I wonder if the editor of the Spectator was among the thousands of surfers who downloaded 38K worth of pages from this blog so far this month – way more than I ever got on the TimesLive site, which is something of a misnomer. I ask, as no sooner had I complained about the dearth of New World wines in the Speccie Wine School, than Melanie McDonagh is put on the case.
But what a hash she makes of it. First off, she approaches her assignment with such bad grace, most readers will opt out on the spot. “When the editor of this special suggested I might try some wine for him (did he need to ask twice? No!) it’s fair to say that New World wines weren’t my first pick. ‘How about Eastern Europe?’ I said, with an eye to Macedonia. Or failing that, Germany? It’s far too long since I’ve tasted Frankenwein and you can’t get the best stuff here for love nor money. I was perfectly game for English wine. But nope. Everyone else had got the Old World stuff first; it was the New World for me, and I am one who feels subconsciously that things have been going downhill since 1492.”
Rather than choose her own, she relies on an outfit called Private Cellar (very punny) to choose some wines for her. “Blouvlei (Blue Valley), the label tells me, ‘is home to the men and women whose devotion and energy produced this wine. Its proceeds contribute to a better life for them.’ Dandy. My favourite from this grower was the Sauvignon Blanc (£10), a nice clean, crisp wine, of exactly the sort I like to have to hand in the fridge. It’s a good everyday wine, if you can run to a tenner a bottle, even if you don’t give a toss about the ethics of the thing. The red, just called the BlouVlei Collection, came with the same credentials but left me unmoved.”
What a sad comment. First off, Blouvlei does not mean Blue Valley, which puts the rest of the comment in perspective. It is a brave empowerment venture established by Stef du Toit in Wellington. The whole concept of ethical trading is trashed and the comment about being left unmoved reminds of the comments of Jimmy Kruger, Minister of Police in the Apartheid state, who when asked about the death (i.e. murder) of Steve Biko replied “dit laat my koud” which, Melanie, does not mean he was feeling chilly.
Come on ed. If you do read this blog, you know SA wine is worth much more than this.