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Art & Wine, the Perfect Pairing.

Posted On: 02 Jun 2021 by Stephan Welz

We are one week closer to the Cape Town Three Day Premium Auction, which will be taking place from the 8th until the 10th of June 2021. As Covid has resulted in us not being able to host our loyal collectors at our usual opening cocktail party, we have paired some of the art going under the hammer with some equally exciting wines from the cellars of Restaurant Mosaic.

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Son of Marc Colin, winemaker Pierre-Yves Colin cut his teeth working at his father’s domain where he was in charge of winemaking for a decade from 1995 to 2005. This Saint-Aubin En Remilly Premier Cru (Lot 845) is paired with a work by another artist who built upon a foundation created by working closely with his father, who already had a well-established reputation. Lionel Smit has noted that it was always decided, as far back as he can remember, that he would become an artist. Growing up in the studio of Anton Smit, surrounded by clay and other materials, his father’s guiding hand allowed him to build on this foundation and establish himself as one of South Africa’s most prominent contemporary artists. Pierre-Yves Colin has been described as being meticulous with the small details in his wines, and similarly, Lionel Smit applies bands and strokes of paint, building them up until faces form from the initial abstraction. In this way, the artist focuses on the details to create a striking piece. 

The 2014 ‘Skurfberg’ Chenin Blanc (Lot 879) is noted as being closed on the nose at first and then gradually unfurls with dried honey, honeysuckle, broom and hazelnut scents. In this way, the wine reveals itself and is further developed by the palate of fresh pear and red apple interlaced with a finish of five-spice. Similarly, Keith Alexander’s The Sanctuary (Lot 457) depicts a vast landscape that at first appears to exist within a realm that we inhabit on a daily basis. However, upon further inspection, the strange combinations of structures within the landscape reveal an uncanny exoticism that can only occur in dreams and the imagination. Both the wine and the painting share a complexity that draws one in, but features a sense of balance that will repay you for many years to come.

Didier Dagueneau, the producer of this 2011 Blanc Fumé De Pouilly Sauvignon Blanc (Lot 829), turned the whole region of Pouilly Fume on its head by deciding that nothing was going to get in his way of making what people would eventually regard as the greatest Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Dagueneau was controversial in his winemaking techniques, and this wine is paired with a work by Walter Battis (Lot 433), whose works were contentious in technique and subject matter, but is now considered one of South Africa’s greatest art minds. Walter Battiss offered images of his experiences through a kaleidoscope of vibrant colour and unusual form and Dagueneau follows a similar (uphill) path, making wines in a region that had previously been unexciting, and presents wines that are simply “beautiful to drink”.

Nicolas Joly Vignobles is most well-known for making wines biodynamically. This is a complicated process but he has adopted this philosophy about winemaking and has stuck to it. He was in the minority when he began using this technique and raised some eyebrows, but it has now been adopted by many estates around the world. This 2013 Clos De La Coulée De Serrant Chenin Blanc (Lot 867) is paired with Norman Catherine’s Serenade (Lot 415), as this piece illustrates Catherine’s instantly-recognisable visual language. The artist has developed an exuberant style that is completely his own, created with equal parts humour and cynicism. Both artists in their own fields, Catherine and Joly Vignobles are bold in their outputs and unwavering in their approaches.

Lastly, one of South Africa’s most well-known artists is paired with one of, if not the most famous South African wine. The Klein Constantia Vin De Constance natural sweet wine (Lot 874) has an incredible history and has transcended eras, consumed by Napoleon Bonaparte as well as Jane Austin. This wine is much like the works of JH Pierneef: timeless South African icons. Malutis (Lot 439) is monumental in appearance, with the artist’s clear understanding of linearity and space resulting in a piece with a deceptive sense of scale which seems to transcend the 30 by 40cm board, while maintaining its sense of harmony and tranquillity. Vin De Constance comes in a unique bottle shape, and is unmistakeable, much like the bold forms of the Malutis Mountains represented in Pierneef’s work. Both this dessert wine and the painting are long-lived, and in many ways become more valuable with the passing years, making both timeless investments for any collector.