Paarl Envy


Sigmund Freud recognized the moment when a girl realizes she’s short of a penis as the moment sexual identity crystallizes. Admittedly, this was in the dark ages before the Indians gave us the Hijra or third gender. Five thousand years of civilization well spent. Does the same thing apply to wine appellations?

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When it comes to natural assets, Paarl is better endowed with most. Sitting in Harvest Restaurant on Laborie yesterday I wondered why Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Paarl Envy
by franschhoekwines
makes all the running when the food and wine is so much better down the road in Paarl. And cheaper too. Take this piece of puff from the Irish Times yesterday.

“South Africa has a new generation of winemakers, a lot of them in their 30s, who didn’t know apartheid and have travelled the world making wine and learning. Swartland is probably the most exciting region with three of the top five wineries in Platter (the SA wine bible), but for anyone travelling to the country Franschoek [sic] is a fantastic place to visit.”

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They can’t even spell the name right and to claim that the Swartland is home to three of the best five wineries in SA is simply not true. Even if you cite a wine label guide filled with luvvies as proof. A discredited guide controlled by a small and hairy Franschhoek winery owner via his credit card company, Diners Club. How sad.

Readers of the Irish Times are advised to book a table at Harvest and try the mussels with a bottle of Laborie 2010 Blanc de Blanc MCC (R140 in the restaurant). The wine spent 3 years on the lees rather than 3 nanoseconds in the Soda Syphon as the SA importers of Bollinger Champagne would have us believe is all you need. Soda syphon spoofers.

Follow the mussels up with lamb shank and a bottle of 2010 Dr. Charles Nieuhaus Roodeberg. With change for the tip from R200, this blend of Shiraz with Cabernet and Merlot will take on any red coming out of Franschhoek if you can’t see the label. That KWV and another Paarl destination, Nederburg, are not hailed as the best wineries in SA, speaks volumes to the hopeless state of wine criticism. Both locally and internationally. It is a tragedy that fine newspapers like the Irish Times can so mislead their readers by regurgitating fashion propaganda passing as wine criticism.