Charlemagne Wine Club - 2012 Tastings

Monday 18th June 2012

South Africa
presented by Keith Grainger

Keith lives in South Africa for some of the year, which he says is both exciting and challenging. The wine industry has changed considerably since the birth of democracy in 1994, and each year sees more producers hit the top notch. Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are regarded as the traditional ‘golden triangle’, but new regions such as Elgin and Elim are now producing some very complex wines.

There will be discussion of life in the country and many issues facing the industry:
• What are working conditions really like on the wine farms?
• Is Black Economic Empowerment window dressing or a licence for the rich to get richer?
• Why are some Cape reds so smoky?
• What is a smiley?
• And perhaps most importantly – is South Africa stable?

Interspersed with anecdotes best not committed to print, this tasting will offer many new flavour experiences. Keith is still finalising the list, but the tasting will feature a brilliant Chenin Blanc, still the most widely planted variety, an exciting Pinotage and both ‘Bordeaux’ and ‘Cape Blends. Producers will include Kanonkop, Hamilton Russell and Ken Forrester.

There is no doubt that once sampled, South Africa really gets in your blood!

Keith was one of the founding members of the Association of Wine Educators and a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.
Keith is author of “Grapewine” - the first structured distance learning wine course. His books also include “Wine Production – Vine to Bottle” and "Wine Quality: Tasting and Selection" (which won the Gourmand Award for the Best Wine Education Book in the World).
He is particularly knowledgeable about the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Germany and South Africa. He leads tour groups of trade and consumers to these vineyard regions, again with the accent on education, enjoyment and cultural experience. Keith travels extensively throughout the old and new worlds and is consultant winemaker at Château St Hilarion in Cyprus and the Turkmen Winery at Karakoç in Thrace.