Winnie takes over

Cape Winemaster Winnie Bowman became the second maitre of the Commanderie de Bordeaux en Afrique du Sud last night when she took the reins over from Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg at a swierige geleentheid at Laborie in Paarl. Hosts KWV certainly pulled out all the stops, showing a succession of stunning Mentors wines, both white and red, which ably matched the succulent food from the Harvest Restaurant. The gastronomic highlight for me was the slow-cooked Karoo lamb shoulder matched with the Mentors Orchestra 2011.

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Not one of the memorable Mentors wines are on the list of 83 Platter five star stunnas released at the Nellie last week as the producer does not enter the awards, for ethical reasons. Along with many other high profile producers I might add. Heck one retailer pulled out after his buyers own brand Sauvignon Blanc was rated ** while the same wine from a Darling estate was ****1/2 vividly demonstrating one problem with sighted tastings.

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brandowner commented last night “there is only one undisputed first growth in SA and that Kanonkop do not have a five star wine shows the whole process is very dodgy.” So it is unlikely to have been Mentors in the case of wines carried to the carriage of Tim James and Angela Lloyd after the event on Thursday by a struggling winemaker while Tim and Angela chatted and joked “like naughty schoolchildren.” Oh how sweet is the second childhood of the elderly.

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Who said the days of grasping wine writers leaving their car boots open for freebees were over, although I’m sure Little T&A would have paid for last week’s case after Platters tightened on their ethics after Ange was accused of selling tasting samples. Several high profile viewers were unceremoniously dropped which saved guide owners Diners Club a fortune in fees. I certainly hope so or this will be another cloud to trouble the horizon of a guide which has had more bad weather lately than Indonesia. Perhaps Thursday’s winemaker/porter can comment?

Back in Paarl, coffee was accompanied by a choice of 1948 Port which was raisin city and your choice of an XO Cognac from France, blended in SA, or the powerful Nexus 30 year old brandy which retails for R23,000 a bottle. I had both for educational purposes so there was no need to leave my boot open.