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Posted by on in Events

 

Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” International Sparkling Wine & Champagne Affair

 

The hosts are celebrating the 17th year of this popular event with the theme of “The Magic of Bubbles” on Friday 23rd November 2018 at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, from 18h00 to 21h00.

Cuvees for tasting from premium and boutique Champagne Houses of France,and a selection of sparkling wines from Spain, Italy and the UK will be presented. Light snacks will be servedaccompanied by livemusic and entertainment.

The bubblies will be on sale at a special discounted price. Ticket-holders will win prizes from lucky-draws. The Vineyard Hotel is offering a special stay over package for the night.

Tickets cost R500.00 from Wine Concepts stores, online on www.webtickets.co.za or at the door on the evening.

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The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’

 

 

Social calendar highlight, the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’, presented by Sanlam Private Wealth, takes place on  1 and 2 December.

The iconic Huguenot Monument serves as the  backdrop for the weekend’s festivities, where a wide range of local MCC’s and select French champagnes will be on offer. The grand marquee – the place to be seen – will be oozing style, elegance and sophistication, along with a selection of delectable delights from some of Franschhoek’s world-class eateries. The theme is Black and White, with a prize awarded to the Best Dressed Couple on each day.

 Tickets cost R395 per person and include access to the festival, which is open daily between 12pm and 5pm, a complimentary tasting glass and MCC tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry to the festival.

 Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za, but hurry, as tickets are limited. For more information and regular updates visit www.franschhoekmcc.co.za.

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FOURTH EASTERN CAPE WINE SHOW IN PORT ELIZABETH

 

Around 40 exhibitors will pour 200 wines for Eastern Cape winelovers on 30 November and 1 December at The Boardwalk in Summerstrand from 17h00 to 21h00.

Celebrate with scintillating bubbles from Krone, Valdo Prosecco, Pongracz and JC Le Roux.  Sip and swirl award-winning whites from Steenberg Vineyards, Spier, Oldenburg and Fleur du Cap.  Savour  robust reds from Boekenhoutskloof, Raka, Wildekrans and Cape Chamonix.

Introducing Mari’s Handmade Fudge and Brittle and exhibitor Just Biltong will provide delicious wine-complementing fare to snack on..  

Tickets can be bought via Computicket.com and at the door. No entry to under 18s, babies and prams.  Light meals will be sale and wines purchases  facilitated at the Shop@Show stand by local wine retailer Prestons.

Tickets cost R190 at Early Bird prices, valid for sales until 18 November R160.00. The Early Bird option of R200 buys you an entrance ticket and a tapas meal voucher to the value of R60. Visit www.easterncapewineshow.co.za for more information and for list  of exhibitors and wines.

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Fizz & Fudge at Stellenbosch Hills

 

A new taste pairing , buttery handcrafted  fudge with Polkadraai Sparkling Pinot Noir rosé is on the menu, along with their Polkadraai Sauvignon Blanc Brut, matched to chocolate malt fudge for R40 a head. This festive event is available from now until February, but pre-booking is essential. Call 021 881 3828/9 for reservations or

email  info@stellenbosch-hills.co.za

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Fruit picking and leisurely lunches at De Krans

 

 

FromNovember through to February De Krans invites visitors to join in a farm favourite of picking seasonal fruit. From 24 November to 1 December the Bulida apricots will be available to pick at R7.50 per kg. If you prefer peaches best you diarise 15 to 27 December when the Oom Sarel cling peaches will be ready for pickings at R8.00 per kg. Kickstart 2019 with picking  super sweet Hanepoot grapes at R8.50 per kg. All dates are weather dependent, and may change slightly at short notice.  it is advisable to contact the farm prior to your visit, to confirm the picking dates.  De Krans will be open seven days a week from 9am until 4pm for the picking of these fruits, with the exception of Christmas Day.

The De Krans Deli and Bistro at the farm, is home to delicious country cuisine. All the dishes have been paired with wines from the De Krans range, creating the perfect food and wine pairing 

The deli offers visitors a wide selection of only the finest products sourced in and around Calitzdorp and the Klein Karoo. Visitors sit indoors or outside in the shade of the trellised Hanepoot vineyard. There is also a playground for children, making De Krans a place for the whole family.

Among the great wines to be tasted and bought is the flagship Tritonia red blend, just recently awarded gold at Six Nations in Australia,

For more information contact the farm on 044 213 3314, or email at dekrans@mweb.co.za.

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Summer is for Stellenbosch Street Soirees

These take place fromNovember 2018 till March 2019 in the city of oaks presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes. The first event is on November 28, presenting cool tunes, sizzling street food and superb wines. Thereafter once a month of a Wednesday in Drostdy Street, each street party will pour different wines and present different fare. Entry costs R100 a head, which includes glass and 12 tasting tokens. The parties takes place from 18h00 – 20h00.  The other dates are

12 December 2018*

16 & 30 January

13 & 27 February

13 & 27 March 2019*

*weather permitting

For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za

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Posted by on in Blog

 

Salt of the Earth – the phrase brings to mind a person (or group of people) whose qualities present a model for the rest of us.

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That Groote Post decided to use this phrase as the name of their special blend of shiraz (66%) and Cinsaut (34%) is both interesting and apposite. Produced from the outstanding 2015 harvest, the grapes were sourced from venerable vines in the Darling Hills – 17-year-old shiraz, and 42-year-old dryland bushvine cinsaut.

The wine spent 16 months in French oak, and the result is intriguing, where the shiraz characteristics dominate, - the flavours of red plum, white pepper are there backed by cedarwood - lent benefits by fresh berry notes from the cinsaut. The result is quite intriguing, well balanced with an earthy backbone and 14% alcohol levels.

