Happy Birthday, Joaquim Sa

When you’re the sponsor of the annual MCC competition, as MD of Amorim Corkamorimcork Happy Birthday, Joaquim Sa
by Amorim Cork
Joaquim Sa
 (below) is, the choice of bubbly to serve at your birthday is fraught with risks of offending the unchosen. So Joaquim side-stepped the issue nicely by serving his own. A bubbly that must have rested on its lees for as many months as Joaquim has been alive in years: 40. And what a corker it is! What a pity modesty prevents Joaquim from entering it into the MCC competition.

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Is MC Emile Joubert the reincarnation of Ernest Hemingway? Exhibit A is his newly windswept appearance (below) and an admission he’s got island fever, back as he is from 10 days living in a coconut on Zanzibar, drinking DRC through a straw.

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There was no shortage of wine royalty at the birthday bash in the ballroom of the Mount Nelson last night. SA’s Mr. Bubbles, Pieter Ferreira (below, centre) is just back from a mega road trip to the USA. A market booming for Graham Beck wines. When your bubbly is drunk by the president, you’ve clearly arrived.

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But what a pity the SA sommelier scene is so pap, leading SA sommelier and former wine marketer Arnold Vorster is emigrating to Australia. The chickens starved by WOSA, best exemplified by their International Sommelier World Cup having no space for SA contestants, have flown the coop, destination Perth. What a tragedy. Still flying Down Under is a reversible process and WOSA has a new broom starting this Friday. Arnold for communications manager?

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Seated at Gary Baumgarten’s table, the importance of the US market to the top end of SA fine wine was confirmed. The inspiration of his l’Ormarins wines is clearly Bordeaux although having recently blended the 2012 reds from their Riebeeksrivier property, the seductions of Syrah may spark a change in emphasis. Especially when one of the superstars of the Rhone, Edouard Labeye, helps out.

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Two distinct styles were fingerprinted, defined by soil differences on the farm in the lee of the Riebeek Mountain. One thing is for sure, such terroir wines are unlikely to be closed by screwcaps. Who knows, perhaps the maiden vintage will be on Joaquim’s table of presents in 2023.