“Wine is wont to show the mind of man” – Theogenis
Despite the fact that I spend my weekdays dealing with farmers and exporters in the wine industry, I know very little about the actual product itself, much to my friends’ dismay. When presented with a wine list, the phrase “Ask Gillian, she works in wine…” has never once resulted in my smug identification of some memorable wine, based purely on my in-depth knowledge of the humble grape.
“Where there is no wine, there is no love” – Euripides
I do, however, enjoy the fruit of the vine as much as the next ignorant boozer. So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a local video expounding varietal virtues in terms I could understand, using a familiar frame of reference – people!
“A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from wine.” – Ernest Hemingway
If you’re looking for wine-geek sound bites with which to impress your friends, then don’t waste your time. This is a heartfelt description of each of the more popular varietals produced and consumed in South Africa; from the behaviour of the vine, right through to the personality traits of the resultant wine.
“… he had me at Sauvignon Blanc.” – Me
“When strangers gather happily together at a table, it’s because they’re getting something more than a standard meal or drink out of it.” So says Adee Braun in her article Alone Together: the return of communal restaurant tables.
There is definitely nothing ‘standard’ about the food or drink at Julia Hatting’s Reverie social table in Observatory, where strangers gather happily at one long table to enjoy a delicious meal, great local wines and friendly conversation.
I don’t speak wine. I don’t know my legs from my nose and I wouldn’t know a flaccid wine if it hit me in the face. I do drink it though, in copious amounts and like everyone else I like what I like and the reasons are personal. It’s not just about taste, it’s the impression the wine creates in the mind, what it evokes – much like music or food or love. I learnt this from Abraham when he shared his wine and a bit of his soul with me. We shared our friends too: mine are not conversant in wine, his are; my friends brought bread, cheese and hangovers, his brought dark chocolate and Dalai Lama quotes. We broke bread and barriers and we shared it all over wine and a weathered wooden table at Druk My Niet Estate where Abraham de Klerk is the winemaker.
He’s a romantic, an old soul, a man of passion. Abraham gets excited when speaking of his wines and the challenge to produce that one perfect vintage, that one perfect wine – the exact challenge that keeps driving him season after season. He doesn’t believe in half measures and resents the fact that he has to produce a marketable range as well as his top end wines as they require equal passion and dedication. He’s a balls to the wall, all or nothing kind of guy and he’s eager to make his mark.