This year’s Elsenburg wine tour to Europe is squashed in between graduation and Christmas, which will limit it to two weeks and hence to France with Burgundy and Bordeaux the top two appellations followed by the Loire, Champagne and the Rhône, if time and budgets permit. Meanwhile rumours of an opportunity to visit Portugal should be fanned into flames during the visit of Antonio Amorim to SA to present the prize at the Amorim MCC Challenge. For if any Old World destination is worth visiting, it is surely the land of feijoada and fado.
In one of her best recent columns, Jancis Robinson raves about Lusoland in the Weekend Financial Times today and her first paragraph is a slap in the face with a salted cod for SA wine producers: “Last year the UK was beaten into second place as biggest importer of Portuguese wine by… Angola. We British wine drinkers, and particularly those who sell wine to us, have a duty to maintain our reputation as connoisseurs. If we don’t pull up our socks and ensure that a better range of top-quality Portuguese wines makes its way into the UK, we will have to concede that Angolans are more discerning than we are.” This is in spite of the house wine at the Nando’s chain of chicken restaurants in the UK being Portuguese rather than SA, as you might expect, given the ownership.
The UK is still largest importer of SA wine when distance and available cash considered, it should surely be Angola. Blame it on WOSA and their well-known love for the flesh pots of London, a colonial throwback or a common language, but SA exports to the Lusosphere – Angola, Mozambique and Brazil – are an embarrassment. The first two are geographically on our doorstep while Brazil is a brother BRICSA nation. Heck, the largest chain of Portuguese restaurants in the world – Nando’s – hails from Rosettenville, so what’s happened to SA wine?