Another very eventful year in wine! While 2017 may be considered a very challenging year for global politics, from my experiences, it was another very successful year in the wine trade.
Some amazing wines were tasted, beautiful wineries visited and new friendships forged over some great bottles of wine. Here is Part 1 of 4 covering the first quarter of the year.
January – March 2017
Always great catching up with my jet setting buddy Jamie Goode over a few bottles of fine wine. Wine journos don’t do “dry January” luckily!
Gaja is one of my favourite wineries, so it was great having Giovanni Gaja over in the UK for 3 months while working with his importer.
Always great to catch up with Peter-Allan Finlayson from Crystallum over a few decent bottles.
Hannes Myburgh one of the biggest characters in the SA wine trade, overseeing production of Meerlust, one of the greatest South African Icon wines, with Winemaker Chris Williams.
Wines of Germany rolled out the big guns at their annual investiture dinner at Vintners Hall. Here Hugh Johnson, Neil Beckett and Margaret Rand.
Brian Bicknell became one of my favourite NZ winemakers when I fell in love with his wines at Seresin. Now days, he produces some fab wines at his own winery Mahi in Marlborough.
Axel Heinz from Ornellaia hosted one of the most exciting tastings of the year – A deconstruction of Ornellaia 2015 and all it’s component parts.
I headed off to California in March with a star studded crew, none more so than up and coming tv / media sensation, Amelia Singer from the Wine Show.
Great catching up with Bruce Cakebread at one of many fantastic Napa lunches and tastings.
Popped my cherry finally and visited one of my favourite wineries, Silveroak in Alexander and Napa Valley. Marketing Director Vivian Gay a great old friend after all these years!
Back in London, Alvaro Palacios presenting the new vintages of L’Ermita from Priorat always a big highlight!
Before heading back to South Africa for judging, I was treated to a great tasting with Pieter Bubbles Ferreira from Graham Beck.
Top Team and top times at the Nederburg Auction pre-selection judging with Richard Kershaw MW and Kenichi Ohashi MW among others.
Lovely catching up with Duncan Savage to taste the new CWG Love Boat red and white in Stellenbosch.
A fantastic preview tasting of all the new release Mullineux wines along with the superb Leeu Passant wines at their Roundstone Farm in the Swartland.
Perfect timing means being able to Gate crash Adi Badenhorst’s Oesaf end of harvest party.
An epic memorable dinner hosted by Chris and Andrea Mullineux at Roundstone with Eben Sadie and Rosa Kruger.
Fabulous tasting of new vintages with legend Ian Naude. Exciting changes ahead for 2018 as he finally goes solo under the Naude Family Wines label.
A superb tasting and lunch at Gabrielskloof tasting the fabulous 2016 wines from John Seccombe, Donovan Rall, and Peter Allan Finlayson.
Then on to Hamilton Russell Vineyards to be greeted by Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell bearing gifts of Beluga caviar and Bollinger Champagne for our sundowners on the cliffs above Hermanus. Lovely!
Then, one of my best tastings of a 10 day trip with young, supremely talented winemaker Emul Ross. Quality has never been this high at Hamilton Russell!
And then back to the UK in time for Bordeaux En-primeur and the 2016 vintages.
Part 2: April to June 2017 coming soon…