The parking lots and manicured lawns of Spier were buzzing with mosquitoes and wine hacks (Stellenbosch specializes in blood suckers) last night. Well at least those not yet ripped up, anti-Joni Mitchell style, to plant vineyards as the Platter guide 2012 hilariously claims. The occasion was Jay Pather’s White Lights Party which lifts the curtain on the launch of a new all-singing, all-dancing tasting facility at lunchtime today.
Architects and lovers of the built environment should not worry that Spier will go back to nature and embrace hairy sandals totally as cellarmaster Frans K. Smit (above) returned triumphant last night from Durbanville where he had found two more 40 year old Chenin Blanc sites. “Our 21 Gables Chenin will definitely become a wine of origin Durbanville” he confided, making it a nice match to that other Veritas Double Gold Chenin, the Delaire 2010, whose berries hail from the Perdeberg. Danie de Wet reckons this wine is the finest Chenin he has ever tasted and the 21 Gables is totally toothsome, too; my attack of alliteration having been brought on by the sight of Ma Nolte and Tommy.
SA’s most influential wine writer, Jancis Robinson, also enjoys a good steen as her pick of the Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010 in today’s Weekend FT confirms. The only SA small in Jancis’s 25 item laundry list, confirms that JR assigns 4% of her fairy dust to SA this year (1 out of 25 reds last week, 1 out of 25 bubblies the week before), which will surely be enough to secure her an invite to Cape Wine 2012 if WOSA is still around next year after CEO Su Birch’s Chinese torture flared up again in Die Burger yesterday.
So while Spier may be ripping up Joni Mitchell’s parking lot, some of the best terroir in Stellenbosch arrives by truck, refrigerated. While the Double Golds roll in, carbon footprints swell alarmingly but at least not as much as Franschhoek which now has to send out to Elim for berries, the supply at Bot River having dried up in a localized drought.