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Posted by on in Blog

 

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Cannot remember ever being disappointed in a bottle from Rickety Bridge over the last several years. Cellarmaster Wynand Grobler recently released the new vintages of his intriguing Mediterranean-style blends, a voguish and captivating range named The Foundation Stone and sporting labels as trendy as the contents of the bottles.

 Previous vintages  have attracted a steady list of  awards from local competitions as well as from UK’s Tim Atkin and the Far East. Each year the blends evolve as Grobler tweaks varietals and quantities, and  brings in grapes from regions other than Franschhoek.

The Foundation Stone Rosé 2017 offers just what most discerning  winelovers expect in current pinks: this blend of 48% Grenache Noir with 34% Shiraz, 15% Mourvèdre and a splash of Viognier presents Provencal-style wine that’s dry, fresh, and full of berry flavours . Grobler matured just 10% in small French oak, which adds a little spice to a summer wine for every al fresco occasion. Selling at around R80.

Tops of the trio for me is The Foundation Stone White 2016, a Chenin-led (46%) meld with 22% Roussanne, 18% Grenache Blanc, 11% Viognier and a splash of Nouvelle – unusual add-on. The components spent 10 months in separate barrels before blending, which has help to produce a delicious wine, restrained blossom and stone fruit on the nose, presenting rich, well-balanced flavours on the palate, that can be enjoyed as an aperitif, but will come into its own with gourmet poultry dishes, and some Asian creations. Selling for around R100.

The Foundation Stone Red 2014 is comprised of grapes sourced from Franschhoek, Swartland and the Breede river, consisting of 41% Shiraz, 25% Mourvèdre, 23%Grenache Noir. 6% Cinsaut and 5% Tannat. An interesting mix and a fascinating wine, barrel-matured for 18 months ahead of blending. Along with berry flavours, pepper and tobacco is present on the nose, and layers of flavour follow one another on the palate. Enjoyable already, but could impress further after a couple of years’ cellaring. This will make a fine companion to any red meat, along with ostrich dishes. Selling for around R100.

Hopefuly  these will be available for tasting at the forthcoming Franschhoek Uncorked fest in mid-September. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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There can be few landscapes more evocative of the rural Cape than that of Val du Charron – the iconic gabled farmstead, the whitewashed ringmuur, orchards and vines all set in an exquisite valley edged with mountain ranges.

Nicely named to encompass Wellington’s earlier name - Valley of the Wagonmakers -  while adding a Gallic tribute to the Huguenot founders, the beautiful 45ha Val du Charron is in the Bovlei,  in itself a district worth visiting for beauty, history, hospitality and good wine.

Just over a decade ago the Entwistle family bought the neglected fruit farm, first registered at the close of the 17th century, and set about restoring it. Once again English settlers have joined Afrikaners in this region, confirming a pattern that has been developing over the last few decades with beneficial, even synergetic,  results.

 

Val du Charron is today a renowned destination offering a choice of luxurious accommodation, fine fare and some fascinating wines. The farm acquired estate status some five years ago and today  produces two wine ranges, the Val du Charron Reserve, comprising chardonnay, pinot gris, shiraz and  cab, while their Theatre of Wine presents a trio of blends.

Catherine Entwistle sent me a pair of blends, plus the 2017 pinot gris from the reserve range.  Pinot Gris is an uncommon cultivar at the Cape, consisting of just .35% of the Cape vineyard area. I have found some previous examples rather characterless, so was keen to see what Bovlei terroir produced. This one is pleasing without overwhelming, crisp and fresh,  offering sufficient fruit, both citrus and melon, along with  discernible structure and with moderate 13% alcohol levels. A portion of the harvest from the eight-year-old vines was barrel fermented which no doubt helps account for fullness and good mouthfeel. Cellar door price is R89.

 My favourite wines of the moment are chenin-led blends, so it did not take me long to unscrew Four White Legs, a 2015 vintage comprising 38% chenin blanc, 28% pinot gris, 18% roussanne and 16% viognier. In a word – delicious! From its complex nose combining stone fruit with vanilla to wafts of flavour on the palate, fruit, cream  and honey, full-bodied but retaining freshness.  Fourie harvested the components over two and half months, and matured a portion of each in French oak, mostly second fill, for eight months. Alcohol levels at 14% are a little high for today’s tastes, but at R59 from the farm, I certainly would not let that detract me from a great buy.

This is also a chenin blend with a delightful  story behind its unusual name which is  spelled out on the back label  - suffice it to reveal that the four legs are those of a horse.

The tale behind the Black Countess red blend is also printed on the back label – this involves a British remittance man from Wellington  who met the daughter of a freed slave in the Northern Cape. The couple settled in Wellington and in 1883 the man, Harry Grey inherited the title of Earl of Stamford and his wife became the Countess. They stayed in this country, undertaking the building of schools and uplifting the poor.

The wine is a shiraz-led blend finished with 21% mourvèdre and 5% grenache. Medium-bodied, well-rounded with berry flavours alongside some herbiness, the oak adding a dash of vanilla.  French and American oak were used for 12 months maturation. Alcohol levels just over 14% and the farm price is R99.

Val du Charron also produces a merlot, malbec and other red blends.

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A BITE OF LATIN AMERICA by Susie Chatz-Anderson. Published by Human& Rousseau, Cape Town, 2017.

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A collection delectable in every aspect, and one that fills a gap in culinary literature as well. There has been little in the way of comprehensive cookbooks covering Latin America on our bookshop shelves for years, and none, as far as I know, written by a local..

