Hollywood blockbuster Sideways notwithstanding, when it comes to red wine, Merlot rules in SA eateries. So when one of the country’s finest, the Vergelegen 2007, was unveiled last night at Auberge Michel in Sandton last night, the comments of a leading restaurateur were interesting. “Retail R120?” (implying an underlying trade price of between R80 and R90) “is too cheap. I need to offer it at R600 a bottle.”
Certainly, it’s the best one winemaker André van Rensburg has made. Well according to the ubiquitous sighted wine guide, as it’s the first nominated for five star status in his two decades making the stuff. And no, consumers don’t have to worry that taster Angela has snarfed up all the stock before this year’s planetarium is revealed on November 16, as 2000 dozen were made.
The secret of this wine’s success is ripe tannins and by judicious rationing of water, André managed to extend grape hang time by six weeks while keeping the alcohol at a lunch-time friendly 13.5%. A 6% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot component adds flavour complexity. Bright and elegant, this is a wine to watch out for, if the plutocrats and price-fixers don’t hijack it first.