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.
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.