Every industry has its in jokes and the wine trade has more than most. One enduring favourite, that’s heard, without fail, whenever three or more wine people are gathered together at a trade tasting, goes like this, “How do you make a small fortune in wine? …….. Start with a big one!”
As soon as the punch line is delivered, everyone present, will obligingly laugh along, even though they’ll all have heard the gag a million times before. Why? Well, it’s never been easy making money selling wine and back in the old days it was considered almost ungentlemanly to try. Obviously, in the 21st century the trade is much more commercially focussed than it was in the past but humour that’s rich in the old “for the love of wine” spirit is still much appreciated.
Of course, there are those who’ve made a fortune selling wine and one such man is Paul Boutinot. The son of French restaurateurs, Boutinot, began his wine career in 1972 by buying wines for his parents’ restaurant, La Bonne Auberge in Heald Green, near Manchester. Forty years later, when he sold his business, simply named Boutinot Wines, it had a turnover of 100m a year and a staff of over 80 people.
In 1989, almost twenty years into his wine career, Paul took the brave decision to make wine himself and set up his own production site in France, just outside Beaujolais. This was followed by an expansion into South Africa in 1994 and the founding of the False Bay Vineyards in the Cape in 1999. Five years later, in 2004, Boutinot achieved his ultimate dream by developing his own state-of-the-art winery, Waterkloof Estate, in the renowned Stellenbosch region. Praise and plaudits quickly followed and the estate is now well established in the top tier of Cape wineries.
Following the sale of his wine merchant business in 2013, Paul has focussed all of his attention on Waterkloof Estate and he’s regularly to be spotted, promoting his wines with an undimmed enthusiasm and passion, at all the major trade tasting events. Just the other week, I caught up with him and his son, Louis, at one such event and I was delighted when Louis agreed to host a Waterkloof Estate tasting for our customers in Kirk Langley on Friday May 13th. (see worthbrothers.co.uk for details)
During the evening, Louis will take us though 8 wines from his father’s estate but, to finish today’s column, I’d like to focus on my two favourites.
Circle of Life White, Waterkloof Estate 2012 £ 14.50
The beautifully packaged Circle of Life White, is a harmonious and elegant blend of 4 grape varieties – Sauvignon Blanc 56%, Chenin Blanc 28%, Chardonnay 13% and Semillon 3%.
The wine won a silver medal at the prestigious Sommelier Wine Awards and was described by the judges as, “A sophisticated blend, with flavours of candied fruit, apple, mango and quince, a hint of spice and a lick of creamy vanilla”, “This offers a good expression of tropical fruit with very well-integrated oak”
Try it with tuna or smoked potato gnocchi.
Seriously Cool Cinsault, Waterkloof Estate 2014 £ 13.50
Cinsault isn’t a widely known grape variety and it’s fair to say the grape is somewhat under-rated in the Cape but Waterkloof’s 40 and 50 year Cinsault bush vines really thrive in their challenging Southern Atlantic setting and, if there’s any justice, Cinsault will become as familiar a name as Pinotage in South Africa.
The wine has fresh cherry aromas on the nose and cool pink grapefruit flavours on the palate. Pair it with duck or rack of lamb.