Flagstone : Trust Your Taste


Chief Winemaker Bruce Jack

Bruce Jack

A Capetonian whose curiosity and palate has taken him the length and breadth of the globe. Bruce completed his undergrad in Political Science and Literature at UCT and then read his Masters in Literature at St Andrew’s in Scotland. His subsequent winemaking degree came from the Roseworthy Campus at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Bruce is a pioneer, and in many respects a maverick, and what he brings to winemaking is an articulate opinion about his greatest passion.

Food Alchemist & Kitchen Cowboy Peter Goffe-Wood

Peter Goffe-Wood

Peter is on the judging panel for the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants in the World, as well as the Diners Club Wine list of the year. Born in London, he trained in South Africa and returned to work with some of Britain's top chefs in several award-winning London restaurants.

Back in South Africa, he helped to open the La Couronne Hotel & Winery (now Mont Rochelle) in Franschhoek. Conde Nast Traveller named it as one of the fifty most exciting restaurants in the world.

Peter has worked to develop some of the Cape’s best and busiest restaurants, including Blues, 95 Keerom Str, Balducci’s & Salt. GQ magazine took him on as food editor for eight years and he is a regular contributor to Men’s Health. Peter is author of Kitchen Cowboys and Blues Restaurant – the essence of Cape Town.

He featured alongside Ainsley Harriot on BBC Food’s Off the Menu and now appears as a judge on MasterChef SA.

Editor Andrew Arnott

Andrew Arnott

Andrew studied Literature and Sociology at UCT before setting off on a global trek that saw him working under the seas of the Caribbean, on the snow covered slopes of the Canadian Rockies and writing for a variety of financial and travel institutions. Now at home in Cape Town, Andrew’s passions for wine and writing are married on this blog.

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Flagstone Celebrates Cinderella Chenin

Bruce Jack, head winemaker for Accolade Wines in South Africa, has called Chenin Blanc “an extraordinary” variety as he unveiled a new wine to support his belief that South Africa’s high end success will be delivered through the on-trade.

by Gabriel Stone

Called Tributary, this latest addition to the Flagstone brand portfolio uses grapes from 45-year old bush vines in Perdeberg, which lies on the border between Paarl and Swartland, with 25% matured in old barrels. It is due to arrive in the UK later this month through on-trade supplier Matthew Clark and will carry an RRP of about £30.

Although Flagstone has previously used Chenin in blends and for one-off projects, Tributary represents the brand’s first permanent single varietal expression of this grape.

“It’s an incredible catch all,” Jack said of the variety as he outlined Chenin’s ability to offer freshness for Sauvignon Blanc fans, a more subtle edge for Pinot Grigio lovers, and the body to appeal to Chardonnay drinkers. “It’s beyond versatile but in South Africa we haven’t really grasped that,” he told the drinks business.

In addition to highlighting this versatility, Jack noted Chenin’s genetic link to Riesling as he stressed its ability to produce age-worthy wines. “That’s why Vouvrays age so brilliantly,” he remarked. “Chenin is not only versatile – you can make some seriously premium wines out of it. This wine will age for 20-30 years.”

Explaining the delay in introducing a Chenin, which he called a “Cinderella” variety due to its steady image overhaul from “workhorse” to “princess” in South Africa, Jack told db: “At the premium end you’ve really got to be confident in the vineyard.”

Having found the right site and achieved the right result from its grapes, Jack suggested that Tributary was well placed to support Flagstone’s wider push forward into the on-trade.

“For me Flagstone is made for the on-trade,” he remarked. Picking out this sector as “the most important place for us to grow the image of South African premium wines,” Jack explained: “South African premium wine needs an element of hand-sell so it needs sommeliers to list the product and engage with the product.”

Assessing the progress so far, Jack commented: “In the past it’s been very difficult to get into the on-trade in significant volumes but we’re now at a tipping point so it’s about giving people the tools they need to sell the wines.”

A more detailed look at South Africa’s development at the higher end of the market will appear in the drinks business‘ October issue.

This piece was originally published in …

The Drinks Business

What Other People Thought…

  • sergito on October 08 2015

    Dragon three

    • Alan Yates on October 08 2015

      At the outset I must confess that I don’t know what the ‘on-trade’ is but I shall not allow that to inhibit me.
      Having spent the last ten years between Austria in the East and England in the West, and having spent much of that time glass in hand with like-minded Northern Hemisphere boykies, some brief observations:
      The only hope for the SA chenin blanc grape would be for the wine to be made in the classic Mosel/Alsace style; ditto the Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers. Forget the crispness and fruitiness, the great sauvignon blancs from NZ, Chile, and France will provide that in spades, as they say.
      And as for SA reds, they don’t stand a chance against the best, or even the run-of-the-mill from all the usual places plus Thracia, the Bekaa Valley, Croatia and Burgenland for one over-riding reason: too sweet; too jammy. Too much so even for my v patriotic palate.
      By ‘red’ I mean only Caberent Sauvignon and Shiraz or a blend. Even the local lesser known, greatly inferior cultivars are losing favour. Not for nothing Rothschilde and Miguel Torres are in Chile and not the Cape, and making Cabernet, not Carmenere.

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