I was ready to be impressed with Stormhoek, the South African company that has hired Hugh “Gaping Void” McLeod to flog its vines.
I like Hugh’s cartoons and his irreverance, but it turns out he is in some danger of hurting his personal brand by taking Stormhoek on and flogging it. I mean, what if the wine doesn’t have as much personality as he does (and how could it?). Let’s try and make this about the wine though, rather than the exceedingly nice personalised packaging, and Hugh’s personal blog network.
Talking of packaging, the first thing you notice is the screw top. I can live without a cork, I am not a bigot on that score.
I first tried Stormhoek’s Sauvignon Blanc on a Thursday night. It was very well chilled (perhaps too much so).
I poured the wine into a nice wide glass, swished and swished, and tried the “nose”.
Not as fruity as expected, was my first thought. Gooseberrys? Grass? Anything…
So i took a taste.
The dryness whacked me upside the head, a good sign in my book. Unlike a French Burgundy, which tends to hit you on the side of the tongue with acid high notes, this was in the middle of the tongue. I savoured the dryness, and waited for the flavours to come through.
and I waited. The fact is, as far as my uneducated palate is concerned, Stormhoek is not a classic Sauvignon. Its not bad but there just wasn’t enough fruit there. Not enough of the aforementioned gooseberry.
I drank the wine with a home-made chili Tufu and noodles. That was a good move, the wine was a nice cold dry fresh taste to sit alongside the heat of the chili. But i am sure you would agree-not an ideal tasting companion food.
Next day i decided to try again, and brought the wine into the office, made sure it wasn’t so cold this time, and shared it with the boys from YellowPark.
It was not so cold this time, and we poured it into tumblers for a Friday afternoon taster.
This time the fruit came though more strongly. Quite peachy in fact. Nice alcohol levels, and still suitably dry.
But not one of the three of us was all that impressed.
A good product at a good price sure, but that’s not enough in a market this crowded.
You would drink this stuff happily if it was offered to you, but if it takes off, that’ll be down to the marketing rather than the product. Many wine buyers are very subsceptible to effective marketing so good luck.
Frankly the notion that Freshness Matters, the winemaker’s schtick, may well be true of average white table wines. We have all had awful experiences with French table wine. But it was a beer advertising slogan first- from Budweiser no less. And I dont think its true of many decent wines.
So is Stormhoek a decent 7 quid bottle of wine? I suppose so. But if I was in Tesco and could buy a Sancerre for nine, instead, I would do so. The ignorance premium perhaps. Or maybe Stormhoek needs to work on the bouquet.
It will be interesting to see what other bloggers say about the wine in this experiment. I decided not to read other reviews first.
Where did i get the title of this blog? Well you’re supposed to spit it out, right? But really i was thinking about marketing, drinking the coolaid, passion, and ahem – spitting it out.