Slagged-Off in the Open

Neil Pendock February 28, 2009 5

The Grape communal blog is divided into eight panels like a Japanese Bento Box full of goodies. Panel #2 contains Haikus penned against the recent Helderberg fires (conventional photos being unavailable as someone nicked the panelist’s “fancy” cell-phone and camera) while Panel #4 reproduces Michael Fridjhon’s informative Business Day and Weekender columns cut and pasted from the Business Day website. A bit of an overkill as a simple link to the mother ship would suffice, like Kevin does over on

Grape home page

Panel #3 is the most fun with witty Melvyn Minnaar commenting recently on a photo of Johann Rupert which seems to have appeared in Die Burger. It is also not reproduced, presumably because of camera problems alluded to above. Which is a pity as the prospect of seeing Johann’s “left arm tucked into his jacket pocket” would have been proof of a talent for physical contortionism I for one was unaware of. Anyway, it continues a Grape tradition of taking pot-shots at Johann who clearly has the patience of Job.

Panel #7 is labeled “Guest Space” but there have been none yet – but then tomorrow is only the third month of operation for the site and presumably the Teutonic Riesling Heroes in town last week were all too busy.

Panel #8 is called “Open space” which is a huge misnomer as contributions are censored by a sinister un-named Big Brother moderator. Perhaps “Stalinist Space”, “Big Brother’s Boma Bar” or “Pravda Partition” would be more appropriate. A recent lively discussion between Michael and Winston Churchill was spoilt by the slow turn-around of postings from Winnie and indeed, at least one never saw the light of day. As I was blind cc’d Winnie’s posts, I blogged them in the interests of free speech.

So imagine my dismay when I was tipped off that words were being put into my mouth by an anonymous contributor to the not-so-open panel. I hesitate to conclude the panelist is someone called “Riaan Smit” (there is no byline) as this name seems to belong to several people – one who slagged off Melvyn in his own panel and another who also claims to be Riaan Smit and who said it wasn’t him and on the contrary, he’d been trained in philosophy and loved Mellie’s musings. Evelyn Waugh and Noël Coward died too soon.

Anyway, back to the charge that “Neil Pendock does not believe that South African Sauvignon Blanc can last for 8 years or more.” If we’re talking about me and not another facet of some multiple personality, real or fictitious, this is simply not true as the panelist would know if he/she read my blog more religiously.

Last year I noted after a vertical tasting of Mooiplaas Sauvignon Blanc “the piercing Sauvignon Blanc with intense flavours of red grapefruit should not be overlooked. This wine will also transform if left alone, developing richness and complex flavours with some bottle age, as a recent vertical tasting back to 1999 confirmed.”


  1. Riaan Smit March 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm -

    Good. Then we are on the same page and agree that Sauvignon Blanc can indeed defy the drink-it-the-year-after-harvest conventional wisdom.

    That was the point of my original tasting note, but you chose to call Tim James and myself “monkeys sipping stale sauvignon”. It was plain nasty.

    Let’s quit the personal side-shows and focus on the wine. The drinking public is surely not interested in tiffs between wine writers.

    I do exist – I think – although somebody used my name to write a stupid comment to a Melvin Minaar blog on Grape. Just ask our mutual acquaintance, Emile Joubert, who I have known since university.

  2. Neil March 2, 2009 at 7:51 am -

    Hi Riaan

    Phew! Thought I’d offended you somehow after that unfortunate review of Sour Grapes on Grape and some aggressive comments left on this blog under your name.

    The monkey comment was not meant to be nasty at all – it picked up on the organ grinder/monkey riff of Winston Churchill.

    As for TJ and Sauvignon Blanc, this one has legs as you’ll discover if you have the energy to trawl through his MOF blog of last year.

    I’m a great fan of Emile Joubert and we will be doing a double act at the Woordfees in Stellenbosch on Thursday 12th at 6pm if you’re around. May I buy you a glass of wine?

  3. Neil March 2, 2009 at 7:54 am -

    Me again. Sorry, that should read “MOG” blog.

  4. Riaan Smit March 2, 2009 at 10:25 pm -

    Hi Neil

    See you at the Woordfees and jip, let’s do a bottle.

  5. Riaan Smit March 5, 2009 at 7:16 am -

    I wish to disassociate myself with the comments of the so-called “Riaan Smit” on this blog. I think you’re both prats and old Sauvignon Blanc sucks.

    And another thing: Tim James is right, sauvignon blanc is not a noble grape like our beloved riesling. Read his description of the recent riesling festival – his golden words are like pungent drops of piss in the urinal of Dionysus.

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