Surepure Chenin Challenge

The SA wine awards carnival kicks off tomorrow the same way it ended 2008 – with lunch at Catharina’s, the sexy revamped restaurant of Garth Almazan at the Steenberg Hotel. The importance of Chenin Blanc (that most widely planted white grape in the national vineyard) to the SA wine industry was underlined in November when SA Airways announced their best red wine of the year (“after a rigorous tasting process by some of South Africa’s and world’s most respected wine experts” according to the press release) was Bellingham Maverick Chenin Blancn [sic] 2007.

Named after Tom Cruise’s pocket sized fighter ace in the 1986 Hollywood blockbuster Top Gun, the triumph of Maverick confirms once again the merits of sighted over blind tastings. For unless the judges were using ridiculous black Riedel stemware, they might have noticed that Chenin Blanc usually makes white wine.

Maverick starts the betting for victory tomorrow at the back of the field – tastings were again blind and sources say the controversial “seeded player” advantage handed to big names like Tom Cruise (earning a place in the final on the basis of pedigree which makes a nonsense of vintage variation) has been abandoned.

Lunch time conversation at Catharina’s in December focused on the R250 Pick ‘n Pay shopping vouchers paid in lieu of 13th cheques and Christmas bonuses by a leading lifestyle publisher. A month later and it will be interesting to see who is left among the media as recession bites. At the running of the Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth on Saturday, there were certainly a lot of new faces in the press tent. But then hospitality was supplied by Irish whiskey Jameson
confirming there are few flies on whiskey (or whisky) marketers.

mav1 Surepure Chenin Challenge