The KWV Insignis 2011 is a Victorian wine. The kind of heavyweight you’d expect Cecil John Rhodes to drink around the camp fire with his legions of admiring young men. As William Henley put it
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
You almost feel like cocking your pinkie in salute as you lift the crystal Riedel to your moustachioed lips to partake of this Nectar of the Gods. Until you realize that won’t work as you left your monogrammed signet ring on the antimacassar. Besides, we were at Sloppy Sams in the gay heart of Cape Town (above) as Persian food screams out for Syrah when the Mad Mullahs have all gone to bed with their catamites.
It was made by Richard Rowe, a wild colonial boy if ever there was one. The kind of good fellow who’d be a friend of Breaker Morant. This wine is a powerful dose of smelling salts under the rude noses of the Cape Vintner Classification who are way out beyond the black stump searching for terroir.
Which this wine ain’t. The Syrah grapes come from Paarl, Banghoek and the Swartland but its as good as Rust en Vrede or those Welbedacht wines of Schalk Burger that win five stars in Platter (the sighted wine guide owned by Standard Bank) when dressed up in Franschhoek finery. Syrah spoofers.
Richard is making a theological point here. There are more roads to salvation for SA wine than the gospel preached by rich boys at Ellerman House plutocrat parties.