Questions, some without answers...

Questions, some without answers...

A couple of requests kept coming up this season. Being very service orientated, we’re always keen to source any wine for customers – even if we don’t have it on the shelves at that very moment – so it’s tough when you know that it’s going to be tricky to help the customer...  

The first of these is – “where can I find sherry?” Locally made sherry, except for the drink that goes by the name “Old Brown” and is not true sherry, has disappeared from the market. Names you will remember, like KWV, Douglas Green and Moni’s - all of whom made very decent sherries - have stopped making it. Why? According to Heineken, who bought the Moni’s brand, it is because there was not enough demand for it.  

I can tell you that we sold many bottles of sherry this season, just not locally made ones, but imports from Spain, the birthplace of sherry (named after the town of “Jerez” on the south-west coast of Spain). Sure, it is a singular drink, one that is enjoyed at specific times, but there is nothing else like it. Cold, with almonds, or seafood, or charcuterie, it is a wonderful drink. Internationally it is also undergoing a resurgence as an ingredient in cocktails. One customer told me that sherry is the perfect accompaniment to something called Basque burnt cheesecake, which I have yet to try, if only based on its fantastic name. 

Yes, drinks, and styles of wines, go out of fashion. But that wheel also turns. Plus, some drinks are simply more seasonal – they are and have always been celebratory drinks.  

Another style of wine that has been altered by fashion is chardonnay. Once the wine that held a unique place as the richer white wine, it has now been pushed into being fresher and lighter by winemakers who are, in my opinion, over-correcting from the “Anything but Chardonnay” time – when chardonnays were often too full and buttery and lacked backbone. But to go wildly from “too” rich to “lean and mean” is simply over-correction.  

Now chardonnay does not comfortably fill and dominate its own category, as the wine that is “queen” of white wines. Now some chenin blancs are richer and creamier than chardonnay, and some chardonnays are leaner than sauvignon blanc. What’s the consumer to do?  

And so it is that another question we were asked again and again this season - “what full-bodied/classic/rich chardonnay can you recommend?” There are a few that remain, but few. To be fair, some of the reason is the high price of the oak barrels that you need to mature the wines in to make the classic oaked style. But winemakers who are “running scared” of the “Anything but Chardonnay” mob are the main culprits. Stop running, I say, the mob has dispersed.  

Finally, I have to say I am quite surprised by the importance of colour when it comes to rosé wines. I have always known that colour is vital for rosé, but the number of bottles I had to hold up to the light for the customer to assess if the colour was “just right” was amazing ... and these days, “right” is light in colour. 

Creation 2023 Sauvignon Blanc
R 175.00
Terra del Capo 2021 Sangiovese
Terra del Capo
R 141.00
Stanford Hills 2020 Jacksons Pinotage
Stanford Hills
R 181.00
Spookfontein 2021 Phantom
Spookfontein Wines
R 300.00
Waterford 2023 Rose-Mary
R 164.00
Gabriëlskloof 2023 Rosebud
R 129.00
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