Here at VinExpo Asia they do anti-Platter tastings: blind, as opposed to the sighted model of the major SA wine guide by hundreds of visitors to VinExpo, as opposed to the dozen and a half sacred palates of the Platter tasting team. And they get the correct answer: 2009 Chateau Destieux owned by M. Christian Dauriac (below) who also owns Marianne Estate on the Simonsberg.
The wine was put together by Michel Rolland, the Bordeaux consultant Christian calls “my brother. I’ve never paid him for his input these many years”. Sweetly fruited and perfumed, it is easy to see why this wine was a popular choice. As for the 2010 vintage, Christian calls it “my best in 37 years making wine”.
I mentioned to Christian that we’d soon be intronising Marianne manager Alex Brodbeck into the SA chapter of the Commanderie de Bordeaux. “Great news. Then we can have a serious party to celebrate.”. SA commandeurs wil be hoping Christian brings some 2009 Destieux along with him.
Perhaps the most valuable takeaway for SA wine from VinExpo is that the way to market wine in China is via the Internet with the Apple iPhone the most popular device. Stellenrust winemaker Tertius Boshoff found out the hard way when his Blackberry was pickpocketed on the MTR subway last night. The offer of a $500 reward bore no fruit, but the thief should be easy to catch being the only person in Hong Kong with a Blackberry.
Marc Soccio from Rabobank took Distell’s Asian marketing team under “drank smous par excellence” Marius Fouche through their new report on wine in China yesterday at VinExpo. Called “Mind the Gap”, for SA exporters the Gap in question is the disconnect between warehouses and consumer drinks cabinets in China. The distribution pipeline is full of SA wine and Chinese shop shelves groan with 2006 vintage whites. The result of the activities of importers and distributors whose numbers have tripled over five years, according to Marc. A hangover is predicted.
Hein Koegelenberg (below) sells one in every two bottles of SA wine sold in China. And he’s not a happy chap. For taxes on wines from Chile and New Zealand are 20% less than those levied on SA exports to the Middle Kingdom. So much for the much vaunted BRICS status!
A lack of government funding for SA wine marketing was fingered by Dana Buys (below, with Gary Baumgarten from Anthonij Rupert Wines) as a major limiting factor for SA wine exports. “Italy gets €500 million a year for marketing. WOSA applied to DTI for funding and was turned down. A booth here costs R55K, which we’re paying ourselves.”. Some urgent fence-mending between WOSA and the DTI is indicated after an acrimonious public slanging match some years ago
Dinner this evening at the Yellow Door Kitchen in Hong Kong and bumped into Charles “screaming eagle” Banks who tells me Mulderbosch and Fable Wines (formerly Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards) have left the Cape Classics stable. To drink, a mediocre Aussie Riesling from the Clare Valley and an oxidized 2006 Cabernet from McLaren Vale. Unfortunately chef Lau Chun was in Macau or we’d have told him his Aussie wines sucked. Fortunately Chas was able to offer us a glass of 1995 and 1985 La Mouline from Guigal. So dinner was no hedonistic desert.
Losing Charles will come as a big blow to Andre Shearer, leading distributor of SA wine in the USA, who was instrumental in getting Chas to invest in SA. Chas reports he’s also opened a wine bar called Amo Eno in central Hong Kong which we hope to report on tomorrow. Chas will be back in SA next month with his parents to celebrate 50 years of their marriage. What better place to mark this joyous occasion than on Mulderbosch, the about-to-be world renowned producer of future classic Chenin Blanc.
Flight CX748 from Johannesburg to Hong Kong this morning was less than half full. The expected rush of SA winemakers to VinExpo didn’t materialize. In fact the only wino I saw was WOSA deputy chairman James Reid and he was flying pointy class while I was in poverty. Admittedly, he was off to Japan and some Aussies were paying, so the perennial complaint of WOSA flying business (at least) while the industry flies economy, does not apply. To drink, Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc or Chilean Cabernet, neatly summing up the USPs of the respective countries.
A glorious double rainbow arched over the roof of the Tops at Spar Gugulethu Wine Festival as the sun set over the smoky township yesterday evening. A good omen for the future of SA wine and on Africa Day, nogal. Show co-owner Mzoli Ngcawuzele (below, with a fan) took time out from braaing sausages to thank each producer for fronting up.
When you order a glass of white in the US, the answer is the question “Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay?” according to Simon Hoggart writing in the Spectator at the end of April. So when a sample of 2012 Hill & Dale Pinot Grigio arrived and I needed a BYO for the Italian Tour at Societi Bistro, the bucolic bevy seemed like a good idea.