Lunch today with the closest SA comes to a First Growth winemaker: Giorgio Dalla Cia and son Boy George (below). The venue was daughter-in-law Elena’s bistro Pane e Vino at Bosman’s Crossing. Outside, a beautiful be-dread-locked speed cop on radar patrol sat under one of Stellenbosch’s famous oaks, opposite the cemetery. During her shift, if an acorn fall on her head, would she arrest it?
With the limit set at 60kph on that sweep between Distell and Stellenbosch Station, its easier money than shooting fish in a barrel. Does Stellenbosch municipality have no sense of fair play? The aim of lunch was to catch up and try Giorgio’s Teano 2011 – an anagram of “Eat On” which was being labelled in the winery next door. Eat On, like Eat Out without Abigail Donnelly.
Which is what we did, on pappardelle cinghiale, actually. None of this pretentious sniffing and swirling in a barrel cellar with pinkie extended at 45 degrees to the wrist, although I was the only party sans pinkie ring.
Did the wild boar once frolic on the Groenberg in Wellington, which is where the Sangiovese grew? Blood of Jove, by Jove! The Bordeaux bits came from Stellenbosch and the result takes intellectual Bordeaux blends to the Next Level by adding a dash of Italian excitement to the mix. Sort of Paulo Conte singing Piaf.
We started out on Burgundy in the shape of a lightly wooded 2012 Chardonnay (R98 a bottle) followed by a 2011 Pinot Noir from Polkadraai. Fruit of old vines growing near Johan Reyneke’s biodynamic paradise. Good value indeed at R350, as the next release will be R500. “Still too cheap” growled Giorgio.
Is this the best Pinot in the Cape? The first release from Giorgio flying solo (above), it makes Hemel en Aarde Pinots look like lightweight Limbo shades from Dante’s First Circle. This is more Second Circle (lust, depicted by black truffle flavours) with a bit of Third Circle (greed) thrown in for good measure. While we ate our Parma ham sliced so thin, melting rather than chewing was the preferred form of mastication, Giorgio talked of Seneca and how the ancient Romans would call their friends to their deathbeds to drink wine and reminisce about the wars they’d fought in. This is that kind of wine, for reflecting on how the Wine Lizard destroyed a Stellenbosch First Growth in the 1990s and the many wine spoofers we’ve met. It is also the kind you use to make excellent strawberry jam.
The meat course after the pasta was pork pounded so thin, it was two dimensional, held together by a string of Higgs Bosons. The third dimension was a creamy Gorgonzola sauce wat skrik vir niks.
Did the porker perhaps come from Wellington? While Eat On combines Italy and Bordeaux in the bottle, this course put Italy on the plate and Bordeaux in the glass in the shape of the 2011 Giorgio blend. While an excellent match, not a patch on Eat On. But then neither is the price. At R250, less than a third.
Eat On (Teano, if you will) is on another level entirely, approaching Dante’s sixth Circle (heresy) as this cross-cultural blend is a Super Tuscan in all but name and those first Italian examples were molto heretical indeed. We’d started lunch in Pier Rabe’s cathedral of antiques (above) paying our respects to some Frank LLoyd Wright barrel chairs some brave bistro imported from the US in the 1980s. No one can afford that kind of furniture luxury now so best stick to Eat On Eating On.