Well the B’s had it this weekend. Saturday night was Farrell Roth from Bloemfontein and the amazing B-Traq band, a bit like Jamiroquai meets JJ Cale played faster and louder, at the Troyeville Hotel with an audience of Hassidic Hippies I thought had died out with Julian Laxton and Lukas Luislang from Via Afrika. Who now remembers Tre Gatti, that tiny Pizzeria across the street where Lukas and Renée Veldsman used to eat until Eddie the owner was gunned down by the criminals who went on to define Johannesburg for the rest of the world? “O Tempora, O Mores!” as Cicero used to say.
B-Traq were certainly within budget: R50 bought you a green stamp on your wrist and two live bands although the order was all wrong. By the time the Dead Particles popped up at 11pm, energy levels were seriously depleted and conserving energy was advisable given the prospect of Sunday brunch at the Westcliff and a Burgundy Encounter with Jean-Luc Pépin from Domain Comte Georges de Vogüé.
The Decanter insert handed out the next day included a feature on “affordable Burgundy: 40 good-value wines worth twice the price” which you can ignore, laughed Jean-Luc. The Burgundy gig was 80 times the price of Farrell and friends, but then Dario De Angeli (ex-Yum) and his culinary creations do not come cheap. Nor do bottles of De Vogüé Musigny ’98 that Wayne Visser was sloshing into the Riedels – his price was R3500 each and he’s the importer.
Which beggars belief, suspension of which is essential for the enjoyment of Burgundy. If you need to ask how much it costs, you’re not worthy as Burgundy Boffin Remington Norman didn’t say in his elegant tour around terroirs with such atmospheric names as Les Amoureuses, Musigny and Bonnes-Mares, the last named gnomically described by Jean-Luc as “an unmarried uncle.”
After a horizontal tasting of Jean-Luc’s 2006 wines, Rem pointed out “there was not a single descriptor, not a pomegranate or peony, the whole tasting.” Rem was punted by Jean-Luc as the “quintessential English-speaking Burgundy expert” and at the end of lunch recalled meeting him twenty years ago when he was tramping around Burgundy with a backpack in the middle of winter, writing his masterpiece on the appellation.
The local geology is so bisected, inspection on foot is probably the best way to get to grips with a terroir that operates on a scale measured in metres. Jean-Luc recalls seeing Rem hunched over in a bus shelter in Morey St. Denis having his lunch. “There was this old bag” recalls Rem “who sold fabulous Camembert very cheaply.” A lunch of cheese baguette from an old bag, reprised twenty years later at the Westcliff in a selection of imported cheeses and Burgundy that brought down the curtain on a spectacular way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon.