Swartland and Sandton

News from the Swartland tends not to leak out, but to flood out like Niagara, with accompanying blaring trumpets and trombones. But here is something that has – so far, I think – merely trickled northwards to the benighted area of Gauteng.

It prompted me to visit the Swartland Revolution website, where I was shocked (believe me, shocked) to see that tickets for the next November edition went on sale in early June and have long since been sold out. Oh well. Maybe next year. Or just the Saturday afternoon revolutionary romp rather than the heavily-priced weekender.

SR poster 2013But I can fill in one gap on the programme for the lucky (and pretty rich) two-day-eventers. In addition to the already-announced great northern French exponents of chenin blanc and a great southern French exponent of a grenache-based red blend, the local exposition this year has brilliantly decided to recognise that the Swartland has a past which offers the testimony of terroir to the grandeur of its present and the greatness of its future.

“Swartland stories” the tasting is called… I hate to admit that I can’t be exact about what will be on offer, but it could well include a bottle or two from among these: cinsaut and pinotage from the 1970s, Allesverloren stuff from soon after, Spice Route from the earliest pioneering days of the New Swartland at the end of the 90s, the great pioneering efforts of Eben Sadie, and perhaps an early Lammershoek.

So expect at least a wine or two that’s older than most of the revolutionaries themselves (if not quite as old as the “moderator” trying manfully to keep the kids under control).

But don’t quote me. Watch that space, with a little envy like mine.

And in Bryanston too

Don’t think we don’t have a vibrant and cutting-edge wine life up here in Sandton, however. This little tale was told me by an elderly relative (nicer and less demanding than the Widowed aunt, but of a similar vintage – with the undeniable advantage of still being alive).

At a genteel lunch at the Bryanston Country Club, my relative decided to be rash and risk getting tiddly (well, it was Sunday after all) and asked the waiter if she could have a glass of red with her food. Yes, she was told, how about a glass of merlot? (What did you think it might be – nebbiolo, trincadeira?) “How lovely!”, she agreed.

Trouble is it arrived freezing cold and my dear relative, though hardly a fussy wine connoisseur, thought this not quite right and gently complained. It was explained that this was how the Bryanston CC keeps its open botles fresh – and it’s hard to dispute the motive, even though the method might be considered inadequate and one wonders how long the bottle had been opened. But as to dealing with the frosty froideur – “Of course, madam!”

The glass was returned two minutes later, at a nice room temperature. One wonders how country clubs managed before the days of fridges and microwaves, not only for their generally dubious food but also the wine.

[This blog originally carried on the now-discontinued “Widow’s Nephew” page]

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