Initials: LDR means Last Day to Register in financial circles and while Jannie Mouton waits eagerly for the Distell results expected this morning, culinary superstar Luke Dale Roberts and assorted sous-chefs with 1950s matinee idol looks and paler-than-a-vampire maître d’s were out in force last night at Bizerca Bistro for the Alto Top Ten Places to Eat In Cape Town party. Served gazpacho and fishcakes by diminutive angels paid R22 a shift plus a Pokémon card, this was the party to have been at last night, as kitchen lights dimmed all over town as chefs took their toques off at Heritage Square.
While the Cape gears up for Jörg Pfützner’s Big Bottle boogaloo at the Cellars Hohenort on Friday night, Mr. Meat aka Alan Pick has stolen a march by hosting a lunchtime auction tomorrow to send the final year of Elsenberg wine making students to France to see what all the fuss is around French vin.
The auction catalogue (below) is stellar and arguably the best ever offered in SA this millennium. So to all those banksters who missed out on Quoin Rock and hipsters not yet retired to Hermanus, hurry to the Butcher’s Shop & Grill tomorrow lunchtime for some Wagu steaks and a chance at vinous immortality and the best wine south of Beaune.
Judging done at the Concours Mondial in Guimaraes, we adjourned to the Jumbo supermarket downtown (owned by the French chain Auchan) to checkout the wine offering. Next to the Sancerre and Penfolds was the Astronaut Pinotage 2010 from the Swartland, arguably the most happening appellation in SA.
Made from grapes grown on dryland old bush-vines on Lemoenfontein, it is proof that you don’t need the magic dust of an Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst or Chris Mullineux to get a listing in the cradle of Portuguese civilization. Good value (€3.99) needs no bush. Or in this case, bush-vine.
Disclosure: the author owns Lemoenfontein
“You turn down being a taster but still crack an invite to the awards” was my greeting on Friday night from Ronell Wiid, one of the Classic judges at the Top Ten Chenin awards. Which is true, but it was my birthday and not stage fright that was my excuse to bow-out back in December. Looking at Classic’s Top Ten, I wish I’d been born the previous week as while believable, two things about the Classic selection worried: all the wines were wooded and none were from the Swartland. And the Paardeberg in particular, that fiery Mount Doom in Mordor (JRR Tolkien’s Black Land) that some would call the natural home of Chenin in SA.
Anoraks experienced a wobble in their woggles this week over accusations that tasters for the 2012 Platter sighted guide do not have enough exposure to international wines. This surely does not apply to one high profile Platter pundit Michael Fridjhon who is one of SA’s leading wine importers and he presumably tastes what he buys. Of course his claim in yesterday’s Business Day that “The Platter Guide… reviews all the South African wines likely to be available for sale in the year ahead” is simply not true as the country’s largest wine retailer, Tops at Spar, does not allow its Olive Brook, Country Cellars and Carnival brands to be rated sighted by Platter while quite recently Dana Buys from Vrede en Lust threw the circus out of town. And there are many others like Aaldering and Deetlefs who have no confidence in luvvies looking at labels.
That said, there was surely something wrong this year with three Pinot Noirs getting high fives (two 2010 babies, barely out of nappies) while not a single Pinotage, Sémillon, [fill in your favourite brand here] got a mention. Isn’t it amazing how brands which do not enter competitions do so very well in Platter? Smells fishy to this Piscean.Read More…
Perched in an attic at Longridge Winery on the Helderberg for the last two days, eight judges have put 115 Pinotages through their paces at the annual ABSA Top Ten Pinotage Competition. Yesterday sixty-odd wines from the 2006, 7, 8, 10 and 11 vintages were dealt with and the most pleasant thing was the smell of fried onions from the kitchen wafting up the stairs as the kudu for lunch was being cooked. To say the wines were disappointing would be like claiming SA taxpayers got a good deal from European armaments manufacturers in the ANC arms deal.Read More…
Off to a Port tasting at Graham’s in Vila Nova de Gaia this morning. “Just climb into a taxi and say ‘take me to Graham’s Port Lodge in Gaia’” said Raul. So of course we chose the only taxi driver in Porto who didn’t know where Graham’s was. The wines were super, with my rating of the Tawnies the 20 year old, followed by the 40 and then the 30yo. “Do you have an agent in South Africa?” Our tastemaster disappeared and reappeared with a file listing NMK Schulz, who went bang a couple of years ago. No wonder the SA selection of Graham’s products is less than optimal.
Alarm bells are ringing out from Hermon to Koringberg following yesterday’s BEWSA announcement: “The winning candidate will be announced at The Swartland Revolution in November 2011 and can look forward to a trip to France, including a trip to the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger.”