Will Piet Viljoen repeat for SA fine wine what he’s busy doing for Cape Town fine art in the shape of his brave non-commercial New Church Gallery in Tamboerskloof? I.E. shake it up and slay the greedy dragons who have perverted wine competitions and turned them into personal get-rich-quick schemes and replace them with an opportunity for the celebration of mature wines.
As Piet advised last night when I asked for a big tip: “invest with RE:CM” – his asset management company. I returned the compliment and advised him to buy Athi-Patra Ruga (below) and 10 year old Pinotage. Something he must have had in mind when he agreed to bankroll Mr. Christian Eedes’s 10 Year Old Wine Awards (permute, capitalize and punctuate Mr CE and you get RE:CM, something sharp Piet would have noticed, being as he is a mathematician by training from the University of Pretoria). Here he is above with another one from Wits, of a similar vintage.
For as it says in the RE:CM brochure, “a man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else” which I’d update to “a woman who is a master of patience is either a master of wine or a master of Pinotage.” For SA’s great grape is in more need than most for a bit of cellar time to become housetrained. Something MR:CE must have picked up in choosing the Remhoogte Merlot/Cabernet blend which contains 10% Pinotage, as one of the top three wines. The other two being a Syrah from Boekenhoutskloof and a rustic one from Rudera, making it two out of three for Stellenbosch in the terroir stakes.
Banksters can redeem themselves (in the eyes of winos at least) if they’d step in and fund a bank for Pinotage. ABSA have made a start with their annual tithe of one bar to the Pinotage Association. Producers can’t afford to hold stock so visionaries like Piet with deep pockets will do everyone a favour if they allocate some investment resources to warehousing a stockpile of fine wines to be released onto the restaurant scene a decade later.
For this will be no charitable donation but rather a wise investment for as the late Californian senator SI Hayakawa also says in the RE:CM brochure “ever since man began to till the soil and learned not to eat the seed grain but to plant it and wait for the harvest, the postponement of gratification has been the basis of a higher standard of living and civilization.”
The Tenner Awards are a personal triumph for MR:CE (above, left) who reports that when Wine magazine was disappearing down the plug hole on his watch, the first cargo to be jettisoned was the annual ten year old wine tasting. Replaced with rosés for picnics, Pinot Noir for pizzas and other favourites of the sipping soccer moms and wino wagonmen who have taken over SA wine writing, with disastrous consequences, as few will pay to read the inane nattering of nerds. But Peter Tempelhoff’s lamb loin with smoke aubergine purée, black olive jam and RE:CMhoogte 2003 (the “:C” is silent) on the side is a different matter, entirely.