I didn’t choose the wine life, as much as it chose me.

Being an ex-smoker, I had to find a new vice. And wine was it. It also didn’t hurt that I’ve worked in the industry for over 25 years. And what have I learnt?Message in bottle


Well – not literally. But about wine ITSELF? Nothing. About the mystique and fascination around it? So so much. Hard not to… um, soak it in.

Wine is what YOU make it. It’s so personal. It’s so yummy. The smelly sock/cassis (what the hell is cassis anyway*) and cigar box “nose” (cos we smell those every day) is unique unto our own personal selves.

Wine is evocative. To our senses that is. It brings back memories of growing up – if you were surrounded with it like I was, Chateau Libertas 1984 is NOW a very good vintage thank you very much. But smelling a red like that, brings back those gooey warm feelings of my mother laughing loudly, head back followed by a hiccup and inevitable trip down the hallway to bed and that gorgeous musty smell from her used glass.

My favourite varietal (fancy word for variety of wine) is chenin blanc, which is a fruity little white. I have a cousin that’s like a chenin. I love him too.

Little (amongst non w{h}iners) known fact is that South Africa was chock-a-block planted with chenin in “the day” – commonly known as STEEN in our parents time. Ha! Bet you know it NOW! It was a cheapie grape. Used by bulk producers. As SA came out of those deep dark days of apartheid and we were exposed to the worldwide wine scene, so chenin became deeply unpopular and was pulled out by the hectare for the more sexy whites like sauvignon blanc or reds like cab etc and guess what? The chenin available today that is now fancily called “OLD VINE” is beyond delicious and frankly, pairs with any food. Or ice. And some have a price tag to go with it. Want good chenins? Buy Swartland… (no, I’m not being paid to say that).

My personal belief is to NOT pair food with wine. I pair wine with whatever the hell I want. And why not? Besides the very obvious blechs like every day sauvignon blanc with say – acidic food – (where your eyes water and tongue dries up like a 6 week old piece of droe wors), drink your drink with what you want to eat. Don’t believe me? Try it. If it doesn’t work for you – you’ll know, as it just won’t taste delish.

And if you want to add ice or pop the red in the fridge before you drink it, go for it. Let those who judge not be judged etc. This country is too hot to serve our wines at room temp. Klaar.

We going to be reviewing a wine every now and then. If you’re keen to know more/love a particular varietal, have a question, comment below. Forewarned – You’ll probably catch me busy with my nose in a glass, swirling the wine around in it, while smoulderingly knowingly wishing I looked like I knew what fruits I was smelling (besides “grape”) and wondering if at Level 1, day drinking was now frowned upon.

L’chaim! (Hebrew for cheers – don’t say you don’t learn anything here).

*French word for blackcurrant – who’d a known? Apart from a Frenchman.

(Please note that these posts are NOT to encourage drinking but merely to enhance wine drinking experiences for those who do enjoy an occasional glass)

*Disclaimer – use alcohol in moderation. Don’t encourage underage drinking. Don’t drive while under the influence.  If you feel that you or a family member has a problem with alcohol, please contact www.aasouthafrica.org.za

Alcholics Anonymous