The only thing longer than the name of birthday boy Leo Balthazar Raoul Beaumont is the aftertaste of his namesake barrel-fermented Chenin 2011 made by dad, Sebastian. The wine was shown at the annual Bot River Beards and Barrels oesfees way past his bedtime and 16 years before he hits legal drinking age, but Sebastian promised to hold a few of the 300 bottles produced back for Beards and Barrels 2029. But at a farm price of R400 a magnum, that will be hard to do.
The beard competition was won by Niels Verburg in Village People mufti (above). With the shapely buns of last year’s winner PJ Gerber on show in cut-out jeans, perhaps an even more exotic crowd would be attracted next year if the event was called Bears and Barrels. After all, the appellation is called Bot River.
Other social vignettes include Kevin Grant (above) as a shoo-in for a local remake of Easy Rider while Swartland Komissar Adi Badenhorst wore a shirt from the Big Lebowski and I swear one of the Coen brothers was queuing for Penny Verburg’s chicken pie, or was that Cape Town Coffee King David Donde? Rui Esteves was there in a beanie (fashion alert!!!) and the crowd was impossibly hip with very few Franschhoek refugees detected.
Among the wines, Pinot Noir amazed in the shape of a 2011 from Eerstehoop and a 2013 still busy with malolactic fermentation, from Wildekrans (above) whose 2011 Shiraz is a show stopper. The red blend of Niels was WOW! and the Five Arches Bordeaux Blend from Gabrielskloof always impresses. Sad there were no wines from Goedvertrouw as Elrieda Pillman, a teetotaller, makes Pinot Noir the way Buddhist vegetarian Ralph van Pletzen used to cook steak in Stellenbosch. Buddhists call it the sound of one hand clapping. But when local Boere Orkes Die Stoepsitters are in full flight, perhaps Elrieda thought no one would pay attention to her applause.