Yesterday we visited the Wine Show at Sandton Convention Centre, what an awesome afternoon out! Cliff and I almost never get to go out alone together and we were very grateful that big sister Domi looked after little siblings Fjord and Acacia. I love The Wine Show (previously called the Jo’burg Wine Show), I like the fact that it’s on during the day and that estates sell direct to the public, often at special show prices. Silly me, I forgot to charge the camera battery so not much to offer on the visual side but it’s the taste and olfactory senses that have a banquet at the show.
My first real exposure to wine drinking in my 20s was sharing ‘Autumn Harvest’ with my friend Lesley while we fought over a computer keyboard chatting to friends around the world on ICQ, the lower the level in the bottle the further she took my good clean acquaintances into the gutter. With a baptism like that it’s very hard for me to be a wine snob but I have grown to love the artistry that goes into each creation. For a wine virgin, a wine show is a fantastic way to learn about the different varieties and the folk at the stands of each estate are so warm, friendly and passionate about sharing their knowledge and wares. Trust me if you go to a show you will learn a lot and it’s nothing like sitting in a maths class.
We decided to start off tasting the bubblies (mostly Methode Cap Classique wines), I can’t remember all the wonderful estates that we sampled and toward the end I was having far too much fun to bother taking notes. Some stands, like Simonsig we didn’t sample because we are familiar with their excellent wines. Our main quest was to conquer uncharted tasting territory.
I’ve never heard of Solms Delta before but they had fun offerings including a pear cider which was great, and we enjoyed their sparkling Shiraz too. We meant to return to the stand to buy some and try their other wines but didn’t seem to pass them again. Others which stood out in my memory were the Wildekrans Chenin MCC and their Pinotage which was also excellent, we were told that Wildekrans wines will soon be available at Pick ‘n Pay, so look out for them! In about a month’s time you will also be able to order their wines from their web site.
Wine people certainly seem to be salt of the earth or perhaps rather fruit of the vine folk. Despite wine having a sometimes snooty following, the creators seem well in touch with us ‘normal’ people. I particularly loved the people from The Huges Family, Wildekrans,Gabrielskloofand DuToitskloof. The guy at the Bosman stand was brilliant (not too shabby looking either), he was so quick off the mark, I asked him who wrote the play “Bosman and Lena” quick as a flash he said “well that was Nick van Zyl who once lived near Sutherland” … etc. etc. It must have slipped his mind, as it had mine, that the play was written by Athol Fugard, but I loved the way he made up a story on the spot with a smile on his face.
Another special new discovery was Claime d’ Or, their Cab Franc was very special, the blend and Chardonnay were also well above average.
Our great undoing was stopping at the UDACS wine and spirits stand, to which I was drawn by the Buchu Brandy (known for medicinal qualities). Cliff was then tempted to sample some international award winning pot still brandies (South Africa’s equivalent of French Cognacs). The gentleman helping us was a tad too generous and after that stop we could no longer claim to be particularly discerning.
Aside from the wine there are some wonderful foods and condiments on offer. At least 5 stands were selling olives and olive products, all of which were yummy. Cheese from La Petite France was heavenly, more so when combined with their pears in port. The stand selling Thai food (I think it was simply called Thai Cuisine) was amazing, we have sampled this lady’s wares before and now seek her out at wine shows and the neighbourgoods market in Braamfontein. There was also a stand selling real “pure chocolate” which is very different to what you and I know as choccy.
All in all we had a very merry time of it and discovered some new estates. The perfect ending to our visit was the 2007 Arumdale Shiraz. Pretty sure we will be back again next year.