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Wine Wisdom and Hot Tips at the Launch of Cathy Marston’s New Book, Love Your Wine

Launch: Love Your Wine by Cathy Marston

Book Launch: Love Your Wine by Cathy MarstonLove Your WineCathy Marston spread the gospel according to normal wine drinkers at the launch of her book, Love Your Wine: Get to grips with what you are drinking.

In conversation with Carrie Adams from Norman Goodfellows at Love Books recently, Marston said she doesn’t understand why the wine industry spends so much time and effort making people feel bad about what they choose to drink. “I find a lot of people are quite intimidated by overseas wine,” she said.

Marston presented a wine tasting at the book launch to answer the question, “Do you get what you pay for when you buy wine?”

The audience tastes two white wines, two reds, and a sparkling wine, all from Stellenbosch Vineyards. Marston said she only has two rules when it comes to tasting wine: The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask, and what you taste in the wine is correct.

The first wine for tasting was a Welmoed Chenin Blanc. Marston said Chenin Blanc is one of the most widely planted grape varieties with an enormous yield and is quite underrated money-wise.

The second wine was the Credo Chenin Blanc. Whereas the first bottle costs about R30, the Credo Chenin costs R100 per bottle, despite it being the same grape and the same wine maker. So what is the difference?

Marston said it comes down to wood and sex. The R100 Chenin Blanc was stored in wooden barrels which gave it a wooden, nutty, butterscotch flavour. New wooden barrels cost R10 000 each.

The second reason is sex, said Marston. She explained that when a vine is young its sole purpose is to produce lots of grapes so that the birds will eat the them and spread the seeds. Young vines produce many grapes, but they are young, “quick and unsatisfactory”. Older vines grow deeper into the soil and don’t produce as many bunches of grapes but the wines contain a much richer and deeper flavour, with a long and lingering aftertaste.

Marston explained: “The one is like sleeping with Justin Bieber and the other is like sleeping with George Clooney.”

The first red wine for tasting was the Welmoed Merlot, which consisted of 100 percent Merlot grapes, but Adams and Marston agreed that a red blend is often superior.

To demonstrate they poured a Joostenberg Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon. Marston said many people believe that a blend is the winemaker’s way of getting rid of surplus wine, but in fact when it comes to a blend “one plus one equals three”.

In response to a question from the audience regarding the infamous student favourite Tassies, Marston debunked the myth that Tassenberg is a blend of all the dregs at the bottom of many barrels, calling that an urban legend and adding that winemakers “know what they’re doing”.

She also rose to the defense of sulphur, saying: “Sulphur isn’t bad for you, it’s the third bottle that gets you.”

The speakers ended off the evening with sparkling wine and bubbling conversation.

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Annetjie van Wynegaard (@Annetjievw) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


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