The special label, designed by Anthony Lane’s consultancy is different from Groote Post’s usual designs, drawing attention to the bottle as consumers have to hunt for the source of the wine.

Already sporting its 91% score from Tim Atkins’ Best of South Africa 2017 report, this wine was released by Groote Post in early spring to the delight of those many winelovers who are seeing more old cinsaut vines coming back into their own, adding their welcome characteristics to more delicious red blends. It sells for R240 from the Groote Post cellar.

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Posted by on in Reviews

WHOLE – Bowl Food for Balance by Melissa Delport. Published by Struik Lifestyle, 2018.

 

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It’s a whole new way of eating – for Occidentals, that is, while in the East Buddhists (and many others) combine diverse ingredients in bowls to make balanced meals as a matter of course.

Melissa Delport is a Cape Town-based food photographer and blogger. Having learnt to cook at an early age Melissa moved on and after a period of fad dieting discovered her path to health and well- being . Mindful consumption became an integral part of her food philosophy . Wanting to share her culinary knowledge and way of eating with others which formed the germ of this book, her first .

The title stems from Buddha bowls which contain nourishment in the form of grains, vegetables, a healthy fat, a protein and a bunch of greens.

In her introduction Delport discusses her philosophy which can be summed up as 'Eat real food, mostly plants, but not too much'. She aims at reaching umami, or yummy fare using many ingredients, but focussing on the importance of grains, beans and pulses as base food. She urges readers to shop at farmers’ markets, avoid GMO foods and items that are not free-range.

Starting with breakfast fare, there are recipes for bowls ranging from smoothies to oats, from chia seeds to Turkish poached eggs on quinoa with yoghurt and avo, baby spinach, goats cheese and more… Her avo hash has a long list of ingredients, is sustaining enough to take one through to supper

Salad bowls present some appetising combos – fig and goats cheese, salmon and edamame beans, courgettes and salmon, tomato and lentil. Many other ingredients also make the cut, adding spice, flavour, texture, crunch and dressings. Soups present an interesting selection: even in the popular classics like roasted tomato and red pepper she adds her own touch, Good use is made of coconut milk along with vegetable stock.

Bowing to the present trend of resurrecting ancient grains, a colourful collection of salads, poultry and meat one-dish creations feature quinoa, barley, millet, spelt, freekah, brown rice as well as a host of veggies and pulses.

Home bowls are comfort food , robust, several one-pot wonders while others require more time and attention, Oodles of Noodles is self-explanatory, the recipes in this chapter occasionally use wheat noodles, many more are made from other flours and grains. In the chapter on Table Bowls entertaining is the objective, sharing bowls that are made up of side dishes, dips, starters, and snacks. These dinner parties could start with tuna ceviche or guacamole or baba ganoush all served with corn chips. Among the mains you will find pasta and pesto variations, followed by a vegan honey mustard carrot bowl. Drinks are not neglected, and the sparkling lime and pomegranate looks inviting for a summery party.There are a few desserts - think dates with salted caramel truffle and popcorn or apple and pear coconut crumble with coconut ice cream, a vegan finale.

While neither solely vegan nor a vegetarian collection, many of the close to 90 recipes are sans meat, chicken or fish.  All are nourishing, offering healthy and balanced meals in a bowl, several contain a large number of ingredients, and a few will take a fair amount of time. But what Delport has done is to take the guesswork out of bowl food, having spent much time creating dishes that are tasty.

She goes further to promote healing one’s relationship with food, treating your body with respect and nourishing it with fresh food that will leave you energised. All part, she says of finding happiness with food.

Every recipe is illustrated and a detailed index concludes the text.

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Posted by on in News

 

Two recently released chenin blancs proved both to be enjoyable, and both fair value for money: one an easy-drinking, unwooded wine priced at R60, the other a more patrician  chenin that has benefitted from eight months in oak, and sells for R125, about double the price. Both, I think, reflect not only the delicious diversity of chenin, but the wide range of prices that chenin commands.

DELHEIM WILD FERMENT CHENIN BLANC 2017

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As the back label tells us, this delicious chenin was produced from venerable dryland vines which accounts for added flavour from small, intense berries. Two vineyard blocks yielded the grapes, Bobbejaan at 15 years old and Ou Jong Steen, at 30 years.

On the nose a mix of stone fruit  aromas leads to the palate where citrus flavours are  discernible.

The wine was matured in oak for some eight months which has added backbone that is well balanced by typical Stellenbosch freshness. Moderate 13,5% alcohol levels are pleasing.

This is a wine that will happily take on Asian-style creations, south-east Asian spicy curries, along with western fare like risottos and complex chicken salads. Get yours from the cellar or leading retailers for R125.

DE KRANS FREE-RUN CHENIN BLANC 2018

A moreish, unpretentious wine that is well-balanced , slips down easily and is bound to draw more consumers to the joys of chenin as a summer tipple.

Already sporting two gold stickers from current contests, it’s a wine that will suit a range of tastes, sells fot R60 and will make a lunchtime appetiser as well as a good partner to chicken braais.

As De Krans increases its range of table wines alongside its award-winning ports and fortified products, consumers have a fine choice to contemplate, from red blends that sometimes contain port varietals to classic wines that Louis van der Riet produces with flair.

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THE ECHO OF A NOISE: a Memoir of Then and Now by Pieter-Dirk Uys. Published by Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2018.

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Is it perhaps because he has reached 70, that his writing – while still witty and pithy – has softened, sharing more of his persona? It took only a couple of chapters before I felt I really knew the little boy living in Pinelands, going to school, desperate to join the others wearing long pants, constantly in a state of skirmish with his unbending father.

 

The role of Sannie Abader, the Cape Malay housekeeper who ruled the Uys kitchen and doubled as a mother and friend to Pieter-Dirk, a situation replicated in so many South African domestic households during the middle of the 20th century.