Now we have Susie’s delightful gastronimic diary , a very readable account of the year she and husband  Mike spent travelling through Mexico and South America, in a quest for the best taste trips. Or rather that’s what she wanted, while he  spent the time hunting down the best kite-surfing sites.

They resigned their office jobs, stored their possessions and bought two air tickets, waving goodbye to Susie’s mother who, we are told, feared for her daughter’s life every day!

In choosing Latin America, they embraced cuisines where Maya, Aztec, Inca, Spanish and Portuguese contributions mix and meld, followed by more recent influence from Africa, Caribbean, Asia and Europe.

Mexico was the first destination, and a good choice seeing that their fare is rated as one of the finest peasant cuisines in the world. They found more meat in the north, seafood at the coast, spicy vegetable and chicken in the south.  Favourite Mexican meals were breakfasts, which included rice, beans and avocado with their morning eggs. Her chorizo omelette is a dish that’s perfect for a winter brunch, and tortilla-wrapped fish with salsas is  an appetising informal lunch suggestion. Gorditas – corn pockets with saucy fillings – make a great alternative to pitas,  add some Margaritas and you have an easy way to feed guests.

They headed south to, Guatemala,  a country whose cuisine is not well-pubicised. Plantains, rice and beans and salads are featured, while Nicaraguan more pork chops -  well laced with rum and finished with cream and green peppercorns  - are starred along with a saucy chicken pie that looks worth a try. I also like the Atolillo, described as a chilled rum custard, and it reminds me of melktert filling garnished with boozy sultanas.

More rice with beans, this time cooked in coconut milk, from Costa Rica and a similar version, without the beans, sweetened  and spiked, for dessert. From Columbia, chilli salsas,  Spanish-style omelettes and green apple and mint lemonade. On to Ecuador, where our adventurous couple savoured prawns ceviche and a potato and peanut stew with tofu and discovered countless varieties of Andean potatoes.

The author’s description of places and people in Peru are fascinating, the cuisine – indigenous dishes of Inca origin touched by Spanish influence, equally so. Her version of Causa  Limena illustrates this well – Peruvian potato, avocado, tomato and tuna layered stack – and makes a summery lunch.  For wintry days, their vegetable and quinoa soup  makes a colourful and nutritious meal. Husband  Mike’s favourite dish was Peru’s signature beef stir-fry, Lomo Saltado.

By way of contrast, the sophistication and diversity of Brazil’s fare was absorbed and relished  with delight. Recipes include cheese bites,prawn pie,upside-down banana cake (a breakfast special)  and Caipirinha, the  country’s signature cocktail.

From their final destination, Argentina,  Susie brought home recipes for Empanadas (beef and onion pies), a leek, sage and bacon bake, layered vegetable  tart,  the famous Chimichurri salsa and the Argentinian version of Dulce de Leche, caramel which is used in cakes, puds and cookies such as Alfajores, recipe given. The recipes finish with some good coffees, followed by a detailed index. Susie’s great travel photos add much interest, while the food shots are sumptuous, and beautifully styled.

What’s really appealing is the way the author suggests substitutes for exotic ingredients and alternatives and additions to the original dishes. Just the sort of helpful advice that every cook, beginner and experienced, appreciates. That and a down-to-earth modesty, an attractive trait that is by no means guaranteed in current cookbook-cum-diaries.

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A host of countrywide events in the Cape, Free State and Gauteng offer wonderful wines paired with companionable snacks. The events are chronologically arranged,  followed by  a few tempting winter wineland dining options .

 

 

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FREE STATE WINE SHOW IN BLOEMFONTEIN

 

The fifth Free State Wine Show takes place on Thursday and Friday August 3 -4 at Emoya hotel and conference centre in Bloemfontein. Visitors will find a choice selection of the Cape’s best, from bubblies to whites to reds to Cape ports and fine brandies. About 40 exhibitors will be pouring their best and the full list can be found at www.freestatewineshow.co.za. Tickets can be bought through Computicket and other outlets.  The show takes place from 18h00 to 21h00. Tickets cost R160 online until July 30 after that the price is R190 online and at the door. For more info, call 011 482 5936

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ROBERTSON SLOW FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL: 4-6 AUGUST 

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Robertson’s annual Slow Food and Wine festival attracts repeat visitors year on year who savour not only the  hospitable Robertson Wine Valley with its warm heart and fine wines, but a festival where wine farms offer personal itineraries that range from fireside tastings and hearty suppers to picnics and platters, underground cellar tours, game drives, horse-riding and slow cruising down the Breede river.

The Sunday Family Market on Klipdrift farm on August 6 from 10am is a finale worth staying on for . The setting, the produce, the ambience add up to a delicious slice of country life. Entrance is free, and  children are well catered for.

Look through the website programme and make your bookings – don’t leave this too late as some events are already fully booked.  See www.robertsonslow.com. And call 023 626 3167 for more info.

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Another perennial favourite to diarise: Wine Concepts will host their 5th Seductive Sauvignons Festival at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands on Friday August 18 from 17h00. Taste a fine selection of recently released sauvignon blancs along with current cabernet sauvignons from more than 40 of South Africa’s top producers. Bubblies, rosés and dessert wines will be included to add delicious diversity, and moreish snacks will be offered throughout the event.

All wines showcased will be available at special prices during the show.Tickets cost R200 from www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of the Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401 or at the door on the evening, subject to availability.Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za.

