Zalze at Zest

A bad day for beetroot and pigs: Parma ham in a beetroot and cashew nut salad at Zest Bistro in Menlo Park (Pretoria, not California) followed by crispy pork belly on mushy peas and yet more beetroot. Delicious. To drink, a bottle of Spar’s soon to be released premium Sauvignon Blanc made by Tinus van Niekerk and Kleine Zalze, confirming just what a comet vintage 2009 is for this most popular white varietal and what a good job Kleine Zalze do with elegant styles of wine.

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The Concours Mondial folks are right on the money announcing a new Sauvignon Concours Mondial Competition to be judged in Bordeaux in June (25-26th) as SA producers have never had as strong a team as they have at the minute. While Bafana Bafana will probably bow out of the World Cup long before that, an SA Sauvignon team will have far better odds in Bordeaux. Maybe the government will spend a few billions on building a Sauvignon Stadium in Green Point. The location is most appropriate and wine tourism is a renewable resource that doesn’t need FIFA’s approval.

Let’s hope the current silliness over the Guala Closures Chenin Challenge does not dissuade Kleine Zalze and Spar from entering as this consummately feminine Sauvignon Blanc is a benchmark. Spar liquor executive Ray Edwards wants to release the wine on Valentine’s Day – a good call given the exotically perfumed nose and elegant palate which makes flowers for your date at Zest unnecessary.

Zest Bistro

Zest Bistro

On Wednesday Cathy Marshall made the point that she is most definitely a feminine winemaker and nominated Adi Badenhorst and Eben Sadie for the sisterhood. Adi’s father-in-law, Jan Boland Coetzee, who celebrated a birthday this week (happy birthday, Jan) is most definitely a masculine winemaker as is Niels Verburg as Alan Pick commented after tasting at Gabriëlskloof Cellar in Bot River.

In the Sauvignon stakes, Abe Beukes’ Onyx is masculine as are those flinty prime numbers from Bartho Eksteen, even though he wears an Alice band. Perhaps the most interesting Sauvignons are made in a girlie-men style although it takes a brave wine hack to nominate winemakers for that club. There are even transvestites, like the Slowine blend of Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc that inexplicably popped up at the Chenin Challenge, but then it did only get one star. Which was all the Wise Men needed to find baby Jesus, after all.