Lovely Bubbly

It’s a lovely day in Franschhoek. I’ve been invited to the Colmant Cap Classique and Champagne launch which turns out to be a yuppie gathering of beautiful people.

Jean-Philippe and Isabelle Colmant couldn’t have prayed for a better day to launch their “bubblies” – the sun is out which makes for ber sunglasses and petit sundresses. Perfect weather to showcase their “loyal party buddies”. Great MCC and sun – what a combo!

Colmant Brut Tradition and Ros are on tap (I have coupons) and so is one serving of oysters. But the oysters are served from a tent on this warm day and do not come with complimentary Imodium, so I skip. Everyone else seems to be slurping away regardless

Instead, I have my oysters at Bouillabaisse in Franschhoek’s main road. Prawns and oysters Livin’ La Vida Loca-style. Seksie perfeksie. They are opening a shop at De Waterkant in Cape Town soon. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile I will be buying my Colmant Brut to re-enact this perfect day. It retails for R115 ex-cellar.

Mud wrestling

On the invite: “Wear comfortable clothes you would wear for gardening”

Me: I live in the City Bowl, lady. I don’t have a freakin’ garden! (Yes, people have suggested I work on my attitude.)

Dressed in torn Guess jeans and cursing, I make my way to the event

This turns out to be great fun, and not labour intensive at all. Granted, we only plant a single line of vines.

The “scoop”: Nederburg is increasingly experimenting with unusual grape varieties, such as the Grenache we planted, as well as Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera. A small block of Carignan has also been established and, during a tasting of the 2007 vintage, everyone expresses their delight. Cellarmaster Razvan Macici lets slip that a single-varietal might be forthcoming (up to date it has mainly been used in blends). It sounds like it will be an auction wine, though.

Our “hard” work is rewarded with a hearty lunch; during which conversation mainly revolves around the issue of “Black Diamonds” and how this is an untapped wine market. Someone suggests that it’s all about labels, and that if the price is right (i.e. expensive) then it will sell. It has to be “image-befitting”. I am no marketing guru but I think this is a gross over-simplification of matters.

And yes, all the events I have attended have all been lily-white. Except the FDC-tasting that Glen from The Sowetan attended.

Put that in your glass and swirl it..

Judgement Day

This French Bistro was unfortunately not established back in the days when I used to roam the Stellenbosch streets as a student (it was a corner caf where we journalism students stocked up on cheap cigarettes). I guess the corner has changed for the better. It is now a trendy spot reserved for those who prefer oysters, salmon and creamy mussels to Camels. I feel honoured (if slightly intimidated) to be sharing this chic space with the esteemed wine judges I recognise from column pics and blogs

Fleur du Cap’s Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc ’08 is the winery’s first white wine to be released under screwcap, and it sounds like the other vintages will follow suit Any excuse to have the media taste your wine, I suppose. I’m happy to say however that the wines are good (The current-release 2008 vintage sells for R74 ex-cellar.)

This is my first introduction to the “vertical tasting” process. The various vintages (’05 to ’08) are placed next to each other and it’s up to us to pair them with the dishes served. I think it’s a wonderful way to experience and compare the development of various vintages – the 2007 and 2006 stand out as favourites and I have my glasses filled with these at every opportune moment. So does everybody else, I suspect, given that the afternoon quickly morphs from slightly serious to boisterous

It is during the more lively stage of the function that I decide to approach the bench (why don’t they all just wear robes with judges’ wigs?)

Standing before the learned council with my Sauvignon Blanc, I introduce myself, adding that I’d really enjoyed the 2006 vintage but preferred the 2007 with

“Yes, yes, yes dear, but who in the wine industry would you like to sleep with?” This can’t be a serious question, I think, but then notice that the woman opposite the self-appointed Supreme Judge Pendock is taking notes!

It’s a looong conversation. It’s just a pity that the expos of the winelands that Pendock has been working on is due for release soon and is probably already at the printers…

In case you’re wondering, someone Bruwer gets the overall nod as most desired. I still don’t know exactly who it is, though. After clicking on “Google Images”, I think it’s safe to rule out Bruwer Raats, Abrie Bruwer, Fanus Bruwer and Martin Bruwer. In the wine world, taste can be quite subjective though But I’m not judging. Really.