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Blogging Blues, and no recession in New Media

Date: Tue, Jul 28, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Sune Sounes



The evolving face of winecriticism is visible everywhere on the net at the moment. Wine bloggers continue to pop up at a rate of knots. The diversity of opinion , however qualified or informed, has never been higher. This corresponds to an ever decreasing wine presence in the traditional print media, where the rationalisation of cost has dictated that wine columns, and columnists, are amongst the first fat to be trimmed.

With this increase in wine coverage has come a growing debate about the ethics of wine writing. In an age where the boundaries of old school journalism and the immediacy of new school, stream of consciousness, self published opinon are becoming increasingly blurred, the question is being asked, "Who regulates the bloggers?"

The reaction by figures like Anthony Dias Blue (above) follows an ongoing on-line scrap regarding writers from the influential Wine Advocate taking paid trips to Argentina and Australia, against the ethical protocols set out by Wine Advocate founder Robert Parker Jr It hasn't pleased Blue, or the Wine Advocate, that leading bloggers like Tyler Colman have taken the Advocate to task over this and that it has blown up into something of a scandal. Ironically, the net story then inspired the Wall St Journal to take a closer look.

The proliferation of new media has also led to a new industry popping up, specifically a consultative based one offering advice on how to utilise social media in brand building. Patently there is a dollar in it, given the number of blogging conferences and seminars on new media relating to how the wine industry can benefit.

There are also some interesting study results being published with regard to market trends relating to 'millenial ( people under 32 years of age) consumption of wine. Notably, this group are already the demographic with the second highest wine consumption rate in the U.S., and this rate is growing at 46% annually.

This trend is contradicted in Europe, where younger drinkers are drinking less wine

Read Full Wine Blog Post

On the Road with Dombeya - The Garden Route

Date: Fri, Jul 24, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



OK, so trade visits are supposed to be all work and little play. Sometimes though, when the weather is horrendous, cold, and wet like it was the last couple of days, being inside is better than beating the pavements in off-season Knysna and George on South Africa's beautiful Garden Route.

And you can't get much more 'inside' than the lengendary Cango Caves. The caves, 40 minutes inland from George, are some of the most spectacular in the world, and open to public to visit and explore.

Inhabited by the Karoo Bushmen for 10,000 years, they were discovered by white settlers in the late 1700's. By the 1960's, they were
a major tourist attraction. So large were various cathedrals within the chain of caves that a number of classical music concerts were held
inside them over the years. These events came to a grinding halt however when punters started venturing into the caves and breaking
off stalactites as souvenirs, some of which had been growing for over
800 000 years. The evidence of this thoughtless opportunism is only too obvious, and sadly has deprived future generations of enjoying some of the most amazing, naturally derived acoustics on the planet.

The Cango Caves are a must visit for anyone venturing down this way. The basic tour takes an hour. For the more adventurous, a 90 minute journey through more challenging terrain on your belly and hands
and knees awaits. Both are well worth the investment of time. The cost is 60 rand per person.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

On the Road with Dombeya - The Garden Route

Date: Fri, Jul 24, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



OK, so trade visits are supposed to be all work and little play. Sometimes though, when the weather is horrendous, cold, and wet like it was the last couple of days, being inside is better than beating the pavements in off-season Knysna and George on South Africa's beautiful Garden Route.

And you can't get much more 'inside' than the lengendary Cango Caves. The caves, 40 minutes inland from George, are some of the most spectacular in the world, and open to public to visit and explore.

Inhabited by the Karoo Bushmen for 10,000 years, they were discovered by white settlers in the late 1700's. By the 1960's, they were
a major tourist attraction. So large were various cathedrals within the chain of caves that a number of classical music concerts were held
inside them over the years. These events came to a grinding halt however when punters started venturing into the caves and breaking
off stalactites as souvenirs, some of which had been growing for over
800 000 years. The evidence of this thoughtless opportunism is only too obvious, and sadly has deprived future generations of enjoying some of the most amazing, naturally derived acoustics on the planet.

The Cango Caves are a must visit for anyone venturing down this way. The basic tour takes an hour. For the more adventurous, a 90 minute journey through more challenging terrain on your belly and hands
and knees awaits. Both are well worth the investment of time. The cost is 60 rand per person.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Old Wine and Great Food

Date: Fri, Jul 17, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



The opportunity to drink some of the great wines of the world comes around all too infrequently. First, the wines are difficult to find. Second, they have become prohibitively expensive, deigned as investment collateral by many collectors who have little intention of ever drinking them.

That is why it is such a pleasure to sit down with like minded wine loversover a great meal to share rare and great wine.

Such an occasion raised its head last week in Cape Town with the inaugeral Single Bottle Club South Africa dinner at the Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay.

