Wednesday, August 5, 2015

La vie est belle, n'est-ce pas?

When do you say “Life is good, isn’t it?” Is it when having sufficient money to provide in excess of your needs? Could it be that you’re most happy when you’ve achieved a major goal? Or would it be simply enough to share a superb meal with good wine and great friends? My take is: Today is special, use it well. It only comes once, so use every opportunity in creating a unique occasion, making some lasting memories along the way to the sky.
Cape Town harbour
Sure, I know that it’s important to strive to achieve your full potential. But this, like most things, is a life-long quest. What’s necessary is to appreciate the small milestones along the way and to share this fully in the moment with your loved ones in total delight of life worth savouring. Recently I’ve had the good fortune to do a lot of sharing – of excellent wines, sparkling wines and terrific food coupled with many jokes and laughter. To me, this is a day well spent and worth remembering.

It started with me phoning Sophie in a panic, saying that I’ve got clients from the US here in an hour and I need help. She laughs, saying. “Ok, see you just now I guess.” We get off to a rocky start when many wines have Merlot in it – which Yolonda detests. But all ends well later when she and Enoch are in awe of the city’s lights from Signal Hill.

Jacques Germanier Brut Millésimé 2010
Two days later we set out for a tour to two cellars in the Voor Paardeberg Region, clustered around a mountain inhabited by baboons and leopards. Yolonda loves the organic and Fairtrade concepts, but does not approve of dry wines, so when Jaco adds “a touch of sugar” in the form of grape fructose the day is saved. Afterwards we move on to a 3-course lunch starting with Jacques Germanier Brut Millésimé 2010 around a crackling log fire. It is followed by many tales from Enoch on life in South Africa, countered by the two Sophies – our host from Switzerland and our guest from France.

Next we go around the mountain and meet up with the Sfiligoi Italian family, producing wonderful wines since 2005. Attilio regales us with tales of baboons, their love for grapes and their penchant for throwing stones at the children and the farm workers.
Some weeks before I found myself in the golden wine triangle in Stellenbosch at a wine estate fit for a princess and her knight. Having previously tasted their 7-varietal flagship Warlord 2009 red blend which won 2 gold medals, I'm still astounded by the luxury. The entrance has a magnificent statue of a horse, with vast paddocks dedicated to each stud horse. I mistake their stables and training arena as a hotel. Craig takes me to the cellar across the road where we taste exquisite  individual components of the 2015 white,  Bordeaux and Rhône blends which include barrel fermented Verdelho, Viognier, Chardonnay,  Chenin Blanc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Syrah.

The Full Fifteen Africans Malbec 2013

Sophie and I take to the road again early one Friday to collect and deliver wine labels for Denmark, but setting up two tastings at cellars outside Darling. With Christopher leading the way we clamber up and down metal ladders, tasting the best of the 2015 harvest, including amazing Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, several Shiraz blocks to be blended later, ending with the premium Lynchpin, a Cabernet Franc Merlot blend.

Some weeks later Jeanine, the winemaker just across the road from Craig, stops at the office to drop off red bulk wine samples. It is not until another three weeks pass that I finally taste these three blends, only to be blown away by the quality of the Merlot based 2011 dry red blend – incredible value!

Little joys can come seemingly at the most inopportune times and in the most surprising ways. It’s up to us to recognize this magical moment and have the courage to digress from our well-laid out plans to fill it up with a little bit of heaven…

Photo credits:-
Anton Blignault - Cape Town harbour
Peter Rimell Photography - The Full Fifteen Africans