Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwean President Robert, did not flee South Africa to avoid facing the music. This for her apparent assault on a virginal young model who was reciting psalms from the St John’s Bible with the charming two Mugabe sons. No, the First Lady Grace had to get back to Harare to attend to her private wine cellar after an electrical fault caused the cooling system to fail. WineGoggle caught up with her at home in Harare.
Should you not have explained your reason for leaving South Africa so suddenly? You might have saved a bit of face.
Are you saying that just because I am black my face needs saving?
No, just that…..
Do you know how your country would have laughed if I told them I had to attend to the wine cellar? A brandy and Coke cellar, a beer cooler…..then they would understand the crisis. But wine? As far as my experience goes, the wine culture in South Africa is sadly lacking. Do you actually realise how hard it is to find a glass of St Emilion for lunch at a pizza parlour in Gauteng, even in Sandton? And when you do, the waiter’s saying of the French name would make Madame Macron’s eye-liner drip. This is unlike Zimbabwe, where English and French are pronounced impeccably, just impeccably. Due, of course, to the high standard of education my husband brought to Zimbabwe.
Your sons, Robert jnr and Chatunga Bellarmine, also appear to like the odd tipple. Apparently Champagne is their thing, judging by reports on what happened on…well, that night.
It is important that the boys gain a knowledge of fine wine. Yes, yes, now everyone is saying our sons were causing trouble and showing-off in the Taboo night-club. Actually they were presenting a vertical tasting of Bollinger Champagne from the pre-phylloxera vineyard, Vieilles Vignes Françaises. There was nothing but the imparting of knowledge and wisdom going on, especially with Chatunga. He is only 20 but can spot 17 vintages of that wine blind.
No raucousness or brawling took place, thus?
Well Robert Jnr did have a go at the private banker in the audience who said that he preferred South African Cap Classique to French Champagne, but it was just a slap on the Armani-clad wrist. Fortunately Robert Senior was not around – here at home a sloppy utterance on matters vinous, like that, can get you 90 days detention without trial.
So why, just why were you so angry with that girl you found in your boys’ room?
I just lost it, sorry. I asked her to state how many Grand Cru’s there are in Meursault, and she said four. I mean, really? The girl said four when everyone knows Meursault does not have any Grand Cru’s. This was no simple mistake. The girl was taunting me. Now you can mock my hair, tease me about the ostrich skin Blahniks or that lousy Botox job I had in Sea Point, but don’t mock me on Burgundy. Then I see red and maroon and black.
Where did your love of wine come from?
As most things important to me, from Robert Senior, the love of my life. Every time we appropriated a white farm together – which is more romantic than you think – we’d look for the wine cellar. Some farms just had crates of beer and cheap Scotch. But others had fine collections of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Port, Madeira and Sherry, really good stuff the friendly farmers kindly donated to the people of Zimbabwe. So like most things, our wine cellar belongs to our nation and all who live here. You know that thing winemakers always say about them just being the custodians of what nature gives them? Well, so too are we, Robert and I, just custodians of the great supplies of wine in the cellar. Therefore you must know how important it was for me to get back to the cellar when the cooling broke, especially as we had just had the 2015 en primeurs delivered.
What wines do you and your husband enjoy on an average day?
We both like a bit of Chablis before lunch – I prefer the Valmur, but Robert goes crazy if there is no Le Blanchots. Which is not as steely as the Valmur, but the perfume is fine. Lunch is usually with a Pinot Noir, Spyglass Hill from New Zealand or a chirpy little Beaune from Clos de Mouches. And at supper Robert is usually asleep so I will get something heavy and meaty – one of the body-guards and a Napa Cabernet from Harlem or an Angelus from Bordeaux. We have loads of Angelus from a flower farm we took over in 2013. Just loads.
Will you going back to South Africa soon?
Of course! I left my set of Riedel Sommelier glasses in Brown’s and I have to buy that girl I accidently hit a drink.
What will it be then?
Awe..she looks like a Four Cousins chick, but I’ll introduce her to something better. Perhaps the Jordan Black Magic Merlot.