The food was exceptional, and the wine and company exceeded expectations. Some brief comments on the wine and food below,

Bollinger NV (Magnum)- fresh, delicate and bready- a great way to start the night
Louis Latour Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 1988- young, amazingly so really. Still with years in front of it and lively minerality
Domaine Bertagna Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1999 (Magnum)- Another baby. Dry and tight, very persistent, pears and nuts.
Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru 1969- Corked. Boo hoo
Lanzerac Pinotage 1968- A lovely old wine. Doubt anyone would pick it as pinotage served blind. Gentle, savoury and caressing.
JL Chave Hermitage 1978- Stunning. A great wine. Lived up to its exhalted reputation.
Leoville Barton 1982- Probably wine of the night, and served blind you would not pick it as 27 years old. Powerful yet composed, will live another 30-50 years.
Mouton 1978- refined, mature claret. Class.
George Spies GS Cabernet 1966- one of the legendary South African wines. Not a great bottle though, poorly cellared perhaps?
Ligier Belair Echezeaux Grand Cru 2006- beautiful- a youthful, vigorous and refined counterpoint to all the older wines.
Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg, Von Schubertsen – Schlosskellerei Grunhaus – Auslese 1976- still young and maturing...who would have thought?
Rieussec 1986- luscious, powerful, honey and marmalade flavours. Brilliant wine.
Vin de Constance 1997- a fine match for the Foie Gras, maybe too powerful, but great to drink what is perhaps South Africa's most iconic wine.



Roasted Foie gras with Turnip Puree, pecan dragee and Ham Gastrique

Linefish with roasted new potatos, bacon,caper and lemon beurre noisette

Ox tongue and cheek with roasted shallots, lentils and red wine jus

Pre dessert

Prune and Armagnac Souffle with candied pecans and Armagnac ice cream

or

Layered peanut butter banana and Felchlin chocolate cake with chocolate sorbet

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Old Wine and Great Food

Date: Fri, Jul 17, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



The opportunity to drink some of the great wines of the world comes around all too infrequently. First, the wines are difficult to find. Second, they have become prohibitively expensive, deigned as investment collateral by many collectors who have little intention of ever drinking them.

That is why it is such a pleasure to sit down with like minded wine loversover a great meal to share rare and great wine.

Such an occasion raised its head last week in Cape Town with the inaugeral Single Bottle Club South Africa dinner at the Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay.

The food was exceptional, and the wine and company exceeded expectations. Some brief comments on the wine and food below,

Bollinger NV (Magnum)
- fresh, delicate and bready- a great way to start the night
Louis Latour Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 1988- young, amazingly
so really. Still with years in front of it and lively minerality
Domaine Bertagna Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1999 (Magnum)- Another baby. Dry & tight, very persistent, pears & nuts.
Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru 1969- Corked. Boo hoo
Lanzerac Pinotage 1968- A lovely old wine.Doubt anyone would pickit as pinotage served blind. Gentle, savoury and caressing.
JL Chave Hermitage 1978
- Stunning. A great wine. Lived up to its exhalted reputation.
Leoville Barton 1982
-Probably wine of the night, and served blind you would not pick it as 27 years old.Powerful yet composed, will live another 30-50 years.
Mouton 1978- refined, mature claret. Class.
George Spies GS Cabernet 1966
- one of the legendary South African wines.Not a great bottle though, poorly cellared perhaps?
Ligier Belair Echezeaux Grand Cru 2006- beautiful- a youthful,
vigorous and refined counterpoint to all the older wines.
Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg, Von Schubertsen
Schlosskellerei GrunhausAuslese 1976
- still young & maturing,who would have thought?
Rieussec1986- luscious, powerful, honey and marmalade flavours. Brilliant wine.
Vin de Constance 1997- a fine match for the Foie Gras,
-maybe too powerful, but great to drink what is perhaps South Africa's most iconic wine.

Roasted Foie gras with Turnip Puree, pecan dragee and Ham Gastriqu
--------------------------------------------------***---------------------------------------------------
Linefish with roasted new potatos, bacon,caper and lemon beurre noisette
Ox tongue and cheek with roasted shallots, lentils and red wine jus
--------------------------------------------------***----------------------------------------------------
Pre dessert-Prune and Armagnac Souffle with candied pecans and Armagnac ice cream or Layered peanut butter banana and Felchlin chocolate cake with chocolate sorbet

===============================================================

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Barrel Cellar at Dombeya

Date: Wed, Jul 8, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Rianie Strydom



Rianie explains why she uses 100% French Oak.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

In the Winery- Rianie on French Oak

Date: Wed, Jul 8, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Rianie Strydom



Dombeya winemaker Rianie Strydom explains her preference for French oak.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Baboon D'or

Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



Some days you get just get more than you bargained for. Took the family for a drive down to Cape Point on Saturday, the southernmost tip of Africa. Ostensibly, this was to see penguins and other kid friendly creatures, but in the back of my mind I was keen to see where the vineyards of the excellent Cape Point brand were planted. Sorry, but when you are a wine junkie, you are always looking for the next fix.

