It’s time for the Swartland Revolution II

Posted by Helena Sheridan

The time has come. Soon I will be on my way to Riebeek Kasteel and set-up will commence. Then the wait will be almost over as we prepare to welcome you to the Swartland once again! We are ecstatic and blown away by the fact that we have gone from 150 guests at our first event to selling out over 250 tickets this year. We thank you for your support and promise you that we will not leave you wanting…

As you start to pack your bags and prep your livers, here are a few things we would like you to consider:
The times on Webtickets were a bit deurmekaar. Registration starts at 4pm on the famous stoep at the Royal Hotel. Please allow yourself enough time (to sit in the stop & go road works at the Riebeek turn off just outside Malmesbury; to dig into your goodie bag, packed with even more surprises than last year and to unwind & have a drink on the longest stoep south of the Limpopo river) before Quality First, our first tasting at 6pm. See the full programme here if you haven’t learned it off by heart yet.

Dinner will take place at a secret new location called Bazaar. Last year the wind was icy, so bring a warm jacket that you can stand close to the fire with. ‘Die Baardskeerdersbos Orkes’ will entertain us with some lekker tunes, so put on your dancing shoes and get ready to eat meat like never before.

In support of No-regret-Fridays and Arrive-Alive-don’t-drink-and-drive we have arranged for some local taxis to be at the BBQ venue to take you home once you have had enough great Swartland wines. Or if you are staying in Riebeek Kasteel, just walk it will make you feel very European… We have also made sure the local bar 6 Degrees will be fully stocked and open into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Also remember that we will once again auction off some hard to come by items during lunch on Saturday. These items are:
We will have a twitter feed up – for instant feedback and to see what you are thinking, so bring your fast typing fingers, make sure you follow us and remember the hashtag #SR2011

Please note: if you booked for friends, please send this on to them so they are in the know. If you sold your ticket to one of those desperate snoozers please let us know of the name change for registration…

I will see you in Riebeek on 11.11.11 –


Helena Sheridan
PR and publicity – The Swartland Revolution
+27 (0)83 558 6594
+27 (0)21 461 9875


Nothing but the Brut: Graham Beck Wines releases zero-dosage sparkling wine

Posted by

related links: Graham Beck Wines

It’s a given among the knowledgeable that even the driest of sparkling wines contains an amount of sugar, however miniscule. In its latest release – Brut Zero, Graham Beck Wines dispenses with the practice of dosage, the topping up of champenoise or Méthode Cap Classique with a sugar-infused blend.

A self-confessed ‘fanatic’ of zero dosage champenoise, Pieter Ferreira, Cellar Master at Graham Beck Wines Robertson, jumped at the chance to create such a wine when the vintage provided grapes of the requisite flavour profile and superior quality.

“Making this style of sparkling wine is a challenge and a risk: there is no margin for error in a zero dosage wine,” Pieter said. “That’s why there are so few of them. It’s an avant-garde style.”

The purpose of dosage in a Méthode Cap Classique is to replace the small amount of wine lost during disgorgement – the forceful expending of yeast cells from the top of the bottle. It’s the sugar content in dosage that determines the category of the wine; zero dosage wines being the driest possible.

Without the addition of sugar, which can be used to balance a blend, the wine is laid bare. The effervescence magnifies the pure and natural flavour – and along with it, any possible faults. For Pieter, the grapes provided by vintage 2005 showed great promise for a no-dosage style; an instinct confirmed when he tasted the wine after secondary fermentation.

The wine was left to lie on the lees, or expended yeast, for six years before it was disgorged, at which point it was topped up only with the cuvee. The resulting wine is a purist’s delight: bone dry, ultra crisp and rich in natural flavour, “more its mineral characters than fruitiness” Pieter says – a feature highly prized by wine enthusiasts.

As a bonus, brut zero, or zero dosage wine is lower in calories than its sugar-imbued counterparts; presenting a great alternative for slimmers and those who enjoy lighter style wines.

Graham Beck’s Brut Zero is a perfect accompaniment to salty, flavoursome foods: sushi and crustacean dishes in particular. It joins the ranks of the very few zero dosage wines – these having been virtually non-existent a decade or so ago; a category growing in popularity among chefs, sommeliers and food enthusiasts.

“It’s hard to believe that a no-dosage wine could present so beautifully,” Pieter says. “I hope to see it encourage interest in this more natural style.”

• The classification of wines made in champenoise style – those that undergo a second fermentation after bottling – is determined by the amount of sugar included in the dosage. The classifications are:
• Doux: 50g plus of residual sugar per litre. Very sweet and very rare
• Demi-Sec: 35-50g of residual sugar per litre. These can be lovely with desserts
• Sec: 18-35g of sugar per litre
• Extra-Sec, or Extra Dry: 12-20 grams of sugar per litre
• Brut: 0-15 grams of sugar per litre
• Extra Brut: 0-6 grams of sugar per litre
• Brut Zero or Zero Dosage: 0-3 grams of sugar per litre
• Zero-dosage wines have existed for more than 100 years, the first being released at a time when champagnes were made almost exclusively with very high levels of dosage. The first brut wine to enjoy commercial success was released by Madame Louis Pommery in 1874; though brut zero only appeared in the 19th century.