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A taste of poetry

Apr 21, 2017

Wine is bottled poetry. These words of wisdom penned by Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 19th century are surely as inspiring today as they were then. In fact, wine and poetry have long enjoyed a happy relationship, with wine serving as many a poet’s muse since time immemorial. Persian philosopher, astronomer and poet Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1131) dedicated many verses to the charms of the fermented grape and extolled the virtues of wine as a life force to be enjoyed “before we too into the dust descend”.

Local winemaker and published poet, Bruce Jack sees the intimate connection of wine and creative composition so: “Wine is the marriage of nature and human imagination. Mother Nature provides the grapes but it is flashes of inspiration and creativity that transforms them into fabulous, captivating wines.” No surprise then that he has dedicated much of his creative time to dreaming up enchanting names and descriptions for his wines in the Flagstone range.

The label of each of the wines shares a unique and evocative story – the tales range from myths of flying dragons to an allegory of a wild card: the dark horse. When asked how his Pinotage gained the name Writer’s Block, he says: “Like many things in this country, it can be a bit daunting when first encountered. However, with patience and understanding, it is possible to master this mysterious, idiosyncratic variety.” The result is a full-bodied (and much-awarded) wine bursting with wild berry character and unctuous, velvety drinkability.

In addition to the Dark Horse Shiraz and the Writer’s Block Pinotage, the Flagstone range includes the Dragon Tree Red Blend. Originally from the Canary Islands, one of these trees was given to the Port Captain of Cape Town by a passing ship’s captain over 100 years ago. The tree has blood red sap the colour of wine. Legend tells of a wicked dragon who sat at the Pillars of Hercules and blasted ships with lashings of fire as they sailed past. Eventually she was mortally wounded by some forgotten hero and flew forlornly off to sea to die. Only where her blood landed on earth (on a few remote islands and around the edge of the Mediterranean) do Dragon Trees grow. One of these mysterious and legendary trees grows above what used to be the Flagstone barrel maturation cellar at the Waterfront. The winery moved to Somerset West in 2002.

But this story has a happy ending for Capetonians and city dwellers captured by the names and labels of the Flagstone bottles and particularly by their contents: Bruce Jack and the Flagstone team have opened a Flagstone Tasting Room at the Rockwell Hotel in Green Point. The innovative inner-city tasting room is situated in the hotel foyer. Here you can taste 20 wines from the different ranges, buy by the glass, or purchase wine to take away. Order a bottle and then enjoy it in one of the attractive lounge spaces inside or outside. Get to know the stories behind the Two Roads Chardonnay, the Free Run Sauvignon Blanc and the Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon when you visit. Besides these top-end wines which deserve your full attention, there is also the affordable and very drinkable Poetry range which Bruce believes captures the essence of the grape - openly honest and precise – just as good poetry requires the perfect juxtaposition of words, and even syllables, to illuminate a moment, an emotion and a dream.

The Rockwell Hotel • 32 Prestwich Street, Green Point • Mondays to Sundays 11:00 - 20:00 • Cost of tastings from R10 • Contact 021 421 0015

CityLife columnist Ginette de Fleuriot is a Cape Wine Master. 

Last modified on Friday, 21 April 2017 09:17
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