Well our terroir ♥♥♥♥♥ treffers (hits) from Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 list sure shot out the lights and encouraged a few trolls out of their sewers. The version on www.winenews.co.za was the most popular story of the week while the heat and light it generated will probably help sales of Platter, the sighted competition, which has been looking a little tired of late. How ironic is that?
But it’s all good news for consumers and producers and encouraging debate on rating methodologies is certainly needed as amazingly few consumers (and even fewer sponsors, it appears) know that Platter is tasted sighted. But the big winners of the week are obscure wine brands like Esona, Mimosa, Arendsig and Windfall to pick four Robertson rock stars at random.
As sighted palates are invariably couch bound and dazzled by marketing bling, blind tastings organized by the various wine routes are a breath of fresh air in the cellar, blowing away cobwebs and preconceptions. Could Aníbal (below) be tasting the ♥♥♥♥♥ Bellpost Shiraz 2008? – who knows, as all tastings were scrupulously blind.
When you bear more than a passing resemblance to the heir to the British throne, as Tulbagh bubbly royalty Luke Krone (below) does, hosting an annual Summer Elegance Festival on the family farm is a no-brainer. This year, prompted by Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei on the cover of The New Statesman magazine perhaps, Luke has contracted the dim sum duo of Mynhardt Joubert and Eugene Nortje to offer dim sum with a twist at this year’s Festival on Twee Jonge Gezellen on December 8; eight being the most auspicious number on the Chinese calendar. The twist will be naked dim sum with recipes tweaked to account for summer conditions plus the abundance of bare flesh sipping fizz on the day.
With the Platter Guide now betrothed to Diners Club, two Platter pundits have hit the airwaves speculating that Marc Kent will join the elite of the elite and win the much sought after Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award for a second time on Saturday night.
The big question on everyone’s lips, is who is Gismoer, new wine voice in Die Burger? For on the very day of the annual launch of the Platter Wine Guide, Gismoer launches a withering attack and accuses it of:
1) Jingoism (“among the panel of judges there is not a single Afrikaans speaker”) when Afrikaans is the lingua-franca of the industry;
2) Being a scam, as wines are rated sighted. The infamous example of a 2007 Cabernet from The Goose Wines which was rated 4 stars but was exactly the same wine as a 2007 Cabernet from Uitvlucht Cellar in Montagu, a much more humble brand rated ½ star, is hauled out, run up the flagpole and saluted.
Last Sunday I had some price sensitive information for readers of the Sunday Times Food Weekly. Selling price is the elephant in the drawing room of SA wine and deserves far greater emphasis in tasting notes and commentary. Price and tasting blind are key, something notably absent from the Platter publication that appears this week.
While few wine lovers would seriously compare SA wine to the best cuvées from France, when it comes to bedroom stats, SA winemakers have little to be ashamed of according to Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, whose findings confirm previous theories of race differences in penis size. SA winemakers power in at 6 inches erect, substantially ahead of France at 5.3in. Ratings are presumably Platter compliant i.e. made sighted.
Paarl used to be the appellation winemakers would fall over themselves to get out of. Wellington has decamped en masse and later this month I’m MC’ing a WOW dinner at Kleinevalleij for 300 guests to celebrate snipping the umbilical cord connecting Wellington to Paarl. A dinner which is shaping up as the hottest ticket in the Winelands.
There has also been a steady trickle of wineries leaving Paarl for Franschhoek. Wineries like Backsberg which was a blow as Michael Back was a former chairman of Paarl Vintners now renamed Paarl Wine Route. Now under dynamic new management, it has seen five producers sign up so far this year.
But the real revolution in Paarl is in wine quality. If you have R65 to spare, buy a bottle of Rhebokskloof Rhone blend 2010 (Mourvedre, Grenache and Shiraz) simply called R. Below is a happy Anibal Coutinho modeling his bottle of R at Burrata last night.
The situational variables at Vaughan Johnson’s Waterfront wine emporium have improved immeasurably since Millpark baker Vovo Telo opened their shop next door. Now wafts of freshly baked brioche float through the cellar to such an extent that it smells like a Champagne bar. VJ (below) is off to Burgundy tomorrow but before he left he was singing the praises of Lormarins Optima 2008, a Cabernet/Merlot blend he sells for R132 a bottle.
“4 Star Dombeya – R21” said the subject line from AJ@salewine.co.za this morning and for a moment I’d thought he was adding to Michael Fridjhon’s human misery after the impresario opined in Business Day recently “when a South African wine retails for less than R25, it can be made only on a truly industrial scale and generally at the cost of human misery – such as underpaid farm labourers or growers becoming ever more impoverished. Since there is a great deal available in the marketplace at this price point, it is clear that not all the wine business is joy and bonhomie.”
“Booming in brackets” is how my retired accountant friend Rudi Veit would describe the typical behaviour of our shares on the JSE. The bracket being the punctuation employed by accountants to indicate the figure quoted was actually a loss. Like the trend for SA bottled wine exports that WOSA hilariously reports as booming when they were actually booming in brackets. Red ink is another device used as a warning sign to investors and so no surprises that the Platter wine guide applies red to wines garnering four stars and above in their annual sighted tasting shenanigans.