Lunch with Carlen Groenewald, marketing maven of Distell’s wildly successful Two Oceans brand. Carlen had been pogoing to the Parlotones at De Aria in Durbanville on the weekend. What is it about Pampoenkraal that it’s become the Woodstock of the Western Cape? – Die Antwoord last weekend, the Parlotones this. Is it speed in the racy Sauvignon Blanc? Someone should tell us or the whole country will soon be bopping, given the amount of Durbanville Sauvignon that gets exported to other appellations, like the Constantia Valley.
The Paroltones remain loyal to their Woolies brand Big Mistake, selling it as blush slushpuppies mixed with either cranberries or pomegranates (after a couple, Carlen was confused). When Die Antwoord launch their own wine brand, what bets on Red Bull or Coke as mixer? Lunch at Portofino with the “rude but not crude” restaurateur Cormac Keane (wearing Alexander McQueen bumsters, presumably as a sign of mourning) was up to the usual standards but we did miss the Parma Ham in the antipasto starter (extra salt squid instead). At least he didn’t try and parma-off an ersatz equivalent as two local Sea Point foodies have alleged. Maybe Cormac was getting his own back for the photo the Sunday Times ran with the Q&A on Sunday. “I don’t want to look like an idiot, so use the one I’m sending and please give a photo credit to JM Lederman.”
We sailed through the Two Oceans range like Oleg Deripaska dicing Roman Abramovich in Table Bay (well the restaurant is not called Portofino for nothing) with Carlen vouchsafing that the entire range is wholesaled at the same price. So the R24 for Sauvignon Blanc versus R28 for Pinot Noir is purely retailer perception of public pricing pain thresholds. Speaking of which, Carlen recommends cheap wine glasses after a Riedel exploded in her hand, lacerating her pinky which needed seven stitches. “Cheap stemware either bounces or breaks into big shards” concludes Carlen. Although given the irony of tasting Two Oceans from a glass that costs as much as several cases of wine, it is worth drinking dangerously sometimes.