Don’t know whether to award the logo below to Franschhoek marketers for their FLF wine writers none award fiasco last week or to SA wine hacks whose response to the none award has been bizarre. A round robin polling a united response to the none award includes John Maytham, one of three judges who were reported to be “in unanimous agreement” that the entries were drek; the Department of Wine at the University of Cape Town issues pompous opinions from the Ivory Tower while one Franschhoek publisher forwarded the call to pencils to the PR company who organized the none award. Perhaps the most sensible suggestion came from Cathryn Henderson, editor of Classic Wine magazine, to approach the none award sponsors to run a wine writing course. But who would present it? SA writers are obviously too rubbish to contemplate… Loosely translated from Slovak, the sign below warns the public against shoddy poseurs.
Lunch at Dias Tavern yesterday with Johan and Ad, two of the three Wegner brothers (below) out of an unbeatable five-a-side rugby team behind GetWine, the Western Cape’s most innovative e-tailer after Sarie. While 2/3 of the business may be Western Cape (liquor license permitting) at this stage, with field trips to Gauteng and KZN on the calendar.
When I lunched at Constantia Uitsig with Andre Rousseau in January (his 2012 Chardonnay is a knockout), the valley’s most underrated chef and King of Sweetbreads (kos) Clayton Bell, hurried over to enquire whether Andre had caught his snake yet. Seems that a green mamba had taken up residence, a little early for the Year of the Snake festivities which take place next Sunday. And also the wrong address, as the Cape to Canton party takes place in the garden of the Newlands Hotel & Spa down the road. There are still a few tickets available.
Cyclist Charles Harman, British banker-owner of SA icon producer Klein Constantia, may have been stockbroker to the Queen, but his grasp of literature is less sure. Asked to comment on the appearance of Vin de Constance in Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to the notorious pot boiler and bodice ripper Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James, Chas told the Telegraph “Vin de Constance has been a favourite wine of Emperors, Kings and authors for centuries. Its romantic qualities were first recognised by Jane Austen, were eulogised by Baudelaire and have now been taken to a new level by EL James.”Read More…
The view from the terrace of Constantia Uitsig restaurant (below) is excellent and so too are the wines. So much so, that fully 35% of production from the 30ha of vineyards is sold off the farm – tasting room, River Café, La Colombe and Uitsig proper. A better result indeed for 50% owners Tokyo Sexwale and Mark Wilcox than the ANC’s Mangaung meeting last month. The pair were on the farm last week and some deckchairs on SA Titanic are expected to be re-arranged soonish, especially after Mvelaphanda sold its stake in the Times Media Group to Caxton, kings of community newspapers, one of the few profitable aspects of legacy publishing left. Could another wine investment be on the cards for Tokyo and Mark?
Roads play an important role in the cultural life of SA, as I noted in the Sunday Times Food Weekly yesterday. The Great Trek was the defining trip for one community while Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom took the nation away from the cliff. 1980s techno pioneers The Talking Heads summed it up best in Road to Nowhere, a jaunty/breezy anthem to get your crocs tapping.
So now the Halloween cat is well and truly out of the bag after the Platter Guide released their annual list of 62 five ★ wines last night at the Vineyard Hotel. The ★★★★★ wines come from a shortlist nominated sighted by the tasters. Aníbal Coutinho and I tasted over 2000 wines blind in their home appellations and came up with a list of 147 ♥♥♥♥♥ wines. Ten differences between the Platter planetarium and our five heart heroes from Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 listed here.Read More…
Lunchtime conversation at Ellerman House yesterday with the Sanhedrin of SA Sommeliers (below) focused on the highest Robert Parker score ever for an SA wine – 97 for Vin de Constance 2007. As a judge at last week’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Competition tasting in which 62 dessert wines were put through their paces, the list of finalists offers no confirmation:
• Pieter Badenhorst, Bergkelder
• Marc Kent, Boekenhoutskloof Winery
• Adele Swart, Rudera Cellar
• Razvan Macici, Nederburg Wines
Ewan Mackenzie (below) has a day job as sommelier at La Colombe restaurant on Constantia Uitsig in the cradle of SA winemaking, the Constantia valley. But today he was moonlighting as an associate judge at the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Competition held at the Grand Roche in Paarl. Brought up in Detroit where his dad was responsible for the Ford Traveller – the American version of our own Zola Budd taxis – he is a home grown sommelier with qualifications from the Cape Wine Academy.
The final lap of blind tasting for Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 kicked off at the upper cellar tasting room at Groot Constantia (below) this afternoon. After blind tasting nine Constantia Sauvignon Blancs, we couldn’t believe not a single one was included in the FNB Top Ten. The Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2010 is totally amazing while the 2012s from KC, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Glen, and Groot Constantia are thrilling. Did subtlety play second fiddle to strident green peppers?