Two knockout blows from the Swartland


Now that the MPC (Mullineux power couple) have a genial Indian genii as backer, will the Swartland shortly become unstoppable? Note to Reuben: are samoosas and shiraz on the Short street menu for next weekend’s Swartland Revolution? Already the power of this implicit brand is rocking the wine world with the latest bombshell a Swartland sizzler chosen by Jancis Robinson in her laundry list of 18 faves under a tenner. Can you spot it among the smalls and whites below?

IMG 1475 576x1024 Two knockout blows from the Swartland Whites • The Exquisite Collection, Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Bordeaux, £4.99, Aldi • Domaine Vigné-Lourac, Cuvée Classique Blanc 2012 Comté Tolosan, £6.95, Great Western Wine • Philippe Michel NV Crémant du Jura, £6.99, Aldi • Domaine des Cassagnoles Gros Manseng 2012 Côtes de Gascogne, £7.91, Christopher Piper • Domaine Cauhapé, Chant des Vignes 2012 Jurançon Sec, £8.75, The Wine Society • Pedro’s Almacenista Selection Fino, £8.99, Majestic • Librandi, Asylia Melissa 2012 Greco Bianco, £8.99, Waitrose • Lustau, Solera Jerezana Palo Cortado, £9.75, Waitrose • Château Tour Chapoux Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Entre-Deux-Mers, £9.99, Waitrose Reds • A Fistful of Schist 2012 Coastal Region, £6.50, The Wine Society • Fabrice Durou, Exception Malbec 2011, £6.75, Lea & Sandeman • Cavit 2011 Teroldego Rotaliano, £6.95, The Wine Society • Château Gillet 2012 Bordeaux Rouge, £6.99, M&S • Cave St-Verny Pinot Noir 2011 Puy de Dôme, £7.50, The Wine Society • Concha y Toro, Corte Ignacio Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Pirque, £7.95, The Wine Society • Weinert, Carrascal 2008 Mendoza, £7.95, The Wine Society • Paul Mas, Les Tannes Syrah, Tradition 2012 Pays d’Oc, £7.95, Jeroboams • Telmo Rodriguez, Almuvedre 2012 Alicante, £8.95, Berry Bros.

Not much of a welcome for incoming WOSA CEO Siobhan Thompson from JR to see SA’s only entry identified as “coastal region.” But yes, the Fistful of Shiraz (sounds like a fighting wine) is “a smooth, spicy and fresh blend of Shiraz, Cinsault and Mourvèdre from the ancient schist soils of the Swartland” which was blended by wine whisperer Graham Knox of Stormhoek fame.

Graham is the only winemaker who moved this cynical old boozer to tears when he explained the back ground to his Chenin blend Severny. And what a totally tit wine that one was!  Someone should explain to Su Birch that she’s no longer WOSA CEO as she put out on the draadloos on Friday.  It’s becoming embarrassing.  As were her comments on the Moron Stanley global wine shortage which is the Y2K problem of the minute.  A sound bite for the stupid.

The bottle at the top of this page is my candidate for 2013 Chenin Blanc of the year and no, I don’t expect a case of it for my wedding next year. Named after the tank in which it resides in the Ribeek Cellars winery, this natural ferment was made by Eric Saayman who doesn’t even like natural ferment wines. The trick to this generous genii is palate texture: so smooth you can imagine a forest of French oak (the wine is unwooded).  He does it with lees contact and a bar heater to complete fermentation.  It will no doubt pop up in some exceedingly expensive Franschhoek fantasy or as a Stellenbosch five star superstar with another man’s name on the label, next year.

How do some of SA’s top “winemakers” sleep straight in their beds at night knowing they don’t even make the juice in their best rated bottles? Isn’t this plagiarism of the palate?  And why must a former co-op sell their single vineyard, old bosstok crown jewels at R28 a litre to be passed on to the gullible SA public at 10x that per bottle?  Still Riebeek get off lightly as the Pinotage some next generation winemakers buy from the Swartland Winery is less than R10 a litre.  Small berries, big opportunities for hotties, as the slogan goes.

Riebeek Cellars only bottles 20% of production and I would propose a Co-op Coup to Morne Rall, the Johnny Bravo of international wine marketing. An open-day weekend when wine lovers can fly down from Jo’burg (Greyton and Cape Town numbers can stick with the Swartland Revolution) and choose their own tanks and barrels of superlative wines. Fanakalo can whip up some ego etikette and it’s win-win for consumer and Riebeek Cellars CEO Zakkie Bester. biggie nov Two knockout blows from the Swartland The only losers will be those “winemaker” middlemen and Biggie Smalls. But then Biggie is adept at “surviving embarrassing mistakes and rebounding from failure” which made him a cover story in Egopreneur magazine (above) this month? After all, leading with the bad news is a novel approach to marketing yourself. Another lesson from the boot of a Ferrari, I’ll bet!