Riebeek Cellars has a hard row to hoe. In the bar of the Royal Hotel, wine by the glass is Wolftrap or Porcupine Ridge while their own bottles are also screw cap closed, have hipper labels from Fanakalo, are cheaper and taste better. The cellar is a five minute walk down the hill and shares half the name of the town. This is wine tourism in action with locavore authenticity aplenty. Go figure. Perhaps that the brands are owned by Reg biggie smalls Lascaris, the new small but perfectly formed corporate controller of the Platter sighted wine guide, has something to do with it.
Still the light burns brightly on the horizon as after many years of trying, Riebeek Cellars have secured a listing at Shoprite/Checkers and now Mrs SA Public can taste fresh and fruit forward Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc for under R30 a bottle and one of the best Rosés this side of Avignon, for the same price.
Reds are a couple of Rand more and a couple of grams sweeter with the Cab my favourite as I’m a sucker for black currants although the spicy Merlot will likely be the more popular pick.
The SB hails from an empowerment vineyard in Abbotsdale on the Cape Town side of Malmesbury and makes an honest and ethical change from the Sauvignon Scams embraced by the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group where supplying wine for the panel chairman’s wedding five years ago still seems to get you two berths in ten. Now that’s what I call a long after taste!
Thank heavens the tasting was blind or the whole boxendice may have been compromised. Observers are waiting for Friday with anticipation to see if resignated SBIG secretary Hermit on the Pill finally gets his five Platter stars for a wine nominated sighted by the FNB panel chair. A cynic might call this payback time. Lets see.
Invited as a guest of a senior visualiser to the Vineyard Hotel festivities this Friday, I’ve had to cry off as I’ll be carousing with my Karoo Kerels at Food|Wine|Design in Hyde Park. I also lack a spoon long enough to sup with these devils.
Great comment from Royal owner Robert Brendel this evening. I must admit I was not even drinking wine on Friday afternoon – I started off on a Bloody Mary and then moved to a Pink Gin & Tonic (pink, because its healthier) and then divers shots. It was only the next day after developing a photo of the bar (below) that I thought I was in Franschhoek, there were so many Biggie Smalls brands. But thank heavens a Darling Cellars peaks through – Abe Beukes is my Swartland homeboy and his wines rock way more than the daisies.