@TheWineSamarie – briefings from the wine world


Briefings from the wine World – First impressions last, even when we are referring to the physical attributes of a bunch of grapes. And frankly, when it comes to people they have mastered all the tricks in the book from how to use the most eloquent phrases, donning the best suit or slapping on the latest “luminous glow” foundation to look their best. Because yes, most of the time we only have that one chance to impress. Imagine only being given one chance a year to make a wine that will not only sell well but will also create a following and set a trajectory of consistent quality.

Winemakers only have one chance a year to do this, maybe only 30 times in their career, so the room for error is dismal whilst shoppers are still reaching for the cheapest wines as we speak. Little do we know that it took four seasons for a grape to look that good, granting me the luxury of having a whole buncha stories to tell in the months to come.

I am happy to share that the first impressions of the 2019 harvest are very promising. After all, these almost ripe bunches have conquered the elements with naked SPF-free skins, keeping it real from bud break in spring to winter dormancy before finally stepping out into the sun as small fragile clusters. It requires a whole different beauty regime altogether to look this healthy and good, every step playing a vital role in the development of its personality.

It’s here where we need to take our hats off to viticulturists (or epicurists should I say) whose footsteps trailed the vineyards like a hungry caracal to inspect the grapes for those unwanted climate-freckles. Harvest time is almost like announcing this commitment when the reigns are transferred to the winemaker’s hands which will couch these grapes into becoming wine.

Albeit the quality of the first grapes that came in for the making of method cap classique, seems very promising, March will probably have the final say as to whether 2019 will have the potential of producing some beauty queens. With elegant sauvignon blanc and shiraz contenders putting their best foot forward in the cooler regions, pinotage and chenin blanc might be upping the ante with their more voluptuous Mediterranean looks in the equally sought after warmer regions.

But it is still fair game at this stage with the prospects of rain or vigorous sunshine that can still easily chase all these beauties into one corner to fight it out for the title. That being said – it’s a tough game for grapes out there. So next time when you reach for that bottle, remember that it took a helluva lot of money to look this good.

Samarie Smith is a qualified taster and currently the Brand Business Manager at Benguela Cove.

She remains an eternal wine student and an unashamed flag-bearer for South African wines. @TheWineSamarie

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