GS 66 & Edelkeur 73

Neil Pendock March 22, 2009 3

The Mondovino may be full of false prophets, barkers and shills but the Boudoir biscuit for irrelevant advice must go to Neil Becketts’ hideously expensive 1001 Wines To Try before You Die (Cassell, 2006) which lists the George Spies 1996 Cabernet [sic, should be ’66 as per headline, see comment below!] as one of the chosen few. Of course it was only included as Wine Spectator had raved about it, scoring it 95/100 and confirming that “expert” and “foreigner” are synonyms in the local spittoon.

What a cop out, I thought, to include a +40 year old Cab you’ve never heard of in a book of lists. Yet like albums by the late Jimi Hendrix and bottles of Château Margaux 1945, there seems to be a secret stash somewhere as two friends, Emile Joubert and Michael Olivier, the biggest wine writers in the business, each gave me a bottle recently.

So off to the biggest chef in Cape Town (Big D at Chef in Rose Street) for some pasta featuring a sauce made with a “handsome admixture of anchovies” (as Uriah Heep might say) to put George through his middle-aged paces. Ok, so the nose was a tad oxidized but the palate was a glorious explosion of fruit. A real Mr. Bojangles wine.

Bid D takes on the GS

Probably made by Jean Parker from fruit probably grown on Altydgedacht, sticking to the Durbanville theme we followed up with a Nederburg Edelkeur 1973 made from botrytis Chenin Blanc probably grown on the same farm. Capsule removed, the tired cork plopped into the wine and Big D had sloshed half the bottle into the flowerpot before I could stop him.

The colour of Coke, it was delicate, ethereal and a total triumph. Maybe Neil Beckett should consider it for the next edition of 1001.


  1. Tim James March 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm -

    As the person who wrote about most of the SA wines in the book edited by Neil Beckett, I can assure that the GS was selected on its known merits. It has been tasted by me a couple of times even before Molesworth bought it wider fame – and its reputation was well known locally, otherwise it wouldn’t have been given to him to sample, obviously. In fact Neil Beckett not only HAD “heard of” the wine (if we’re talking about the 1966 rather than the “1996” mentioned above), but had also drunk it, as well as the possibly superior 1968 vintage (I know because he did so in my company); he wrote enthusiastically about the wine in the 2007 edition of Icons, the Trophy Wine Show book.
    And incidentally Edelkeur was, in fact, another of the wines written about in Neil Beckett’s book – which, at 20 quid for nearly 1000 pages, most of them in full colour, is surely not all that expensive.

  2. Tim James March 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm -

    Ah! On checking, I see that I misunderstood one of Neil’s points initially: his objection is to including a wine unheard of by the readers, not one unheard of by Beckett! Well, that’s a matter of opinion. The book was intended to alert people to some wines, not just tell them about what they knew already, and it seemed a good idea to include a splendid older SA wine amongst the current releases, seeing that the book was also featuring even more unobtainable wines like Mouton-Rothschild 1945. And anyway, as I said, this was a wine well known, in fact, to people knowledgeable about the modern history of Cape wine.

  3. Neil Pendock March 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm -

    Tim, you’re right. Hideous is too strong wrt price. I now see it’s available on for £9.55!

    My first point was simply how is a reader of this book able to get hold of a bottle?

    Cheers and have a nice day further!

Leave A Response »