A profile of Bruce Jack

“Looking back on a relatively short, but action packed career, a few wines have stood out to date.

“The first wine I ever got listed in a UK supermarket was called Lions Head and was a zippy Chenin/Muscat blend from the 1993 vintage. I used to hang out at Morrisons and enthusiastically accost startled shoppers, ensuring they bought lots. I made that with Zakkie Bester, with whom I started the Fish Hoek brand.

“A 1997 Sonoma Coast single vineyard Chardonnay I made with Greg La Follette at Flowers Vineyard and winery. I was left in charge of the winery one day and these beautiful Hyde clone Chardonnay grapes arrived without notice. 

“The flavours bowled me over and I decided to give the grapes six hours’ skin contact after crushing, which was a little bit against the formula and not really done then in California, especially if you’re trying to make Burgundian style Chard. 

“Anyway, Greg is a bit of a philosopher and forgave my winemaking indiscretion when he tasted the finished wine. It was a cracker and was eventually bottled separately, which is the biggest compliment you can pay to a cellar hand.

“A 1999 Pinot Noir made at Flagstone from the very unfashionable Swiss clone BK5. It was the only Pinot Noir I could get my hands on in the early years. 

“Unusually I put the wine in an American barrel I had discovered in California, from Barrel Associates. 

“They make some of the best barrels in the world, from specific, long aged stave wood, and coopered in a proprietary way, which really supports delicate wines like Pinot Noir. 

“It was the wine that put Flagstone on the map. It was made with no added SO2 and had a distinctive and unusual label. It was a sublime wine made from an old virus-infected block on the Stellenbosch Hills. It proved to me that anything was possible if you worked harder than anyone else and believed in a dream.”

What is your favourite wine and Why?

“It’s amazing how well an off-dry Riesling goes with Eggs Benedict in the morning – so that’s my favourite breakfast wine. I love drinking old Amontillado in the Jacuzzi. 

“Krug and cigars are a dangerous, rich and ultimately foolish combination, but it’s important to tip into the vertigo of decadence every now and again, even if just to remind yourself that life is finite. 

“I always start craving crisp, minerally Sauvignon Blanc from the Elim ward when I see oysters, or if Shakespeare is in the offing. Somehow, when you’re watching Shakespeare, it helps to have a bit of alcohol in you. His original audiences would have unquestioningly all been a bit tight, so he would have written his works with this in mind. Sauvignon Blanc, when balanced and bone dry, and not too confected, seems to work so well with his plays. I laugh more and sit gaping at awe at his genius and how something written so long ago still frames the human condition so beautifully.