Unable to change the big things in life (like daily global financial meltdowns, climate change and SA’s rackety race-based politics) smart people are turning increasingly to minutia. Which salt to sprinkle on your polenta is the latest challenge to exercise SA’s disempowered and discombobulated elites.
Charismatic chef Craig Cormack from Sophia’s at Morgenster (Sophia as in Loren and not The Golden Girls, as perennial joker gorgeous Greg Landman reminded us) is certainly worth his salt – he cooks with a couple of dozen selected from a larder of 150 possibilities.Read More…
“No matter what Simon Barlow [seigneur of top-draw Stellenbosch estate Rustenberg] may say, we’re upper Ida’s Valley and he’s lower Ida’s Valley. [Banker and owner of Tokara] GT Ferreira lives in those trees over there – he’s on Ida’s Ridge” said Hans-Peter Schröder, surveying the valley from the stoep of the new all singing, all dancing wine cellar of Neil Ellis Wines where he is a partner. It’s a sort of Hemel en Aarde for Old Cape Money.Read More…
The news in today’s Sunday Independent that an eco rally in Oxford will feature cars running on wine, cheese and sewage points the way forward for Stellenbosch as renewable energy capital for SA. It sounds like the perpetual motion machine that sages and physicists have long been looking for. Visit the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, eat and drink your fill and then visit the portaloos to fill up the tank for the trip back to Pinelands, driven by Goodfellas, of course. No need for fracking in the Karoo while there’s poo in Paarl flushed down the drain.Read More…
As SA wine marketers return home after a week in the flesh pots of London at the Wine Trade Fair, they face the reality of ten million litres of exports lost in the first quarter of 2011 thanks to a perfect storm of tired marketing directed at all the wrong places and an emerging currency on steroids. Joining BRICS didn’t help as the Rand rocketed. But things would be far worse if the flip-side of the exchange rate coin – cheap imports – were more of a factor in SA supermarkets. As I noted in the Sunday Times on Sunday.
A friend of mine was offered a column on Tyler Brûlé’s organ Monocle but turned it down after hearing the pay. A bad mistake I thought until I browsed the March edition. Colonel Gaddafi is upgraded to General and we’re told that “sales to China of Argentine wines costing more than €160 a bottle” are up 233.6%.
The Swartland Winery gave Dutch wine importer, Groupe LFE (SA), a lekker snotklap recently via a decision handed down by five SA appeal court judges. Groupe LFE claimed they were using the word “Swartland” as a geographic indicator on the neck of their bottles but M’Luds disagreed and said they were using it as a trademark.Read More…
From: Uitkyk Estate, Simonsberg 27 (0)21 884 4416;
Why: Pascal Chattonet, one of those French experts imported from Bordeaux to explain terroir to naïve locals, insists that Uitkyk has the best terroir of any farm he’s seen in the Cape. For starters, it is located above Kanonkop and when it comes to wine, higher is better. It shares the same soils and same vineyard aspects. The only thing lacking are the venerable Pinotage vines that produce the fabled Black Madonna of the Simonsberg, a wine worshiped as an icon by superstitious peasants with deep pockets as a bottle will set you back over R1000. Miraculous stuff indeed.
I had even more to say about the mysterious murder of honeymooning bride Anni Dewani in the Sunday Times yesterday. Chas Withington, the Darling negoçiant who sources wine for Mzoli’s reports “I was there on the Wednesday after the incident and the locals were not happy to be unfairly tarred. They smelt a rat and seemingly there was one.”
Cost: R300 for a magnum;
From: Vriesenhof farm (website directions: beyond an oak tree growing in the middle of a tar road on the Helderberg) 27 (0)21 880 0284;
Why: The first time I met Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee on Vriesenhof, I was early and Jan was swimming nude in the pool next to his house. The second time, he was in the cellar, carrying the bloody heads of a brace of springbok by their horns, one head in each hand. The third time, like Bob Dylan, he was not there. His place was taken by Nicky Claasens who was clothed, sans koppe with no obvious pools of blood evident. Nicky looks like a Helderberg Harry Potter, so I minded my manners in case Jan was hiding in a corner under an invisibility cloak.
From: Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch 27 (0)21 885 1924;
Why: “The wrong Sauvignon Blancs are getting accolades” was the threnody at Thelema when the Good Value Guru and I swooped down to taste like a pair of louche lammergeyers in September. “Those extracted, phenolic dusty jobs just don’t make sense” wailed Gyles Webb to a circle of mourners gathered in the tasting room. And he’s not wrong as a Constantia winemaker vouchsafed recently over a glass of his 2009 Sauvignon “search me why this wine is rated five stars.” And when you taste his 2010, you can’t disagree.
Of course Step I in trousering five stars is to first get nominated sighted, which a man who speaks his mind (like Gyles) conspicuously failed to do this year in a major tragedy for SA wine as Thelema is not only Top of the Simonsberg but also Top of the Quality Pops as anyone with even the most meager of taste buds, will agree.Read More…