The crucial element for the next Swartland Revolution party has been revealed – the poster. On which no comment is necessary, or desirable, or even possible….
Beyond, perhaps stating that it features (as it were – but don’t look too closely) the team that brought you the last party, and the last poster: Chris and Andrea Mullineux (Andrea’s the one that they allowed to get into the vat with her clothes on, perhaps as a concession to the fact that she’s about to have her second baby), Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst and Callie Louw. Hiding invisibly behind the vat is Marc Kent, a crucial element in the excellent organisation of the new-generation Swartland (his Boekenhoutskloof owns Porcelain Mountain, the remote estate where Callie is farming).
The next event (it’s not really a party, or not only a party, but last year’s one felt like a party most of the time) will be only in November – but take note that, I’m reliably told, about 60 of the (pricey) weekend packages have already been sold. The programme and further details are on the Revolution website.
I’m very pleased to say that they’re having me along again – this year with the privilege of “moderating” the tasting that les Mullineux will be presenting of their brilliant wines. There’s going to be a tasting of international wines presented by (at least) Michael Fridjhon and Jamie Goode (who I hope is going to discover in the Swartland at least a few of South Africa’s top 100 wines that aren’t in the list of the Top 100 SA Wines – at present he seems to be having some difficulty in seeing the difference between those two categories!). And what will probably be a highlight for many, there’ll be the “street party” – which this year will show wines from the members of the Swartland Independent – which is emerging as one of the most rigorously principled groups of wine producers anywhere in the world. Don’t quote me, but I think something like 18 have already signed up and committed themselves to the organisation’s demanding standards. Hopefully more details of their organisation will have emerged before November.
And, being somewhat obsessed with syrah/shiraz they’ve also brought in, like last year, one of the great Northern Rhone producers. Young Olivier Clape, from the house of August Clape (Olivier’s grandfather, who started bottling his own wine in 1955), will be presenting a tasting. Although I think it’s a pity that the organisers haven’t this year gone further south in France, where there are many areas in many ways more similar to the Swartland, it’ll be a great treat to taste these fantastic wines from the Cornas appellation.
I visited the Clape cellar last year and it is wonderful. (That’s Olivier in the pic which I took on that visit – the red eyes are my camera’s fault, not his.) A Stellenbosch winemaker told me recently about his own visit there, and how shocked he’d been by all the mould in the dark underground cellar! You can see the much prized antiquity of it all in the photos below – the big old oak foudres that these great wines are matured in, and the grey-black mould (actually perfectly clean, and feeling like deep, soft, firm velvet).
It’ll take a while before the Mullineux cellar looks quite like this.