Paarl’s Rhone Renaissance

Neil Pendock September 9, 2012 0

Paarl used to be the appellation winemakers would fall over themselves to get out of. Wellington has decamped en masse and later this month I’m MC’ing a WOW dinner at Kleinevalleij for 300 guests to celebrate snipping the umbilical cord connecting Wellington to Paarl. A dinner which is shaping up as the hottest ticket in the Winelands.

There has also been a steady trickle of wineries leaving Paarl for Franschhoek. Wineries like Backsberg which was a blow as Michael Back was a former chairman of Paarl Vintners now renamed Paarl Wine Route. Now under dynamic new management, it has seen five producers sign up so far this year.

But the real revolution in Paarl is in wine quality. If you have R65 to spare, buy a bottle of Rhebokskloof Rhone blend 2010 (Mourvedre, Grenache and Shiraz) simply called R. Below is a happy Anibal Coutinho modeling his bottle of R at Burrata last night.

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Not a great fan of the Platter guide’s sighted tasting methodology (I was in that circus for five years) I have to agree that they will get it right when they give 5 stars later this year to the Nurok white blend from Fairview. Named after the father of Di, wife of Charles Back, who also designed the label. Anibal and I also liked it and give it our highest rating, five hearts, but then we taste blind.

Another Platter sighted five star stunner this year will be La Beryl, the Chenin Blanc, not the cheese! (see below). Which has a nice symmetry, as this wine celebrates the life of the late mother of Chas. So much better than a couple of tombstones and you can make a profit when they sell out, too.

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