Avocados and Pinot Noir
Finally! A Pinot that your Cabsauv friends might enjoy
“I feel really bad about this,” she said, “but I just don’t like avocados.”
“You don’t have to apologise!” I exclaimed, “All the more for me!”
“No, you misunderstand,” she replied. “I feel bad for *me*. It’s very clear that avocados are awesome, and that I am missing out right now.”
“I still have hope though,” she added, almost as a consolation to herself, “that one day I will grow to like them.”
It occurred to me that there are very few things that people apologise for not liking. Like, no one apologises for hating on a BMW 7-series. Or the new Bieber single. They just sneer, and say something like, “Nee, sies man!” and dismiss the thought.
But there are a few things that people will actually be embarrassed about not enjoying… like avocados & Pinot Noir (oh, and radiohead).
Now I’m not desperate for everyone to love Pinot Noir. But it does bother me that there is such a large gap between what the average South African wine lover enjoys (ripe, bold, layered, lengthy) and what wine critics tell them that they should enjoy (light, aromatic, savoury and ‘crunchy’) is quite frankly, a bridge too far. It’s like the Pinot Noir Police have given up entirely trying to build a society of harmony and acceptance.
“Who cares if no one understands the cultivar,” they say. “It’s Pinot Noir! We’ll wait here while the others catch up.”
I re-discover this fact week after week, as I traipse another of my favourite Pinot Noirs off to a neighbourhood gathering… And then wince as we all apologise to one another; them for not enjoying my Pinot Noir, and me for not more convincingly stating my case. “C’est la vie,” say the old folk.
But then this bottle gives me hope.
I’m alway s afan of gateway drugs…a product or experience that will ease one into a new way of seeing the world. Adam Mason’s uncharacteristically ripe (and therefore utterly inclusive) Raised by Wolves Pinot Noir is exactly such a wine. And so, once more, I have hope that, this time, my peers might “get it”. I have hope that this might be the oenological foot in the door that will reveal (at least in part) what Pinot Noir is capable of; by being aromatic and light, *but also* showcasing some waves of riper fruit that reference “what we’re used to”.
For me this wine is a victory. It’s a bridge that has been built (inadvertently or otherwise) to foster engagement. To encourage exploration. To express diversity.
Sadly, not every one will see it that way. Adam himself might even be upset that this is my experience of his hard work. I can almost guarantee that many will interpret my take on Adam’s ‘Limestone’ Pinot Noir 2015 as an embarrassment, rather than an accolade (“how dare one make the regal Pinot Noir share flavour notes with a pedestrian new world bordeaux-style blend?).
But I’m not here for them. I’m here to share the rich diversity that South African wine has to offer, and this lovely little 2015 Pinot Noir helps me do that.
So, to the wine lover who has desperately been trying to enjoy Pinot Noir, and just can’t get themselves there. Here is a little homework for you. Find it, pour it, drink it. See if it doesn’t open the door a crack, and let in some light.