Screaming Terroir at Pinot Noir

Janet Leigh, the original Screamer.
Janet Leigh, the original Screamer.

If Janet Leigh were a bottle of Pinot Noir in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho and Norman Bates was a cumulative representation of terroir, Janet would have screamed her tits off in that shower scene. No grape, besides Chardonnay, reacts with such hysterical abandon to soil, climate and nature’s other vagaries as Pinot Noir.

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Cape Wine 2012 in a Rush

 

Uma Thurman shows that a Merlot tasting can get messy.

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.

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Port for Thought

So far, it has been a good year for Port drinking. And if things continue in this vein, my Douro resident permit should surely be in the mail. What’s more, since committing to dropping two bottles orfPort a week three months ago, my GP reckons I am in far better shape than ever. Blood pressure is temperate. The pulse is as calm and regular enough to manage a Formula One pit stop. And a painful stabbing check produced the verdict of my liver being is as unblemished and pure as a nun’s thigh.

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Cutting Edge of Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir

It was a light, airy space, but we were feeling dark. We looked each other in the eye. Slipped our hands to our trousers, fondling. I took mine out first. Then he was holding his in his hand. And his was bigger.

“Nice Laguiole,” Anthony said, stroking his much more deadly looking pocket-knife. “Mine’s got 22 notches on it. One for every country visited.”

I slipped my modestly-sized Laguiole knife back into my pocket, cursing. If you are going to play knifey-knifey with Anthony Hamilton Russell, make sure you don’t bring a toothpick to an axe battle.

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Stellenbosch’s One Grape Question

Stellenbosch is, and always will be, the greatest red wine producing region in South Africa. Why? Same reason that Hawaii has great pipeline, Germans make good cars and Chelsea will win the Champions League: because God intended it that way.

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Sardine Run-Out, Portuguese Style

Sardines, not chestnuts......
The Portuguese waiter looked at us, nervously. “Sorry but we have run out of sardines,” he said in an accent that confirmed his three-year stint working in North London. We sat back and looked at the table. It was strewn with plates, chunks of bread and half-drunk wine glasses. Piles of sardine bones, stripped of their oily cream-coloured flesh, shimmered in the early afternoon sunlight streaming through the window.
We wanted more.

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French Flair and Chardonnay at De Wetshof

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Minister Gerrit van Rensburg, Remington Norman, Jean-Charles de la Moriniere and Danie de Wet.

Speech delivered by Minister Gerrit van Rensburg, MEC for Agriculture in the Western Cape,,at the Celebration of Chardonnay, De Wetshof Estate, 12 November 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words today. Let me begin by saying it is always such a pleasure to drive through your area., It is very obvious that a lot of effort goes into the general upkeep and maintenance of the Robertson rural area, and you can be truly proud of the end product: Beautiful wine in a beautiful environment.

A special word of welcome to our guests from Burgundy: Jean-Charles de la Moriniere, and Remington Norman. You are all well aware of the very successful exchange programme that exists between the Western Cape and Burgundy. Danie, I know you have sent two of your workers on this exchange so far. This tells me that there is value in the programme for our wine industry. We will host a special event next year where I will invite all workers who have been on this exchange over the past ten years. For many of them, it has proven to be a life changing experience, with careers that simply sky rocketed as a result.

I was also fortunate to attend this year’s programme in Burgundy, and I am pleased to be able to announce that we have extended it for another 5 years.

Some observations I made while in France: I was impressed by the attention that went into small detail in order to make the best possible wine. If a small parcel of land is perfect for a specific variety; then that is all you will find there. It is this attention to detail and focused drive for perfection that has earned Burgundy its stature in the international wine world.

And this brings me to Danie De Wet, wine farmer from the Western Cape and the Robertson wine region. You are also known for the same characteristics that has made Burgundy famous. Your efforts have contributed significantly to making Robertson famous for Chardonnay.

,Thank you for this example, and know that the high standards you apply towards yourself, serves as an example and inspiration to others in the industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, earlier this week the Western Cape Cabinet had a meeting with representatives of the agricultural sector in our province. The importance of the wine industry was very prominently mentioned by the Premier in her address, as well as the various challenges the wine industry is currently faced with. And let us be honest with one another: Wine is a very tough industry to be in at the moment.

There is no market sympathy for a product that is associated with good times and celebration. The wine industry simply has to take the tough times on the chin and maintain a positive and successful image, even when it might not be the case.

But, then it is also true that in times of adversary, excellence will always survive. And today’s celebration of Chardonnay is in reality a celebration of excellence. So even if markets have no sympathy for current difficult times, the best in the industry can still make us forget our own unique problems; rewind; relax, while being in the company of good wine and the people whose skill produced it.

I started this morning with an observation on the general beauty and good upkeep of the Robertson countryside., You all know that a wine farm and its tasting venue need to be immaculate in order to create that feeling of success that is necessary for wine sales. I want to expand this idea to our province as a whole: Let us present it to the rest of the country and the world as an immaculate destination that is open for business: A confidant and successful enterprise.

A simple measure, that will go a long way, would be to demolish old ruins that are visible from our highways. These ruins make our beautiful countryside look desolate and run down, even though many of them are situated on otherwise sound and profitable farms.

Ladies and gentlemen, I conclude: Let us enjoy and celebrate the art of making good wine. Let us celebrate one another’s company, as it gives us strength in difficult times. And let us celebrate the good times that awaits us in the future.

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