One of the drawbacks of being scenically photogenic is that your appellation gets targeted as illustration for the bad as well as the good. Which happened to Franschhoek in last week’s trash tasting of SA Chenin Blanc by Eric Asimov, nephew of Isaac Asimov, author of Azazel, the Two Centimetre Demon. But the quid pro quo is that photogenic winemakers also draw attention to their wines, which is the case with Boekenhoutskloof winemaker Jean Smit below, pouring the Syrah 2006 on Saturday at the Bastille Day Festival.
The bookish grapes hail from Schalk Burger’s Groenberg farm in Wellington which makes the wine totally appropriate for Bastille Day as the Duke of Wellington was responsible for perhaps the most disastrous French defeat, certainly for lovers of ABBA: Waterloo. But what a delicious Trojan Horse!
Another stunner on show, which probably also has very little to do with Franshhoek terroir, is the 2007 Anthonij Rupert flagship Bordeaux blend, which is still without a price. “We’re waiting for Wine Spectator and Robert Parker to review it” said the man with the Panerai Luminor. Perhaps it should be sent to the Two Centimetre Demons on the New York Times for if they pull a Chenin caper on it, cash strapped SA wine lovers will be able to snap up a bargain.
In the meantime, the Baron Edmond 2009 from Rupert & Rothschild is fairly priced at R299, less than half the price of the big hitters from the Rhône like the 2009 Hermitage from Domaine Viale (R800). A property so classy, the winemaker sent his 70 year old dad to present as he was busy with his apricots.
I’d scored a freebee to the R395 VIP tent which also allowed access to the R150 canvas cave de chav which was the place to be. For the crowd was younger and more beautiful and the inclement weather had turned it into frottage central, with 1500 wine lovers pressed up against each other like cofermenting bunches of Syrah and Viognier. No wonder the Côte Rôti from Domaine Verzier is called “indiscrete.” By the time I reached Plaisir de Merle, I had received two marriage proposals and a Thai massage. All worth it to taste the PdM Cabernet 2008 with PdM standing for “pretty damn marvellous” IMHO.