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THE CRADLE OF FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

 

 

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Gauteng winelovers have a new festival to contemplate and it has the makings of an annual must-do. The Cradle Boutique hotel and leading wine outlet Wine Menu have joined forces to host an event, which marks August as women’s month by featuring the products of 10 estates where women star as both winemakers and creators of fine boutique gins.

The premium wines on show include those by Catherine Marshal (Elgin); Swartland’s Huis van Chevallerie (winemaker Christa von La Chevallerie) and Kloovenburg (winemaker Jolandie Fouché); Stellenbosch’s Haskell (winemaker Rianie Strydom); Franschhoek’s La Bri (winemaker Irene Waller); Greyton’s Lismore (owner and winemaker Samantha O'Keefe) and Waterkloof wine estate in Somerset West (Nadia Barnard).
 
Also at the show will be Callan Williams who will present her lauded handcrafted wine brand The Garajeest and Carla Pauw from Stellenbosch who will show both her Saltare wines and olive oils.
  
Taking place on Saturday August 19 at the Cradle hotel from 11am to 4pm, families are welcome, although only those over 18 will be sampling the wine and gins. The Cradle Explorers Club will have a guide on hand to take children for a two-hour nature walk at R80 per child, which includes a picnic. The hotel is at Kromdraai road, Cradle of Humankind.

Adults can opt to buy a picnic hamper after the tastings, or book for lunch at the hotel. Festival entrance costs R75, under 18’s go in free.

 

 

 

HARTENBERG WINE ESTATE WARMS WINTER WITH ITS SOUL FOOD

 

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Heart and tummy-warming soul food is on the winter menu at this hospitable estate, from classic farm-style soups with farm bread, to the Hartenberg hamburger with chunky fries. There's a Vintners Platter to share, Banting options, vegetarian choices, and, of course the estate fine wines to complement your meal.  Open for lunch from Mon - Sat from noon, booking advisable. Call 021 865 2541 or e-mail info@hartenbergestate.com.

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 Winter Classics at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

 

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Winter feasting at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel’s Planet restaurant

 involves a  a menu of hearty, traditional and classic dishes. Modern mezze, antipasti and fritto misto make starters, or opt for Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s famous South African Cheese Fondue.

There's a Valrhona chocolate fondue as well, silky indulgence at R365 for two.

For mains, there's  Laingsburg lamb neck, linefish, grilled chicken breast and tortellini or mushroom risotto. The Winter Feast Special costs R325 per person. In addition, classic Beef Wellington - albeit with a twist - is back, presenting another sustaining option. 

 

For more info or to make  a reservation, please phone 021 483-1000 or e-mail: restaurantreservations.mnh@belmond.com

 

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It’s not only the Orange River winemakers that are notching up praise – and medals – for their wines, but there are now a couple of fine craft beers flowing out of Upington, that can take on any of the others being produced in various South African provinces.

Early this year Kalahari Craft Beer was launched in Upington, one of the first from that arid region. Playing on the desert theme, founder Renier Baard chose to name his creations after animals that cope particularly well with the hot dry climate: so there is a Gemsbok Lager and a Puffadder Weiss, both 440ml bottles retailing for around R23,50.

They share alcohol levels of 5% and taste great to me, but then I am no expert on beer. So I got keen beer drinkers to try them, and the result was what I expected – these are fine examples of the burgeoning craft beer industry, and you definitely don’t need to be in the Kalahari to enjoy them.

To order or to find your nearest stockist, log on to www.kalaharicraft.co.za  or contact Renier on 072 827 0009. I predict we are going to see a great deal more of these attractive bottles across the country this summer.

Here’s to the Kalahari, both the dry land and its excellent wet beer!

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Can it really be nine years ago that the Burger family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the planting of their 1908 muscadel vineyard, the oldest of its kind in the country? I do remember it was a party of note, one of those Robertson valley occasions that linger in the memory.

 

Fast forward six years and the family marked 150 years of Rietvallei being owned by the same family: Six generations of the Burger family have contributed significantly to the fine heritage that Robertson enjoys in the field of viticulture that moved, in the early days,  from fortified reds to quality white, red, rosé and bubblies over the decades.

The estate lies in the KlaasVoogds ward , about eight km east of Robertson off the R60. Vineyards of diverse cultivars flourish there, enabling cellarmaster Kobus Burger to produce a comprehensive range of wines, along with the current vintage – 2013 – of the unique renowned 1908 Red Muscadel

The popular, well-priced John B wines make up an entry-level range that has 

.just undergone a change of label – the new ones reflect the trendy retro-type of graphic art so in vogue today. The wines are noted for delivering quality at a pleasing price, with still wines selling for R46 and the pair of bubblies for R73.

 

I find this characteristic  particularly evident with the sauvignon blanc 2017, which b2ap3_thumbnail_rietvallei-Sauv-Blanc-2.jpgI enjoyed more than some at near double the price. It’s one of those well -balanced sauvignons that is neither over-acidic nor floral and flabby: winemaker Kobus Burger has crafted a fresh and flavourful wine offering some grassy and citrus flavours, followed by wafts of melon and sub-tropical flavours and backed by a hint of flint . Alcohol levels at just over 12% add to its charm

Its red 2016 counterpart, with an equally moderate 12,8 alcohol level, presents an attractive, moreish blend of 56% cab with 44% Tinta Barocca. Presenting easy-drinking pleasure around the braai or the fireplace, this screwcapped red is medium- bodied, fruity and smooth with spice from the Tinta Barocca adding interest. A great everyday red for pairing with informal meals, both indoors and out.

