There’s been a lot of talk about the recorking of old South African wines currently being undertaken by Joaquim Sá of Amorim Cork, but for me the real revelation was the contents of those bottles. It was, indeed, rivetingly exciting watching Jean Vincent Ridon, a world-leader in cork-extraction, prying open the dust-covered antiquities with surgical-like precision and refined expertise.
South African brandies made a clean sweep at the 2017 World Drinks Awards, claiming gold medals as well as the ultimate title of World’s Best Brandy for the Oude Meester Demant.
For professional reasons I often have to include the word “brand” in marketing discussions, and like rugby, pizza, blonde and car it is a word that can lead to lengthy and mixed views, with more opinions vexed thereon than strategies for world peace in the Middle East. In the wine world, however, the B-word gets pussy-footed around. Largely because real established brands are seen as big, popular things owned by large impersonal corporates producing wines that – heaven forbid – are actually consumed in copious volumes.