The great, the good and the groovy hipsters (below) of SA wine gathered at Casparus in Dorp Street, Oak City, last night for a tasting of Albariño – the fragrantly spicy white grape of Galicia (or Galeethia as tasting leader Teddy Hall correctly pronounced it). But wires must have got crossed between sommelier and chef as steak was on the menu for the follow up feed. But what steak – moist, decorated with roundels of bone marrow. Umami utopia, but then the signature dish of Mnr. Bonthuys is fillet wearing an oyster for a hat.
But if there was any Albariño – “alba & riño, white from the Rhine” – left over, it would have gone well with the steak as the high maritime acids of the wine would have hydrolized the fat. But there wasn’t, so we had to settle for a 2001 Vriesenhof Pinot Noir which was no hardship at all. The converse actually. “I’d forgotten I’d made a Pinot then” laughed Jan Boland Coetzee although such a brilliant wine would have been hard to forget, I’d have thought.
It was my second CWG red of the day, having lunched on a bottle of the totally excellent Neil Ellis 2007 at Dear Me in Longmarket Street, Cape Town. My first choice, Julia 2008 from Avondale was out of stock, as was my second pick, the Aenigma red blend from Mr. Ellis. Dear Me most sportingly let me have the CWG wine at the same price as the Aenigma – R220 – confirming that fair play is not totally absent from the wine list and should score bonus points on a Diners Club Wine List of the Year Competition. “That was probably less than they paid for it” laughed Big Neil.
These CWG tastings are the bomb, as the skinner is top notch. Like how the wines of dashing David Finlayson have been excluded from Cape Wine 2012 by the marketing misanthropes further down Dorp Street, furiously planning parties in their black hole.
David’s crime? He turned down a pricey banana leaf stand at CW2012. Not that he needs Su and the Sisters as mooi Cobus Joubert (below) lands big orders in Canada for his Edgbaston brand faster than you can say “business class upgrade to first.”
16% fewer cases of wine will be available on the CWG Auction this year, which means prices will have to perform, Mr. Alan Pick, if last year’s total is to be bettered and headlines of doom from arthritic hacks with pattern baldness are to be sidestepped. Not that these Casandras of the Cuvée have much clout these days.
As for the Albariño’s, the best were very good indeed and tasted like nervous Sauvignon Blanc from Darling crossed with tropical Chenin Blanc from Durbanville. Roll on the day Nederburg’s Razvan Macici is invited to join the CWG as he’s already making the hottest Spanish red blend in SA and spicy Albariño should pose no problem.