Weekend with Carl at the Paarl wine farm. Drunk at Reubens restaurant, Franschoek, 16/ 11/ 2008. Half bottle. Drunk with fillet steak. Top Chateauneuf-du- Pape.

Colour deep ruby. Nose shy, hints of spice, cloves. Herbaceous. Palate. Intense, rich, ripe tannins. Lovely fruit, powerful wine. Overall impression. Fine, powerful wine with a good future. Try not to drink it under ten years.  

Hugh Johnson writes of Chateau de Beaucastel “Leading, high-profile Chateauneuf estate. Deep, complex wines, drink 2 years or from 7-8 years; unusual grape mix includes one-third Mourvedre. Have softened in recent years.” 

There is a marvellous, side story to this wine.  While enjoying our food and Rhone masterpiece at our table we noticed a highly entertaining and slightly eccentric man holding court at a large table, adjacent to us. He spoke in a soft yet paradoxically audible voice whilst chain smoking Rembrandt cigarettes and drinking copious amounts of a Rupert- Rothschild white wine. He was a wearing a pair of yellow JP Todd’s (one of my dad’s favourite shoes) and radiated money.

He was “raving” on about his son who had written off a top of the range Ferrari that he owned.  “He is a marked man” he barked. Then he said “I am going to buy the most aggressive car in the world, an orange Lamborghini because I want to keep a low profile!” He continued “I am going to buy an intelligent dog, an Alsatian that will remember me when I return from my business trips, so it does not bite me.” He had Carl and me in fits of laughter.

So I said to Carl that I was going to him offer him a sip of my famous Chateauneuf -du -Pape.  So Carl and I approached him. “Excuse me sir, I said, sorry to intrude but would you like to have a sip of this wine. It’s outstanding.” He was surprisingly friendly and humble. “Of course” he said. He took a sip. “This is a bloody good wine!” he enthused.  “What do you guys do?” Carl replied that that he was a lawyer in asset management based in London.  “And you?” he asked me. “I am a wine writer” I replied. “Who have written for?” he asked. “Everybody and nobody!” I replied. I then rattled off everybody I written for. “I understand” he said.

“You are welcome to visit any one of my wine farms whenever you like.” “Just phone and ask to speak to me directly.” “Where are you guys staying?” he asked. “At our family wine farm in Paarl” I replied. “How long are you staying?” he asked. “We are leaving tomorrow” I replied. “Oh,” he said in a slightly disappointed tone of voice. “Sorry guys, it has been very interesting talking to you guys but I must return to my table.”  I mentioned that my family owned Cape Gate and that we were in the steel business. “That’s a bloody good company he said, a bloody good company!”

The man was Johan Rupert one of the wealthiest men in South Africa and a financial genius.

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