Episode 3 – the wine

Episode 3 – The Bandolier

Technical Information:

Producer: Confidential
The Wine: 50% Mourvèdre
50% Syrah
Vintage: 2009
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Alcohol: 15%
Bottles: 3,840 bottles

This is a true story, only the facts have been changed.

It was five in the afternoon and I find myself rushing up the Helshoogte Pass, late for my 16h30 meeting with Miles. Nothing changes. In the winery all is quiet; the cellar hands have left for the day. There is no sign of the world’s most handsome winemaker (that’s Mrs Rick’s observation incidentally, not mine) and after another aborted call to his cell phone, I set about busying myself amongst the barrels. Pipette in hand, I stumble across a few rogue barriques of Mourvèdre which I am to find out later come from an experimental planting on the farm. The phone rings and it’s our elusive winemaker on the line. Evasive and somewhat apologetic, he admits to forgetting our appointment; something to do with the surf being up on the West Coast… Feeling somewhat gatvol, he agrees to curtail his ‘board meeting’ and return to Stellenbosch to conclude our now seriously delayed blending session. By the time he arrives, the assemblage is all but complete on my new Provence-style red; all it needs now is a name…

The Bandolier pays more than just a little respect to the red wines of Bandol; the only French wine to be dominated by the Mourvèdre grape. Located in an old fishing village to the east of Marseilles, the warm, Mediterranean climate is ideally suited for ripening this late ripening variety.

The resulting wines can be somewhat tannic and are often tempered by the addition of Cinsault and Grenache or, in the case of The Bandolier, some soft, plummy Syrah. Unabatedly well-structured, the wine is already approachable in the company of some sturdy Daube de Boeuf, but one would expect to see benefit with further ageing.

Afrikaans Lesson #137:
Gatvol –
No English equivalent, this could be considered the most expressive word in the Afrikaans language. Depending on the force at which the word is delivered, it can mean anything from feeling mildly fed-up to being massively pissed-off!

Afrikaans Lesson #12:
Helshoogte –
Hell’s Heights – the name of the mountain pass that connects Stellenbosch to Franschhoek.

Afrikaans Lesson #457:
Cinsault – Of course, wine nerds amongst you will have already noted that this is the South African spelling of the cultivar, as opposed to the more internationally recognised Cinsaut. Don’t ask me why