Jan Bo­land at his Proud Pe­ak of Per­fecti­on at Pap­pa G’s


A do­yen of the South A­fri­can Wi­ne In­du­stry, Jan Bo­land Coet­zee, re­ga­led 60 pa­trons at Pap­pa G’s Trat­to­ria w­hen he pre­sen­ted an ar­ray of 10 of his cur­rent wi­nes. Bo­land, who play­ed six tes­ts for the S­pring­boks in the 1970s, held the then re­cord of 127 ma­t­ches for We­stern Pro­vin­ce, and play­ed for S­tel­len­bosch U­ni­ver­si­ty (Ma­ties) for 17 y­e­ars.

Bo­land hai­led the 2015 vin­ta­ge as “the be­st in my wi­ne ma­king ca­reer in that it shows re­fi­ned A­fri­can e­lo­quen­ce”. T­his sta­te­ment ta­kes un­der­stan­ding. Way back in 1981, aut­hor Fa­nie de Jongh wro­te:

“In spi­te of his pro­found ad­mi­ra­ti­on for F­rench wi­nes, Bo­land is of the o­pi­ni­on that South A­fri­can wi­ne­ma­kers should not try to i­mi­ta­te, but rat­her to e­mu­la­te them, to pro­du­ce wi­nes with a dis­tincti­ve South A­fri­can stamp.” Bo­land was then 36 y­e­ars old and had left the Ka­non­kop wi­ne e­sta­te to le­arn a­bout Pi­not Noir in Bur­gun­dy it­self.

W­hen he proud­ly pre­sen­ted the V­rie­sen­hof Pi­not Noir of 2015 and the V­rie­sen­hof G­re­na­che of 2015, he re­coun­ted how he ca­re­ful­ly se­lects his plant ma­te­ri­al, and af­ter a vin­ta­ge, gets buds from per­for­ming vi­nes that he grafts to e­na­ble e­vo­lu­ti­on and mu­ta­ti­ons to ta­ke pla­ce.

At the sa­me ti­me, he - as a s­cien­tist - has stu­died the cha­rac­te­ris­ti­cs of the va­ri­ous oak fo­re­sts. For e­ach vin­ta­ge, he flies out his cooper, who tas­tes the wi­nes and then fo­cu­ses on pro­du­cing bar­rels from all three fo­re­sts in dif­fe­rent ra­ti­os and dif­fe­rent de­grees of to­as­ting, suit­a­ble to that vin­ta­ge.

The soft and fresh Pa­ra­dys­kloof Pi­not Noir (from youn­ger vi­nes) com­pa­red so well with the re­fi­ned ex­ci­te­ment of the V­rie­sen­hof (from ma­tu­red vi­nes) that he is pre­pa­red­to­cal­li­ta“Pi­notd’V­rie­sen­hof”, be­cau­se he has ful­fil­led his li­fe’s am­bi­ti­on - in so far as a wi­ne­ma­ker can. With the va­lue of the rand, the­re is a big mo­vement of o­ver­se­as in­ves­tors who want to mar­ket the in­ex­pen­si­ve Ca­pe, re­gar­ded as the be­st wi­nes at acces­si­ble pri­ces in the wor­ld. The top mar­ket wi­nes, es­pe­ci­al­ly, are ma­king a big im­pact. It is c­lo­se to laug­ha­ble that his top 2015 cos­ts less than £20.

The au­dien­ce at Pap­pa G’s we­re most at­ten­ti­ve, but shy to speak, so Bo­land mo­ved a­mong the ta­bles. He told the sto­ry of G­re­na­che, the ma­jor gra­pe in the Sout­hern R­ho­ne re­gi­on of C­ha­teau­neuf du Pa­pe. It was the fa­vou­ri­te wi­ne of the exi­led Na­po­le­on Bo­na­par­te. The Por­tu­gue­se thus plan­ted G­re­na­che on the West Co­ast at Pie­ke­niers­kloof. T­his is now the most fa­med vi­ney­ard in the coun­try. O­ver a de­ca­de ago, Jan took cut­tings through to his V­rie­sen­hof farm out­si­de S­tel­len­bosch and es­ta­blis­hed a sin­gle vi­ney­ard of G­re­na­che. Re­cent­ly the 2013 G­re­na­che won its class in a hu­ge In­ter­na­ti­o­nal Com­pe­ti­ti­on in Aus­tra­lia, and al­so ca­me se­cond o­ver­all to a New Ze­a­land Pi­not Noir. Most of the pa­trons, lucky to be ex­po­sed to t­his very li­mi­ted re­le­a­se, we­re as­toun­ded by the in­cre­di­ble ex­pe­rien­ce. Bo­land re­spon­ded: “It is an ot­her, not a­not­her wi­ne.”

The food, plan­ned by or­ga­ni­ser De­ni­se Lind­ley of the Fran­cois Fer­rei­ra A­ca­de­my and pro­vi­ded by Ma­rie­tjie Gel­den­bloem and Ge­rald Pa­luz­zi at Pap­pa G’s, ma­t­ched two char­ming C­har­don­nays - the un­wooded 2016 and the 2015 bar­rel­fer­men­ted C­har­don­nay.

Al­so on of­fer we­re the 2009, the 2011 and the 2013 V­rie­sen­hof Kal­lis­ta (a Bor­deaux blend) in mag­num, s­ho­wing ba­lan­ce and a blu­e­ber­ry to­ne with a smooth tex­tu­re co­ming from the Mer­lot.

Bo­land does not re­le­a­se his wi­nes chro­no­lo­gi­cal­ly. In fact, the stun­ning 2007 Ca­ber­net Sau­vig­non has on­ly e­ver been sold at the Ca­pe Wi­ne­ma­kers Aucti­on, and the 2007 Pi­not Noir a­waits re­le­a­se.

“I ho­pe I ne­ver ha­ve to re­le­a­se them. They are fo­re­ver!” Bo­land said.

Mount View Re­sort, 1 York Street, Ge­or­ge. Tel 044 873 2232

Jan Bo­land (rig­ht) with Con­rad Louw, a Ca­pe Wi­ne Mas­ter, at the tas­ting.

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