Neil Pendock picks fine fruity wines
Take some pinot noir, chuck it in your blender and enjoy the ride
These days, a kink is a fold in your hosepipe which, unless straightened, makes watering the fuchsias an exercise in futility. Forty years ago, The Kinks were a London band who sang about Lola, who they met "in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne that tastes just like cherry-cola".
So it was probably made from a predominance of pinot noir, the heartbreak grape from Burgundy that tastes of cherries. The other two grapes used to make champagne are chardonnay, which tastes of limes and chalk, and pinot meunier - black riesling - which supplies richness and smoky aromas.
Old Soho clubs are probably not the place to buy champagne. You're unlikely to find a deal as attractive as that offered by Mark Norrish from Ultra Liquors, who is discounting a French champagne called Bonnaire Brut Tradition for the price of R149 a bottle, which is less than half the R299 special for Laurent Perrier at Makro.
Made from equal quantities of chardonnay and the pinot twins, Bonnaire is jam-packed with spicy red cherries and pears. There is a pleasing creaminess in the mouth and the finish has a vibrant lemon acidity and an impressive persistence, thanks to the chardonnay.
Andreas Larsson, best sommelier in the world, recommends sushi and marinated salmon as suitable food pairings. With Hokkaido in Norwood charging a derisory R20 per bottle corkage, and with all-you-can-eat sushi at R130 a person (no take-aways), butterfish sashimi and Bonnaire are a feast.
An even cheaper cherry fix can be had by buying a bottle of Two Oceans pinot noir and applying some technology. Cherry lovers can try hyperdecanting, which is molecular gastronomy applied to wine. It was invented by super-genius Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer at Microsoft, whose Modernist Cuisine (The Cooking Lab, 2011) has blown the clogs off celebrity chefs.
His idea is a simple one: to improve the softness and fruit character of a red wine, liquidise on maximum power for between 30 and 60 seconds in a kitchen blender. Allow the froth to subside and pour.
For strawberry-cola, choose a wine made from grapes grown in a warm climate. The Whole Berry cabernet from Springfield in Robertson is a good place to start. Cooler climates give tighter berry flavours towards the cranberry/raspberry end of the flavour spectrum and the Elgin reds of Oak Valley and Paul Cluver give many punnet-fulls of pleasure. Wellington cabernets have a wild blueberry flavour that is irresistible.
In the case of Two Oceans pinot noir, widely available at under R30 a bottle, hyperdecanting produces a cherry-cola a Kink would be proud of.
Of course, the Lola story has a kink in the tail. The initial lyrics compared the club's champagne to Coca-Cola, but with product placement banned by BBC Radio, the more generic cherry was substituted.
Oh, and Lola turned out to be a transvestite.