The time is almost upon us. Next weekend (9th-10th Nov) Riebeek Kasteel will be bathed in fine wine. It’s the third edition of the Swartland Revolution. The wine festival put on by Swartland producers which has seen a massive sucess over the last two years.
Tickets to the main event – top tier tastings, French producers showing off their wine, lunch cooked by winemakers’ moms – sold out quicker than a washed out 80’s band trying to make a buck in South Africa. This is completely understandable. The Swartlanders managed to combine hedonism, very good wines, and a healthy lack of pretension; a combination that had Jamie Goode – British wine critic – calling it the best wine event in the world.
The hipster in me baulks at this high-praise, wishing that the event was still some sort of underground wine gig. Stomping my feet like the grunge kids did when the world “discovered” Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
This year’s big ticket names attending are the Graillot family from the Northern Rhone who will be presenting their absolutely kick-ass syrahs. It’s almost worth the ticket price just for this tasting. OK, that’s not true, but for wine-geeks it’s a pretty big deal.
The locals will have their wines on offer at the other tutored tastings this year exploring the “different terroirs from the various Mountains and Hills of the [Swartland] appellation.” Finally there is the Expert Opinions panel on which Hendrik Thoma, German Master Sommelier and Neil Beckett, Editor of The World of Fine Wine, each share three of their all time favourite wines. You can bet your last rand – all that you may have left if you bought a ticket – that the wines on show here will be superb.
This is all rather moot as the tickets are sold out for these events. However, check out @swartlandrev’s timeline in case any last minute cancellations come up.
Worry not people, there is still hope for you. Join the party for the people, the hoi-polloi, and anyone else who is in the are at the Street Party on Saturday afternoon from two till five. This is where all the Swartland producers will be, offering their wines up for tasting. The line up is pretty exciting, and for only R100 it is arguably the best value wine ticket you can buy in South Africa.
Here is the line-up of wines you can taste at the street party:
AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Dragon Ridge -Fynbos Estate
Mullineux Family Wines
I’m pretty confident that many of these producers are entirely foreign to you. Which, friends, is the best reason to attend.
New on the scene is Porseleinberg, a boutique project from the people at Boukenhoutskloof. Callie Louw is the wine maker, and in my opinion, or to my taste, it is one of the best Syrah’s in the country.
Meerhof is kind of new to the scene, and I tasted some of their wines at Cape Wine (a big biennial trade show) and I was delighted with them. I mean fist pumpingly delighted, sent-a-postcard-to-my-mom delighted. I felt that I had a pretty good grasp on the styles of Chenin that we produce. Then Meerhof comes along and makes one in an entirely different style to any I have tasted. Very linear, mineral, stripped bare – in a good way – and it was fantastic.
Silvervis is a wine that I helped sell at the first revolution – a drunken marketing adventure involving a permanent marker, a concrete-egg, and a would be winemaker – it has finally been bottled and it was totally worth the wait.
Obviously you will try to taste all of them, but make sure you taste the Intellego wines. Jurgen is making some really cracking skin contact Chenin Blanc, that is just so damn happy-go-lucky it is hard to stop drinking it.
All the details for the event can be found here and there are shuttles leaving from Cape Town to make your life just that little bit easier.
I have already said this, but I will say it again, the R100 ticket offers super-duper good value. This isn’t some big wine fair where 75% of the wines are commercial and boring, but a focused group of producers making ‘natural’ wines of distinction and character. I am not suggesting that the Swartland is the only place making interesting wine at all, but you will learn more by attending this street party and chatting to the producers than you will at a year’s worth of WineX’s, Joburg Wine Shows and the like.
Hope to see you all there.
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