Lunch yesterday with Luan, Jan and Chris at Pepenero in Mouille Point. No crayfish for sushi (“our chef is not happy with the quality of his crayfish and has replaced it with tiger giant prawns”) and the widely reported 25% drop in tourist numbers this season quite noticeable on a pellucid summer’s day with downtown made inaccessible by a riot of Kaapse Klopse.
While seafood shortage is perhaps to be expected on the biggest weekend of the year, running out of wine is something else entirely. Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc was out of stock at R150 as was the bargain Usana at R100. When I asked what other Sauvignon Blancs were off the menu, the waiter volunteered Saxenburg, which came as a shock as I didn’t know the Kuils River Estate even made one. Saxenburg has more of a name for Shiraz – to such an extent that an editor for a now defunct wine communal blog memorably stole a whole case of the SSS at R500 a bottle when the new evocative label by John Pace was launched at the Cellars Hohenort in Constantia. Embarrassed PR: “he said he wanted a case and just took one.”
We settled on a bottle of Brampton 2008 which was impressively gooseberry and tropical fruit salad. As the second bottle was ordered, the worried waiter admitted it was their last bottle so thereafter it was wonderfully perfumed Waterford Cabernet 2005, fairly priced at R200. Even if Cabernet is a less successful match with Mouille Point Crayfish aka Tiger Giant Prawns.
A career suggestion for the unemployed or about to be retrenched: Just In Time Wine. Business model: rent a white van and order some cases of restaurant favourites from Stellenbosch producers, on consignment. Make a daily tour of Mother City tourist hot spots and fill up those empty wine lists. If they can keep cigarette machines fully stocked…