Wine of the week: ancient wisdom makes for better wines

This stunning “claret-shaped” South African red is reaching its peak of maturity.

2017 Reyneke Organic

2017 Reyneke Organic, Cornerstone, Polkadraai Hills, Stellenbosch, South Africa

£19.99,; £22.50,; £24,; £24.95,

The first time I met Johan Reyneke, nearly 20 years ago, his beaming smile, firm handshake and scintillating wines marked him as someone at peace with his confident, ethical and holistic stance on both farming his land and making his beautiful wines. Johan embodies the spirit of biodynamic farming like no one else I have met. As he wisely noted, “Some people dismiss it as old-fashioned nostalgia, but we like to think of it as ancient wisdom. And we embrace it as much as we can. Not just because it’s better for the earth, but because it makes for better wine.”

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Johan’s entire portfolio is a joy to behold and somewhere in the middle of the pack sits this extraordinary Cornerstone, which is not only a stunning “claret-shaped” red, but also a wine the proceeds of which help farmworkers and their families with education, housing and retirement annuities. Made from 54% cabernet sauvignon, 32% cabernet franc and 14% merlot, and maturing for 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 30% are new and 70% are second and third-fill barriques, this is a stunning creation. What makes it so attractive is that it is reaching its peak of maturity and the complexity of the fruit, underpinned by the precise location of these extremely content vines, makes for magnificent honesty and integrity on the palate. It is as accurate as any wine I have tasted.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.