Posts Tagged ‘Pioneer’

Jeff Grier (CWG Chairman) and Andrea Mullineux.


At the end of last summer, loads of wine people suddenly all went nuts about a particular South African wine. Neal Martin, from The Wine Advocate, gave it 96 points. Joe Wadsack, an influential tasting god, raved about it to anyone who would listen and quite a few who didn’t. Julia Harding MW, of wrote it up in glowing terms, “Each mouthful lasts for ever.” Everywhere you looked it was, “Yeah, I tried Cartology ’11 before you’d even heard of it.”

There were only ever 5,000 bottles of this glorious £25 white – the 2011 was a blend of 92% chenin blanc from four different parcels of bush vines, with the balance made up of semillon from a vineyard in Franschhoek – and it sold out super-swiftly. Now the build-up for the next vintage, the 2012 (a few precious bottles are expected here in August – ask at Handford Wines, The Wine Society and Lay & Wheeler), has already started. “The 2011 was brilliant but the 2012 is better,” tweeted Jamie Goode (, who tasted it on a recent visit to the Cape.

Why am I telling you about a wine you may never be able to so much as sip? First of all because it’s almost unheard-of for a wine to come from nowhere and grab such attention. Second, and far more importantly, because Cartology catches the zeitgeist.

This isn’t just about one wine or even one winery, this bottle is representative of an entirely new and exciting wave of South African wines and winemakers.


Read on …


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When it was unheard of for Frenchwomen to run big businesses, these visionaries introduced nearly every innovation in Champagne-making this side of bubbles

When Madame Louise Pommery broke ground on a 124-acre complex in 1868 in Reims, the tightly knit, vehemently competitive Champagne world scoffed. An establishment of the size and scope she had proposed was unprecedented in the region, and bankers doubted her firm, which had been a minor player when she took it over a decade earlier, could possibly pay off whatever loans they tendered.

To put such speculation to rest once and for all, Madame Louise eventually decided to make the lavish purchase of a Jean-François Millet masterwork and donate it to the Louvre to show off the power of her purse. Investors had been wary not just because of the unusual scale of her plans, but also because the planner was quite unusual for a 19th century French businessman—in that, of course, Louise Pommery was not a man at all.

Louise Pommery guided what was then called Pommery & Greno from a small concern focused on still wines to what would become the grandest Champagne marque of all, sizewise, by the World War era, according to Nathalie Vranken, co-owner of Vranken-Pommery. Louise “developed the business in an incredible way,” opening up markets in 80 different countries by the time of her death in 1890. A hard driver and brassy personality, “she was certainly not a very easy lady,” added Vranken.

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