For someone a few years older, who also grew up in southern suburban Cape Town with live-in maids, politically aware parents who were anti- Nat but fairly conservative followers of De Villiers Graaff, the world was white indeed.

 

This very human slice of his childhood and early career, his first trip to Europe and to Sophia Loren’s house makes enchanting reading. His student years at UCT Drama school and antics outside of it , another trip to Europe then back in Cape Town to work at the Space theatre and spend time annoying the inspectors of the Publications Control Board follows . In 1981 he performed the first of his one-man shows. As he remarks, 35 years later he is still writing, presenting and performing them...

Decades after the death of his parents, he regrets having not asked them more questions, particularly about his mother’s background. Scenarios  like this that resonate with so many of us. Today P-D still churns out so many words using, of course, Windows 10. But always, next to his laptop sits his mother’s portable Underwood typewriter in its battered box, which she brought to South Africa in 1937.

As the back cover of this softback tells us “This is Pieter-Dirk Uys unpowdered. No props, no false eyelashes, no high heels...” Indeed. His first two memoirs, Elections and Erections published in 2002 and Between the Devil and the Deep in 2005 were great reads, but in this title I felt I really got to know something of the complex, talented person that he is, perhaps underlined with vivid memories of a matinee at Evita se Perron one spring weekend last year, where he was as brilliant as ever but looking, I thought, tired.

Does he ever get tired? The text finishes with a short biography followed by a list of his plays, revues, novels, memoirs, cookbooks and documentaries, feature films and television specials. Looking at that impressive list, one concludes that he cannot ever find time to be tired.

Illustrated with a fascinating collection of black and white photographs, ranging from babyhood to the present, a diverse family album that greatly enhances his prose.

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Posted by on in News

PRACTICAL, PROMISING AND FREE – PICK N PAY’S WINE CLUB’S A WINNER!

 

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“Good wine for real people” is the slogan they are using. Well yes, but it seems there could be several other advantages for consumers who have joined, - or are contemplating joining – the new Pick n Pay Wine Club.

For those who enjoy wine, buy regularly, but have limited funds to spend, membership could offer several benefits. If you are interested in broadening your taste and finding new favourites, this could be a painless way to do so.

Let’s have a quick run-through the way it works: First up, membership is free and it’s easy to join. As a member you will be notified about a monthly selection of wines offered at 20% discount off shelf price for 30 days. The selection is wide, the range seems to include red, white, rosé, bubbly and one bag-in-a-box occasionally. The choice also offers easy-drinking entry-level labels for beginners, along with at least one or two comparatively upmarket products from well-known and popular Cape cellars. During the month, members can buy just one or two of the discounted wines, or more. They can also buy more than once – as many times as they like – to get the discount before the end of the month.

So – if you try a new label or new varietal and it ticks your box you can order more while its discounted and build up your stock. All this can be done online, so its as easy as picking up your smartphone and sending through your order.

If you live in or near one of the major cities, and buy at least 6 wines of your choice, you will enjoy free delivery: the delivery finder at

https://www.pnp.co.za/pnpstorefront/pnp/en/

will pinpoint which areas are served by this convenience. See

the list of cities and suburbs covered.

If, like myself, you live in the countryside, and delivery is not offered, you can collect your discounted wines at any Pick n Pay that stocks wine: the 20% discount will automatically be taken off the club wines at the till when swiping your Smart Shopper card.

 

There is plenty of info available on the website with regard to tasting notes, suggestions for pairing food and your wine, and occasionally there are competitions and events where members are treated to an evening out with great wines, launches, and good company.

Seems like nothing to lose and plenty to gain - and its simple enough to join. Visit www.pnp.co.za/wine-club or simply SMS your Smart Shopper card number to 36775.  

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Posted by on in News

 

 

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With a long-established reputation for consistent quality, Stellenbosch Hills cellar continues to uphold this worthy reputation. While it is widely known for well-priced quality, its sauvignon blanc, in particular, has established a fine record for over-delivering on quality.

I am happy to report that the 2018 vintage, a single vineyard wine, upholds the reputation with panache. It’s all that most of us want from a sauvignon blanc – crisp freshness, not over-acidic, enough body to lend it character, a fine meld of green notes with melon, citrus and a little stone fruit coming through. Perfect for casual sunset and weekend get-togethers, on its own or with fish, salad, chicken, and vegetarian meals. Its moderate alcohol levels of R13% are pleasing and its priced at about R50.

The winery recently released a whole range of new vintages, the only other white being the chenin blanc 2018, along with several 2016 reds – pinotage, cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and their popular fortified Muscat de Hambourg. The reds sell for around R80.

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We all know we shoud squirrel away good barrel-fermented whites along with our reds, but we seldom do. Most of don’t keep our fine chardonnays for long enough, just until the next occasion that sees a luxurious seafood feast or a special poultry creation grace the table.

So it's good to know that Whalehaven decided to cellar their Conservation Coast chardonnay for us - leaving the 2014 vintage maturing for more than two years before releasing it. This premium wine was produced from a vineyard of 14-year-old vines in the famed  UpperHemel-en-Aarde region, where Whalehaven is the third-olest winery in the area.

Co-owner Silvana Bottega released the wine recently, and its gorgeous golden hue is the first sign of its maturity, followed by tempting wafts of butterscotch on the nose. This is a rich, full-bodied chardonnay, with a firm mineral backbone, offering lightly toasted crumbs along with citrus flavours. With moderate alcohol levels, it makes an impressive appetiser but comes into its own with celebration fare, either shellfish, rich duck liver paté or complex Middle Eastern chicken dishes.

