Pardon Taguzu's Wine Legs: From Zimbabwe via South Africa to the Netherlands

Monday, 25 March, 2019
Cuisine Noir, Wanda Hennig
Ever done a wine tasting and found yourself concentrating hard trying to pick up “noticeable hints” of—say—gooseberry, persimmon, pomegranate? What if you’re not familiar with the flavors of gooseberry, persimmon or pomegranate? What if you’re from a part of the country or a part of the world that doesn’t grow or eat these particular fruits?

If you are Pardon Taguzu who, with a small group of fellow Zimbabweans, is cutting it against all odds in the competitive and prestigious world of wine professionals and blind-tasting competitions, you reinvent the wheel. The wine aroma wheel, an essential tool when training, developing and refining your wine palate—key to identifying and appreciating wine.

“I never grew up eating gooseberries, so I will never taste that in a wine,” Taguzu explains. Necessity being the mother of invention, he created his own wine terminology, “adapted to fruits I grew up with and flavors from my own surroundings. We grew up eating a lot of wild fruit and native plants in Zimbabwe.”

So it is that if you were tasting wine with him, a flavor description you might hear is, “Is that a hint of tsubvu?” A wild berry also known in Zimbabwe as “smelly berry fingerleaf.”

“Tsubvu is an aroma I normally pick up in a New World cabernet sauvignon. Then there’s tsine, blackjack in English (a weed with healing components and leaves that can be prepared and eaten like spinach or kale). Tsine is something I relate to a New World cabernet franc. And another one is called derere (in the okra family). The aroma of the derere is something I pick up from an Old World cabernet franc.”

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