South Africa has been on my mind a lot over the course of the past few months. At the Society of Wine Educator’s conference this summer, Wines of South Africa did a big promotion for the organization and I was impressed with the wines and the materials. I remember very clearly the day that Nelson Mandela was freed and I was excited to think of how much the country had changed. I wrote this article for The Gourmet Retailer which was just published yesterday.
South Africa has gone through numerous changes in the past 20 years. Nelson Mandela was freed 19 years ago; peaceful democratic elections were held in 1994 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went a long way toward healing wounds post-apartheid; and South Africa has become a vibrant democracy with a lively tourist industry.
South Africa has been courting tourists for many years, primarily pushing its host of flora and fauna as the prime attraction. Things have changed, though, and South African food and wine have become a real draw. 2010 is expected to see even more change as South Africa hosts the first World Cup Soccer tournament in Africa.
Winemaking is not new to South Africa. The country has been producing wines since 1659. The year 2009 represented the 350th anniversary of the country’s winemaking tradition.
To read the rest of this article, please go to Gourmet Retailer’s website.
Spanish wines are getting a lot of attention these days and with good reason. The country offers a host of delicious wines and many in affordable price points. Additionally, Spanish food is also a growing component of the restaurant scene. In New York City alone, I have noticed at least five new wine bars with Spanish wines as the central theme.
My favorite is a local hangout near my home, Buceo 95. The sommelier who runs Buceo is lovely and very welcoming. He often offers you a variety of wines to try and see what appeals to you most. I have had numerous wines there which have surprised and delighted me. The food is also delicious, small plates that complement the ever changing wine list.
Spain is on my mind a lot lately as I try to branch out from my Italian focused experience. About 10 days ago, I participated in a class on Sherry held by the Spanish Wine Academy. I have studied the solera system numerous times in every wine class but I have never taken a full day program on sherries and still wines from Andalucia. I thought it was fascinating and would love to see more classes that focus on one or two DOs (Denominacion d’Origen) specifically. I like this concentrated approach to wine study.
Speaking of Spanish wines, here is an article I wrote for Gourmet Retailer on the Spanish wine industry. I am also looking forward to the upcoming tasting on Oct. 29 of wines from the DO Vinos de Madrid. It should be exciting and give further impetus to my Spanish wine craze. I wish I could go to Wine Future 2009 in Logrono in Rioja on November 12-13 but unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this year. I can go out to Rioja week at participating restaurants in NYC though this week to cheer myself up…