Rendevouz at the Radisson


Ubifrance is the French agency for export promotion – a sort of Gallic WOSA – with a budget of R1.355 billion, some of which was spent yesterday at the Radisson Blu showcasing foie gras, Cognac, Champagne and French wines to assorted Cape Town wine identities including Su Birch, departing WOSA CEO and leading retailers Mark Norrish, Ivan Oertle and Caroline Rillema.

While embattled SA producers may not be wishing Ubifrance success – each new French facing at Woolies and Ultra is one less SA brand on show – that Ubi brings French producers to SA underscores the international brotherhood of wine and spirits as the clouds of nannystateism and teetotalism gather menacingly on the horizon.

IMG 0559 300x168 Rendevouz at the Radisson

Ubi and the French are off to Glenelly today and back to the Hexagon this evening, although the ones I spoke to didn’t even realize the Stellenbosch estate is owned by May-Eliane de Lencquesaign, former chatelaine of Bordeaux super second Pichon Longueville Cometesse de Lalande. It’s called keeping it all in the family and while English wine hacks may declare their friends to be SA first growths, for the French at least, first growth status is confirmed primarily by aristocratic rather than terroir credentials or golfing prowess.

IMG 0565 300x168 Rendevouz at the Radisson

On the wine side, my best white was a Chassagne-Montrachet 2009 from Henri de Villamont which is imported into SA by Checker’s wine guru and owner of RMB WineX, Michael Fridjhon. After Morrissey called foie gras terror (as opposed to terroir) in a tin, I limited my adventurous tasting to Calvados (above). My doors were blown off by the 12 year old Lecompte (below) and when I dine with Paul Cluver to ask him to curate an Elegantly Elgin Exhibition at the Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj, a Calvados dinner at Mint is on the cards – Elgin v. Pays d’Aude, blind. Natch.

IMG 0563 300x168 Rendevouz at the Radisson