Exactly one week before Dave King’s Quoin Rock Simonsberg dream turned tax nightmare comes up for auction, we ventured out to the sleepy Simonsberg for an afternoon of garden delights at Muratie: plump oysters, Stellenbosch samosas and the tangy new Muratie Chardonnay 2011 plus a stellar white blend called Lourens Campher 2011 whose grumpy ghost was rocking to the JJ Cale tribute band playing in the agapanthus. We’d hoped to hear Richard Johnson (below with proud dad Julian) sing Hallelujah, but bringing your own picnic hamper was fine, wine even, but BYO music was too much for JJ and perhaps too holy for the ghost of Lourens.
But Lourens, the wine, was a real winner. 50% less wood than 2010 with a blast of Viognier (“we have some planted down at the bottom” vouchsafed Rijk Melck, who was running around acting party organizer like family of the Duchess of Cambridge). It is 200% more elegant than before and competing against an MCC festival in Franschhoek, confirmed the pure class of Stellenbosch. Just look at the head of the Wine Route Annareth Bolton below in the garden, like the Goddess Diana, still on a natural high after record wine sales at the Stellenbosch @ Summer Place festival. “Wine was offered on iPads, which were hugely popular. We sold 360 cases in an evening.”