Joseph T Dhafana from La Colombe Restaurant at Silvermist Wine Estate.
You have been chosen as De Toren Sommelier of the month. Tell us about your introduction into the wine industry.
In 2009 I worked as a gardener at Bar Bar Blacksheep restaurant in Riebeek Kasteel, until I climbed the ranks of washing the dishes in the kitchen to barman and waiter. On the 7th of March 2010, I was given my first ever glass of wine by Mynhardt Joubert, the then owner, to celebrate my 29th birthday but I didn’t like it. In February 2012 I enrolled with Cape Wine Academy for my first wine course.
A short background on yourself. Where you have worked and how did you get into the industry?
Since I was based in Swartland, I had the privilege of working so close to Eben Sadie and Chris and Andrea Mullineux. I even helped Mullineux family wines with 2013 harvest. All this helped me to fall in love with wine.
Tell us where you work now and a little bit about your restaurant?
I really like many of things about my job. Being asked about wine by the guests and colleagues. Telling a story behind every label if there is any, and most importantly, being SA wine industry ambassador to the world. I meet more or less 600 people from all walks of life but speak one language which is wine. Not forgetting food and wine pairing. My food knowledge is average but my palate is as sharp as a razor blade. Thank heavens for that. I got to know about De Toren through a friend of mine by the name of Tawanda Marume , who is now in Singita Tanzania. We were chatting about iconic wines and he raved a lot about De Toren Fusion V. I was then eager to try it.
What dish on your menu do you pair with De Toren Fusion V 2009?
I would do De Toren Fusion V 2009 with smoked ox tongue with a dash of chipotle, coriander, finished with umami broth. The dish has smoky flavours and chipotle is slightly spicy so 2009 is a glorious vintage overall. De Toren Fusion V 2009 is showing very well, with aromas of eucalyptus and mint, savoury, earthy, ripe red fruit, cassis and cedar wood which also follows through to the middle palate. The weight of the wine won’t ruin the flavours of the dish as the tannins are very subtle,ith long lingering finish.
Why do the flavours work so well together?
Food and wine have to complement one another just like marriage.
Why are you such a fan of De Toren wines?
I am such a huge fan of De Toren because I rate consistency and quality more than quantity and experimentation.
Where do you see your career in wine going?
If truth is to be told, old world really makes some amazing wines. I personally believe an average wine in SA is just as good as an average wine in France, however the premium wines are totally different. Old world premium wines are matchless but you pay a fortune. So why bother paying a lot for Chateau Lafite if I can get my Fusion V for less?