Tastings at the Wangenheim Master Class® are usually veiled in secrecy so as to keep inquisitive neighbours and out-of-towners from being shot. But asked to host a tasting at this prestigious winelands event I did so on condition of being permitted to share some insights of the procedures with readers of this on-line vehicle.
It was a slimy little thing in a mother-of-pearl shell that went and got me all choked-up. Perlemoen we call it, also known as abalone. A creature found along the Cape Coast which has unfortunately become as scarce as a live suckling pig in Oporto due to perlemoen’s popularity in the Far East.
Danie de Wet, proprietor and cellarmaster of De Wetshof Estate and a leading figure in the South African wine industry, wrote the following article for the ANC’s Progressive Leader magazine. An Afrikaans version appeared in Die Burger newspaper of?+¦-+?+¡ 5 January.
When looking at the economic impact of the South African industry, one has to use a two-pronged approach. The reason being that unlike most agricultural products, one of wine’s many unique features is that it cannot or should not be seen as another general, standardised commodity. Wine represents the cultural and geographical diversity of the various countries and the regions within those countries where it has been produced for centuries and millennia. And this enables wine to impact on the economy of a country in a number of ways.
Those more accustomed to City Bowl life may not appreciate the excitement of heading to Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs after dark. To put it mildly, the pace is a bit slower. The vibe more calmed down and the atmosphere a tad less edgy. Here even the car-guards are upright, clean men with bright teeth who wouldn’t think of offering you drugs and try as hard as you like, they absolutely refuse to scratch your car’s paintwork upon being give a substandard tip.
Since tweeting an item I read in corporate publication on the history of the Italo-South African wine company Monis, now part of Distell, various enquiries have flocked in. This has to do with the book, written on commission from Monis by Romi Boome in the 1980’s, stating that Monis was the first South African winery to produce a bottle-fermented sparkling wine.
On the local front, the general consensus appears to be that Chardonnay needs wood-maturation to attain optimal expression and depth. Woodless Chardonnays are not given much serious thought in competitions or discussions, largely the result of the label ?+¦?+º?+¦un-wooded?+¦?+º?+æ seeming to imply something is amiss or that the bottle contains juice deemed not good enough for barrel nor a serious audience.
Despite the calls to duty asking us to embrace Chenin Blanc as the National South African White Grape and the reactionary colourful spats generated by the Sauvignon Blanc fraternity, there is only one real South African white wine worth taking to an international gun-fight, and he be Chardonnay.
The Bride had just sliced the head off her second masked Yakuza gangster when it hit me: what had really just happened over the past few days? Here I was, sprawled on the futon watching Kill Bill Volume 1, lulled by a warm comatose feeling of exhaustion and satisfied post-hectic workweek euphoria.
What a week, I thought looking at the screen as The Bride, aka Uma Thurman, drove a nail through the head of a Japanese schoolgirl.
To quote my late English teacher, Mister Struthers-Boshoff, “you is what you is, not what’s you thinks you are”. The folk of Wellington in the Western Cape might speak better English – these days – but the fact remains the same: Wellington has long deserved independence as a wine region from neighbour Paarl, to which it was linked via ward status until this year. Because the region knows what it is and knows it can stand on its own two legs.
Although Wellington’s push for independence – carefully actioned by the delicate force of former Springbok rugby player Schalk Burger – may have been egged-on by the general confusion and regional inactivity of Wine of Origin Paarl. As a united regional entity, Paarl is fast becoming about as relevant as a rare foie gras at a vegetarien love-in.