Perhaps the biggest shock of the local launch of Graham Beck’s Game Reserve range of nine wines on Thursday was just how many are closed with screw caps. That after garrulous game ranger Mossie Basson (below) had made the sustainable point that mankind is in deep trouble unless the species pulls up its sustainable boots. “If it took 100 years to wipe out 61% of the Cape Floral Kingdom, where will we be in another 100 years.” Perhaps next week’s Amorim media tour to Portugal for the Cape’s most visible wine writers Cathy Marston, Edo Heyns, Samarie Smith and Norman McFarlane will see Amorim’s sustainable cork arguments appear in the local press. Even as readership numbers of dead-tree media continues their depressing slide.
Budgets must be under severe pressure when the Nederburg Auction shares judges with the controversial Top 100 SA Wine Competition to select wines for the annual auction, as happened last month. Far better to have asked Mark Norrish (Ultra Liquors), Mark Robinson (Spar) and Mark Antony (Ancient Rome) I would have thought, as these are the guys who buy the stuff. Especially the Mark in Food Lover’s Market as Mark told me “these are the guys with the best retail offering.” No wonder they laughed off a R1.8 billion offer for the business five years ago from a competitor. If you can sell five bottles of Tin Cup wine for R100, you’re clearly onto a winning formula.
But Nederburg probably wasted their money as tasting is not even necessary these days. It all comes down to labels as the Platter guide confirms and Mike Veseth, Auction speaker last year, noted when he told assembled Marks “when I went to the local wine shop [in Washington State] with the most comprehensive selection of South Africa wines I found that 15 of the 16 wines on the shelf were ‘critter wines.’ ”
At the PDAC in Toronto, an annual mining conference that this year has attracted 1,000 exhibitors and 30,369 attendees from 125 countries. Exactly a month after the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, this show confirms what a missed opportunity mining is for SA wine. For mining is perhaps the most lucrative exploitation of non-renewable resources while making wine is perhaps the least viable form of farming renewable resources – in SA at least. Surely the time has come to form a Mines and Wines Forum for promoting SA wine to miners? It’s all a question of terroir, you see.
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…
80% of patrons at Myoga Restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel order the seven course tasting menu for R225 and of them, 40% take the wine pairing option for an extra R170. Incredible value in these inflationary times, with the abstemious statistic due to drink-drive enforcement by PC van der Plod. Before they enter the restaurant, ladies receive a word of advice from Lady Anne Barnard (below, as the Vineyard was formerly her house).
While we wait for Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works (Canongate Books 2012) to be discounted by Abebooks.com, the bibliophile’s version of Johan Wegner’s GetWine vinous remainderer, some teasing extracts appeared in The Guardian last week. In particular, I was seized by the analogy of how the left and right brain reproduces a house.
Here’s the unexpurgated version of yesterday’s story in the Sunday Times Food Weekly on bubblies for breakfast. Red Marauder may have been the slowest horse in 118 years to win the Grand National when he romped home in 2001. But his owner was so chuffed, the following morning a Champagne breakfast was served to the victor in his stall. So what Champagne do you serve a horse for breakfast? Or indeed a friend who wears open sandals with socks and eats raw oats in the form of Bircher Müsli from an unglazed bowl, rather than a morral (the pretentious name for a feedbag)?
“One good thing about this recession” said architect Robert Silke last night, enjoying his annual month long builders’ holiday, “is that it opens up great buildings, like this one, at realistic rentals. In the boom, this would have been a Pam Golding office” indicating the Wildean fin de siècle interior of the Alexander Bar on the corner of Strand and Loop Street, Cape Town.Read More…
As expected, one SA sticky features in the last laundry list of SA’s most influential wine scribe, Jancis Robinson, who pens for the Weekend Financial Times. Mathematically trained Mrs. R divided her 100 festive picks into four categories: bubbles, red, white and soetes and rewarded SA with one in each: Graham Beck, Wendy Appelbaum trading as DMZ – not demilitarized zone but De Morgenzon, although the Cape’s mafia auctioneers (by their own admission at the start of last week’s Quoin Rock-‘n-Roll) might find military acronyms suddenly appropriate – Bellingham and now a bumptious Rustenberg straw wine 2010.