De Toren Book 17 2012

Hopefully dads all around the country are enjoying their Father’s Day gifts, some perhaps even enjoying a glass or three of Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Red 2013 (R67 a bottle). Apparently only after partaking in “rigorous” tasting sessions did Peter Pentz, the historic Darling farm’s very own “old man”, give the go-ahead for the smooth blend that will be his evening tipple this winter.

But, come on, admit it. The wine you really want from your (older) offspring today, to thank you for the loving home you provided, not to mention the good education that should surely be paying dividends by now, is the De Toren Book 17 2012 – at R2 150/bottle recently voted favourite wine by far at a tasting of South Africa’s most luxurious ultra-premium reds.

Hosted by fine wine merchants Wine Cellar, the tasting comprised 12 wines retailing from R500 for the cheapest (Vilafonte Series C 2011, which ranked second overall) to R2 150 for the Book 17 (a Bordeaux-style blend of which only 1 000 bottles were produced), the same price as its 100% Shiraz stablemate, the Black Lion 2012 (ranked third with all 608 bottles already sold out, proving that there are indeed some sons and daughters out there with deep pockets).

The wines were served blind and randomly to 41 tasters in Johannesburg and 21 “geekier” tasters in Cape Town, where the favourite wine was the relatively light Mullineux Schist Syrah 2011, costing a mere R700 a bottle. Overall, however, the Book 17 ranked first by some margin, impressing the tasters with its deeply velvety fruit, richly integrated new oak and luxuriously long and silky finish.

Would they have been even more impressed if they had seen its ostentatious packaging, complete with Allen key, proving that no effort or expense had been spared? Either way, I’m pretty sure most dads wouldn’t mind “unwrapping” a bottle.

NOTE: First published in Sunday Times Food Weekly, 15 June 2014