Bearing stickers from Tim Atkin who scored it 92 and approval from the current Sommeliers Selections results, expect to pay around R360.

The Conservation Coast range also boasts a 2014 Pinot Noir whch I have not tasted.

To find out more about these wines, visit www.whalehaven.co.za

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Posted by on in News

 

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Marketing is all important when competing in the well-priced segment of South African wines. Overhex Wines International have always come up with interesting labels with a tale to tell and their new range is no exception.

The Mensa range is the first to offer an augmented reality app for smartphones which, when scanned in, brings the story behind the Mensa label to life.

Story-telling, the accompanying maxim – ‘Live a great story’ – and the label (which features everywoman relaxing in a library, its wall lined with books, a glass of wine at her feet) all contribute to appeal both to curious consumers and , I would guess, especially to the female winelover.

This is a range also designed to appeal to book clubs , both visually and price-wise, while the practical Helix cork closure eliminates the need for corkscrews.

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The sauvignpn blanc is fruity and easy-drinking, with alcohol levels of just 12% while the cabernet sauvignon offers a considerably higher level at 14,5% but also slips down easily, its berry flavours backed by a full-bodied character. The trendy chardonnay/.pinot noir comes in at 13% and combines citrus notes with moderate alcohol levels. Whites cost R75 and the red R85 at the Overhex cellar door, are stocked by Checkers countrywide and can be bought online.

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Posted by on in Events

 

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This annual star still ranks as most winelovers’ favourite excursion, and with good reason. The 2018 Wine on the River takes place over the weekend of October 26 – 28 and is offering visitors some tempting new events along with well-established favourites.

Let’s look at what’s new in 2018.

Nedbank has come aboard as sponsor, which is good news all round. Those who would like to venture further than the festival riverside site can now hop onto a wine safari truck which will take visitors through vineyards and on to old underground cellars while listening to stories behind the vintages (R150pp).

For another first, the festival have organised glamping on the river banks a little way from the festival. After your visit, head to tented accommodation for some stargazing around open fires while enjoying toasted marshmallows... The two-night package, which includes 2 weekend festival passes, 2 boat cruise tickets, shuttle to and from the campsite, interactive tastings and complimentary wine costs R2 000 for a couple and requires pre-booking.

Tech types will be delighted to find the festival a cashless celebration, as the QKR! Booking platform enables simple, safe activity bookings along with the Masterpass scan-and-pay for cashless transactions. Your wallet can stay in your pocket, your purse in your bag.

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Then all the old favourites will be on the menu, in their 2018 guises and vintages. More than 30 cellars will set up their stands.  Winemakers, chefs, craftspeople from around the valley will be on Goudmyn farm to present their wares, to wine and dine you with the best of both. Those looking for in-depth vinous experiences can book for the interactive tastings which cost only R80.

Having tasted and discussed, buy and load your boots with your choice of wines, for the festive season and with special gifts for those who could not make it.

The annual Duck Derby is another old favourite, with proceeds going to the Zolani Youth Choir. Proceeds from the boat trips down the Breede on  Viljoensdrift's flat-bottomed cruiser will go to the Breede River Hospice. Fancy a flip over the riverside celebrations? Book a chopper ride and view the action from on high for a memorable experience.

As in previous years shuttle services to and from the festival will operate from Robertson, Bonnievale and Montagu on the Saturday.

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Time now to book those tickets and get Early Bird discounts. They cost from R150 to R350 with free entrance to children under 18. Master Pass discounts are also available via Webtickets.

Need more info? Visit www.robertsonwinevalley.com, email events@robertsonwinevalley.com or call 023 626 3167.

See you there....

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Posted by on in Blog

 

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It would be difficult to find a better pair of wines with which to toast the forthcoming Heritage weekend. They tick the boxes for venerable vineyards (44-year-old chenin and cinsaut), are adorned with the Old Vine Project Heritage seal, and are nurtured on an 18th century Wellington farm titled “well-bestowed” whose current owners are nearing completing restoration and refurbishment of both vineyards, olive grove and a beautiful early 19th century farmstead.

But – best of all – is that Gavin and Kelly Brimacombe’s maiden releases, a 2017 chenin blanc and a 2015 Rhone-style red blend are noteworthy, both captivating examples of what the Wellington terroir can – and is - producing.

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The old dryland chenin vines with low-yields of around 2,4 tons per ha, deliver berries with concentrated fruit that presents a sophisticated salad of citrus, summer stone fruit, pineapple and lingering citrus on the nose and palate. Yet it’s restrained and elegant with evident complexity: this was achieved, no doubt by part natural, part yeast-added fermentation, plus one third of the wine then barrel-fermented in French oak before final blending. Its moderate 12,5% alcohol levels will please many local and overseas customers while the bottle sports stickers that are testimony to pleasing scores from judges of the National Wine Challenge and Top 100 SA wines.

Turning to the Welgegund Providence – which also sports silver from Decanter and four stars from Platter, - this blend comprises 60% shiraz, 30% cinsaut with carignan making up the balance. All the vines are dryland, the vintage cinsaut complemented by mature shiraz and carignan, the harvest of eachwhich was separately fermented . The wine spent 16 months in mostly French oak with just 5% in American. The full-bodied result balances spice and dark berry flavours with freshness from the cinsaut, with smooth tannins and a hint of oak. Robust alcohol levels for current trends and on the pricy side at R320 excluding VAT.  Only available from the cellar at present.

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The winemaker is Friedrich Kuhne and Emy Mathews has joined the staff as Sales and Marketing Manager. She is the ideal person to promote the charms of farm and wine, and already her efforts on social media have alerted dozens to the renaissance of Welgegund. The farm is open for tastings by appointment only.

