SA Pinot Noir was set back a decade when Marc van Halderen followed his heart to Yalumba, South Australia. That SA drinkers lacked the sophistication to notice back then means today you can get a magic Hemel en Aarde Pinot for way under the R100 ceiling. Time to fill your boots even if, unlike the Platter partners Toxic Tim and Dear Angela, you have to pay a modest sum to do so. My tiny weekly wine column in today’s The Times tells you how.
Unlabelled Hemel en Aarde Pinot Noir 2012
How much and where? R79; www.getwine.co.za
Why? This wine is exquisite pleasure. Pinot noir is like Prada. It is the grape with which to show off. It’s produced by some of the toniest names in Cape wine: Hamilton Russell (uncle was a bishop), Bouchard Finlayson (Paul Bouchard was a Burgundian wine god), La Vierge (French for virgin, a rare commodity in the winelands) and so on and so expensive. Hemel en Aarde heroes Newton Johnson even made the cover of wine nerd bible Decanter magazine last month, with theirs.
But this is a No Logo wine from the school of Naomi Klein. It comes in an anonymous bottle with a label saying “contains sulphites” and “13.5% vol”. That’s it. No brand name. No ego declaration from the billionaire estate owner. But it tastes brilliant: red fruits and sandstone. Which raises the question “Why do you drink wine anyway?” For the flavour or a fashionable label with which to show off? This one was made by one of the Big Names in the Hemel en Aarde valley mentioned before, but the vicissitudes of economics have for once produced something of benefit to ordinary consumers.
Saint Laurent fashion god Hedi Slimane famously noted that “fashion = music + youth + sex” and this wine has it all. Barely four years old, it has time on its side. So safe to buy and lay down for future needs.
In the music department, both Sting and Johannesburg-born US rocker Dave Matthews make their own wine, while pinot noir has to be the sexiest grape in the cellar. Which you will discover if you supply your significant other with this treasure from Bacchus.
***** Tom Ford
**** Issey Miyake
*** Karl Lagerfeld
** Stefano Gabbana
* John Galliano