Are SA distillers missing a trick? In the Daily Mail yesterday Olly Smith was advertising his youth and bank balance with the stuff. “Cognac from a single year is an event in itself. For my 40th next year I’ve treated myself to a bottle of Michel Forgeron Barrique 1974 (51 per cent), £163.49 from brandyclassics.com; it has a crazy perfume and, in spite of its age, a bright finish with electrifying citrus power. And cognac offers the chance to travel much further back in time. My most prized bottle is a 1914 Cognac Hermitage Borderies (44.3 per cent), which has an incredible spectrum of flavours, from toffee to walnuts. Whatever you go for, the great news is that bottles can stay in good condition for several years.” After this hefty punt, I’m sure brandyclassics.com will give him a case as a birthday present. Oh the power of the pen!
SA has no shortage of historic dates: 1994, the first democratic election. 2009 the anniversary of 350 years of making wine in the Cape but where are the brandy milestones? 2014, 40th Nederburg Auction. A great marketing opportunity is being missed. Every display cabinet should have a bottle of KWV 2000 to remember the millennium or Van Ryn 1995, the year the Springboks last won the rugby world cup. Or the year the All Blacks lost the final as a result of diarrhoea, as Kiwis remember it.
And it also save blushes on the faces of the big knobs at Veritas and the smaller dicks at Platter who rate brandies (blind and sighted, respectively) each year but when it comes to the shelf, how is the consumer supposed to preferentially chose the distillation that won glory when there is no vintage indication on the bottle? Do wine show and guide touts think we’re all as stupid as they are?
Like the UK consumers who pay R140 for Olly’s wine of the week, a Porcupine Ridge Shiraz 2012, when they can get it for R100 less at Checkers when they come to Durban on holiday. The weather here is better too, without Neptune trying to drown everyone.