Calling your single vineyard Syrah “Pallium” may sound frightfully pretentious unless you’re a classics swot and know that a pallium is an important component in the vestments of the Pope and Syrah is an important component of Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Château piff-du-paff in chavspeak. After all, the current one, Benedict, went on about toiling in the vineyard when he was elected, reinforcing the Papal connections to wine. Something the SA Minister of Health may wish to remember in his Crusade against alcohol. Wine is my cultural weapon and I expect the SA Constitution to protect it or else I’ll toyi-toyi and that will be a frightening sight indeed.
Residual anti-Catholic feeling was not behind the trademark attorney telling winemaker Sean Blem that Pallium would never fly as a brand name in SA as Eben Sadie had already registered Palladius. “Rubbish” said Sean, phoning Eben, who didn’t object. So on Tuesday, Sean delivered a couple of bottles of Pallium 2006 to say thank you.
The wine retails for SFr 170 in Switzerland and at R9 to the Swiss Franc, this wine has a Papal pricetag. But then only 500-odd bottles (two barrels) were made from grapes grown in the iconic Gilga vineyard, across the road from Overgaauw. A farm so difficult to pronounce, local food legend Marlene van der Westhuizen coached Sean in the correct pronunciation at Societi Bistro last night. You can see her in glamorous vocal coach mode, behind Sean in the photo above.
Marlene was dining à deux with glamorous publisher Louise Grantham last night, putting the finishing touches to her new Cape cook book that appears in August. “Can we try out the name on you?” asked Lousie. “Abundance!” which is inspired, as it will appear lexicographically before Reuben Riffel’s recent offering on the shelves of Exclusive Books.
This wine is one that deserves attention to detail by the drinker. For the rim of the foil is decorated with embossed Lilliputian genitals designed by Sean who two-times as an avant-garde artist based in Zurich with a dealer in Paris. When the new TGV connection is completed and travel time between the two city centres is shrunk to 3.5 hours, a studio in Paris will be a real possibility for family man Sean.
Auctions are flavour of the month in SA wine with Rael Levitt from Auction Alliance a major force. As he mentioned before knocking down Quoin Rock to Wendy Appelbaum late last year “I want no funny business. You’re dealing with the Cape Town mafia.” And as one interested party noted wryly “he wasn’t joking.” Another auctioneer well acquainted with the wine business is Stephan Welz who knocked down the Nederburg Auction a couple of times.
It was 9 minutes past 9pm on the 29th of September 1969 and Nicky Krone was preparing for bed on Twee Jonge Gezellen estate in Tulbagh, when all hell broke loose in the original three room clay brick homestead built by the famous pair of bachelors in 1710. When you start work at 4:30am, you’re pooped by 9 but thoughts of sleep disappeared when the floor started heaving like a doberman with distemper.
Nicky jumped out the window and watched huge boulders crash down the mountain in torrents of sparks while a blue flash ran down the rocks from one end of the valley to the other. For the Tulbagh valley sits on the Worcester fault which had given a 6.9 magnitude shrug. Nicky thought the Russians had nuked Cape Town and fried his fiancée, Mary. “I never bet on the number 9″ says Nicky.
Wonderful new discovery thanks to the new Bean There fairtrade coffee shop in Wale Street, Cape Town: Meander Merlot Shiraz 2010 from the Breedekloof. The label looks like something out of the Fanakalo studio in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Pity about the silver medal from the Michelangelo International Wine Awards, a competition seriously discredited in my book after several judges raised issues about the rating process this year. Issues that were never resolved. One judge even offered to appear in my defense if the organizers sued after I blogged their concerns, but of course they didn’t.
Perhaps the medal is a target as the Meander website quotes English cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant “to be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.” I’m in the market for a cartoonist, having made good progress on my new Mordor Manga – a Japanese comic book treatment of the Swartland. Mordor means Swartland in Elvish and that region’s leading winmemaker Eben Sadie quite clearly models himself on Legolas, king of the grey elves or Sinda hence Sadie. Just look at the hairstyle.
It might sound a bit like tasting fatigue, but the annual Juliet Cullinan wine-tasting at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg followed the Meridian Spring Festival and the annual Reciprocal tasting, the MCC Spring Festival at the Hyde Park shopping centre, and was followed by the Good Wine & Food Show at the Coca-Cola Dome. The mega-size WINEX at the end of October at the Sandton Convention Centre is still to follow.Read More…
An extraordinary information meeting has been scheduled for 3pm on Monday at the Swartland Winery. Urgent rumour speculates that the information to be divulged will be that Charles Back of Fairview/Goats do Roam fame will take over the struggling winery. If true, this is good news for SA wine, as Charles is the most gifted wine marketer in the business, by a country mile.
Came across an interesting story in the May edition of Prestige magazine in the BidVest lounge at George Airport yesterday which claimed that Hugo Boss is the most popular fragrance in the SA cellar. Then I realized I was the author. Duh!
The big surprise when Elizabeth Taylor left for the silver screen in the sky in March was the size of her estate – estimated at $1 billion, thanks to the range of 11 celebrity perfumes made by Elizabeth Arden. Perfumes are nothing to sniff at.
Let’s hope the bicycling billionaire boys who dropped R220 bar buying Klein Constantia last month have already signed on the dotted line as yesterday the minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, told them their ownership of one of the crown jewels of SA wine was on the basis of “precarious tenure.” Or was the minister referring to the steep perdeblokke vineyard, where keeping your foothold when the south-easter pumps is a case of precarious tenure?
In spite of only 5% of SA land being owned by foreigners, the ANC government is playing to their mostly landless and toilet doorless constituency and “soldiering on with plans to restrict foreign land ownership in SA and to prescribe conditions for land use” according to Business Day.Read More…
Bottelary Hills, that bargain basement ward of the Stellenbosch appellation, produces some of the finest bushvine Chenin in the country. Stellenrust is the largest and best producer and Tertius Boshoff makes the wine. On the Paardeberg, our Chenin production is equally auspicious and well-priced and a visit to my Pied à Partyberg, Lemoenfontein, yesterday, revealed a welcome addition to the fauna of the farm – a steenbok called Xtian (pronounced Christian).Read More…