To Rustenberg with Cruz – and Love


Penelope Cruz shows Burgundy bottles, but likes Cabernet.

I was looking at the prostitute and thinking about a wine from Stellenbosch. Okay, the aforementioned was not a real slut. It was just Penelope Cruz playing one. One called Anna in Woody Allen’s masterly new movie To Rome with Love. Halfway through watching Cruz-Anna’s pouting?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+bending?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+seducing?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+stroking and my mouth was dry as a Keimoes pot-plant, my rampant heartbeat disturbing the chick with the hearing-aid sitting next to me.

A skilled, classic acting technique with Pinteresque comic timing tends to do this to us artists.

And I was really needing a drink to consider the actress’s linguistic dexterity (she plays the role in Italian), her perfect diction, Fellini-like mannerisms, restrained method-acting and, obviously, her absolutely terrific set of tits.

Alas, back at the abode post-movie, I waltzed passed the Pinot Noir selection, almost injuring my knee on the ladder that is now required to scale the upper reaches of this part of the cellar. I was heading one way and this was Cabernet Sauvignon. Stellenbosch. The occasion called for wine with flesh and a mouth-filling texture. Sumptuousness. A heady clout. With the only consideration to make being should we go Simonsberg or Helderberg?

But nostalgia won, so it was Simonsberg. And ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ check it out – Rustenberg.

God knows I love this farm. The majestic sky-clutching mountain peaks. The beautiful old oaks planted by nervous Dutch settlers wearing tights. The gardens and the whitewashed buildings.

Of course, it is also here at Rustenberg where the Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon is produced, no, crafted. In the true sense of the word. Big. Wooded. Concentration.

My hand fell on the Peter Barlow 2006, a vintage renowned for falling under the influence of the first cool winter after the dry 2003, 2004 and 2005. A stiff south-easterly wind in the latter half of October 2005 also caused the 2006 to bear miserly, causing dense concentration and colours of bloody vividness.

Seeing as Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” has a role in Woody’s To Rome with Love, I turned on the Rigoletto Quartet featuring the non-too shabby singers of Galli-Curci, Caruso, Flora Perini and Giuseppe De Luca, recorded in Camden, New Jersey in the January of 1917.

This wine was decanted and allowed to aerate for 15 minutes while the opera got into full-swing and the mood recalled the film that had embedded itself in my mind. Yes, this was the time for wine.

Rustenberg Peter Barlow is always, but always, a wine of purity. No matter what the vintage, you will get clean cedar and a slight bit of charcuterie on the nose. The taste is fine: Refreshing and full of pulse and life. There is a sexy muskiness on the palate that resonates through the nose and down the gullet, reaffirming my belief that great wines such as these cannot and should not be judged via the sip-and-spit route. A bit of baked biscuit is offset by warm prunes, cassis and fig paste, all held together by a kinky silk thread of clean, succulent tannins. The aftertaste comes back at you with a touch of salty liquorice and heady white truffle essence.

A decadent, sultry and seductive wine. Like Anna, you may need two to really find the happy ending you are looking for.

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