Does Nando's have a Master of Chicken?

SA tourists to Blighty should not blame Dick Enthoven, South African owner of the SA chicken chain Nando’s (who also owns Spier Estate in Stellenbosch), for listing a Portuguese brand Cara Viva, as house wine. For although it may hail from the Lisboa wine region, the whole peri-peri idea is Portuguese in inspiration, originating in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg. Cara Viva is made by DFJ Vinhos and I discussed the UK retail scene with DFJ owner Jose Neiva (below, right) and sales and marketing manager Luis Gouveia over a platter of cabrito – roast kid – in Terras Vedras Friday lunchtime.

20120511 202303 Does Nando's have a Master of Chicken?

The first misconception cleared up was the likely reason SA bulk wine exports were up 50% in the first three months of 2012, a figure WOSA scandalously spun into the lie that exports of bottled wine showed a positive trend when they actually continued the downward death spiral. Russian vodka producers have hoovered up the European wine lake (Europe produces around 70% of world wine) after disastrous fires in their grain producing heartland. So the backstory to WOSA’s booming bottled exports boast is that Stellenbosch now makes Smirnoff. How’s that for spinning and does the industry even care that it’s marketing arm lies to the SA public?

On the subject of influential UK wine writers, Jose hails “Ozzy” Clarke as having “more influence than the rest added together” and interestingly enough fingers Matthew Jukes (or Dukes as Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Does Nando's have a Master of Chicken?
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PR luvvies would have it) as successor to Oz. But it’s price that sells wine in the UK according to Luis, who despairs of brands marketed in racks labeled £4.99. It’s terroir of the till.

Best UK retailer is Direct Wines who try to offer wines of character at a good price. Something they have succeeded in doing in excelsis with the Brigando 2010 red blend for £6. Tesco is best supermarket chain, although Nando’s do get a special mention for hiring the services of a UK Master of Wine (or Jedis, as they preposterously call each other) to tell them that wines with some residual sugar will work best with spicy peri-peri sauce. Now who else would have thought of that?