SA Wines go on Show in Burgundy

Heading out to Beaune, France in September, my Frog Mates have asked me to present a tasting in Pommard. I love doing tastings in Burgundy. Most would think it is all quiet, serious, scientific and critically French.

Not on your aunt’s bidet.

Each time I’ve presented to wine-makers, buyers and the odd hack it ends up in a raucous piss-up that makes the Swartland Revolution look like a Papal funeral. But in between the slurping, joking and break for a quick Gitanes, there are weighty topics being discussed, but in a very relaxed and amiable vibe.

“Just don’t tell them back in South Africa that in Burgundy we have more leaf-roll virus than the whole of your country!” is the kind of bantering that goes on. “And thank you for not bringing Pinotage ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ it makes the Algerian labourers’ teeth fall out?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+.”

Well, this year I am bringing Pinotage, Monsieurs. The final decision has not quite been made, but the Kanonkop Black Label 2006 will be poured blind and I’ll bet you a piece of Carla Bruni’s bra-strap that none of you are going to spot it is Pinotage. As I mentioned in a previous missive, this is one wine with which South Africa can really take on the top-end of the wine world.

Obviously, an easy-drinking Pinotage will also be included. Burgundians are very keen on gluggable wines. Friendly juice, they call it.

The other day I copped a Rhebokskloof Pinotage 2010. Wow. What a beaut. Really perfume- like and floral, like a Volnay with a bit of Royal Jelly added to it, I kid you not. Supple and fragrant. Silky mouth-feel. Rose petal, smoked sweet pepper, unctuous red fruit with cinnamon. Just a hint of metallic Pinotage-riffs. At around R50 a bottle, a real corker.

Really impressed by the stuff coming out of Rhebokskloof, although I thought the Shiraz would be a killer, which it ain’t.

Then the Burgundy crowd always want some South African interpretations of “their” wines. This time I’m hauling Chardonnay.

Great showing two styles, two terroirs. Paul Cluver 2009. Sure, cool climate, but it does have a whack of sunny fruit. Still a splinter of new wood on the nose, but fruit and structure are compelling. Sexy citrus, beguiling apricot and a spicy breath. A great, great wine although I’d like to hear what the French have to say about the ageing-potential of such a fantastic wine under screwcap.

Then from Robertson I’m luggingThe Site 2009. Of Danie de Wet’s oldest vineyards, this is No 9 Dijon clone. Robertson means lime. So we are talking really mineral in the Corton Charlemagne league. Almost a year in wood, but any trace of plank has disappeared. Citrus and grilled nuts. A length like a Samurai sword. Tight grip on the rear palate, sensual array of earthy, fruity, spring-flower flavours upfront.

It’s a pleasure, Monsieurs, I am to please.

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