By country :: South Africa
Eight years ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel for the first time to South Africa, and I quickly fell in love with this beautiful country, particularly its majestic landscape and friendly citizens. Love at first sight is an overused cliché, but I was truly stunned by the beauty of what surrounded me, and I now consider South Africa to be my second home.
As a Frenchman, the gastronomy of any region I visit is the first thing I scrutinise, and South Africa definitely recorded top marks in that department, with great food on offer, particularly in Franschoek restaurants – although I am maybe slightly biased in that regard!
The changes in South African society over the last few decades have been well documented, and a number of years ago we at l’Art du Vin decided to create our own Fairtrade label. This venture has now kicked up another
gear, and we recently re-launched the label with far more personal involvement, calling it ‘The Cannonberg Project’. Now, all decisions made with regards to the label are far more personal, and we hope this will allow us to develop the concept more fully and effectively.
As well as our own label, we are delighted to continue our relationships with well-established, award-winning wineries all over the country, namely Vergelegen, Ken Forrester and Martin Meinert. Over the course of my last few South African trips, it has come to my attention that an increasing amount of small, young producers are electing to focus on the cultivation of specific grape varieties that suit their local terroir, rather than growing a wide range of international grapes. There is no doubt that these producers are the country’s rising stars, are we are thrilled to include a number of them on our list, including Chris Williams of the Foundry and Eben Sadie.