Sideways in South Africa

posted in Cape Town

Sideways in South Africa

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The white dove of peace is flying high today. As I sit reflecting on yesterday at La Perla in Cape Town my internet connection requires no password. Nothing gated in the community here. All runs free. Long live trust. A rare and treasured commodity in these quarters. More of this.

Yesterday was very pleasurable. Time with old friends and familiar faces. Nothing matters. Everything matters. Diversity matters. Long live the grape.

There are a galaxy of winemakers. There are those that fly, there are those that are conventional by nature, and there are those that fly in the face of convention. Long live they. More to the story.

Yesterday I was fortunate to re connect with my passion for wine and some very prominent people who had shared that history from the start.

Merlot may have been a fucking disaster gone Sideways but spent with garage winemaker Jacoline Hassbroek I’m sure Paul Giamatti’s character would have tasted differently. For it was butch and bold. It was vibrant and vital. It held you.

We defined the day with two separate visits. One to the Glen Carlou winery in the Paarl Valley who i’d long valued in days gone by and the other to a more separatist lady who I sincerely hope will reach ever further out to the truly discerning palette. The renegade that independently moves and shakes the system is often the one that should be heard….and valued. Such people matter to those that matter most for they are few.

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Glen Carlou wines do not disappoint in the slightest. All delight and reach the hidden depths and sparkle within. The entry level Tortoise Hill were far from slow in their ability to delight and surprise, shifting up a gear we sampled two different Chardonnay’s, the unwooded latter so elegant it almost broke my backbone in support. So fine in structure, the layers simply trumped logic. plate 1

Personally speaking, i love the reds. It had been years since i’d sampled the pinot noir. For such a fragile grape to survive this climate and remain so true to its natural characteristics is a measure of achievement in itself. Slam in the lamb. Bring it all on. Then the Cabernet, then the Zinfandel. Ooooh..plenty of eucalyptus and blackberry fruit in the Cabernet, the Zinfandel even more dark mysterious and complex. Though such refinement too. Respect. Big, bold & lustrous by comparison.

Our time there despite being brief was valued. The fine art gallery was an appreciated bolt on but not what I was there for. I think Glen Carlou do stand out stand alone wines. A clean and perfect space but perhaps made hollow in some way.

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….and then there’s Jacoline in Franschhoek…

In the wilderness, just up the road and keeping it real. There are all sorts of things that can be done in garages these days. In fact, they’ve become quite artistic places all round. There are garage bands, there is garage music, and there are garage winemakers. plate 4

We studied Jacoline’s methodology and approach towards winemaking before settling in for a pleasing assault on the senses. She tends and ‘punches’ each vat eight times a day, nothing is overlooked in the slightest and this artisan approach to winemaking is refined in pure simplicity. You can quite simply taste the detail. There lies the difference. She buys in the grapes and carefully defines the distribution to a point of perfection.

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We stepped up to the tasting platform and were all literally elevated to another level. To me, everything had her sensational and personal touch. plate 6

What I like about her approach is being bold about trying out a blend that strays from the norm. Sauvignon and Viognier are an unlikely coupling but she made them work.

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Two of my favourite grape varieties acquire that unsung hero listing with her too. Petit Verdot & Cabernet Franc. Both the subtle shifters in a Bordeaux blend, the silent partners in quiet numbers, but here celebrated in their own capacity and outright detail. Sure both can be rough around the edges, however maybe lacking in that refinement they’re kind of sexy too?

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 The piece de resistance for me though was Les Grand Horizontales, referred to as being the ultimate in feminine complexity and akin to a one night stand; intriguing, promising and perhaps only lasting for one vintage this was certainly one to want to hold forever. Yes that good and that memorable. That arrested development breaking free from its shell.

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For lunch we dropped into Franschhoek to Cafe Bon Bon and all had belly pork seared to perfection accompanied with Jacoline’s sauvignon viognier blend. A cockerel stepped in to holler the difference in the day.

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Finally a smorgasbord of desserts were served up for a share. A bit of this, a bit of that. That works.

Followed by a crafty beer in one of Cape Towns oldest ale houses….naturally…

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Time to chant my Buddhist mantra. Diversity. Unity. The purpose of life. The connection of to all. This life. My life.

4 comments

  1. My dearest friends at My Wyn,It is a hard life up there in the wilderness making wine, but it is worth it to them all,dogs included.

  2. My Wyn……..Jacoline and Johan……our favorite wine farm, favorite couple with our favorite wines. The best ever……….wine made with love…..consumed with ecstacy!!!

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