Penguins were found. Views were found. It is a magnificent part of the world, the landscape both rugged and majestic at the same time. We'd spent some time with the penguins and then headed off to see the Cape Point lighthouse.

Rounding a corner in the road, we found a large troop of baboons asleep on the road. Right in the middle of the road actually, which necessitated bringing the car to a stop and waiting for the crowd to disperse.

Anyway, they were in no hurry to go anywhere. A couple of them got up to wander over and have a look at the car. We started taking pictures. Somewhere amongst all this (unbeknowns to me) I happened to lean on the central locking button. I'm not sure whether this was a cue or not, but soon after the biggest male baboon walked over to the back right hand door of the car, opened it, and climbed in to where my four year old daughter was sitting.

To say that life flashed before my eyes would be an understatement of some proportion. I yelled, then reached around behind the drivers seat and shoved the baboon in the chest. It lost balance backwards, but snarled and growled like it was ready for a fight. If you have ever seen baboon teeth, well, this is not a sight that fills you with optimism. I'm not sure what the next step was going to be if it came again. I quickly reached for the door, shut it, locked it, and then took a few very deep breaths.

My four year old thought it was a great lark. We just counted our lucky stars. It simply shows that with nature, you should take nothing for granted. It may be the 21st century, but much of Africa is still wild and untamed. The rules that we play by in the west do not apply. If you fail to observe that then you are taking liberties that may have serious consequences for you and those around you. Lesson learned.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Baboon D'or

Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Grant Dodd



Some days you get just get more than you bargained for. Took the family for a drive down to Cape Point on Saturday, the southernmost tip of Africa. Ostensibly, this was to see penguins and other kid friendly creatures, but in the back of my mind I was keen to see where the vineyards of the excellent Cape Point brand were planted. Sorry, but when you are a wine junkie, you are always looking for the next fix.

Penguins were found. Views were found. It is a magnificent part of the world, the landscape both rugged and majestic at the same time. We'd spent some time with the penguins and then headed off to see the Cape Point lighthouse.

Rounding a corner in the road, we found a large troop of baboons asleep on the road. Right in the middle of the road actually, which necessitated bringing the car to a stop and waiting for the crowd to disperse.

Anyway, they were in no hurry to go anywhere. A couple of them got up to wander over and have a look at the car. We started taking pictures. Somewhere amongst all this (unbeknowns to me) I happened to lean on the central locking button. I'm not sure whether this was a cue or not, but soon after the biggest male baboon walked over to the back right hand door of the car, opened it, and climbed in to where my four year old daughter was sitting.

To say that life flashed before my eyes would be an understatement of some proportion. I yelled, then reached around behind the drivers seat and shoved the baboon in the chest. It lost balance backwards, but snarled and growled like it was ready for a fight. If you have ever seen baboon teeth, well, this is not a sight that fills you with optimism. I'm not sure what the next step was going to be if it came again. I quickly reached for the door, shut it, locked it, and then took a few very deep breaths.

My four year old thought it was a great lark. We just counted our lucky stars. It simply shows that with nature, you should take nothing for granted. It may be the 21st century, but much of Africa is still wild and untamed. The rules that we play by in the west do not apply. If you fail to observe that then you are taking liberties that may have serious consequences for you and those around you. Lesson learned.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Terroirism, Lawyering up and Points about Points

Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Angie Tieling



A quick scan around the wine world finds an analysis of South African 'terroir' driven wines by leading French journalist Michel BettaneThe Frenchman recently spent time in South Africa judging at the Trophy Wine Showand had some interesting thoughts on the direction of SA wine, many of which have been commented upon here by writer Neil Pendock

Dr Vino,wine blogger of reknown, takes a look at some mysterious wine ratings eminating from Wine Advocate reviewer Jay Millerwho dropped a 62 point rating on a highly regarded Chilean wine. You'll have to read the comments section for a full explanation.

In Australia the failure of a raft of massive managed investment schemes which had vineyard plantings as a centrepiece of their strategy has led to a number of class action suits being pursued. The Timberland and Great Southern companies have collapsed this year under the weight of debt that they were carrying, in the process exposing the frailty of a business model built around generous government tax concessions rather than asset or income growth.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Terroirism, Lawyering up and Points about Points

Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Angie Tieling



A quick scan around the wine world finds an analysis of South African 'terroir' driven wines by leading French journalist Michel BettaneThe Frenchman recently spent time in South Africa judging at the Trophy Wine Showand had some interesting thoughts on the direction of SA wine, many of which have been commented upon here by writer Neil Pendock

Dr Vino,wine blogger of reknown, takes a look at some mysterious wine ratings eminating from Wine Advocate reviewer Jay Millerwho dropped a 62 point rating on a highly regarded Chilean wine. You'll have to read the comments section for a full explanation.

