OK, Peter May, I confess that I’m not maybe approaching this experiment with as much of the Big Brother-spirit as I could… Peter’s comments about evenings off and Champagne tastings have struck a chord so for the next few days, I’m aiming to avoid wines (and beers) I want to drink, and stick to the Big Boys. Which means there’ll be precious little room for Peter’s first wine love, namely Pinotage (his other passion is for wine labels), unless some of it makes its way into one of the Kumala reds.
Have fond memories of a sensibly priced Pinotage from a trip to South Africa in the 1990s. Ended up one evening having a braai at the house of one TC Botha in Worcester. TC was an ex-member of the Springbok tug’o’war team, and was built like a brick privy. And his carnivorous credentials were unimpeachable. ‘One time, my mother went away for the weekend and left me with a bucket of T-bones’ was one quote. ‘Men who like meat don’t eat sausages’ was another.
In the style of great barbecues everywhere, the men were in charge, the fire was lit too late, and by the time the meat actually hit the grate, virtually everyone was giddy on beer. We started eating at half past midnight, and then at 2am found ourselves in a strange wooden hut-cum-caravan at the bottom of the garden. ‘Try this,’ growled TC. It would have been impolite to refuse, especially as we had all just seen him devour enough bloody flesh to sink a gondola. ‘This’ was spectacularly good, lithe and leathery, brimming with meaty fruit, mature yet still full of life, like a smokier version of old-style Châteauneuf du Pape. It was a 1973 KWV Pinotage, and even though I visited some of the best addresses in the Cape over the next few days, it was a rare cellar that had anything that topped it.
Back to Biggies. Having had such success with Jacob’s Creek on the last couple of seesions, I thought why not have more of the same. So…
Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Rosé 2007, South Eastern Australia
Richer and drier than the American pinks, this is juicy supple wine, like blackberry and apple pie in a glass. TC’s aged Pinotage would be a prime candidate for a barbecue partner, but this fruity little fellow would also go down surprisingly well…
Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Brut Cuvée NV, South Eastern Australia
…as would this. No, it’s not a food fizz, but it’s the sort of fodder that you’d very happily sip at a BBQ while waiting for the men (why is it always men?) to get the food ready. The bold could even attempt sabrage. It’s not the most complex of wines, but it’s a fresh, nutty, not-too-big wine that offers flavours of pineapples, apples, even chocolate (think chocolate limes). And when my wife returns from the Maundy Thursday service, I’ll be having at least one more glass of this.