Cracking an invite as one of 12 guests to a Pinot Noir Workshop at mKOW (the Mountain Kingdom of Wine aka Paul Cluver Estate in elegant Elgin) has something deliciously Biblical about it. Especially when this Last Supper was actually a locavore lunch catered by boho bad boy Bruce Robertson who sourced his ingredients from Scarborough (mussels with mushy peas) and Spar (a whole flock of baby chickens, shown below). Even if he did call it “locivore”, perhaps inspired by that Talking Head David Byrne who sang
Like a pizza in the rain
(Loco de amor)
No one want to take you home
But I love you just the same / (Crazy for love)
Well it turned out to be a feeding of the 5,000 for the dozen degustators included a six pack of aggressive sommeliers (handsome Hansi & jolly Josephine, “heavy bottles” Francois, kewl Kent, “no terroir” Miguel, Constantia Fresh Joerg), a trio of tortured wine scribes (dear Angela, toothy Tim, chiskop Chris), two BOGOFs of retailers (Ultra Mark, Woolies Allan, pork chop Carrie, Hermanus Dave), which is already a baker’s dozen before the Galaxy of Gurus (straight shooter Remington MW, Rikipedia MW, Colonel Dave, Martin blue) plus assorted winemakers (amazing Andries), family (birthday girl lovely Liesl and father proud Paul who did lunch), facilitators (jubilant Jacky) and friends like me.
Several thought prizes were awarded:
The award for best dressed wino went to Martin Prieur (above) in Yves Klein International Blue glasses, watch, shirt, trousers, underwear (TBC); The towering guru trophy to Remington Norman for pointing out the difference between SA Pinots and Burgundy comes down to “structure” – and price, as the one below cost host Paul Cluver R1800 a bottle and there was more than one;
Best white was the Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2012 of which more later as it’s destined to be immortalized as a Pendock Wine of the Week although that its screw-cap spoilt Carrie’s lunch worse than a pork sausage at a Kosher braai; Best SA Pinot was the Chamonix 2011, so deliciously modern, it should be exhibited at the Design Indaba; Best Burgundy was the Jayer Gilles Nuits St. George Les Damodes 2009 a wine so sublime it transcends vocabulary; Most useful communicant was Allan Mullins who reported that five years ago Woolies couldn’t sell Pinot and now the five they list (Robertson, DMZ, Cathy Marshall, Paul Cluver, Chamonix) sell out smartish; Is Allan the nicest man in SA wine, or what?
Elephant at the tasting was densely planted Marc van Halderen whose amazing Pinots from (La Vierge and Domaine des Dieux) were AWOL and the Nature in Concert from Oom Danie de Wet was also conspicuous by its absence. Political sea change coming: sommeliers have emerged as the most vocal segment of SA wine reportage with Francois, Kent and Miguel on a roll. Watch out for a take-over of long established competitions like the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge by sommeliers brandishing restaurants and hotel chains to lure desperate producers. Wine writers to be given the flick as these ambitious professionals take over.
Best take-away was confirmation that the next generation (above) has well and truly taken over from the generation that brought SA consumers maderized Pinots imported in uncooled containers and nobody knew the wines were stuffed – it was called terroir.