?+¦-+?+¡Thunder rolls as I hit Bloemfontein. Raining big fat dollops of splashing water. The sky is grey, the earth wet and the city smells like an oxygen tent inhabited by Sophia Loren.
First stop on my jaunt to Mangaung for the ANC’s National Conference is Casa Van Zyl. Said Casa is inhabited by Jan, my second cousin, and his lovely Dorette. In wine circles they are possibly better known for being the parents of the Coco Chanel of South African wine-writing, one Jeanri-Tine van Zyl.
Like the rich, the French are different. In what way? Well, going into detail cannot be done before proper broadband comes to South Africa as the reasoning is bound to be expansive.
Wine, for example, is one area in which the French are different from other nations.
Still the greatest wine country on earth. Has been and always will be. Blah.Blah. Agreed.
In the spirit of Bastille Day celebrations, thus, I’d like to take a look at five South African winemakers who to my mind have ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ knowingly or otherwise ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ been infected with French genes of vinous brilliance. Doubting Thomases can taste it in their wines.
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.
There’s a lot of good stuff going on in new plantings, new wines, new styles. Juicy drops concocted from a medley of Rh?+¦???+¦?+¦????ne varietals. Hearty, solid Portuguese-styled reds. The odd experiment with Sangiovese and co-Italian variety Nebbiola.
Yes, the South African wine industry is free from its over-regulated shackles of yesteryear, leaving farmers to plant what they want, where they want. Okay, so it takes a call to Duimpie Bayly at the Wine and Spirits Board, but what the heck. Want to plant Gr?+¦???+¦?+¦???+æneveltliner on the Heads at Knysna or Nero d’Avola on the Cape Flats, go for it.
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.