The old cliché insists that a picture is worth a thousand words, but anyone with a smart phone will confirm its actually closer to two megabytes. At the opening of the Groendas Ghoema-Ghoema Sokkie (relaxed cocktail party) on the breakwater in Cape Town that lifted the skirts of Cape Wine 2012, the biannual industry show and tell, the photo of a packed Pinot Noir stand and a deserted Pinotage precinct spoke several thousand words about the relative fashionablity of the two cultivars. Talk about the prodigal son!
That most of the Groendas-goers were foreign sommeliers, hotelliers and media stars makes the problem so much worse as Pinotage battles for column centimeters, restaurant listings and sommelier support. But if the invited (and paid for) fringe don’t even bother to taste, how can perceptions be changed?
Not that Pinot Noir is without its problems. The best Pinots in SA are made by Marc van Halderen (above) at La Vierge in the Hemel & Aarde Valley and the news that he’s following his heart to the Eden Valley of South Australia (watch out for snakes, Marc) is bad news for a varietal that is coming of age in SA. At least he’s sticking with a biblical metaphor. Pinot is called the heartbreak grape, a nickname which is no joke for SA Pinotphiles.