In conclusion, a toast to this maiden duo, and in anticipation of the Cinsaut and Grenache which have just been released and which  I hope to sample soon . 

Wellington always intrigues with its mix of beautiful old farms of renowned Afrikaner families and new and restored ones thanks to an influx of enthusiastic 

British investors and producers. Were they perhaps influenced by the fact that this Boland town bears the name of  their most successful Anglo-Irish military hero, former British statesman and 19th century prime minister?  This intriguing intertwining of heritage adds another dimension to vinous journeys to the magnificent Valley of Wagonmakers.

For more information, visit www.welgegund.co.za

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WILD KAROO by Mitch Reardon, published by Struik Nature, 2018.

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The subtitle offers a good summing-up of this gem of a title: ‘A journey through history, change and revival in an ancient land’. While it hints at the enormous timespan that Reardon encompasses, it does not offer readers the wide range of subject matter that he includes as he travels though our dry heartland. He focuses on nature conservation, game - including birds, reptiles and invertebrates, the unique flora, landscape and geology and the history and lifestyle of the Karoo people. He also shares the plans to combine public and private protected land to create wildlife corridors between isolated parks, re-establishing old migration routes, and in this way helping to reverse some effects of human settlement.

Quite a task for this wildlife writer and photographer and former ranger to embrace, but he does it superbly well. It could be as dry as its parched subject, but Mitch Reardon writes so well that he takes us, his readers, as enthusiastic fellow travellers,aboard his vehicle as he sets out on a 4 000km journey through the high central plateau that constitutes the Karoo. 

After a comprehensive introduction on the vast landmass of the Karoo and a brief history of the various regions he starts his travels at the Bontebok national park in the southern Cape , then moves on to the Langeberg and Little Karoo. As this is where I have lived for nearly two decades, I focussed on this chapter for starters and absorbed so much in the process. From the Grootvadersbosch nature reserve in the Langeberg foothills Reardon moved on through Barrydale to Sanbona Wildlife reserve, a private enterprise that has seen former sheep farms transformed into an ecosystem similar to that of a pristine landscape 300 years back. From the endangered riverine rabbit to the re-introduction of elephant and cheetah the reserve is a five-star experience all around. The little-known Anysberg reserve is next on his itinerary with some fascinating conservation projects and then he heads to the Karoo National park which stars in the following chapter.

Each chapter has added information on the reserves visited, with contact details.

There is a whole chapter on the plight of the springbok, before Reardon heads to the desolate Tankwa Karoo and on to the Cederberg, then north west to Namaqualand and the Great River area, ie the Orange river. He also describes his visit to the Camdeboo area, and the Mountain Zebra national park, The text ends with a bibliography and detailed index.

This is an average-size softback that will slip easily into pockets in cars where it is likely to live after being first digested at home. The colour photos are plentiful and varied, from caterpillars to elephants, from landscapes to close-ups of locals, with some drawings and paintings from early travellers adding to the historic interest. A fine addition to South African and Karoo literature.

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Posted by on in Events

 

The season is nearly upon us and the event calendar is crowding in . At time of writing the focus is on Cape Wine 2018 and I am rooting for Robertson Wine Tourism who are hosting more than 80 overseas visitors at a five-course dinner at The Castle. It will finish, I believe, with a tour of the historic fort, but their guests should be immune from any of the resident ghosts after several glasses of the valley’s fine bubbly, white, red and dessert wines.

In date order:

 

Wine & Fynbos Cupcake pairing

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Taste the Cape floral kingdom for the next month or more in this new pairing from Delheim estate! The four cupcakes in the lineup are: Fynbbos honey paired with Delheim merlot, honeybush cupcake paired with Delheim chardonnay sur lie, buchu cupcake paired with the Gewurztraminer and a rooibos cupcake served with Delheim pinotage. The event costs R120 and bookings are preferred and essential for groups with more than nine. To book email cellardoor@delheim.com

 

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GABRIËLSKLOOF PRESENTS A 'FIRE FOOD' CELEBRATION OF SA HERITAGE FARE

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On Sunday, 23 September 2018 chef Frans Groenewald will light braai fires and serve traditional delicacies with a modern spin at Gabrielskloof farm in the Overberg to mark Heritage and national braai day.Tickets for the Overberg Braai @ Gabriëlskloof are R375pp. To book, call 028 284 9865 or email restaurant@gabrielskloof.co.za

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34th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

 

The 2018 events marks the swansong for three founder members, Etienne le Riche, Jan Boland Coetzee and Kevin Arnold. Along with their wines a special collection of crafted wines – 31 reds, 14 whites, two Cap Classiques and one port make the lineup ofr the auction which takes place at the Spier Conference Centre on Saturday, September 29. .Registration for the auction and VIP lounge will close on Wednesday, 19 September. Telephonic and proxy bidding options are available to those who are unable to attend in person. To find out more, visit: www.capewinemakersguild.com, email info@capewinemakersguild.com or call Tel: +27 (0)21 852 0408

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CELEBRATE FARM LIFE AT THE “GROOT PLAASPROE”

 

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Taking place from October 11 – 13 at Sandringham near Stellenbosch. More than 150 stalls offering a farm experience including 300 animals, farm food, and a world class agricultural showcase. Pair your boergoat meat with pinotage or beer, win prizes galore. Time; 8am to 6pm daily. Tickets can be booked through Computicket or buy at the gate. Adults: R100, pensioners R50 on Thursday and Friday and children under six enter free of charge. Contact Agri-Expo on 021 975 4440 or admin@agriexpo.co.za for more info.

