When Dave Mostert and Wayne Gabb released their first Lomond Sauvignon Blanc two years ago, they had to get permission from a Scottish distillery to use the name Lomond. The Scots agreed with alacrity as the grassy style of the Lomond Sauvignon Blanc is 10 000 kilometers away from a peaty whisky. The brand name came from a mountain on the 1000 ha Gans Bay farm Avoca in the Southern Cape called Ben Lomond with Ben Nevis another peak they could have used. There is a Loch Lomond too – a 110 ha dam containing 6 million cubic metres of water created from damming up the Uilenkraal River.
The Scottish influence dates back to the wreck of the steam paddle frigate HMS Birkenhead that sank off Gans Bay in 1852. The purser, who survived the tragedy that claimed 445 lives, was one Mr. Lomond and urban legend has it that he buried a fortune in salvaged gold coins in the neighbourhood. Wayne admits that when they planted the 105 ha of vineyards, the kept an eye peeled for any gold coins. Wayne claims they found nothing, but Dave does own a new all singing, all dancing Agusta helicopter with retractable undercarriage that he flew down from Italy last year.
The 2005 vintage Conebush Syrah has just been released and its intense flavours and slippery tannins reminded me of the cool climate elegance you find in a Mount Langha Ghiran Shiraz from Down Under. Mount Langi is part of the Grampians range of mountains in the Australian state of Victoria. The Grampians in Scotland are home to Ben Nevis, so the Scottish connection is afirmed yet again.