Sir Ian McKellen, Gandalf the Grey in the Lord of the Rings franchise, has a nickname Serena (Sir Ian, gedditt?) and this fortified Muscat from Stellenbosch Hills called La Serena, is certainly a wine for a wizard. And we’re not talking bowtied barkers with ridiculous carmen curler bollas here, either!
Launched at the Cape Grace yesterday, a venue which has shaken off the Dewani disaster like a Golden Retriever after a dip in the dam, it celebrates 70 years of making wine from five wards in Stellenbosch: Vlottenburg, Vlaeberg, Lyndoch, Stellenboschkloof and Polkadraai although the Black Muscat grapes grew in a single vineyard less than one hectare in size. Weltevrede, the poetic estate in Bonnievale, are the only other farmers fey enough to grow the stuff.
Black Muscat fairly reeks of Mordor, “Black Land” in Quenya, a language of the elves spoken like a true native by cellar master PG Slabbert while the seven year old spirit used for fortification is something a Dwarf or Hobbit would relish. The packaging is magical and requires a secret trick to open the palimpsest to reveal the glorious treasure within.
For this is a precious elixir for sipping next to the fire in a burrow buried deep in the Shire, another ward of Stellenbosch next to Devon Valley and its mountain made of rubbish. Layers of flavour unfurl on the tongue and loosen it up all the better to recall the deeds of the dead heros of the past, who slew dragons and rescued fair maidens from the gaping maws of wine distributors and mendacious commentators with too much bile in the basement. A wine for heroes and hedonists. Great stuff.