Put a couple of stitches in your head first thing on a Saturday morning like I did, and best you have a good story to tell. The incident itself was hardly the stuff of legend (in a hurry to leave for the Nederburg Auction, I pulled the car door into my forehead while simultaneously attempting to duck under a low-hanging hedge I’d parked under) although the circumstances leading up to it were slightly more remarkable.
The night before had been the 40th birthday party of Craig Ray, sports writer and husband of food writer Kim Maxwell. One of the other guests included Kitchen Cowboys chef Pete Goffe-Wood, fresh from a lunch where some top wines had been poured and he was kind enough to bring the left-overs including Lustau Pedro Ximénez 30 Years Old VORS Sherry.
Emilio Lustau, founded in 1896, is one of the more prestigious bodegas in Jerez, Spain and “VORS” stands for Very Old Rare Sherry or Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum depending on whether you believe the front or the back label. From the variety Pedro Ximénez, the wine comes from one cask selected from a Solera of six set aside as a reserve in the 1930s. The Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin has endorsed it with the category VORS, more than 30 years of ageing.
Rich, sweet and thick textured on the palate, the wine shows flavours of raisins, nuts, licorice and dried herbs – utterly delicious and a real treat. Will accompany “blue cheeses or rich dessert such as chocolate puddings” and another guest at the Ray party was chef George Jardine of the restaurant on Jordan in Stellenbosch who knocked up chocolate brownies with ice-cream for dessert. Proceedings wrapped up at around 2am so I have to confess I was a little bleary-eyed come 7.30.