The John B rosé 2017 is a semi-sweet charmer, that will appeal to many who savour floral aromas and berry flavours in a crisp pale salmon wine. Produced from cinsaut, with low 12,23% alcohol levels, easy to understand its popularity, while I would like Rietvallei to come up with a gourmet cinsaut, dry and succulent, which could be a spring sensation.

The duo of sparkling wines are priced at R73 each, the Chardonnay Brut 2016 offering a light, lively, dry bubbly, with characteristic apply flavours: Carbonated class that makes a perfect brunch aperitif, solo or combined with fresh peach juice. Its pink companion, selling at the same price, is a fruity semi-sweet rosé 2016, berry-rich with a touch of Muscat to finish, that will fit the bill for many an occasion throughout the seasons.

More to come, as I look forward to trying the new estate vintages when released next month.   

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School holidays mean lots of extra traffic on the N2 as families head down to the Garden Route or move inland to Karoo destinations.  It’s also whale-watching time in the Southern Cape when locals argue about which bay is the best from which to watch the great mammals and their offspring cavort in the Indian Ocean .

Baleia means whale in Portuguese which ties in with the vineyard’s location in St Sebastian bay which is known as South Africa’s whale nursery.

Travelling winelovers should note  that there is a fairly unique tasting room, deli and restaurant on the N2 about 1`km from Riversdale as you head to Mossel Bay. There you will find the Baleia Wines cellar and La Bella restaurant and deli, and can taste the small but interesting range of wines and take home their olive oil as well.

Dassieklip  farm is sited near the hamlet of Vermaaklikheid where the Joubert family started producing wine and olive oil a few years ago. Their wine range, made by Abraham de Klerk has caught the eye and palate of many a connoisseur: the vines, rooted in  limestone soil are also conditioned by  the bracing, sometimes windswept Mediterranean climate of that coastal area,

 

The 2013 vintage of their flagship Erhard pinot noir notched up  awards, and the 2014 has nowb2ap3_thumbnail_Baleia-Erhard-Pinot-Noir-2014.jpg been released, a medium-bodied garnet-hued wine with moderate alcohol levels and rich tannins which promise longevity. There’s a herbiness along with the characteristic earthiness of the cultivar, and this could be a pinot to squirrel away for a few years and then open to increased enjoyment. It costs R180.

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THE GREAT SOUTH AFRICAN COOKBOOK, published by Quivertree Publications, Cape Town, 2016.

 

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Less than a fortnight to Mandela Day 2017, when South Africans, both individuals and teams from institutions, companies and a myriad organisations, will give up 67 minutes, or a  day, a week or more to do good in their communities and help alleviate poverty in some way.

 

 This handsome hardback was published last year, elicitng great  reviews for all those involved in its production. On  the final  page, number 372, an announcement in small print states that the Nelson Mandela Foundation  “will receive all royalties from sales... to develop and support community food and agricultural projects to aid in the upliftment of the impoverished through food sustainability and empowerment.”

 

Now, as July approaches, it’s a good time to remind potential purchasers about this generous gesture – anyone looking for a comprehensive cookbook that presents a treasury of recipes for fare found in the kitchens of our diverse communities could hardly do better than snap up  this culinary compendium. Add to that the feel- good, do -good  aspect of your purchase, and you may want to buy an extra copy for someone special in your life.

 

First, a little about the book production: As one expects from Quivertree, this is a great book to hold and admire, from its innovative and trendy  cover to Toby Murphy’s delightful photographs on the endpapers.  Plenty more wonderful images  of food and cooks throughout the book, taken in food gardens, fishing boats,on farms, in kitchens, restaurants and homes. And, almost without exception, every personality looks as cheerful as can be, which is pretty inspiring! There’s a glossary of terms used, a detailed index which precedes a second one, arranged by categories like baking , dressings, gluten- free and main courses, and a list of contributors. Several sponsors are also thanked.

 

The contributors of recipes  are, to quote the cover “...our finest cooks, chefs, bakers, farmers, foragers and local food heroes.” They also represent an intriguing mix of entrepreneurs from every corner of the land, each with their own  story and culinary specialities. Many hail from the Western Cape and Gauteng is also prominently in the picture, but after that the locations thin out to a few from KwaZulu-Natal, just two from the Free State and a few from the Eastern Cape. A lone cook from the Northern Cape shares this status with one from Limpopo province, while the North-West and Mpumalanga are not ignored. Down south the Garden Route features, but the Overberg is practically bypassed , which, given the gastronomic talent in the Elgin and Stanford areas, is surprising.

 

 The recipes cover the basic fare and classics of the major South African cultural groups, and there is a strong emphasis on greens and fresh produce, raw ingredients, and foraging, which is both trendy and health-giving.

An unexpected shortage of soups – just three – when you consider how many of us regard sustaining vegetable and meat soups, thickened with pulses, as essential survival fare. At the other end of the menu,  just one ice-cream makes the grade: admittedly a delicious recipe from brilliant chef Franck Dangereux, but again, South Africans regard ice-cream , preferably homemade, as a given during the hot months, whether inland or along our coasts.

Turning to main courses, it seems a pity that no ostrich dish is included, a meat so important to the Little Karoo farmers and townsfolk. The inspiring local and seasonal fare from the plains of Camdeboo in the Great Karoo should have a place in this book – but then, perhaps they were approached, one doesn’t know. Or maybe it was simply a case of space running out - the line had to be drawn somewhere!

