The Road to Nowhere


Roads play an important role in the cultural life of SA, as I noted in the Sunday Times Food Weekly yesterday. The Great Trek was the defining trip for one community while Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom took the nation away from the cliff. 1980s techno pioneers The Talking Heads summed it up best in Road to Nowhere, a jaunty/breezy anthem to get your crocs tapping.

nowhere 300x225 The Road to Nowhere

The great lorry of SA wine powers ahead on a road to nowhere with exports up 7% in a recession. The destination is best exemplified by the statistic that well over half of exports (which in turn are half of production) is shipped in bulk and bottled in Europe, some even blended with juice from the former Soviet empire.

Nowhere is that bland paradise where all Coca Cola tastes the same, Shiraz is spicy and Sauvignon Blanc tastes of asparagus but doesn’t make your wee smell funny. Big Macs are two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, all on a sesame seed bun, whether in Milan or Machadodorp. Reliable, well-priced, with no nasty surprises.

Or good ones either. Which is why rebels like Grant Ravenscroft is converting his rich boy’s toy shop Croft & Co. from a purveyor of Cuban cigars and bespoke belts and braces into a neighbourhood deli on Tyrone Avenue, Parkview, where the 4x4s are as high as an elephants eye and Botox a religion.

Grant has form, being one of the pioneers of the 1990s foodie revolution in Greenside. Alongside his artisanal olives and unpasteurized cheese made from Anastasia the Ayrshire, expect to see wines which taste of somewhere.  Wines like piercing 2011 vintage Sauvignon Blancs from Francis Pratt down south in windswept Agulhas and the gritty Terre Noire 2011 Shiraz made by Jacques Conradie in the Klein Karoo.

After blind tasting my way from Bamboesbaai to Bo-Hermon, over 2000 wines later I’m in desperate need of a white stick or at least a Faithful Hound from Mulderbosch. Along the way, a case of whites for summer which taste of somewhere which linger still.

♥♥♥♥♥ Vrede en Lust Artisan Chenin Blanc 2011. Although the winery is in Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines The Road to Nowhere
by franschhoekwines
, the grapes come from Elgin. Quince jam, citrus zest and spice. Huge concentration of flavour. R130.

♥♥♥♥♥ Eagle’s Cliff Arendskloof Pinot Grigio 2012 from Worcester. Pinot Grigio leesy/oaky, rich tropical fruit with an extreme expression of minerality. R70.

♥♥♥♥ Deetlefs Riesling 2006 from Breedekloof. Floral nose with some petrol, fine, delicate limey flavours, excellent acids. R320.

♥♥♥♥♥ Sir Lambert 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Lambert’s Bay, Namaqualand. Tangy ruby grapefruit with a finely judged balance between sweet and sour and huge length. R65.

♥♥♥♥ De Grendel Viognier 2012 from Durbanville. Very Rhône-ish, Condrieu almost, with a dry palate, fresh and tangy. Peach peel and pulp with a long finish. R90.

♥♥♥♥ Fable Vineyards Jackal Bird 2011 from Tulbagh. A biodynamic blend with layers of flavour, full of oriental mysticism, minerality and five spice flavours. R175.

♥♥♥♥♥ The Berrio 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Elim, Southern Cape. Trail dust and green peppers on the nose, lemon and lime pith and peel on the palate. R90.

♥♥♥♥♥ Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc 2010 from the Swartland. Floral nose, round palate, ripe oranges and herbal tea. R88.

♥♥♥♥ Ormonde Ondine Chardonnay 2010 from Darling. Rich honey, butterscotch nose, fat palate, citrus zest and toast. R55.

♥♥♥♥♥ Constantia Uitsig Sémillon 2011 from Constantia. Grassy, minty, dense flavours with a long and savoury adieu. R158.

♥♥♥♥♥ Sumaridge Maritimus 2010 white blend from Hemel & Aarde. Gooseberry, some lanolin, creamy palate with some spicy oak, age-worthy. R115.

♥♥♥♥♥ Morgenster White blend 2011 from Stellembosch. Peach peel and pith, overripe oranges, sweet and spicy oak and flinty minerality. R149.