Up at sparrow fart yesterday to Excite (021 448 4444 best ride at R8/Km) over to the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands for the first bottling of The Expensive Side of the Mountain Wine in centuries. Vineyard GM Roy Davies replanted Lady Anne Barnard’s vineyard in 2008 to Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and 76Kgs of grapes were picked the day after Valentine’s. Vinified at Klein Constantia, that sweet historic property beloved of Robert Parker, the grapes were packed so full of terroir, they broke the new press. Two cuvees resulted: 25 bottles of free run juice – there were 26 but the terroir is so explosive it cleaved one bottle in two – and 33 of press wine. Here is action man Matt Day in action. More like Vin Diesel than Vin de Constance!
With the press out of action, that other action man, Roy, jumped into action and stomped the grapes by foot, adding toe terroir. Before the two wines were tasted, Roy had tried his best to talk up the free run and downplay the toe tipple with characteristic modesty. While the free run was impressively fruity, it was Toe Terroir which got the best tasting note from Kevin Arnold, the brightest winemaking star on the Helderberg. Give it a couple of years and this has all the makings of an SA icon wine as at least one senior Platter taster/visualizer, Angela Lloyd was present and there were media mavens aplenty led by doyenne Myrna Robbins who’d slept over at the hotel to imbibe the terroir fully. Thankfully no representatives of troll platform winenews had been invited.
Mediaists (below) were disappointed that radio personality John Maytham had bottled out of the bottling – he did attend the Klein Constantia wine dinner the previous evening at the hotel – as several were hoping to discuss his opinion of their work with him personally after his experience judging the Franschhoek Wine Writers Award this year when he thought all the entries were rubbish. Indeed two previous winners of the competition, Joanne Gibson and Norman McFarlane were particularly put out. Norman spilling his coffee in disappointment. Perhaps they’ll see him at the launch of Vin de Constance 2008 later this month?
As for the future of Toe Tipple, Roy dons his marketing mocassins and talks of charity auctions with Nederburg and the Cape Winemakers’ Guild likely candidates. After all, its surely only a matter of time before Matt gets invited to join the CWG while Nederburg nabob Raz van Macici’s own invitation is seriously overdue.
My own vision for the wine would be to underline the importance of toes to taste and I’d be looking for a marketing agreement with Manolo Blahnik or Miuccia Prada. Christian Louboutin at the very least. Jancis Robinson is a well-known foot fetishist, preferring the exotic creations of Issey Miyake. With the fragrant Harry Reginald now working for Jancis, co-marketing is a real possibility. Could Toe Terroir be destined for the Purple Pages? If Matt can crack Parker, Purple Pages look like a decent second prize if Harry can deliver.