 

 But with 360 pages of appetising, colourful, diverse gastronomical temptations, there is more than enough to digest and try out to keep keen cooks and bakers busy for years. This is by far the most comprehensive South African culinary title ever published, and for this reason alone, is a cookbook everybody who has an interest in food, should possess.

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When you havekingfor a surname and those who celebrate your 17th century winemaking tradition produce a patrician rosé in your name, the whole concept of provincial Provençal wines is elevated to premium status. This is emphasised by a beautiful bottle embossed with the founders initials – JR – which encloses a delectable pale coppery blend. It presents an unique Cape tribute from Franschhoek to a feisty pioneer from the village of Lourmarin in southern France.

Jean Roi Cap Provincial Rosé  2016  flows from the lovely L'Ormarins estate, where the creators of Anthonij Rupert Wyne have added this new limited edition maiden release -  a blend of 70% Cinsaut, 28%Grenache and 2% Shiraz -  to their ranges. 

 

The nose  offers delicate  wafts of blossom and and melon, preceding flavours of stone fruit and melon and a citrussy friskiness. But this is no fruit salad - on the palate is  a medium-bodied  wine, its backbone presenting quiet characteristics of the trio of components, led by the gentler cinsaut rather than either of the others.. Moderate alcohol levels of 13,5% are in keeping with current trends, although higher than some consumers are demanding. 

Honouring their  founder  is not the sole reason for its production: Good rosés are part of an increasing international trend in the USA as well as the UK as the favourite aperitif and food wines among enthusiasts, gourmets and connoisseurs. High summer there, so the right time for opening Jean Roi morning, noon and night...

Here in South Africa midwinter days that are sun-drenched, windless, with cloudless skies are frequent enough, so no need to wait until spring to open a bottle of this patrician blend to toast the weekend. Or to pair with seafood and salads,  poultry and perfumed creations from Persia, Turkey and Iran. It could also well complement a Cape Malay bobotie that includes dried fruit. You will need a corkscrew, however, something to bear in mind if taking it on a gourmet picnic.

At R300 this rosé announces its intentions to be right on top of its class, with good reason. Available from the farm, online and at select wine shops.

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With snow and freezing temperatures featuring on the weather charts, it’s time for robust reds and full-bodied fortified wines, while rare steaks will be many diners’ first choice. These names of recent winners and finalists in national competitions  could offer inspiration to both winelovers and those who eat out with relish...

 

 

TOP TEN FINALISTS IN THE WOLFTRAP STEAKHOUSE CHAMPIONSHIP

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The first round of the 2017 Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships is complete and these finalists represent those who garnered most votes from the public. The judges now take over for the final round.

 

In alphabetical order

 

  • Beef Boys Grill, Potchefstroom – North West
  • HQ, Cape Town - Western Cape  
  • Jayz Grill, Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu Natal
  • Karoo Cattle and Land - Irene, Pretoria - Gauteng
  • Little Havana, Umhlanga Rocks - KwaZulu Natal (2015 Champion)
  • Rare Grill, Kenilworth - Western Cape
  • The Cricketer, East London - Eastern Cape
  • The Godfather, Centurion, Pretoria - Gauteng
  • The Grumpy Griller, George - Southern Cape
  • The Local Grill, Parktown North, Johannesburg - Gauteng (2013, 2014 and 2016 Champion)

 

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TOP SCORERS IN THE CAPE BORDEAUX RED BLEND REPORT

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Winemag.co.za released the results of the high scorers among the 60 entries that were received from 45 producers for the 2017 competition. The following 25 rated 90 or more on the 100-point scale.

 

Just one, Thelema Rabelais 2013 achieved 94. Three collected 93 – Morgenster 2011, MR de Compostella 2014 and Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2013. Those scored 92 were Holden manx Big G 2013, Rustenberg John X Merriman 2015, and Simonsig Tiara 2011.

 

Many made 91: Allee Bleue Cabernet sauvignon Merlot 2014, Beyerskloof Field Blend 2013,
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2014, LaibachThe Ladybird 2015, Longridge Ekliptika 2014, Morgenster 2012,Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2014, Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2013, Rustenberg John X Merriman 2014, Spier Creative Block 5 2014, Zorgvliet Richelle 2015.
The following blends were scored 90 points:Allée Bleue L'AmourToujours 2013, Creation Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot 2015,KnorhoekPantère 2014, La Vierge Nymphomane 2015, Villiera Monro Red 2013, VriesenhofKallista 2011, and Vondeling Philosophie 2015.

 

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SHIRAZ STARS FOR 2017 ANNOUNCED

 

 

The results of the fifth Shiraz Challenge awards were announced recently at the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate in Paarl. SA Shiraz chairperson Edmund Terblanche announced that 220 wines vied for honours.“Initially we focused only on Shiraz, but soon after we invited winemakers to put forward their best blends as well... We’ve witnessed consistent growth in the blends category.”

 

The shiraz winners are:

 

Cederberg Shiraz                                                                     2015

 

D'Aria The Soprano Shiraz                                                    2015

 

Eagle's Nest Shiraz                                                                   2014

 

Fairview Beacon Shiraz                                                          2014

 

Fairview Swartland Shiraz                                                     2014

 

Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz                                                2013

 

KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz                                                2015

 

La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier                                     2015

 

Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah                                       2015

 

Saronsberg Shiraz                                                                    2015

 

Strandveld Syrah                                                                      2013

 

Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz                        2015

 

While the Top Three shiraz-led blends are:

 

Bellingham The Bernard Series SMV                                2014

 

Rustenberg Stellenbosch RM Nicholson                        2015 and

 

Saronsberg Full Circle   

 

 

 

MOREISH MUSCADEL WINNERS

 

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   Muskadel SA 2017 Platinum Winners l to r Alvi van der Merwe (Alvi's Drift) Chris Venter (ORC) Tiaan Loubser (Du Toitskloof Kelder)

 

There were 23 entries in this year‘s Muskadel SA Awards contest, and the Orange River Cellars emerged  triumphant overall for the third consecutive year.

