The Key Review


I’ve subscribed for quite sometime to an Aussie newsletter called The Key Report. It’s the only newsletter I pay for.

Tony Keys who writes it also has a free view section called the Key Review.

Here he writes up the wines he’s been tasting. I like the style of it, he’s got a warts and all approach you don’t often see.

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Wine with Curry


Wine and food expert, Fiona Beckett, has a cool new website.

Here she looks at wines to match the gut wrenching power of a Vindaloo curry.

Stormhoek Pinotage comes out as the champion choice.

The Pebbles Project


Three friends in South Africa are involved in the Pebbles Project. This is a charity that helps children who suffer from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and need long-term hospital or home based care, get into the schooling program and also out into their local communities.

The charity is headed by Sophia Warner with help from her sister Lucy and fellow wine industry colleague Ansgar Flaatten.


Recently I was able to make a donation to Pebbles through one of their key sponsors, WOSA, and the money will be used to give many kids the chance to go out on day trips within the Western Cape.

The other day, Soph took 60 spirited nippers for a day out to the Cape Town Science Centre.

The kids had a great day as the pictures clearly show.


Monkey World is planned for the next visit………Bring it on!

Telegraph Wine Of The Week


Johnny Ray, wine writer for The Daily Telegraph, selected Stormhoek Siren Sauvignon Blanc as one of his wines of the week last Saturday.

You can read his comments here.

Thanks Johnny.

Tom’s Wine Of The Week


This week Tom Cannavan recommends Stormhoek Pinotage as his Wine Of The Week. Tom runs which is one of the most informative and comprehensive wine websites out there, it’s well worth visiting.

Thanks Tom.

Jay-Z Bigs Up Unknown Champagne


Having booted Cristal into touch over comments made by Roederer head man, Frederic Rouzaud, which the famous rapper considered racist, Jay-Z has now fallen in love with Armand de Brignac.

The Champagne company based in Chigny-Les-Roses is virtually unknown… Or, shall I say, ‘was’ virtually unknown.

Their top fizz is packaged in a gold plated bottle and the label is made of polished pewter.

So now, Brignac have hot footed it over to the USA to find an importer. The official launch is planned for December 06. Their boss, Brett Berish reckons the wine known simply as Ace of Spades or just Ace, will sell for about 300 bucks a throw.

I did some digging about and found that the brand is owned by Champagne house Cattier. They have a very similar looking product called Antique which sells in the UK for about £35. Surely Ace isn’t the same product in another bottle?

Given that Cattier have been making wine since 1920, it’s odd that the only reference to Armand de Brignac seems to be the endorsement by Jay-Z. AdeB might be a new invention, but the homies are bound to lap it up in the back of the Bentley.

The Siren Party in London

Apologies for not posting earlier, but we’ve been nursing some serious hangovers. The Siren launch party was held at 43. South Molton Street, in London’s West End last week.

For those who are not familiar with the London club scene, 43 South Molton is The Club for the London creative set. The waiting list for membership is as long as your arm. We gathered in The Trophy Room for the nights activities.

Guests from the drinks, tech, music, fashion and of course, media packed in to get their first taste of Siren Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage.

Stormhoek DJ’s Sandra and Sheila

Entertainment on the evening was provided by Stormhoek’s favourite DJ’s Sandra Davenport and Sheila Chipperfield, with the added attraction of Tattooist, Susan Lauren.

Sam gets the Stormhoek treatment from Tattooist, Susan

Richard Halliday from Dartington Glass kindly provided their radical new Solo glasses for the wines and, of course, Hugh was on hand to sign a limited edition cartoon created especially for the party.

Hugh in action!

A big thank you to Jasper and the 43 crew for looking after us so royally.

The Wine List 2007 Is Out!


Well, Matthew’s done it again.

After a marathon year of tasting over 25,000 wines, Matthew Jukes’ top 250 have been collated in The Wine List 2007 published by Headline and available from all good book sellers for £9.99.

The book provides the perfect guide for anyone wanting to seek out the best bottles in the UK and the cover price is easily reclaimed by following his fool proof recommendations.

I’m delighted to say that Stormhoek comes out well and his comments are as follows:

Stormhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2006

This wine sports a “drink by date” – Stormy were the first to come up with this inspirational concept. The team knows that this exceptional Sauvignon needs to be enjoyed in the first year of its life – which neatly mirrors the life span of this book. They use an “Ultimate Freshness” guide on the bottle to ensure you drink it at its peak. Follow the instructions and bathe your taste buds in this wickedly refreshing, lime-juice-imbued wine. Stormy has always been a front runner – now they are the leader!

Stormhoek Pinot Grigio 2006

You wait all year for a £5.99 stonker and then two come along at once. I was the first bloke to taste the new 2006’s from Stormy Pants and I simply can’t leave the PG out of the mix. It’s wicked, it’s irreverent, it simply doesn’t give a toss what you think – I expect really hard thugs are reduced to tears when they taste this wine, it has so much attitude. So are you up to it? Come and have a go…..It’s only Pinot Grigio, after all.

Stormhoek Rose 2006

Stormy Pants Rose just keeps on getting better and better. If the White Stripes were a wine, this would be it – only a different colour! Packed to the rafters with ridiculously classy red berry fruit, this is a swaggering pickpocket of a wine because, before you know it, It’ll have emptied your wallet of its contents in double time and you’ll be skipping home to share the spoils with your nearest and weirdest!

Wow, Matthew, thanks very much and all power to your pen.

Pendock Starts A Blog


Neil Pendock is a contributory writer for the excellent website
I enjoy reading his stuff, he’s frank, witty and, at times, abstract and obtuse.

Glad to hear he’s set up a blog in conjunction with

Jack Off……..


Well, I wouldn’t have put money on it myself, but the rumour proves to be true.

My good pal Jack “Desert Eagle” Hibberd is leaving his position as deputy editor at Harper’s Wine & Spirit Weekly and taking up the role of Research Director for, new start up recruitment company, Match Consultants.

He tells me that the drinks industry lacks a truly professional service for placing top candidates in the right jobs. I reckon he’s got a point. It seems as though our industry is bedevilled from selection within and often fails to attract talented professionals from outside.

Good luck, Jack.

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