MAMS: Mountain Men of Stellenbosch

Morné, André, Mike and Schalk were confirmed as the Mountain Men of Stellenbosch at the inaugural outing of Checkers Battle of die Berge on Muratie yesterday. Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines MAMS: Mountain Men of Stellenbosch
by franschhoekwines
already has a Stem in die Bos, but precious few of the grapes used to make wine in that precipitous appellation are grown in those Switzerland-esque mountains that surround the former culinary capital of SA. A crown awarded to Stellenbosch earlier this year by that arbiter of ad-spend, the US Wine Spectator. Or Wine Speculator as it is unfairly (but perhaps more accurately) known in the trade. Charlie Chandler (below) sommelier to the Margrave of Mim whose court is in Malmesburg, hearing the news, remarked “blimey!”

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But he was far from surprised. For what’s not to believe about the merits of Alto, Delaire-Graff, Vergelegen and Warwick? Even a Platter pundit would find the visual appeal of these brands irresistible with the possible exception of Alto, owned as it is by LUSAN, whose corporate credentials make anoraks angry. But then these wines were tasted blind by a panel consisting of Danie de Wet, Tariro Masayiti, Winnie Bowman, Higgo Jacobs and Maggie Mostert, the wittiest food and wine blogger in Cape Town as Black Delilah. Heck, come to think of it, a couple of the judges were Platter pundits. And you can’t get fairer than that!

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Charlie is pleased as the victors of the Battle of die Berge are wines to serve at some of the fabulous mountain restaurants of Stellenbosch and further afield too. As to what qualifies a winery as being Helderberg or Simonsberg, forget about legislation which is confused and contradictory. Heck, there isn’t even a Wine of Origin Helderberg! As Bob Marley sang it in Running Away to a reggae rhythm, a prophetic commentary on SA wine:

Ya must have done (must have done)
Somet’in’ wrong (something wrong).
Said: ya must have done (must have done),
Wo! Somet’in’ wrong (something wrong).
Why you can’t find the
Place where you belong?

Every man thinketh his
Burden is the heaviest (heaviest).
Every man thinketh his
Burden is the heaviest (heaviest).
Ya still mean it: Who feels it knows it, Lord;
Who feels it knows it, Lord.

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When it comes to a tasteable identity, “who feels it knows it, Lord.” The Margraves of Mountain Terroir must reclaim their birth right and thank Checkers for pointing out the USP of their brands.