The 20th edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles kicked off in Bratislava this morning and this year’s fashion statement is beards. Here is US blogger Ryan Opaz modelling some porno topiary while my Panel #1 consists of judges from France, Portugal and Belgium and is a hairy affair. Bratislava has so many students, its nickname is Partyslava and with the evening free, we’ll see if it can hold a candle to the Partyberg, the hip name for the Paardeberg in the Swartland.
Elgin Chenin Blancs are like buses: nothing for ages then along come two together. The first was Cathy Marshall’s Amatra 2012 (retail R91) at Auslese last Tuesday and on Thursday JP Winshaw’s Usana 2012 with a grilled cauliflower and cashew nut soup with truffle oil at Birds on Bree Street.
Poor Ebrahim Matthews, CEO of Diners Club. Not only is he teetotal, but now that the credit card owns the sighted tasting machine trading as the Platter wine guide, he has to deal with some of the lonely hearts with inadequacy issues who embrace wine as replacement for a social life. Not to mention Diners directors who own Platter wineries of the year. Talk about corporate governance hangovers!
The latest multi-Myprodol mess-up stars poor Richard Rowe, straight talking Aussie head winemaker at KWV, who posts a comment on winenews in the wake of Diners buying the spitting spectacle, bemoaning the sighted tasting algorithm employed by the guide. As do many people publicly from Dana Buys to Kobus Deetlefs and hundreds who do so in private.
Who wades into the debate on April Fool’s Day but Platter assistant/associate editor Tim James, chastising Dick for his “weird English” with the aside “surely KWV could afford someone to proofread his words.” But then perhaps Dick lacks a UCT PhD in English like Tim or is “writing here absolutely on [his] own behalf”, again like Tim. Anyway, Tim reckons KWV got off lightly as “personally, I believe that the ratings for the top KWV ranges, Mentors and Cathedral Cellars, are over-generous, if anything.” Although I didn’t detect Tim at the KWV launch of the new Roodeberg wines (white, red and rosé) last week or maybe he was obscured by Andre Morgenthal. Or perhaps he gets personal treatment like that supplied by Russian Pilates instructors at Shimmys or doesn’t need to taste them to form an opinion.
Are luxury hotels the best way to promote SA wine overseas? I was pleased and surprised to see that Jaco Goosen, duty sous chef at the Nellie, will be waving the SA flag in Lima later this month at sister hotel Miraflores Park Hotel in an SA Culinary Week. The ad says it all, Jaco is a “grand representative of the SA comedy” or I think that’s what is says in Spanish, below!
Another bottle of Dr. Charles Niehaus 2010 at Il Leone for lunch along with a rare tagliata (strips of sirloin topped with rocket or arugala if you wear a bowtie) and the sneaking feeling that this top of the line Roodeberg could be the best SA red of the decade so far. Perhaps even the millennium.
So much for the season. Kyoto Garden, finest sushi restaurant in Cape Town by ten knots, next door to the Power and the Gory pub on Kloofnek, remained closed from November to January. Proprietor Scott Wood (below, right) had gone home to Los Angeles and then took a holiday in Japan but never made it to Hokkaido as the temperature was twenty C below in January. But he did pick up some fine wooden, almost tweezer like, hashi (Japanese chopsticks, otemoto) “which fit the new décor.”
As they would say in Phutadichaba if Bacchus ever visited, pansi uBulkWine, pansi! (down with bulk wine) and the alarming trend of SA producers to focus on bulk exports as its easier to sell one 25,000 litre papsak than 30,000 bottles. As Harry Eyres admits in today’s Weekend Financial Times “I do sometimes buy wine from supermarkets but usually I’m aware while doing so that I’m sacrificing something – call it soul, call it cultural biodiversity – to the gods of convenience. Once again, you can disaggregate not just the supermarket itself but its component parts, in this case the wine selection. If I am really interested in, say, Italian wines, would I find a satisfying selection in the supermarket?
Probably not: my local one relies heavily on one or two big firms that provide standardised versions of well-known denominations (Chianti, Barolo, Prosecco). You will not find a single Sagrantino, or Aglianico, or Morellino di Scansano. I would do far better to make a small expedition to a specialist shop such as Lea & Sandeman, whose buyers trawl the peninsula seeking not just the reliable, but the excellent.”
Does Jonkershoek Jannie Mouton know something we don’t? Why else would he dump 133.3 million shares in CapeVin yesterday at 40c below market? CapeVin’s only asset (apart from some thirsty directors, well paid to drink rooibos tee and chomp Marie biscuits) is a 29% share of Distell whose results are eagerly expected on Monday. Does Oom Jannie know something we don’t? I expect Distell earnings to be flat for although a reduced Rand will have boosted the bottom line, the collapse of the local brandy market cannot be good news.
The “sold out” signs are about to go up at Cape to Canton, the festival to celebrate Chinese New Year at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands from 4-8pm on Sunday. From exhibition matches by the SA Table Tennis Champion to Chinese elevator music, Kung Fu fights to lion dances, all bases are covered. Cape Town’s top Chinese chefs are pulling out all the stops: Haiku, South China Dim Sum Bar, Tao Yuan, Katima. You name it, they’ll be there.
Driving down to Inchanga yesterday to fetch two dozen Simon Stone paintings to photograph for a monograph Smac Gallery are planning on this master of colour, we passed the wrecks of two burnt out lorries and their containers. The nameless bureaucrats who destroyed the SA railways to such an extent that national roads are now tarmac railways with motor cars playing dodgem with these high speed goliaths, have a lot to answer for. Arriving in Cato Ridge, we received the sad news that Remgro CEO Thys Visser was killed in a head-on collision on the N1 outside Rawsonville; a Princess Diana moment. How is it possible that the CEO of one of SA’s largest industrial concerns is killed in a car or a Princess dies in a tunnel in Paris?