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Who Should I Visit in South Africa?

map_south_africa.gifAbout two years ago, I headed off to New Zealand for the first time, armed with lots of recommendations from readers that proved very valuable. I discovered a couple of wines that I had not heard of, and dined at a couple of restaurants that were highlights of my trip.

So I'm asking you again, dear readers, for advice.

In two weeks I am headed to Cape Wine 2008, the biennial South African wine festival, with a singular goal: to taste as much darn South African wine as I possibly can in 8 days. Lesser goals include: finding a fantastic Pinotage (some say it can't be done) and scoping out the sparkling wine scene (rumors circulate about up and coming stars).

The South African wine industry has done a huge push for international visibility in the last year, culminating with this event, which will likely be well attended, thanks in part to the recent accolades that many wines received from Decanter Magazine.

There will supposedly be 4000 wines to taste at this event. I feel a bit like a triathelete who hasn't gotten on the bike in six weeks but is staring down the barrel of an Ironman.

Wish me luck. And, oh yeah, tell me your tips!

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud