Grapevine Archive for Cellar Surprises
This Wine Society bottling of 1966 Savigny Marconnets was proffered by friend and supplier Richard Kelley (whom some members may know better under his moninker of ‘Rick The Cape Crusader’, used for The Liberator wines), who was my usual guide for several days on my last trip to South Africa.
His generous habit is to travel with a mixed case of interesting bottles from his own cellar for the benefit of friends and colleagues in the local wine industry where such bottles are rare and the thirst for vinous experience is insatiable.
This particular bottle, purchased as part of a mixed case at auction (another of Richard’s habits, which he tells me yields more happy surprises than bad ones), was included for my benefit, and that of our generous hosts on this beautiful early summer’s evening.
Served blind it threw us not just on age but on origin, too (though these were the days of a little enhancement with something from further south!). The wine had clearly coasted through its recent long haul flight and was absolutely delicious, all the more so for the occasion and the kindness shared.
Jo Locke MW
I have just returned from a buying trip to South Africa and am more excited than ever about the country’s wines. Look out for a number of new arrivals in The Society’s range throughout 2014.
With the exchange rate heavily in our favour, I was pleased to discover that eating out in South Africa is better value than ever. Menus are varied, imaginative, and sometimes adventurous (peppered ostrich steaks were delicious and apparently very healthy too – certainly very lean). Pizzas (not very adventurous, I hear you say, but wait ’til you try them!) have a wafer-thin crust that just has to be good for you. Seafood of course is heavenly, and the many fish unfamiliar to us are well worth trying, though some do tend to be on the bony side, so it’s worth taking advice from generally well-informed staff.
Cape Chamonix, like many wine farms, now offers cheese and meat platters as well as its full restaurant menu, now with input from local celebrity chef Reuben Riffel. And of course there’s Gottfried’s award-winning wine range to sample while you are there.
Cape Point Vineyards, with surely one of the most stunning views of the winelands, hosts a weekly food market, every Thursday evening in summer. I took this to be along the lines of our farmers’ markets but in fact it’s more of a night out, with a variety of ‘street’ food stalls and plenty of great wine and local beer available too.
Here they are setting up in clear blue skies for an evening of good food and fine wine. It can be very windy here so don’t be misled into going without at least a sweater!
I was also shown the latest 2008 vintage of the Cape’s legendary Vin de Constance, which has been released in magnum, packed in handsome wooden boxes, and by all accounts has flown out!
Fans will be delighted to hear that the regular, more diminutive bottle, snapped in Klein Constantia‘s cellars alongside its new big brother, will be available in larger quantities.
Jo Locke MW
South Africa Buyer