BIG GEORGE AND THOSE BIG RED WINES!

My late friend George Shuttleworth was quite a character. He died recently at the age of 96. It was genetic. He had five brothers and they all lived into their 90’s.  George was really big and tall and strong. Even in his 90’s. He could drink three times the amount that I could drink. He loved big, powerful red wines particularly Australian reds.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2000.

From the Barossa Valley. Deep garnet. Nose- typical vanilla (probably from the use of American oak. The Australians like to use American oak with their Shiraz.) Tar. Spice. The palate lovely mouth feel and very rich. A very masculine wine.Just like big George. He loved it and so did I. Purchased from Wine Concepts. A small, up market wine retailer based in Cape Town.

YALUMBA BUSHVINE GRENACHE 2000.  

Medium to dark ruby. Nose- slight cassis lovely  fragrant nose. Palate- lovely and soft. Fine acidity and tannins. Lovely creamy sweet finish.

“Jancis Robinson in her “The Oxford Companion to Wine” writes “ Grenache, the world’s second most widely planted grape variety sprawling in several hues, all over Spain and Southern France.”

“With its strong wood and upright growth, Grenache Noir is well suited to traditional bush-like viticulture in hot, dry, windy vineyards.” Also purchased from Wine Concepts.

PENFOLDS MAGILL ESTATE 2002 SHIRAZ.

Unfortunately, I have no tasting notes for this wine but I drank several bottles of it and remember it as a rich, powerful wine with a touch of elegance. The front label states that “The Magill Estate vineyard and winery is the spiritual home of Penfolds.” The back label states that “It is bottled unfined and unfiltered…” going on to suggest that due to this it may throw a sediment and thus should be decanted. Hugh Johnson comments that Penfolds is “Consistently Australia’s best red wine company. Its Grange is deservedly 4 stars” which is his highest rating in the system that he uses. I, myself, have never had the opportunity to taste this very expensive but legendry wine. 

 VERGELEGEN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1998.

This was the last wine that George and I drank together at a restaurant before he was put in an old age home where he died, as I said, at the age of 96.


Medium garnet. Lovely cassis- black cherries. Fragrant. The flavours just exploded in the mouth. Produced by Vergelegen in Stellenbosch. A mega wine farmed owned by SA mining giants Anglo American. The winemaker since January 1998 was the extremely gifted winemaker Andre van Rensburg. He often claims to be “the greatest wine maker in the world” but I think he is partly joking. I met him for the first time at a Caroline’s Fine Wine White wine show. We got on like a house on fire. He told me that like many SA wine makers he “hated wine writers.” Most SA wine makers can’t stand wine writers for good reason. But that is an issue I will deal with in an an other wine book. He told me “Gad, forget about the wine writing, you don’t have to write about my wines. Just come to Vergelegen and we will pull out some great wines, have a barbecue and get drunk!”

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