Marc Kent’s Journeyman Bordeaux blend 2005 was the standout wine at last year’s Franschhoek Uncorked, the annual haal uit en wys of the gastronomic capital of SA. A year later, the fate of the wine was revealed: given away gratis to the best customers of Boekenhoutskloof around the world with Johannesburg snaffling four dozen. With Butcher’s Shop & Grill owner Alan Pick selling bottles at R2500 each, Marc’s largesse translates to a notional loss of R3 million as he’d made 100 cases. But he obviously reckons the marketing
kudos earned are worth the price.
Alan had originally wanted to buy the whole five barrel production but had to settle for one case. A case he admittedly didn’t have to pay for. Given a dozen bottles at noon, he’d sold three within six hours, his price fixed by a “make me an offer” proposition to diners. Marc notes Alan is a big supporter of Boekenhoutskloof “which is funny as I’ve only eaten in his restaurant twice.”
Makro are the leading upcountry outlet for Boekenhoutskloof and national wine buyer Carolyn Barton elected to pass on her windfall to Makro’s best customers. As for his motivation for the give-away of the season, Marc noted “I didn’t want to play the Ernie Els, André van Rensburg, Kevin Arnold high price game.” The last named flagship red blend called The Jem on Alan’s wine list at R1800 a bottle.
But the real irony comes when you are told there will be no 2006 Journeyman, so today’s largesse will not translate to delayed rewards further down the pipeline. Marc is to be congratulated on his devotion to Bacchus rather than that avaricious god Mammon widely worshiped in the temples of SA wine.