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Showing posts from January, 2011

Visit to Africa

This month I took one of the most amazing trips ever. And this time it wasn't about wine. It was about nature; wild, extensive nature of dazzling beauty - Botswana and Zimbabwe.

For about a week we were fully disconnected from the rest of the world, visiting the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. It was very exciting to see all the wildlife, and I was impressed by the expanse of nature, the only sign of humans being the endless dirt roads crossing the untouched forests and grasslands.

Despite my awe, I will talk about something else in this posting, and that's what we did on the last day of our trip: visiting Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek. That makes more sense on a wine blog and moreover, it was an interesting visit.

The Groot Drakenstein Mountains behind one of the L'Ormarins vineyards

A known saying in the wine industry is: you need a big fortune to make a small fortune. And this rule definitely applies here. The story starts with the late entrepreneur and phila…

Wine Professional 2011: Madeira, Vinhos Barbeito

Dwayne Perreault — When I saw that Horizon Wines was hosting a master class on Madeira, Vinhos Barbeito at Wine Professional, I knew I couldn’t miss it. This was for me the highlight of the three-day long wine exhibition, the largest in the Netherlands.

Madeira is a tiny gem on the world wine map, producing a range of fascinating wines, some of which can last a couple centuries. But strangely it has been in a period of decline since the mid-19th century, when the island was hit by the powdery mildew and phylloxera plagues. Vintners chose to replant with inferior American grape varieties, then lost major markets in Russia and America to a revolution and prohibition. Eventually, the public perception of Madeira was downgraded to a cooking wine, and to some extent that misconception still exists today.

The future of Madeira became a bit brighter in the late twentieth century, when producers began replacing hybrid and American vines with the noble varieties Sercial, Verdelho, Boal and Mal…

Afpilsers Christmas 2010 tasting

Dwayne Perreault - It’s great to have a tasting club. Wine is social and is best enjoyed in good company, where it can be praised, critiqued and discussed, and the tasting club gives us the perfect, intimate venue to do that.

Our club in Amsterdam is called the afpilsers (which sort of translates into ‘the beer after drinkers’). We’re a group of about 8-10 people, some wine professionals and some enthusiasts, who take turns organizing wine tastings by theme.

Our latest evening together was organized by Doris Vroom from Winefields Auctioneers, who surprised us with a blind tasting of nine vintage Bordeaux wines, and a Californian Mondavi at the end to confuse us. David brought a white Hermitage 1998 from Chave to round out the evening.


1. The first wine, a Lalande-de-Pomerol, Laborde 1959 caught us by surprise. Stewed red fruits and tomato in the nose, woody with a hint of iron. Very soft and delicate in the mouth. I correctly identified it as right bank, but who would expect a Lalande-…