SA whites going to the dogs

Neil Pendock December 7, 2013 0

Jancis Robinson, who uses the Pink Pages of the Weekend Financial Times as her own personal vuvuzela to draw sailors to the Scylla and Charybis of her subscription Purple Pages, recommends a single South African white out of 28 chosen today as her Christmas laundry list.

Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2012 Paarl

Mildly nutty nose with some flowers, honey and tension on the palate. No hurry to drink this. It’s unusually easy to see a relationship with Chenin Blanc’s roots in the Loire. Good stuff. 13%

£11.99 Real Wine Co

Full-on sexual imagery in the naming of her pages starting off as pink before becoming engorged to purple aside, with SA dominating global news feeds at the minute, there has never been a better time to sell a Mandela Merlot or a Madiba Mourvedre. Heck, could it have been that old Tata magic that saw a Tannat/Syrah blend triumph at Diners Club Winemaker of the Year last Saturday, leading to a Twitter backlash from Platter pundits left off the invite list? I hear that not even the evil Dr. No was invited to the affair. If he only knew how to tweet, a tsunami of bile would have enveloped the interwebs.

As it was, there were some funny subplots last weekend. Diners guests were surprised and bemused to hear CEO Ebrahim Matthews insist that the purchase of Platter was his idea which is a porkie pie of note with both pork and alcohol not the kind of thing observant Muslims are well known for. As a teetotaller, Eb is controlled in matters vinous by Diners ditrector Reg Lascaris who led the takeover discussions with the guide in which his own Boekenhoutskloof was Winery of the Year in 2012.

Or so Diners Club chairman and Standard Bank director Richard Irvine told me last year. Dick was mightily surprised to hear that Reg had a conflict of interest in the matter larger than Table Mountain, so perhaps Eb’s comment was retrospective fire fighting at its most transparent. I guess being dropped as a Diners Club judge was collateral damage, although it does smell like bullying of the most vile kind and something I would not have expected Standard Bank to sanction. Is there no protection at all for whistle blowers in a major SA bank? No wonder the SA public think tom cats have more morals than bank managers, especially with Standard Bank directors boasting of al fresco sex on an electric fence, as happened on Saturday!

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But back with more serious matters and the observation that Philip Jonker (above) from Weltevrede, who has made a white wine from grapes grown on Robben Island, is sitting on a marketing gold mine.

New Age reports “Weltevrede Wine Estate is stepping towards its realisation of producing two wines from the Robben Island vine. After seven years of hardships and hard work, they managed to produce a significant wine for Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday, a sweet dessert wine called The Parable. The Wine Estate is currently busy with their second wine, a Méthode Cap Classique Brut in magnums, called The Manuscript.”

In a break with the usual rip-off and cashing-in behaviour in the SA industry, “these wines will only be sold at the international charity auctions.”

Philip is quoted as saying he “wants to sell these wines at the international charity auctions is because we want to get Nelson Mandela’s story out there. We want people to know how great he is, especially internationally. These wines are made to do just that, particularly the parable wine. It is made to tell the story of Robben Island like a parable. And the best thing about these wines is that all the money we get will go to charities.”

Something a credit card like Diners Club clearly do not relate to when they can drop R2 million on a mediocre meal for a bunch of middle-aged white luvvies to celebrate a marketing initiative that is looking increasingly murky. Perhaps Standard Bank will wake up soon and investigate the whole sorry Platter take-over by their subsidiary, which reeks to high heaven.

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