 

Orange River Cellars White Muskadel 2016 and Red Muscadel 2016 both received platinum awards, adding more medals to their stock of five platinum and two gold since 2013. Also awarded platinum were Du Toitskloof Cellar Red Muscadel 2014 and Alvi’s Drift Premium 2014.

 

Nuy winery took home gold for their Rooi muskadel 2012 as did Rooiberg for their Red Muscadel 2014.

 

Gold awards

 

Two cellars situated on the R60 between Worcester and Robertson was awarded gold; Nuy Winery for their Nuy Rooi Muskadel 2012 and Rooiberg Cellarfor their Rooiberg Red Muscadel 2014.

 

Another winner from the Northern Cape is Landzicht GWK Wines who took home gold for their Landzicht Rooi Muskadel 2016 and Boplaas from Calitzdorp scored with gold for their Boplaas Heritage Collection 2014.

 

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MASTERCHEF STREET FOOD OF THE WORLD by Genevieve Taylor. Published by Absolute Press of Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 2017.

 

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This is a hefty hardback, its front cover presenting a mélange of dishes filled with fare both exotic and everyday: skewers of fiery offal share space with strawberry-topped waffles and cream,a  fried egg tops a plate of Danish leftovers alongside all-American picnic sarmies.

The very title intrigues, and food writer Taylor has added prestige to what is pleb cuisine  by getting  MasterChef champions from France, Denmark, Australia, USA, the Far East and the UK to add their touch to the recipes. As the back cover states, millions around the globe relish street food every day, so a compendium of these  recipes from all corners of the planet amounts to a treasury for adventurous home cooks to explore.

With the current vogue of food trucks in towns and cities dishing out portable street eats, along with night markets and food festivals proliferating across the globe, this sociable cuisine is trending, and it seems unlikely that such a  relaxed informal way of eating will go out of fashion soon, if ever.

Street food is hardly new, and can be traced back to ancient Rome and medieval London, among other cities. Today’s street and market  cuisines are usually characterised by a kaleidoscope of colour, flavour, aromas and taste sensations. As the author suggests, this collection of recipes enables every cook to bring a sense of wanderlust to their home kitchens.

Chapters focus on continents, opening with The Americas, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Indian subcontinent precedes a section on Asia and Australia.  While western classics like beef burgers, fish and chips are included in the line-up, it’s the exotic items from the Middle and Far East and north Africa that first attracted me, along with those from the Caribbean and Central  and  South America.

Tasty bites from  Louisiana sandwich shops start the American ball rolling, then it’s off to the islands, with Jamaican Jerk chicken and Trini Doubles from Trinidad (chickpea curry sandwiched between naan bread). Mexico offers up chicken and sweetcorn quesadillas with guacamole, tamales with pulled pork and chilli sauce and a tempting sorbet of tequila, mango and lime to make in summer. Heading south, there’s ceviche from Peru, arepas with queso blanco and guasacaca from Venezuela, which translates into little cornmeal cakes stuffed full of homemade cheese and accompanied by  robustly flavoured avocado- based sauce . Argentinian short ribs with chimichurri sauce already appears on local braai menues, its followed here by dulce de leche icecream.

British favourites include Cornish pasties and a variation on Scotch eggs, while France whips up niçoise wraps and crepes banoffee. Flamkuchen and kartoffelpuffer from Germany are followed by an appetising-looking leftover Danish classic, called Biksemad. There are also street specials from Finland, Poland, Bosnia and the Czech republic before the masterchefs look south to Greece, settling on souvlaki pitas with tzatsiki and tiropita. Arancini with Gorgonzola,  polpette, verduri fritti and gnocco fritto make the Italian selection while the sweet offering from Spain is churros and chocolate sauce.

Delectable bites from Turkey include gozleme with spinach,feta and pinenuts, balik ekmek, midye dolma and simit, all of which translates into stuffed flatbreads, a mackerel sandwich, stuffed mussels and something similar to a bagel, topped with sesame seeds. Equally tempting snacks from Israel, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco follow, making this a chapter I would turn to often. The chefs then head south down the African continent, stopping in Ghana  ,Nigeria and Ethopia.

We have long savoured a street foods in South Africa,emanating from a variety of cultural traditions: Our country’s diversity  is represented with recipes for the Gatsby, bunny chow, masala pineapples and melktert. Mauritius also makes the cut with a dhall puri with butterbean curry.

And so, to India with Pakistan and Sri Lanka as add-ons. Expect kebabs and samosas, tikki with date and tamarind chutney, egg bhurji with parathas, kati rolls, masala dosa, chicken 65 and  cooling mango and cardamom kulfi lollies. I like the look of of Sri Lankan turmeric fried eggs with curry sauce - think it  could prove a meat-free sensation and will try it out soon...

