Marvellous Marc

So Marc Kent is the 27th Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. It was a popular choice that worked on so many levels, not the least of which was delivering a snot klap to the Cape Winemakers Guild panel that chooses wines for the annual auction. The Boekenhoutskloof 2005 Syrah that did Diners for Marc was the cuvee from which he selected two barrels for sale on the recent auction. They were declined by the CWG selection panel – of which Marc was a member.
marc Marvellous Marc
While hailed as two in a row for Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Marvellous Marc
by franschhoekwines
(last year the terminally shy and terribly gifted Gottfried Mocke shatched the laurels for Chamonix Chardonay) the grapes for the winning wine were grown on Schalk Burger’s Welbedacht farm in Wellington, confirming that Big Schalk’s dance card extends beyond producing a Springbok rugby world champion son.

Organized by WINE magazine, the competition wouldn’t be complete without a skandaal and this one was no exception with some judges taking exception to the concept of a seeded competition: the 162 entires are slimmed down to 71 from which 5 finalists are chosen on the basis of blind tastings. A mysterious sixth is then added to the final round as a seeded player by WINE functionary Mike Froud.

Judge and awards lunch MC Dave Hughes admits that even tasting 71 wines in one go was a challenge, which throws the usual question marks at shows like the WINE co-owned Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show which earlier this year did double this while those with a sense of fair play will wonder what criteria Froud used to choose his seeded player. Whether it was the Boekenhoutskloof will exercise anoraks for weeks.

But for the rest of us, Boekenhoutskloof was a happy result and Marc a popular victor, not least because the wine is brilliant and the winemaker a jolly good egg. A celebration of ripe (but not jammy) fruit with some exciting mineral notes, slippery tannins and above all grape-derived character, it comes as no surprise that the CWG rejected it: not enough new wood nor extract. It is subtle rather than showy and made in reasonable volumes, it should also be available on the lower slopes of Mount Anorak, even if the R200 price sticker does restrict it to Diners Club Black Card holders.

The last laugh goes to Marc, who flew in from France that very morning. For this was only the third local ompetition he has entered in a decade: Veritas in 1998 and the Diners Club competition that year were the other two. Last Diners around his benchmark ’97 Boekenhoutskloof Syrah made the top ten and it remains the highest rated ever SA Syrah by the American God of Gastronomy Robert Parker who has no need of an MF from WINE to peel his grapes.

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