So a while ago I received an e-mail from a certain Mr. Andy Hadfield (which I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even know existed until very recently) that got me all excited. The subject line read as follows: A little Real Time Wine / WineStyle Magazine soiree! Now who of you can HONESTLY say that didn’t make you just a little bit excited?? I mean, it involved the word wine and insinuated a social event, which meant that it definitely promised a HappyRuby moment. The event was to take place on Wednesday, 01 June 2011 at HQ restaurant in Sandton, and I for one could not wait!
I was greeted at the door by a very friendly Brett Mulder, the owner of HQ and a chipper Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright, editor of Winestyle Magazine, who promptly made sure I had a flute of delicious bubbly from Pongracz MCC. Once all the guests, a mesh of food and wine bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, realtime winers and Winestyle writers, were all gathered Andy and Jenny proceeded to introduce the magazine, the blog and the reason for our little gathering.
We would be blind tasting 6 different wines, and we were expected to have an opinion on each of them. They had also, very kindly, supplied a list of banned words (punishable by tequila shots) which we weren’t allowed to used. Considering that the list consisted mostly of words such as acidity, sweaty saddle, notes, nose, and a whole bunch of other wanky words, I knew right from the word go I was in no danger of being forced to drink tequila. The reason for the list was quickly explained and, as a non-trained wine lover, made absolute perfect sense to me. Most people don’t understand what the professional wine tasters mean when they use all these swanky words. Their aim is to get normal people who love wine to give normal wine reviews that every Tom, Dick and Ruby will understand. Power to the masses! Or something like that:)
The reviews that followed were, quite frankly, hysterical. I’m not even going to attempt to remember some of the quirky and funny opinions that were raised…I simply would not be able to do them justice. I will, however, include my little, absolutely non-technical opinions of the 6 wines that were presented to us.
Wine 1: It’s alright. Not good, not exceptionally bad but nothing worth remembering. Also, it tastes vaguely familiar.
Wine 2: Stinks like the farm, tastes like osbloed
Wine 3: Smells a bit like raspberry chocolate….didn’t like the original taste…kinda grew on me.
Wine 4: Smells like coffee and holds promise. I got all excited and then….nothing
Wine 5: Smells rotten and sweet at the same time, but not like rotten fruit. love the taste….it doesn’t taste anything like it smells…thank goodness.
Wine 6: Smells like clean dirt and a bit of fruit….don’t like the taste..uber osbloed.
As you can see…none of those would ever be considered a GOOD and PROFESSIONAL review…but it explained EXACTLY what my experience was and as far as I can gather that is exactly what you guys were after. As you can see wine 5 (2010 Simonsig Adelberg Red (Bordeaux blend) @ R48) was my absolute favourite, followed by Wine 3 (2009 Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz @ R58 – which shall affectionately be known as the Blackadder wine) in second place. This also happened to be the general consensus of the group. Great was our surprise when Jenny did the big reveal and it turned out that the 2 favourites were considered ‘low end’ wines from estates. Also, the 3 I had considered to be pretty much awful turned out to be ‘high end’ wines. Seems like good wine is not determined by it’s price after all:)
We were then allowed to drink only our favourite wines while we enjoyed an absolutely fantastic meal from HQ. I love the concept of HQ. They serve ONLY salad, sirloin and chips and have a little menu of yummy desserts. While the concept may sound slightly arrogant (a restaurant that ONLY serves ONE meal) I can tell you with confidence that these guys have the right to be arrogant. They make the most yummiest sirloin in the whole wide world (honest) and the salad is pretty amazing too. I ended my dining experience with a super yummy Chocolate Fondant, which I believe to be on the same level as the chocolate Fondant by The Attic. And since I maintain that The Attic makes the best Chocolate Fondant in the world….that says a lot:)
All in all it was an awesomely fun night and I got to meet a bunch of interesting and funny people whom I hope to see again. This included Andy the dude from RealtimeWine, Jenny the editor of WineStyle Magazine, Greg, Snowgoose, Cindy, Sue, Carly, Lexi, Jono the taxidermist, Clayton, Sam the ex-US government person and Thembi. (Hope I didn’t miss anyone).
Thank you so much RealTimeWine and WineStyle magazine for putting up this event. I look forward to doing it again real soon:) I even got to take home a copy of WineStyle and a bottle of the Pongracz….guess who is drinking bubbly this weekend:)
P.S. Allow me to just punt the magazine and the bubbly, RealTimeWine and to let you guys know about a really awesome event coming up.
Wine Style is a quarterly magazine, which is much more coffee-table book like than magazine like really. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous and what makes this mag even better is the fact that it is probably one of the greenest mags around. They only print the exact number of copies needed for their subscribers and print about a 100 extra to give away at events like the one we had at HQ. So no over prints and no wastage. Best of all the magazine is free…so off you go…Subscribe HERE.
These people were awesome enough to donate the bubbly for the evening. It’s a brand new product which launched on the same night as the event. It comes in 375ml bottles and come in both Brut and Rose…and I can guarantee you it’s absolutely yummy…the extra bottle i got to take home proves this:)
This is their tagline and I think they don’t need any more explanation than that: Down with wine snobbery. 140 character wine reviews for the people!