There’s a soft opening of the January exhibition of our brave Pendock Wine Gallery this evening at the Taj Hotel at 6pm. Do stop by for a glass of wine if you’re in the city. The theme of the first exhibition for 2014 is My Greatest Hits of 2013: wines of character that blew my doors off last year.
A century ago the world was rushing headlong in to war and a lady in Jonkershoek was secretly in love with a French general. A century later the world is again beating plowshares into swords: China’s first aircraft carrier, the Lioaning (below), completed sea trials today and has returned to Dalian Port. Last year Japan upped military spending 23%. Shares in Fuji Heavy Industries and Yamaha robotics doubled in 2013 while across the Pacific, the Dow Aerospace and Defence index rose 60%, more than double the S&P 500 increase.
The Stellenbosch farm Mrs. English (below) bought is now called Lanzerac and her 2011 is my favourite Merlot.
Lanzerac is owned by Markus Jooste , strangely absent from the disgustingly crass Forbes list of African billionaires this morning. His brother-in-law Boets Nel makes a true terroir tipple in the Klein Karoo out of traditional Port cultivars Touriga Naçional, Tinta Barocca and Tinta Roriz. On the BBC this morning, viewers woke up to the spectacle of three unemployed Portuguese architects offering “the worst tour” of their hometown, Porto, emphasizing the economic and social collapse. A new low point for Port grapes which are shooting out the lights in the New World.
Called Tritonia 2011, this elegant blend is named after one of those incredibly fragile and even more beautiful Karoo plants that make the Karoo a Garden of Eden for the water averse.
David Finlayson’s Edgebaston Pepper Pot 2012 is another red blend that many thought should have won its author the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. This is a consummate party wine – so much so, we had a special party at Birds on Bree to confirm its claims. Diners Club did not agree and fired me as a judge. Spoil sports!
Strange to choose a white older than a red, especially a Sauvignon Blanc that perceived wisdom insists should be drunk in the year of the vintage. Some supermarkets have already removed their 2012s to make way for 2013. A tragedy of operatic or at least balletic proportions for wines made from grapes grown in maritime appellations. Like the Ondine 2011 from Alexanderfontein which is so good, Freddy Ashton made a ballet about it. Incredibly complex with balanced acids, it reinforces by example everything that is wrong with popular styles of the great green grape.
By way of contrast, Chenin Blanc does better grown on mountains, which is why we’ve chosen two from two different ones. The Perdeberg Dry Land Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011 from the Paarl side of the Swartland and the Riebeek Cellars Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc 2010. That Co-ops rule the Swartland, is clear.