 wineries and 6 000 wines.   It has a 12 % market share in the UK, closely following France and Italy.

The largest volume of sales of South African wines is of Arniston Bay and Kumala.  But high-end wines such as Hamilton Russell, Vergelegen, Boekenhoutskloof, Meerlust, Thelema, Toakara, Kanonkop and Rustenberg are also imported into the UK.

The top 10 list of South African wines for wine writer Jonathan Ray, are the following, with his rationale and food-pairing suggestions:

“1. 2009 Ken Forrester Cape Breeze Chenin Blanc, 13%vol, South Africa (£4.98; Asda)

Ken Forrester knows his Chenin Blanc inside out, and his so-called FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin) is a much-loved classic (and highest-ever scoring South African white in Wine Spectator). This entry-level version might sound like a shampoo or a Duluxpaint, but it’s a great value introduction to the grape, with crisp, sweet-edged fruit and a dry finish. An ideal crowd-pleaser for parties.

2. 2009 Flagstone Noon Gun Dry White, 13.5%vol, South Africa (£4.99 reduced from £6.99 until Dec 1; Tesco)

Bruce Jack, one of the nicest and quirkiest of all SA winemakers, shocked many by signing up with the world’s largest wine producer, Constellation. Flagstone, housed in a former dynamite factory, is his baby, though, and he vows he’ll be left to his own devices. This Chenin Blanc/Viognier/Sauvignon blend is a typical Jack charmer, being light, aromatic and fruity. Delicious with grilled sea bass.

3. 2008 Beyerskloof Pinotage, 14%vol, South Africa (£5.99 if you buy 3, otherwise £8.99; Wine Rack)

Pinotage, a cross between cinsault and pinot noir, is South Africa’s USP, loved for its fruit by some, dismissed as tired and redolent of burnt rubber by others. In the hands of Beyerskloof’s Beyers Truter, one of the grape’s most vociferous supporters, it works a dream. Here, his entry-level version is ripe, juicy and full of spicy plum fruit, withno hint of rubber. Enjoy with slow roast belly of pork.

4. 2009 Stellar Organics Syrah Rosé, 13.5%vol, South Africa (£6.05; Asda, Budgens, Londis, Spar)

South Africa is strong on Fairtrade and Stellar was the first organic winery in the world to be so accredited. The winery gets its fruit from farms along the northern boundary of Olifant’s River and processes around 4,500 tons of organic grapes a year. This pink syrah is hardly complex, just delightfully fruity and off-dry in the mouth, with a dryish, peppery finish. Serve it well-chilled at parties, or with stuffed red peppers or roasted root vegetables.

5. 2007 Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc, 14.5%vol, South Africa (£8.99; Majestic)

Chenin blanc does better in South Africa than anywhere else outside the Loire Valley, and this from Bellingham’s Bernard Series (formerly the Maverick range) is a first-rate example of real style. Made from 40-year-old, high-altitude bush vines, it has wonderfully concentrated rich, ripe fruit withhints of peach, apricot and cream. A touch full-flavoured for an aperitif, it works really well with fish pie or creamy mushroom pasta.

6. 2007 Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest, 12%vol, South Africa (£11.49 per 37.5cl; selected Waitrose stores and

Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Estate makes smashing wines and I’ve long been a fan of the estate’s Pinot Noir and their classy Gewürztraminer. This is a corker too: a late-picked, botrytised, cool-climate Riesling, packed with concentrated honeyed apple/peach flavours and a zingy acidity. It’s great with desserts such as tarte tatin, but even better with gooey blue cheese.

7. 2005 Iona – The Gunnar, 14%vol, South Africa (£11.95 – £14.95; Really Fine Wine Co 0131 669 7716, Swig Wines 08000 272272, Hic Wines 01977 550047)

Iona is celebrated for its chardonnays and sauvignons and does a fine syrah, too (and a brand new Noble Late Harvest Sauvignon, which is gorgeous). This blended red, from Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot, is a belter as well. Inimitably SA of course, it also has a touch of Left Bank Bordeaux style and is smoothand rounded with luscious ripe fruit. Enjoy with roast loin of venison.

8. Graham Beck Brut NV, 13%vol, South Africa (£12.99; Waitrose, Wholefoods 020 7368 4500, DJ Foodfare 020 8748 5974)

I’ve always enjoyed Graham Beck’s sparklers, made in the champagne method under the supervision of the legendary Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira. This 50-50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Robertson region is about as good as it gets for a non-champagne fizz, being crisp and clean, but toasty and brioche-like too. A cracking aperitif.

9. 2001 Morgenhof Cape Late Bottled Vintage, 17.5%vol, South Africa (£16.99; Cellar Door Wines 01727 854488, Wright Wine Co 01756 700886)

This is scrumptious stuff, the Cape’s answer to the Douro Valley. Made from 100 per cent Tinta Barroca, one of port’s major grapes, and aged for four years in French oak, it has raisins, liquorice and ripe damsons on the palate and a rich, succulent finish. Enjoy as you would any LBV port, with cheese, chocolate puddings or a hearty Cuban cigar.

10. 2007 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, 13%vol, South Africa (£24.99; Wine Society, Harvey Nichols)

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, near Hermanus, is home to some fascinating wines. Although nobody agrees on exactly where the prime valley starts and ends, it’s fair to say that Hamilton Russell put the region on the map with its Pinot’s and Chardonnays. Known as the most “Burgundian” of SA’s Pinots, this is as elegant and silky as they come, with a touch of vegetalspice and dark berry fruit. Perfect with chicken and truffle risotto”

By Jonathan Ray
Published: 12:00PM GMT 11 Nov 2009