Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Have You Got Something Sweet?


Soweto Wine Festival – 2 September 2011
As I drive through the very busy streets of Soweto, the white man paranoia sets in – are my doors locked? But then I realise I’m being a dumb ass, as this place has a cool vibe and everyone is only too pleased because it’s… the… weekeeeend baby! I pull into the University of Joburg and there are friendly people enjoying the hundreds of wines available at the festival which is sponsored by Tops Spar and well attended.

I meet up with Wino Andy and Wino Doug from Real Time Wine and we start off our tasting. The champagne stall is busy and so are all the stands with sweet wine! The Four Cousins stand is COOKING, especially because one of the cousins, Hennie is there and a paparazzi of fans are taking photos with him. We had a good chat with Hennie and he is a friendly guy. Our favourite line of the night is:
“Have you got something sweet?”
Four Cousins Stand Cooking
Andy with the Cousin

It’s apparent that the Soweto market is not familiar with dry wine and the majority generally prefer champagne or the sweet tasting stuff, which regular wine drinkers may not necessarily enjoy, as they have been exposed to other styles of wine and acquired a liking to such, as it requires an acquired taste after all. It’s great to see that events and initiatives like this take place, which introduces consumers to wine, who under normal circumstances wouldn’t opt for it as their choice of beverage. I hope you are reading this wine marketers, there is a huge untapped market here guys, Soweto is keen on the fermented grape we know as wine, but probably end up sticking to what they know. Hell, I didn’t enjoy wine the first time I tried it, but I learned to appreciate and love it, especially after the more I learnt about it. So perhaps some tutored tastings will be an excellent start in this market? Profit is where the numbers are! Use it, don’t use it, but that’s my 2 cents worth.

Back to the event! We tried many wines but the most memorable was the Café Culture Pinotage which Andy was quite eager and persistent about J It tastes like cold coffee with a couple shots of wine! I gave it a 3/10 and Andy gave it 2/10, say no more.


I decided that when I attend wine festivals and try many wines, I won’t concentrate on scoring wines and prices etc, but rather on the enjoyment and drinking part. I mean, all work and no play, makes The Wine Oak grumpy!
So for the evening, these are some of the wines which stood out for me from a positive point of view:

2009 Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon (unreleased) – Young for a Cab but its going to be a winner. First time in 4 years Meerlust has released a single varietal Cab Sav. Warning, it is pricey at about R220 per bottle.

2009 Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Merlot – Different, about R110 a bottle

2009 Raka Barrel Select Merlot – I like, R95 a bottle

1999 Fleur du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon – Available from Vinotèque at R60 a bottle! Bargain, although its over its peak and may be starting to turn, so drink right now!

2008 Leopards Leap Family Collection, Shiraz/ Mourvèdre / Viognier Blend – Decent and good buy at R55

2009 Asara Merlot – Difficult to find a decent Merlot with good Merlot characteristics in SA, this is good at a reasonable price of approximately R80 a bottle.  

2007 Ormonde Vernon Basson Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc – A blend  and its good, although it is about R195 a bottle.
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