In one of the many memorable scenes from the 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham a groupie is asked about the sexual prowess of a certain baseball star. “Well,” the bimbo says chewing gum, “the guy fucks like he pitches – all over the place.”
Sanity has set in, and it would appear that those voices claiming the South African wine industry only really began to make its mark in the 1990’s are either deciding to shut-up themselves or are being silenced. Sure, when economic sanctions prevailed in the 1980’s it was harder for a South African wine farmer to get a wine listing at Waitrose than a ticket to the Nottinghill Dreadlock Weaving Convention. But just because we were stuffed in the market place, does not mean no good wine was being made here.
The words ?+¦?+º?+¦good and clean and fresh?+¦?+º?+æ may have sold trillions of boxes of washing powder, but these descriptors also reflect the whims of the majority of wine drinkers. And seeing as most South Africans drink white wine, clean and fresh wines are sought, with good being non-negotiable.
Yes we can. Viognier, South African that is, is deliciously drinkable. But then again, whoever said it wasn’t?
Like Merlot, Viognier has been victim of the shallow throwaway line: “We can’t make that in South Africa.” Said thrower then goes on to pontificate about “excessive greenness”, a perceived hiccup in Merlot’s ripening procedure under South African conditions. Really? So how, pray, is the country making such sterling Bordeaux-style blends if the Merlot is deemed to be so tart?