One of the many privileges of living in Cape Town is that we live a mere forty minutes away from the countryside. Breathtaking panoramic views, landscapes that go on forever and heavenly vineyards, all just a quick drive away. Whether it's the Vrede and Lust of the Franschhoek Valley, the Steenbergs of Constantia or D'Aria of Durbanville Hills, a trip to the wine valley is one of the Cape's most celebrated pastimes.
Cruising down the N1 towards the Wellington Wine Harvest festival, I started thinking about wine tasting and its connection to dating. We travel far and wide from vineyard to vineyard, over Stellenbosch hill and valley, swirling about in search of that perfect blend to suit our palates. You’ll find that some prefer a strong blanc de blanc while others prefer a more defined, richer tannin. And just like dating, our tastes vary from classique, straight blends to bubblier, fruitier personalities, not to mention those with an acute affinity for the vintage stock. So why then, amidst the boundless selection available to us, are there still so many single hearts? Are we simply too spoilt for choice to commit to one brand? Has quantity replaced quality or have all the premium brands just been taken?
I recall the time my friend Charlotte started dating Graham Beck. She had previously been in a two year relationship with Autumn Harvest so she embraced the change with an empty wine glass. She enjoyed long weekends in the valley, sumptuous dinners, with sparkling wine coming out of her a-hole. Beck was charming, clearly wooded and dry with just a hint of sparkle. As New Year approached, Charlotte thought she had sealed the deal and was eagerly anticipating an invitation to his vineyard for old year’s eve celebrations. Hours before the party Charlotte received a BB message from Beck inviting her to the ranch. He also casually let slip that he would be accompanied by the girl he had been seeing for the past 3 months. Charlotte’s cork popped harder than a pinyata at Cinco du Maio. WTF? To make matters even worse, her name was Chardonnay (true story). Drunk with disappointment, Charlotte now no longer trusts the premium blends and has downgraded to a selection of decent mid-range wines.
With so much variety on tap, it’s not always easy for us to find the perfect one. And even though we progress from Tassie’s to Thelema or from Crackling to Cabriere, we keep forgetting that both produce the same after-effect. It does however take more than a hangover to stop us from dating so we soldier on, searching for the best possible value that money can buy.
Capetonians....drunks or connoisseurs?