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RMB WINEX 2018

 

takes place from October 24 – 26 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Regarded as the country’s must-attend event, this show of 19 years will again wow visitors with an exceptional lineup of premium wine brands. It is open from 17h00 to 21h00 and ticket prices range fror R180 to R295. Early Bird and Couples/ Packages from end September. Book through www.winex.co.za

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Celebrate in Full Bloom at this year’s Protea Party

 

Contemporary design meets understated elegance at the fifth annual Protea Party, which takes place at Anthonij Rupert Estate in Franschhoek, on Saturday 27 October 2018. The theme for the 2018 celebration is “Contemporary Floral”, On arrival guests will be greeted with Protea cocktails. Dinner - a generous three-course, harvest style feast of seasonal winelands produce - will be served at long tables. The full range of Protea wines will be available.

Tickets cost R695 per guest, inclusive of all food, wine and entertainment. The Protea Party begins at 18h00 for 18h30. Pre-booking is essential. For bookings and/or enquiries, please contact Sumarie Elliot on sumarie@rupertwines.com or call 021 874 9019. 

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Cool-climate wines, craft beer and a country fair: Explore the Elim Wine Festival

Once a year – for one day only – the cool-climate wines of the Elim Wine Ward and surrounds gather for the Elim Wine Festival – this year on Saturday November 10 at Black Oystercatcher wine farm. A dozen of the region’s top wineries will showcase their products; these are The Berrio, The Black Oystercatcher Wines, The Giant Periwinkle, Ghost Corner ,Land’s End, Strandveld Vineyards and Zoetendal from the Elim wine ward, wineries from just outside ElimareSijnn Wines from Malgas, Lomond from Cape Agulhas and The Drift, Jean Daneel Wines and Skipskop Wines from Napier.

Artisanal beer and cider are also on the menu, along with delicious local produce at the market stalls – thick smoked trout, local cheeses, charcuterie and sweet treats.

Tickets cost R140 for adults, which includes glass and tastings, and free entry for children under 18. Buy tickets via Webtickets, at the gate on the day, or at selected Picknpay stores. See you there!

For more info, visit: elimwines.co.za Or contact: Jackie Rabe, Marketing Director: Strandveld VineyardsCell. 082 376 8498Email: jackie@strandveld.co.za

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There are few winelovers who do not enjoy a story or a snippet of history around the wine they are opening. It not only adds interest but brings the producers and their farms and cellars into the homes of consumers, to the benefit of both.

Excelsior estate in the Robertson Wine Valley has a history as colourful as many, and fifth generation owner Peter de Wet is happy to share the family story with visitors to his hospitable farm and with those in the 20-odd countries across the globe who stock his wines.

Two diverse animal species have helped the De Wet family to fame and fortune since 1859 when one Koos de Wet settled near Robertson and started farming at Excelsior. Kowie de Wet became a successful ostrich breeder, as well as a wine producer and the manor guest house is today attractive testimony to his affluence, when it was built and furnished in the Cape Revival style. When ostrich plumes went out of vogue, Kowie and his son Oscar turned to breeding racehorses and cultivating vines, thus saving this feather palace from insolvency.

Two 20th century racehorses owned by the Excelsior stud, both of whom helped bring fame and fortune to the De Wet family, are honoured with a pair of fine red wines. Back in 1913 Excelsior imported a champion Hackney sire, named Evanthius, from overseas who continued his winning streak in South Africa, winning many titles.

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San Louis was a successful racehorse who fell ill in 1979 and was expected to die, but seven months later had recovered and went on to win the 1981 Guineas, one of South Africa’s most prestigious race.

Both the wines are from the Reserve range Their black bottles and gold banding and words on black labels lend sophistication but are moderately priced at R156.

Evanthius 2013 cabernet sauvignon was sourced from berries of 30-year-old vines. Full-bodied, with characteristic nose of dark berry and cedar, the smooth tannins are well-balanced by fruit. Enjoyable now, but should continue ageing well for some years. It’s four-star Platter status is enhanced with platinum from the 2017 Michelangelo contest. Alcohol levels of 14,5% are on the high side for current trends.

San Louis 2015 shiraz from a famous vintage year was chosen as a Platter “hidden gem’ in their 2016 edition. Expect to find the typical shiraz spiciness along with wafts of oak, cherry flavours and a hint of chocolate on the palate. AfFull-bodied wine that will take on rich casseroles of venison and gamebirds with panache.

A third wine from this range, Gondolier, a merlot, was not tasted. For more information, see www.excelsior.co.za

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Many entrepreneurs were inspired to launch new products or projects at the dawn of the new millennium. Looking back 18 years on, that of the Retief cousins of Robertson’s Four Cousins range of easy-drinking, affordable wines stands out as one of the most successful in South Africa.

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Today they can claim that their range is the country’s biggest selling bottled wine brand. Given their family background and compare that to some of the giants in the industry, one has to applaud this achievement with admiration. The cousins – two sets of brothers – launched not only the wines, but themselves as an intrepid foursome as they marketed their friendly affordable wines country-wide with skill and determination.

 

Today Phillip Retief, the marketing and finance member of the quartet notes that Four Cousins has been “embraced by South Africans” both in the Cape, in Soweto and Gauteng, in KwaZulu-Natal, by university students and in general the young consumer. They saw that the untapped market preferred sweeter wines, so that’s what Four Cousins gave them.

The group are marking their 18th birthday by revamping the packaging , putting all wines under screwcap, making their labels bigger and better.

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The range consists of five still wines – dry red and white, sweet red and white and sweet rosé while there is a quartet of sparkling wines, rosé, blush, red, sauvignon blanc and white which they suggest will make a fine pairing with macaroons, the trendy sweet snack that is a must- have item at every occasion. As the younger consumer is targeted, its pleasing to note that these wines generally sport low alcohol levels, ranging between 8 and 12.5% 

 

An awesome achievement Bussell, Phillip, Hennie and Neil - here’s to the next decade and continued success as the Four Cousins reach every corner of our country and  find even more fans in the  62+ countries across the globe. Wow!

