David Bowie, who unexpectedly came back from the dead earlier this month with a mournful dirge “where are we now?” famously sang about another Messiah, Ziggy Stardust, being “the naz with god given ass.” What Ziggy had behind, Nederburg cellarmaster Razvan Macici has up front, looking more like a Kadar barrel (made from Hungarian oak grown in Romania) every vintage. No wonder MasterChefSA has snapped him up as wine guru in the sequel, currently being filmed at Nederburg. For ironically, wine was an ingredient sorely lacking in the first series. An oversight the Nederburg nabobs have now fixed.
“Boy could Ziggy play guitar” and boy can that Razvan make wine. Yesterday, the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year let slip that he’s started a “small project” to produce a Nederburg Méthode Cap Classique.
It will be a blend of Chardonnay from high altitude west coast vineyards and Pinot Noir from the same sites responsible for the multi-award winning Pinot bubbly from JC Le Roux. He has good relations with JC cellarmaster Elunda Basson as she used to work for him at Nederburg.
I’ve always been a fan of Nederburg Brut – a well-priced fizzy Chenin they’d call Crémant on the Loire and a missed opportunity for the Chenin Blanc Producers’ Association who could do far more to promote a style well suited to SA summers. While the recent success of the 2007 vintage Vin de Constance in the Neal Martin beauty contest may be ascribed to the use of Kadar barrels, Raz also puts his success (in the Diners Club competition last November with his 2007 Nederburg Eminence) down to Romanian influences. In the shape of advice from his father, to introduce the yeast to the grapes as soon as possible in the wine making process. 2007 was the first time he did what his dad told him and the result speaks for itself.
Alas dad is not available to congratulate his son, having passed away a couple of years ago. But Raz still shared a glass of Eminence with him yesterday, pouring a measure of wine into the soil beneath the spreading oak on the stoep of the Nederburg manor house.