In Australia the failure of a raft of massive managed investment schemes which had vineyard plantings as a centrepiece of their strategy has led to a number of class action suits being pursued. The Timberland and Great Southern companies have collapsed this year under the weight of debt that they were carrying, in the process exposing the frailty of a business model built around generous government tax concessions rather than asset or income growth.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Human LIama Trophy

Date: Thu, Jun 25, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Angie Tieling



We decided to introduce a touch of levity into proceedings during the 2009 Open Day. Obviously, one of the more unusual elements of being in the wine industry is the fact that not all of the wine that passes your lips on a day to day basis actually ends up in your stomach. If you swallowed
everything that you looked at in the barrel shed and blending room, well, you wouldn't be able to walk in a straight line past lunchtime.

It is the practice of constant assessment and comparison as winemakerthat necessitates the need for spitting. You need to see, taste and observe how your wines are maturing to guage what changes, if any, are necessary at various stages of the process. In order not to get wine all over your clothes (and into the recepticle that is usually provided), it is a skill that one needs to practice. Most winemakers take great pride in their spitting prowess. The best spitters can create a stream of pure , unadulterated perfection, arcing their mouthful in perfect form and landing it gently in the desired place. They make it look easy, but as anyone who has tried will tell you, for the unpracticed it can simply be a messy, embarassing disaster.

So we thought of the idea to start up the Human Llama Trophy for the best spitter at our Open Day. We'll do the same every year from here on. For this year we used water, which is more difficult to control as it doesn't have the viscosity of wine. In years to come we will likely move into wine and also make it a bigger, more hyped event. We had a lot of fun with it this year in a very informal, laid back way, and it was great to see everyone getting into the spirit of the moment.

We had a stand out winner. Oelof de Meyer had either been spending a lot of time in the shower practicing, or he is a total natural. Either way, he killed the competition on the day and won six bottles of Dombeya Wines for his trouble.

We're looking forward to seeing Oelof back next year to defend his title

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Dombeya Open day 2009 - Many Thanks

Date: Thu, Jun 25, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Angie Tieling



Last Saturday ( June 20) we held our annual Open Day, a get -together for friends of Dombeya where we opened every wine we have ever made, played a bit of music and just had some fun whilst drinking good wine

It was great to see how many people turned up to join us, a nice mix of regular buyers, new faces and people who just saw a mention on the internet and decided to come for a drive and see for themselves what was going on.

We were lucky with the weather. Come Sunday, the Helderberg was obscured by fog and mist and the temperature had dropped five degrees. Someone was looking out for us. We'll post a few more pictures of the day as the week passes, including some 'interesting' ones of the Human Llama Trophy contest!

Once again, thanks to everyone for coming and we look forward to catching up again next year.

Cheers

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Human LIama Trophy

Date: Thu, Jun 25, 2009 Winery Blogs

by Angie Tieling



We decided to introduce a touch of levity into proceedings during the 2009 Open Day. Obviously, one of the more unusual elements of being in the wine industry is the fact that not all of the wine that passes your lips on a day to day basis actually ends up in your stomach. If you swallowed
everything that you looked at in the barrel shed and blending room, well, you wouldn't be able to walk in a straight line past lunchtime.

It is the practice of constant assessment and comparison as winemakerthat necessitates the need for spitting. You need to see, taste and observe how your wines are maturing to guage what changes, if any, are necessary at various stages of the process. In order not to get wine all over your clothes (and into the recepticle that is usually provided), it is a skill that one needs to practice. Most winemakers take great pride in their spitting prowess. The best spitters can create a stream of pure , unadulterated perfection, arcing their mouthful in perfect form and landing it gently in the desired place. They make it look easy, but as anyone who has tried will tell you, for the unpracticed it can simply be a messy, embarassing disaster.

So we thought of the idea to start up the Human Llama Trophy for the best spitter at our Open Day. We'll do the same every year from here on. For this year we used water, which is more difficult to control as it doesn't have the viscosity of wine. In years to come we will likely move into wine and also make it a bigger, more hyped event. We had a lot of fun with it this year in a very informal, laid back way, and it was great to see everyone getting into the spirit of the moment.

We had a stand out winner. Oelof de Meyer had either been spending a lot of time in the shower practicing, or he is a total natural. Either way, he killed the competition on the day and won six bottles of Dombeya Wines for his trouble.

We're looking forward to seeing Oelof back next year to defend his title

Read Full Wine Blog Post


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