 

 

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Having made a sizeable splash on the Cape wine scene with their captivating Carménère 2016, it’s time to look at the other reds flowing from Lozärn Wines at Doornbosch farm in the Bonnievale area.

 

Appearances do matter, and the first impression of the two reds I was about to open is one of sauve elegance – Black bottles, black labels, minimal text. In front the labels just inform, in bronze lettering that this is Lozärn shiraz 2016 and Lozärn Kay’s Legacy 2016, but down the sides of the wrap-around label, there is more info.

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To the shiraz first, made from 16-year-old wines – this is medium-bodied, offering wafts of berried fruit with more on the palate. There is an attractive purity, which, (dare I say it?) could be attributed to a woman winemaker, as I have experienced this characteristic far more with wines made by females. The tannins are still quite grippy but are sure to soften over the next year or two to meld happily with the fruit.  Tasters could (or should?) also detect coriander, cranberries, cloves and goji berries in this wine, which is enjoyable already, but is going to improve even more with time. Alcohol levels of 14% do not intrude, and the wine is aimed at the upper end of the middle market, retailing at R260.

Kay’s legacy is a red blend made up of 53% cab sauvignon, 33% merlot and the remainder cab franc, a Bordeaux mix that promises a portent of pleasure to come... Winemaker Salome Buys-Vermeulen has crafted this as a legacy to family matriarch Kay Sedgwick (of sherry fame) who married Sebastian Smuts who managed the vast Vergelegen farm for some years, so the vinous connection was present in both sides of the family. Kay farmed in the Robertson valley from 1923, mostly with ducks and chickens and named her farm Lucerne (or Luzärn). Her son added vineyards when he took over and his son and grandsons, the fourth generation, now run the farm in the Bonnievale area.

The wine came with suggestions that we could expect to find fennel, mint, star anise and dandelion – I detected a little mint but the others escaped me. But it is a wine that one can linger over and find new aromas and flavours as the levels in the bottle drop... Alcohol 13,5% and retail price of R300

The tasting samples sent to media were stylishly presented, complete with little packets of spices which added agreeable aromas to the air in my study.

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ANATOLI: Authentic Turkish Cuisine by Tayfun Aras published by Human & Rousseau, 2018

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Just the name induces memories of exotic meals enjoyed back in the late 80’s when we had to remember to book a table, as Anatoli was usually fully booked.. Dining there inspired me to investigate this wonderful cuisine further, and when I learned  that it's regarded as one of the top five cuisines in the world, I wasn't  surprised.

 

As country-dwellers we have become more reliant on our own cooking skills, and I am often pleased that I have a little store of Turkish  recipes in my handwritten recipe books. But what a treat to get this delectable collection from the present owner of Anatoli restaurant, recipes much embellished by his life story. He enjoyed an enviable childhood in a suburb of Ankara, brought up in a house where the garden fruit trees provided dessert and his mother encouraged him, the eldest of three sons, to take an active interest in family cooking.

 

Although he has a degree in archaeology he spent time selling carpets and souvenirs in Marmaris for several years where he absorbed the seafood and wild greens diet of the locals and, after marrying and starting a family, he and Louise moved to Cape Town in the late 90’s. Here he shared his expertise of Turkish braai-ing with locals . In 2003 he bought Anatoli when it came on the market for the second time and gradually adapted the original menu by introducing a new repertoire of mezzes.

 

The author ascribes the complexity of Turkish fare to influence from the vast territories of the Ottoman Empire, which spanned areas in Europe, the Caucasus, western Asia, north Africa and the horn of that continent. He brought in Turkish apricots, spicy beef sausages, sumac, Turkish coffee, raki and other ingredients at first, but now that Cape Town is more international it is easier to find most of these in the city.

 

Tayfun’s recipes open with a description of basic and essential ingredients that home cooks should have. Mezzes follow, ranging from a simple dish of varied olives to baby marrow fritters, from Circassian chicken paté to hummus, stuffed vine leaves to fava, (broad bean puree), red pepper pesto to borani (spinach with yoghurt and sultanas), tarama to tzatziki. You will also find kofte, (meatballs with tarator sauce), shakshuka (an eggless version) and aubergine dishes.

 

Anatoli’s popular bread recipe precedes main course dishes which are sourced from all regions in Turkey, some adapted to suit local palates. Most are served with fragrant rice but bulgar pilaf makes a good alternative.                                

There are classics like Imam Bayildi,   etli dolma 9mixed vegetables filled with spiced lamb mince), lamb shanks, lamb ribs, sultans delight ( cubed lamb served on smoked aubergine puree). Chicken baked with feta combines enticing flavours, and then we move to a selection of kebabs.                                            

 

Dessert is important in Turkish cuisine, and fruit compotes, milk puddings and of course baklava and kadayfi are classic examples. I like the look of apricots stuffed with almonds and cream and cream-filled stewed quince halves.

 

The final chapter, From my Home Kitchen, presents dishes too time-consuming for restaurant inclusion. Readers will find  some appetising salads, delicious brunch choices - including halloumi cheese baked in moskonfyt! -   a mussel stew, shrimp casserole and instructions for making Turkish tea (coffee is dealt with earlier in the book). Adventurous vegetarians will find plenty to chew on in this treasury to expand their repertoires as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A treasury of wise sayings accompanies the recipes in this book which is illustrated with plenty of appetising photographs, with the fare competing with some dishes, beautifully decorated china or metal dishes. Mouthwatering in every sense of the word.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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A KOEKSISTER TO FOLLOW...