Further east now, to sample Chinese tea eggs and char siu bao, on to Korea for mixed vegetable kimbap with gochugaru  dipping sauce, then daintier fare from Japan such as Yakitori chicken skewers and daigaku imo. Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam present a fragrant and vibrant mix of flavours while Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia serve up street fare that is familiar to most of us like satés and sambals, prawn curry laksa, and sate ayam with peanut sauce. What can we expect from Australia? I would not have guessed correctly, but its a trio that starts with fried prawns with citrus salt and sriracha  mayo, chiko rolls and steak and onion pie – perhaps they taste wonderful, but this was the only menu that disappointed on reading it. I expected something more exciting from Down Under and that included at least a couple of their indigenous ingredients or Aussie creations that combine native with input from oriental, Greek and Italian immigrants.

Many local cooks will embrace this treasury,  in search of vibrant new flavours or to recall those enjoyed in street markets in far-off lands. To mimic a former radio ad for a popular local white wine, these dishes are made for family and friends, eating, drinking, laughing and sharing occasions. I could not think of a better birthday or Christmas present for friends who like roaming the gastronomic world in their home kitchens. For one, I am thrilled to possess this gem.

 

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TRY THIS! TASTE OF TYGERVALLEY - A NORTHERN WINE FEST

 

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A first for this huge and populous centre! Don't miss out on the inaugural Taste of Tygervalley Wine Fest taking place on Friday June 30 and Saturday July  1. T.he venue is the Arena, where 21 cellars will be pouring their products, from potstilled brand and fortified wines to serious reds and full-bodied whites. Something for every palate and pocket, and most suited to the midwinter weather that we are welcoming with many a toast!

The wineries taking part are Blaauwklippen, Benguela Cover, Bonnievale, Brandvlei, Diemersfontein, Eagles'

Cliff, Edgebaston, Groenland, Hermanuspietersfontein, Imbuku, Kingna Distillery, Montpellier de Tulbagh, Montagu Wine and Spirits, Mooiplaas, Ormonde, Perdeberg, Peter Bayley, Spookfontein, Triple Three Distillery, Yonder Hill and Zorgvliet.

The Cabernet Franc Interest Group will man a special tasting stand for this trendy varietal. Wine of the Month Club and Good Taste will be present, and chocolate pairings and tastings are also on the menu.

Tickets cost R100 which includes glass, tastings, and a contribution toward a bursary for a local youngter to study toward becojing a sommelier. The festival times are from 17h00 - 21h00 on Friday and 14h00 - 19h00 on the Saturday. Tickets from www.computicket.com or at the door. Numbers of guests will be limited to avoid overcrowding. 

 For more information visit www.tygervalley.co.za

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DSTV FRANSCHHOEK BASTILLE FESTIVAL

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French flair to the fore, with berets, a red white and blue outfit, and an appetite for fine wine and gourmet bites? Then you are all ready for this years Bastille bash taking place on July 15 and 16.

As usual, it offers a mullti-sensory experience, and there is an optional package being offered this year dubbed Joie de Vivre: it comprises a number of mountain biking activies over three days, including Contre la Montre, a race against the clock in the Franschhoek mountains along with accommodation, exclusive functions and meals.

As before, the food & wine marquee will be sited at the Huguenot monument, where wines can be tasted and gourmet fare purchased. Tickets cost R280 a head, and include glass and five wine-tasting coupons. Book through www.webtickets. Visit www.franschhoekbastille.co.za for more info.

 

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FLAVOURS OF WINTER FESTIVAL AT MURATIE

 

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The beautiful historic estate of Muratie will host a celebration of Cape Port-style wines on Saturday July 29. The Melck family will welcome yhou to fireside sipping, then dining on rich flavours of warming winter fare from the Muratie Farm Kitchen. Wines on show will also be on sale at cellar door prices. Von Geusau will titillate tastebuds with their handmade chocolates.

The event runs from 10h30 to 16h00. Tickets cost R100 and include a glass. Advance booking is recommended. Email taste@muratie.co.za or call 021 865 2330.

 

 

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Whether it's a treat of a meal for Father’s Day or a supper to mark mid-winter, June is the right month to create a menu that incorporates our fabulous South African brandies, from cocktail to dessert.

Brandy imparts a special flavour when used in cooking, enhancing the final taste of any dish. The spirit can be flamed, simmered, stewed, or used to deglaze a pan in order to produce an irresistible sauce.

Don’t be bound by quantities of brandy as listed in recipes, as you may prefer less or more – but note that too much brandy will simply overpower the flavours of the food it is supposed to embellish. You want aroma and flavour of the spirit to elevate your creation to gourmet heights. The alcohol evaporates during cooking so there is no need to worry about after-effects.

South Africans are so fortunate when it comes to brandy – we really do make some of the best in the world – not that this is always appreciated. But the top judges in the northern hemisphere do – they are continually placing our brandies up there on top where they belong: the results below are two of the latest stash of awards scooped by our clever craftsmen and blenders.

Our brandies made a clean sweep at the 2017 World Drinks Awards recently, claiming gold, plus the title of World’s Best Brandy for the Oude Meester Demant. This contest takes place in London, hosted by TheDrinksReport.com with a judging panel of respected and experienced authorities from the drinks and hospitality industry. They score entries on nose, palate, finish, balance, character and quality. 

Last month our brandies wowed the judges in America’s prestigious San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition. The SFWSC awarded Oude Meester three Double Golds  for their 12- year-old, 18-year-old and Demant brandies. Van Ryn’s Distillery claimed two Double Gold medals for the Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distiller’sRreserve and the Van Ryn’s 20-Year-Old Collectors Reserve respectively.This competition is among the most widely respected in the world, attracting more than 2 100 entries of spirits for evaluation by a judging panel comprising of 43 international experts.

