Grapevine Archive for Columella

Great because verticals are always instructive; this one was educational and fun in equal measure.

Great because the man himself was in inspirational form. Once met, never forgotten!

Great because all the wines were good, and several superbly, deliciously so. Wine journalist Jamie Goode was, with me, one of the small group of lucky tasters, and you’ll find his excellent photos as well as a short video on his blog. My stars coincided well with Jamie’s – 2004, 2005, 2008, and probably 2009 (just a bit early for this one, not yet released), but I had a soft spot for the first vintage he made (and we bought), the 2000, which was the most Rhône-like, ready for drinking but no haste required, and for the 2002, which was full of charm and was likened, at least in spirit and drinkability, to 1997 Bordeaux.

Great because the venue was fun too (Vinoteca, St John St, Smithfield, a regular wine trade haunt). Their downstairs tasting room was a bit cramped for all those keen wine enthusiasts, but absolutely nobody gave this minor detail a thought, such was the focus in the room. The food is absolutely delicious too, if a little unfair on the subsequent tasting of Portuguese wines I attended (more on which anon).

Great because these were South African wines that wowed the crowd. My personal interest and belief here is well-known, but it is always a pleasure to witness much deserved recognition, in this case for winemaker and for South Africa alike, and for Swartland in particular.

The only downside to the whole affair is that we did not keep back any stock. More fool us. So I’ve put in my bid for some 2008, the current release, which will be well worth saving up for.

Joanna Locke MW
South Africa Buyer