I often wonder what art critics today would have made of Picasso and Modigliani had they been part of the commentariat in Paris in the first decades of the 20th century. Would they have identified the art as the masterpieces we have come to celebrate today? We know that Picasso bartered some of his best early paintings to settle bar debts and to fend off starvation. Clearly there was no market at the time for works that a century later fetch more than R3bn.

While I’m not suggesting that every garagiste winemaker is potentially a timeless artist, I do think that sometimes we miss the greatness because of the surrounding noise. Jancis Robinson and her colleague Tamlyn Currin recently enthused about a number of wines of the Cape’s (mainly) avant-garde. A significant number of their discoveries are not even available in Gauteng. The few that are can be found only in shops that specialise in the more arcane brands...

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