Epicurean : four friends, four grape varieties, one wine

Retired JP Morgan Chase SA supremo Ron T Gault is as elegant as the finest Cabernet Franc.  Born in Chicago, he was in fine spirits after the US presidential nominee performance of his senator Barack Obama the day before.  "I gave him a bottle of the 2003" jokes Ron "which could explain his success to date.  But Hilary is also a friend and she'd also make an excellent president" he continued diplomatically.

Safika Holdings chairman and former economic advisor to president Thabo Mbeki, Moss Ngoasheng, gets Petit Verdot as this variety ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux.  Moss was the most recent convert to Bacchus, having been a political prisoner on Robben Island and then Diepkloof prison, emerging only in the mid-eighties. "I will take you to my village" he continues "and you'll see how alien wine culture is to my own."  He may have been a late starter, but he's determined to make up, with a Michelin 3 star dinner accompanied by a bottle of 1926 Château Lafite enjoyed with his wife, among his most cherished memories.

Vantage Capital's Mutle Mogase is a perfect fit for Merlot.  For starters, there are all those M's in his initials. A civilizing and softening influence on Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc and Petit Verdot with which it is so often blended, perfectly describes Mutle's role in the quartet – spokesman, facilitator and explicator.  Mbazima laughingly refers to him as "my PR."

Which leaves Mbazima, Cabernet Sauvignon, matching vinous with political royalty.  The brand name comes from the ancient Greek philosopher of luxury, Epicurus, and not the name of the 1995 vintage cigars from Hoyo de Monterrey.  The four friends are all keen cigar aficionados and came up with the name while on holiday in the Maldives, that Indian Ocean island archipelago about to become a 21st century Atlantis, as rising seas fueled by global warming threaten radical land use changes ahead.  

Neil Pendock


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