Fascinating to read in the Sunday Times that according to research group Nielsen total advertising spend in South Africa jumped 11% to R32.1 billion in 2011 with liquor company Distell coming in as ninth biggest overall behind Standard Bank and ahead of FNB. Most of the liquor company’s marketing spend would’ve been spent on its non-wine brands like Amarula and its various apple-based RTDs, but the likes of Nederburg and Two Oceans would no doubt have benefited to some extent.
A brand which keeps a much lower profile is Thelema, the Stellenbosch property owned by the Webb family. Rather than massive ad spend, it has largely relied on making consistently excellent wine ever since the late-1980s to maintain its reputation. When it comes to reds, most will associate it with Cabernet Sauvignon or perhaps Merlot but it also produces a fine Shiraz, the 2007 vintage winning not only best in category but also best red wine overall at last year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
The 2004 vintage, meanwhile, was the red wine served to guests after my marriage to the lovely Jane Ferreira in February 2008. Yesterday I opened one of the few remaining bottles to see how it was maturing and it looked quite smart although now probably on some kind of plateau of its development. Still some red and black fruit but more spice and meat. It had all the mellowness of aged wine and worked well with salmon grilled in the oven. Score: 16/20.