How to distinguish a good wine

Some 30 years ago an old French winemaker with a vineyard along the Rhone told me how to distinguish a good wine. “First rinse your mouth thoroughly” he said. “Next you go with the bottle in the open air and sniff the air. Then you open the bottle and if you smell the wine it’s no good, even if you like the taste”.

“Wine you have to smell with your nose in the glass. Now take a zip and let it go through your palate. Repeat that twice. If you still feel the wine indulging your palate after one hour you can be sure of its quality”.

It’s as simple as that and no snob talk needed.

With this in mind I went to a small winery here in Napier (Western Cape, South Africa) where they were just starting bottling their first white muscadel and I had to taste that. Skipskop produces limited editions of amongst others Viognier, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot wines from ‘terroirs’ in Napier and near Ladysmith in the Klein Karoo. Virtually all the wines are exported; only small quantities are locally for sale.

So I held a glass under the tap and poured a few zippies, went outside for the fresh air and did what the French winemaker told me ages ago. To make a along story short; after a few hours I could still feel the wine ‘playing’ with my tastebuds. Now you may guess who is in the possession of the first bottle of white muscadel of Origin Napier.