Food at the “return to earth” lunch at Olsen Private Vineyards today was out of this world. There was a choice of lamb or springbok as main, but it really didn’t matter as a small plate of the other was brought as well, combo platters being America’s greatest contribution to gastronomy. As they say in Trenton “less is more, but more is better!” It all makes total sense as the host was Greg Olsen (shown below with man-about-town Vaughan Johnson), third private citizen into space on a Soyuz, back in 2005. Greg, not Vaughan.
Arriving early (predictions of traffic mayhem caused by the Argus cycle race – now sponsored by Pick ‘n Pay but still stubbornly called the Argus – proved as unfounded as the Y2K problem) the organizers thought I was a farmer who got the wrong day for Saturday’s Ommiberg Festival. They were mistaken, as I was really a day late for the 12-hour electronic music experience called Love & Light that scared all the dogs in the valley.
Advertised as “the best trance beats in a beautiful setting alongside a crystal clear, fresh water dam… a fully licensed bar including a cocktail bar by the lake with a live feed of the music from the dance floor… the freshest mountain spring water available for drinking and a comfortable eating and chill area for the appreciation of good music in paradise with friends”, it took place across the view on the aptly named Mountain Shadows farm. And stole the show, according to trendy city hipsters.
SA Wine is getting something wrong when a Boland wine festival can be upstaged by Red Bull, two international progressive psy-trance acts Liquid Soul and Symphonix and mineral water. Ommiberg organizers should contact WOSA for tips on how to pull crowds. As the locals say “in die Pêrel is wyn koning, maar Red Bull hap aan sy gat!” (In Paarl, wine is king, but Red Bull is hot on his heels).
Greg pulled a crowd of 60 including an Italian count (Labia) and an English lord (the Earl of Harrington that Vaughan insisted on calling Earl rather than Chas, his name). The star of the lunch was Kimberly, Greg’s daughter, shown above with glamorous Argentinian husband.
The pick of the whites at lunch was a fresh and vibrant 2011 Chardonnay while two Pinotages offered immediate drinking (2008) and cellarability (2009). While Pinotage vines survived blast off in a Soyuz to the International Space Station, Greg reports they succumbed to their second winter in Montana. Seems that minus 30 was just too darn cold – yet another flaw for Lettie Teague to comment on in her wine column on the Wall Street Journal.