Johann loses the ‘

Neil Pendock September 1, 2012 3

The situational variables at Vaughan Johnson’s Waterfront wine emporium have improved immeasurably since Millpark baker Vovo Telo opened their shop next door.  Now wafts of freshly baked brioche float through the cellar to such an extent that it smells like a Champagne bar.  VJ (below) is off to Burgundy tomorrow but before he left he was singing the praises of Lormarins Optima 2008, a Cabernet/Merlot blend he sells for R132 a bottle.


“I told Johann (Rupert) to drop the ‘ from L’Ormarins and he did. The wine has improved immeasurably. In fact, I hear it was nominated for five stars in Platter, not that that would impress you.” VJ had stopped by Johann’s Alfred Dunhill shop in London and hearing the Richemont chairman was expected, spent the waiting time watching the Springboks in the private underground cinema.

As for Platter sighted nominations, I hear eyebrows were raised when a newbie taster nominated a dozen this year. Which makes the nomination of Lormarins even more unusual as L’Ormarins is decidedly more U for sighted sippers. But I’m sure Lormarins got there on its taste credentials, rather than the reputation of the owner. We’ll see.

The ‘ was not the only thing to go. In fact, the bottle was totally pimped up and now looks more Château Lafite than Lormarins ,although dropping the punctuation must have had L’Académie française spluttering into their pastis as they nibble their pastries. Perhaps everyone’s favourite sommelier around town, Jörg Pfützner, will follow Johann’s lead and do a Prince Harry in Las Vegas and shed the threds, grammatically speaking.

Not that VJ sings from the WOSA hymn sheet. “I’m disappointed by SA wine. It never quite lived up to what we hoped for…” with the exception of Lormarins and the Cabernets from Webersburg that VJ pronounced “weebersburg” with a flutey laugh.


  1. Dana Buys September 2, 2012 at 10:49 am -

    Interesting to see marketing advice being doled out by someone who has the arrogance or stupidity to call the very product he has to sell a ‘disappointment’. Wow – what a clanger!

  2. Philip V September 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm -

    “I’m disappointed by SA wine.” WTF ? This from a man who makes his living selling our “disappointing” wine ? ? A terrible generalization by one of our oldest wine merchants. I for one will continue to drink copious amounts of our fab wine and will continue to purchase them everywhere but from Vaughan’s shop.

  3. Johan Wegner September 11, 2012 at 9:13 am -

    I agree with Phillip V that Vaughan Johnson’s statement “I’m disappointed by SA wine. It never quite lived up to what we hoped for…”, is terrible generalized and any Wine Merchant selling SA wine in South-Africa, should definitely not make statements such as these.

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