18 December 2011

clarity after hard times

It's been a tough year. But Fate has generally been kind to me, and smiled on me again today. Wine Village's Paul du Toit always has a fabulous range of wines for tasting. Not only is his breadth of knowledge of the wines and industry quite exceptional, but he's a natural raconteur, making the whole experience very hard to resist, if a little more extravagant than strictly necessary.

This morning he let slip that he had something very special in the freezer under the counter - a hand-distilled local vodka. He went on to tell of how earlier in the year, a lady traveller of obvious sophistication and wealth had been initially dismissive when he suggested she try it. She claimed that she only drank the very best in the world, and reeled off four unpronounceable Polish and Russian brands, unobtainable to mere mortals. Nonetheless she was persuaded to try this local offering, mouthed it with increasing surprise, and noted two things: (1) this vodka is made with spelt; and (2) it is as good as the very best.

I know nothing about vodka except that everything I've ever tasted before bears more resemblance to lab ethanol than any distilled product worth drinking for the flavour. Now, like many science graduates, I have consumed lab ethanol on many occasions, and am therefore qualified to make this comparison. In case I have slightly damaged my credibility as a judge of fine spirits by this admission, I should point out that while I'm no expert, I have spent some time over the years exploring the delights of decent single malts, fine local brandies, good cognacs, calvados and grappas. Even with the charming preamble, I was not prepared for the revelation that was Primitiv Vodka. Imagine something that resembles the leanness and aromatic complexity of the best grappa, but even smoother, and of course with completely different flavours. Definitely balm to an overworked soul. And at R220 direct from the distillery, an unbelievable bargain for such a phenomenal hand crafted product.

I really hope this article doesn't drive up demand to the extent that this stuff becomes unobtanium, because we will be buying it regularly.

Check out Jorgenson's Distillery website: http://www.jd7.co.za/
Their gin is also something really special.

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