Since stepping out from under the Distell-Lusan Wines canopy a few months back to become an independent operation once more, it has been pretty much business as usual at Neethlingshof Estate. This venerable Stellenbosch farm – icon, for me – is set on one of the region’s best sites. The old Cape Dutch architecture lying at the end of the pine-tree corridor continues to portray a genuine, homely feel. The gardens are pretty with restrained, un-showy landscaping and wonderful views. And the wine is still being made by De Wet Viljoen, his 15th Neethlingshof harvest having ended a few weeks ago.
The black wines are best drunk on a Saturday morning while eating raw slivers of fat goose liver. For this, the place would have to be the Marche Victor Hugo in downtown Toulouse as the food market’s week-end shoppers select produce before heading off to watch the local team play rugby.
Being an unrepentant classicist, I was not going to drink just anything after watching the St Petersburg Ballet dance Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at Montecasino in Johannesburg last week. All those prancing Russian swans made me work-up quite a thirst and appetite, and I needed a wine about as big as that thing ballet-dancer Dmitry Grotzdik was hiding under his tights.