Diners Club: next generation stuff

Ewan Mackenzie (below) has a day job as sommelier at La Colombe restaurant on Constantia Uitsig in the cradle of SA winemaking, the Constantia valley. But today he was moonlighting as an associate judge at the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Competition held at the Grand Roche in Paarl. Brought up in Detroit where his dad was responsible for the Ford Traveller – the American version of our own Zola Budd taxis – he is a home grown sommelier with qualifications from the Cape Wine Academy.

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That Ewan is a different generation to us old fart judges was clear from his comments. “The one wine smelt like a dead ringer for a Barbour jacket” he announced at lunch (rare sirloin with the spectacular De Toren Fusion V 2009). “Come again?” asked Neil McGuigan, the international judge (below, right). “You know, the wax jackets”. Neil did not. Different wavelengths.

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55 wines entered the tourney and six finalists were chosen from a top ten. The first three are exceptional wines by any measure and would go well with Ewan’s favourite staff dish at La Colombe – the famous chip salad. Perhaps Ewan and the case of under 30 year old finalists should go on tour like Justin Bieber as Generation Y is an attractive market for SA wine.