I’ve ranted here before about how stupid the export approval systems in some countries can be. They are well intentioned: for a wine to be exported from South Africa and New Zealand, it must pass a taste test. The idea is that this keeps bad wines from being exported and letting down the country’s reputation, or poisoning foreigners. (Australia had a similar system, which they recently disbanded in the face of media pressure, following a high profile incident with a rather delicious Yarra Cabernet Franc.)
Well, one of my wine heroes, Craig Hawkins of Lammershoek in South Africa’s Swartland, has run into trouble again. His wines can be quite atypical, but in a very good way. His own label, Testalonga, always seems to upset the Wine Standards Board, but in the past he has talked his way out of trouble. This time, he’s been knocked back a few times and may now not be able to export the wine.
It’s a Pinotage from Lammershoek released under the Cellar Foot label, which is used for oddities such as their wonderful Hárslevelű. Craig tried to make it in a lighter, Beaujolais style, and the result is a really refreshing, joyful deep pink/red wine that tastes like a really full bodied rose.
It has been rejected because it is not a typical Pinotage. It has also been rejected because it is not a typical rose. But it’s a lovely wine with real personality. There are lots of people who would buy and enjoy this wine. So why is Craig not allowed to export it? His wines can only enhance the image of South African wine in export markets.