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All the Platter 2019 awards were announced last night in Cape Town and as ever, the results were much awaited by an eager wine community wanting to snap up those wines considered the best of the best.

Andrea and Chris Mullineux have been named Winery of the Year – the third time this dynamic duo have raked in this prestigious award (having been nominated in both 2014 and 2016).  Newton-Johnson received the Editors Award and the Best Newcomer Winery of the year has gone to Erika Obermeyer at Obermeyer Wines.

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Many of the flavours and characteristics of whisky are picked up from the wooden casks that it spends its time maturing in. Historically any type of wood could be used to make casks by, now, by law, they now must be constructed of oak. Oak is selected for its toughness and yet is easy to work with, has tight grain which prevents leaking, is porous and allows for oxygen in and out of the cask, and it can be bent by heat with the wood splitting. When you think of what it takes to make your favourite spirit, ingredients like...

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Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky. Whiskies do not mature in the bottle, like a wine would, only in the cask, so the ‘age’ of a whisky is only the time between distillation and bottling. This reflects how much the cask has interacted with the whisky, changing its chemical make-up and taste. Whiskies that have been bottled for many years may have a rarity value but are not ‘older’...

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To be a single malt scotch, the whisky must have been distilled at a single distillery using a pot still distillation process and made from a mash of malted barley. As with any Scotch whisky, a single malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks in for at least three years and one day. “Malt” indicates that the whisky is distilled from a “malted” barley. Several types of grains can be malted (for example, barley, rye and wheat are all grains which can be malted); however, in the case of single malt Scotch, barley is the...

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Bourbon whiskey must be made from a grain mixture which is 51% corn. The fermentation process for the mixture is usually started by mixing in some ‘sour mash’, which is a mash from an older or previous batch (this being made up of malted barley, rye or wheat). Much like how Scotch must be made in Scotland, Bourbon can only be labelled as such if it is made in the United States. A straight Bourbon mash must be distilled at 160 proof (80%) or less, put into the barrels at 125 proof (62.5%) or less, and it must not contain...

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