 

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Stellenbosch Hills is adding a sweet finale to its biltong and wine pairing for the month of September, with a heritage dessert, in form of koeksisters, to be paired with their Muscat de Hambourg. Visitors can start with the pairing of their white and red wines with a range of biltong and droewors , then go on to choose a plaited or Cape Malay-style koeksister to finish. The pairings cost R75, and bookings can be made at 021 881 3828/9.

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DE KRANS BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

 

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A great way to swing into spring! This festival takes place over the weekend of September 1 - 2 and invites guests to jog or wander through vineyards and orchards in full bloom. Prizes await those who take the best photos on September 1. Prebooking is essential. Other activities include a farmers' market on the Saturday, live music, meals at the De Krans Bistro and Deli, wine and port tastings and a champagne breakfast on the Sunday. Bookings for this are advised. For more info contact Bessie Swanepoel at 044 213 3314 or email dekrans@mweb.co.za

 

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BOT RIVER SPRING WEEKEND

 

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Food, wine, music and entertainment for all members of the family is on the menu for this weekend bash, taking place on September 1 & 2.  Events are hosted by the various farms, including a scavenger hunt for grownups where particpants have to complete challenges prompted by a mobile phone app. There's yoga in the vineyards, meeting Nguni cattle, a farmers' market and wine launches on the programmes. Steak and curry nights and an ox braai add choices to dining, while the Bull fest theme gets carried through to clay bull shooting and taurean treasure hunts for children. Tickets cost R100 per day and obtainable through Quicket.  For more info contact  Melissa Nelsen at Melissa@genevievemcc.co.za.

The cellars will also be holding a tasting of new vintages at La Tete restaurant in Bree Street, Cape Town on Wed August 29 at 18h00. Tickets cost R200 and are available on quicket.com.

 

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CWG AUCTION 2018

 

The 2018 Nedbank Cape Winemakers' Guild auction takes place on Saturday 29th September at Spier Conference Centre. Registration closes on September 19. The collection of 48 individual wines that will go under the hammer comprises 31 reds, 14 whites, two Cap Classiques and one port-style wine. For more info visit www.capewinemakersguild.com or call 021 852 0408. A selection of the auction wines will be available for tasting in Cape Town at the CTICC on August 16 at 18h00 and in Johannesburg at the Atrium, Nedbank Sandton, on August 22 at 18h00. Tickets cost R350 and can be purchased via webtickets.co.za

 

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Calitzdorp, like other parts of the Little Karoo is still struggling with drought conditions. Yet nothing seems to stop the wine producers from bringing out great wines, both easy-drinking bargains and superb port wines for which the region is renowned.

De Krans is a fine example of a cellar that continues to produce world-class ports even while releasing an increasing number of white and red wines that are attracting awards at our national contests.

As budgets decrease thanks to rising petrol and other prices, winelovers are looking for affordability along with quality. The De Krans Basket Press cabernet sauvignon 2017 fits the bill nicely, an easy-drinking, warming, ruby red wine, presenting smooth tannins, cherry and plum flavours and offering moderate alcohol levels of 13,5%. At R65 it is accompanying many a winter casserole and braai, while also making a cosy fireside aperitif.

 

Looking ahead to a spring that hopefully brings seasonal showers, De Krans released its 2018 Pinotage Rosé a while ago, probably one of the first wines of this tough drought-ravaged vintage. However this attractive salmon-tinged dry blush wine, with very moderate alcohol levels and priced at R65 does not reflect hard times, but invites patrons to enjoy its berry and rose petal aromas, its fruity flavours and inviting hues – lunch time, brunch time, and the perfect complement to good picnics and other moveable feasts.

 

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While De Krans’s flagship port wine, the Cape Vintage Reserve 2015 is deservedly celebrating a double gold award from the 2018 National Wine

Challenge, I still turn to my all-time favourite, their Cape Tawny Limited Release, a non-vintage port blended, reports Platter, from wines five to 15 years old. As always, freshness and elegance accompany the rich flavours of caramel and citrus, fruitcake and nuttiness, and it’s unsurprising to see the bottle adorned with a four-and-half star sticker from Platter, gold from Veritas 2017, platinum from the SA Wine Index and a 92 –rating from Tim Atkins’ 2017 report.

I'm off  to shave slivers of vintage Italian Parmesan as my favourite accompaniment to this tawny delight.

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DELHEIM’S VEGAN-FRIENDLY DUO

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The 2018 white and rosé wines are trickling onto the market, and will soon become a steady stream. Among the early birds are the new vintages of Delheim’s perennially popular pair- their sauvignon blanc and their pinotage rosé.

To start with the latter, this blush has a long and illustrious history, being produced regularly since its launch in 1976, when the late Spatz Sperling first presented it to the local and German markets. It offers a good mix of candy and berry aromas, while the berry flavours on the palate are balanced by crispness and faint floral wafts of perfume , thanks to a tiny portion of Muscat de Frontignan. The prevailing drought has not affected the usual good quality and the moderate alcohol levels of 12,5% add to its attraction. Expect to pay around R75.

The 2018 sauvignon blanc will please a wide variety of tastes, as its nicely balanced, green fig and citrus notes complementing a hint of flint. Alcohol levels are moderate at 13,5%, and this wine, while fresh as a daisy, is not overly acidic. It sells for R79.

Both wines have a band on their back labels stating Suitable for Vegans. This is a good idea if, as Delheim says, they have had an increase in queries from visitors and diners as to the acceptability of their wines to vegans and vegetarians.

Of course today dozens of producers do not use egg white or fish products in the fining of their wines, while others, choosing the minimimalist approach, are not fining their wines at all. Bentonite is the product most widely in use today, a type of clay that is far less messy than working with egg whites which used to be popular. Delheim is one of the cellars that has been using bentonite for several years.

 

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