Despite South Africa’s modest showing in the Rugby World Cup, the arrival of Schalk Burger senior to showcase his wines was a real highlight of the year.
The Sporting Wine Club team gathered in the wonderful surroundings of Number Sixteen, a boutique restaurant which nestles in the heart of South Kensington.
John Inverdale, world renowned sports commentator and Kenny Logan, ex Scotland Rugby International were both able to join us and questions flew thick and fast, accompanied by a passionate description by Schalk of the ideal conditions for wine growing in the Wellington region of South Africa just north of Cape Town.
Schalk revealed to us that decomposed granite is the key, and drives the excellence of the fruit which grows on his Welbedacht Estate which he runs with his Sons.
We kicked off with the lovingly named and outstandingly good value sparkling wine, the Mon Rene, named after Schalk’s daughter. The Champagne-like quality was there for all to taste.
Every single drop of Schalk’s wine is lovingly mixed, and the red blends really catch the eye. The Cricket Pitch and Hat Trick, sporting wines if ever there were, made from vines growing alongside his Cricket Oval Ground, went down a storm. Many of the attendees were fans of the Bohemian Syrah, possibly recognising something of themselves in the title… Meantime the No. 6 is the unashamed flagship, made from six grapes, dominated by Shiraz and named after the shirt that he and his son donned for the Springboks. We ran out very quickly which was hardly surprising.
It was the Bush vine produced Chenin Blanc which also resulted in rave reviews. Its richness and pure quality marked it out as one of those South African specialities.
We ended the evening with a great impression of a passionate winemaker whose wines leave you with a sense of great fulfilment.
“Loved it! A great night of entertainment laced with delicious sporting wines and chat. The Sporting Wine Club provides the perfect platform for an evening of sport, wine, networking and friendship.”
Kenny Logan, Ex-Scotland Rugby International
“If you want a fun evening drinking great sporting wine whilst discussing current sporting issues of the day, this Club is for you!”
Jon Inverdale, Sports TV Presenter