Franschhoek, once the most media-savvy appellation in SA, has shot itself in the foot like the elephants they used to cull with cannon borrowed from the castle, back in the salad days when the place was called Olifantshoek. For F’Hoek has decided the annual Wine Writer’s Prize will not be awarded this year and sponsors Porcupine Ridge, will keep their R25K. Presumably the judges (below), Xhosa translators and PR agencies will still get paid!
The crucifiction of Canadian wine critic Natalie MacLean (below) this Christmas by the Sanhedrin of sniffers and sippers leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Her crime? Deleting attribution from tasting notes posted on her website. Which doesn’t gel here in the Beautiful South, as no one cares what you say about wine, just who says it. My Google trash box groans with PR emails and tweets each time a Big Name comments on an SA brand – the comment is irrelevant, who speaks, counts. The description of the Mullineux Straw Wine 2011 by Jancis Robinson last weekend is a case in point. For “you (almost) taste the sweat that went into this” is hardly a killer app, unless you’re a Fifty Shades of Grey mistress of pain.
Paul Theroux, one of the planet’s preeminent travel writers “with the disposition of a Hobbit”
and dad to Louis has fallen in love again. In public. With Cape
Town. His “best discovery of 2012″ in the Weekend Financial Times
is the Mother City which he claims is “the only city in Africa with
a claim to grandeur.” Sounding like a PR from Cape Town Tourism he
continues “I discovered it to be a city of great hotels and superb
Andy Hadfield can stop wondering whether Jancis Robinson has downloaded his Real Time Wine app. The answer arrived this morning when the single SA red in her annual Chinese laundry list of what red to drink at Christmas in the pink pages of the Weekend Financial Times was unveiled:
Do facts matter at all when it comes to wine? Flying to Paris from Amsterdam on Friday, I spent a couple of minutes reading the special report on wine in the Financial Times. The lead story was by Jancis Robinson and punts her new book Wine Grapes heavily. Check out hosemaster for a hysterical blind review. Entitled “A taste for heritage boosts local varieties”, a paragraph on SA caught my eye.
This year’s Elsenburg wine tour to Europe is squashed in between graduation and Christmas, which will limit it to two weeks and hence to France with Burgundy and Bordeaux the top two appellations followed by the Loire, Champagne and the Rhône, if time and budgets permit. Meanwhile rumours of an opportunity to visit Portugal should be fanned into flames during the visit of Antonio Amorim to SA to present the prize at the Amorim MCC Challenge. For if any Old World destination is worth visiting, it is surely the land of feijoada and fado.
The Cape’s Chenin Blanc bandwagon continues to gather pace as Jancis Robinson chooses two SA Chenins – the Origin Swartland Chenin 2011 and the Jordan, Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011 – in the 14 whites she lists today as part of her Financial Times 25 summer bargains. These are the only SA wines chosen under a £10 cut-off price ceiling.
Innovation in Portuguese wines is driven by strong women. Dona Antonia Ferreira started the Port industry and today Sarah Ahmed is the most powerful pundit in town, as she chairs the Portuguese department at the Decanter World Wine Awards, probably the most potent laundry list around. Now Julia Harding, offsider to Jancis Robinson, weighs in with her Top 50 Luso Lovelies. As the Drinks Business reports it “Julie (sic) Harding MW dedicated her 50 Great Portuguese Wine selection to Portugal’s indigenous grapes, warning that the pursuit of international varieties would represent ‘a downhill slope’ for the country.” Pity they got her name wrong!
Is US wine fakir Rudy Kurniawan musical? This would seem to be the implication of Jancis Robinson’s strange blog posting yesterday: “Rudy never seemed to have a girlfriend but sometimes brought his mother to wine tastings. He took over the restaurant Melisse in Los Angeles for her 60th birthday celebrations.” I should ask Jancis’s friend Tim James, who has a nose for this kind of thing, being an expert, as he is, in “suspiciously childless” wine farm owners both alive (on the now very dead Grape magazine) and dead (in Noseweak).