It was lexicographically appropriate that PJ Geyer in a retro Swazi shirt with a cowlicked bolla, should win the prize for best beard in Botriver last night for he makes wine at Barton, that new estate you end up at if you get lost on your way to Herm-anus, so named as its the bottom of Africa for the fashionable Hèrmes brigade. Although Hermanus and its works are not popular in Botriver after producer Hermanusincrediblylongname banned them from using a sheep as their logo, after they’d already printed the stick-on decals. Which now will have to find use as sticky holders for car license disks on the windscreen of the village’s many Landrover Defenders.
A report on yesterday’s memorial “service” in New York for that public brainbox Christopher Hitchens throws further question marks at the great man’s favourite tipple. The Guardian reports “the ubiquitous glass of Johnnie Walker Red Label and his love of the cigarette were also amply remembered.” Yet when he died last December, The New Statesman advised readers to “pour yourself a glass of Johnnie Walker Black Label and read all 5,264 words” of his last interview. So which was it? Red or Black?
The Sanhedrin of SA wine expanded by 15 last night as the Commanderie de Bordeaux intronized the latest batch of Bordeaux worshippers at a glittering function at De Grendel. Sir David Graaff and De Grendel winemaker Chas Hopkins had a home team advantage and their Koetshuis CWG was nailed at the Bordeaux-style tasting afterwards by Arthur McWilliam Smith whose laser-like taste buds detected the serious Sémillon component, as did mining financier Gerard Holden who was amused to be addressed in the Afrikaans fashion: Gheritt rather than Jerard. He flew down to Cape Town from London yesterday, especially to join in.
As I may have mentioned before, the current hoopla about booming SA wine exports in the first three months of the year is largely unwarranted and WOSA’s newsflash earlier this week is just plain wrong. Focusing on the Afrikaans version of the newsflash as Afrikaans is the lingua franca of the industry, the flash is headlined “Uitvoer syfers vir verpakte wyn toon positiewe tendens” (export numbers for packaged wine show a positive trend). The flash kicks off “Gedurende die eerste 3 maande van 2012 het Suid-Afrikaanse uitvoere van verpakte wyn ‘n positiewe tendens getoon” (during the first 3 months of 2012, SA exports of packaged wine showed a positive trend). Which is simply not true, as a two minute examination of the SAWIS export numbers will confirm. Exports of packaged wine are down over 4%, to 37.6 million litres from 39.3 million litres in the first quarter of 2011.
Some PR practitioners are better than others. In addition to her substantial natural assets, Nicolette Waterford has access to helicopters. So when she stopped by at Doolhof to talk wine tourism on International Malbec Day earlier this week, she choppered in like Hilary Clinton. How cool is that!
What a pity Jay Rayner will not be judging this year’s Eat Out Awards. He’s been my favourite UK food writer since Adrian Gill disappeared behind Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times pay-to-view wall. Especially after that memorable full body wax back in 2009, below. I was so moved, I completely forgot to file a review of his 2008 opus The Man Who Ate The World. Re-reading my review three years later, it’s clear he would have been just the man for the Eat Out gig. Pity!Read More…
What a great name for a food writer: Dine van Zyl. So much better than poor Martin Crummy, who does wine reportage for The Drinks Business. Let’s hope Dine gets to join Judge Jay (UK foodie Jay Rayner) who fevered rumour reports is handling the judging for the controversial Eat Out Awards this year. I’m reliably informed Louis Vuitton developed a special Titanic travelling trunk to accommodate his ego. Be that as it may, the coming of Judge Jay frees up a previous incumbent to consult to restaurants that were conspicuously absent from last year’s Eat Out Awards! This does not work on so many levels, like farting in a lift. But then as they say in the Middle Kingdom “the foreign moon is always rounder.”
This year is a big one in the Bovlei Valley of Wellington as several of the farms celebrate their tercentenary: James McKenzie’s Nabygelegen and Dennis Kerrison’s Doolhof in particular. The farms were actually laid out in 1707, but it took five years to get them registered. Not much has changed over three centuries.
Wonderful newsflash from WOSA yesterday “The first 3 months of 2012 indicate a positive trend for South African wine exports. Overall export volumes are up 21% for the 3 months January to March 2012 as compared with the same period in 2011.” Although in the Afrikaans weergawe it seems to apply to packaged wine “Gedurende die eerste 3 maande van 2012 het Suid-Afrikaanse uitvoere van verpakte wyn ‘n positiewe tendens getoon. Algehele uitvoervolumes is met 21% op vir die 3 maande Januarie tot Maart 2012 in vergelyking met dieselfde tydperk in 2011.” Or am I missing something?
Anyway, it seems this trend could be due to tattooed wine lovers in France. For the Huffington Post reports “People with tattoos drink more than their tattoo-less peers, a new study from France suggests. The researchers asked nearly 3,000 young men and women as they were exiting bars on a Saturday night if they would take a breathalyzer test. Of those who agreed to take it, the researchers found that people with tattoos had consumed more alcohol than those without tattoos, the researchers said.”
Asked to judge the Amorim Cork MCC Challenge in August, my thoughts turned naturally to the awards lunch. Or perhaps brunch, as I suspect last year’s lunch was an exception, it being the 10th anniversary of the competition. I’m not even sure the Grande Roche runs to brunch. Besides, brunch hoists something of an anti-elitist, anti-snobbish flag over the whole affair which fits in with these recessionary times. This trend is further advanced this morning by Eric Asimov in the New York Times who proposes Champagne with pizza. Even if the photo used to illustrate the story shows pizza and still wine. Oops!