There are plenty of rock-star winemakers—cool guys and girls with cultivated hipster images making cool wines. And then there’s Adi Badenhorst, of South Africa's A.A. Badenhorst family, who sat down with me here in my office today.
There’s nothing cultivated about his image: He’s a wooly bear, with a pony tail that looks like it’s been wrestled into submission, pork-chop sideburns and a former rugby player’s body. Talkative, loud, engaging and fully immersed in making wine, Badenhorst is currently carving out his own little corner of the Swartland in South Africa, working on the northern side of the Voor-Paardeberg ward, neighboring his good friend and fellow winemaker, Eben Sadie.
My blog has been quiet for a few weeks—it’s one of my busiest tasting periods of the year as I work through the bulk of both my Rhône and Argentina tastings, with their respective annual reports due before I leave on vacation at the end of August. So, I don’t take any meetings with winemakers and typically do two flights of wines a day. My golf game tends to suffer a little, despite the allure of good weather outside, and the blog tends to go a little quiet.
Then, I got the call from Marvin that my colleague James Suckling was retiring from the magazine and I was being tapped to handle the Bordeaux beat. Admittedly, it was a head-spinning week. It’s not like I don’t have enough to do, and here comes one of the wine world’s glamour regions to my desk. It's a privilege to be assigned the task of reviewing what is arguably the most important wine region in the world, one that has held allure for many wine fans, from Thomas Jefferson to today.
I expect people will have a few questions going in …