It’s #WorldBookandCopyrightDay today (23 April) and the team from iconic South African wine estate Nederburg, have been catching up on some fantastic reads during the lockdown down-time and have shared their suggested wine and book pairings. I’ve made a selection of my favourites below – and kept the focus local. Many of my international guests ask what South African books I’d suggest, and so here are six of them:
1. Youth by J.M. Coetzee
Paired with Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Young Airhawk
The Young Airhawk, made from barrel-fermented Sauvignon blanc, remembers the son of Johann and Ilse Graue: talented young winemaker, Arnold Graue, who died an untimely death in a flying accident in 1953. He introduced various technical innovations at Nederburg and won many prizes during his career. He was also a keen young pilot, who loved to explore the wide-open skies of Africa. This wine captures the spirit of this professionally driven young man with a huge appetite for life, and reminds of Youth, by JM Coetzee, the a South African-born novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. In his acclaimed novel, set against the backdrop of the 1950s and 1960s South Africa, he explores a young man’s struggle to find his way in the world with tenderness and a fierce clarity.
2. Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Paired with Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchorman
The Anchorman, a wooded Chenin blanc, commemorates Nederburg’s founder Philippus Wolvaart. He established the farm in Paarl in 1791, and planted Chenin blanc, amongst other varietals. Doing so must have called for a massive leap of faith, as times were hard. But, he was a man of vision and courage, saw the great potential of the land itself and was prepared to put down anchor. In some ways it recalls the story of Nelson Mandela, one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country.
3. Jock of the Bushveld by James Percy Fitzpatrick
Paired with Nederburg The Winemasters Pinotage
Pinotage, South Africa’s home-grown grape was created in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, when he crossed Hermitage (aka Cinsaut) and Pinot noir, but it took almost another four decades before a wine made from Pinotage vines was launched commercially. Although there are now many examples of Pinotage made in many parts of the world, the cultivar is considered as uniquely South African as the timeless South African classic, Jock of the Bushveld. First published in 1907, this much-loved true story is based on the real-life experiences of author Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his Staffordshire bull terrier, Jock.
4. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
Paired with Nederburg The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest
Legendary Nederburg cellar-master, Günter Brözel, is perhaps best known for one particular innovation. He pioneered the making of noble late harvest wines in South Africa, creating his maiden Edelkeur in 1969. Earning widespread recognition for Nederburg, and the title of International Wine & Spirit Competition Winemaker of the Year in 1985, he was the first winemaker in South Africa to achieve this honour. It reminds of the highly innovative achievements by Elon Musk, who grew up in South Africa, and has become known as Silicon Valley’s most audacious businessman. An industrialist whose relentless drive and ingenious vision brought about PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity. He has dedicated his energies and fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching, just as Brözel did for Nederburg many years ago.
5. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Paired with Nederburg Baronne
Smooth, suave and self-assured Nederburg Baronne, one of South Africa’s most successful red blends (Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz), and a name that for many is synonymous with red wine itself, was born in 1973 to give wine drinkers the chance to add some nobility to any occasion. Just as this well-priced wine has become an integral part of the South African landscape over the years, so has much-loved South African comedian, Trevor Noah, one of the country’s proudest and most successful exports, who is currently the host of The Daily Show in the US.
6. Platter’s Wine Guide 2020 by Jean-Pierre Rossouw
Paired with Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon
Known as the ‘King of Red Grapes’, Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the world’s most famous red wine cultivar. And a great match, we think, with none other than South Africa’s most popular, long-standing and authoritative wine guide: Platter’s By Diners Club South African Wine Guide, compiled by Jean-Pierre Rossouw and featuring many expert contributors. Nederburg has twice in the past been featured as Platter’s ‘Winery of the Year’, in the 2017 edition, and in the 2011 issue. That’s not all. The 2014 vintage of Nederburg’s Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon, one of our most special wines, was named ‘Red Wine of the Year’ in the 2018 edition of the guide.