Now to a celebratory meal: I have started the dinner with my own version of  brandied mushroom soup – if this doesn’t appeal, think about a delicious chicken liver terrine flavoured with fresh orange and brandy or a brinjal paté, baked and mashed with cottage cheese, brandy, yoghurt and fresh herbs for a trendy vegetarian first course.

For the main course I settled for a quickly prepared lamb chop recipe, Banting-friendly, a change from casseroles, curries, potjies and the like, which can be teamed with seasonal veggies or  salads.  It comes from a well-used book entitled California Brandy Cuisine written some years ago to mark 200 of Californian brandy production.

And then a trad Cape finale, given a twist, which you can find in Bertus Basson’s enjoyable cookbook Homegrown, published by Jacana Media and released earlier this year.

BRANDIED MUSHROOM SOUP

I have deliberately left off quantities, but have mentioned approximate ones in the method. They can be increased or decreased according to the cook’s taste.

Butter or  butter and olive oil

IX 350g punnet portabellini mushrooms, wiped and sliced, reserving a few left whole

1X350g  punnet white mushrooms, wiped and sliced

I large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, sliced

Fresh herbs tied together – eg thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, lovage

Chicken or vegetable stock

Milk

Cream

Salt and white pepper

Creamed horseradish

Fresh lemon juice

Brandy

Cornflour

Heat a generous quantity of butter or a mixture of butter and oil, and sauté the onion over medium heat until softened. Add garlic, stirring, then increase heat and toss mushrooms in the pan until their juices run, stirring frequently. Add the herb bunch, then about 2 cups of stock, bring to a simmer. After a few minutes add milk to taste – up to 2 cups if you want a cream of mushroom soup, less if not. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes, then take off the heat and stir in cream – quantity depends on how rich you want the soup to be. Stir, then season with the salt, pepper, horseradish and lemon juice to taste. (The horseradish can be omitted, but I love the combination of this herb with mushrooms, they seem synergetic). Add more stock if you want increased quantities or a thinner soup. Finally mix brandy ( I use about 40ml or 3 scant tablespoons) into a spoonful of cornflour until well mixed, add to soup, bring back to a simmer, stir and remove from heat. Remove herbs. Cool, then using a hand held mixer, puree a soup a little, but still leaving it partly chunky.  Chill until serving time. Reheat and serve, topping each serving with a spoonful of grated raw portabellini mushrooms that you have tossed in a little lemon juice.  Serves 4 or more as a first course.

BRANDIED LAMB CHOPS

4 or more thick beautiful free-range lamb chops

Butter – about 4T

Finely chopped mild onion, red if possible – about 4T

Finely chopped Italian parsley – about 2T

Worcestershire sauce, about 2T

Salt and ground black pepper

Brandy, up to half a cup

Heat half the butter and sauté the chops over high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove chops from pan. Add the onion and cook gently until soft and golden. Return chops to pan, add the remaining butter,  parsley, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to taste. Cook about one minute more, then heat the brandy, ignite and pour over chops and sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

BERTUS BASSON’S CREPE SUZIE

Bertus describes this recipe as a kind of gentrification “of a church bazaar pannekoek by introducing it to some alcohol and a chafing dish.”

Pancakes:

375ml flour

Pinch of salt

Half tsp baking powder

250ml milk

125ml buttermilk

125ml water

2 eggs

30ml vegetable oil

Sauce:

3T sugar

2T butter

2 oranges, zest grated and juiced

2 oranges, segmented

2 naartjies, segmented

 2 lemons, zest grated and juiced

45ml good brandy

100ml van der Hum liqueur

Sift all dry ingredients together into a bowl and whisk the milk, buttermilk, water, eggs and oil together in another bowl. Slowly pour the liquid mix into the dry ingredients, whisking continuously to form a smooth batter. Rest the batter for at least an hour, preferably overnight, in the fridge.

Rub a good quality 24cm non-stick pan with a drop of vegetable oil. Heat to moderate heat and add about 80ml of batter. Roll the pan around to spread batter evenly. Cook until lightly browned on one side, flip over and lightly brown the other side. Fold into quarters, allocating two pancakes per person. Repeat process until batter is used up.

For sauce, heat a large pan, big enough to fit 8 folded pancakes. Sprinkle the sugar onto the dry pan and let it caramelise lightly. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the orange and lemon juices and stir vigorously to form a syrup. Place the folded pancakes into the pan and coat with syrup. Add the orange and lemon zests Warm the brandy and van der Hum and ignite. Tilt the pan toward the flame  and add the flaming spirits to the pan. When flame dies, add the orange segments to the pan. Serve immediately with vanilla icecream. Serves 4.

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Italians always manage to add romance to whatever they do, and that includes winemaking. Attilio and Michela Dalpiaz of Ayama in the Voor-Paardeberg are no exceptions, having injected great appeal into their historic farm and fine wines that they produce on the lower slopes of the Paardeberg, itself a mountain that inspires beguiling stories.

Now they have added a South African first with the release of their maiden Vermentino, a limited edition of 1 500 litres, set to be sold by auction that will benefit a local farm school..

Vermentino is a wine with a long history, originally a Spanish cultlivar that made its way to Italy early last century where it was adopted with enthusiasm and much success, both on the mainland and on Sardinia  - where it was elevated to DOCG status in 1997 It produces a medium to full-bodied wine,  that sometimes offers flavours one would expect in a rosé.

It took the couple six years to import their Vermentino vines, get quarantine approval, and finally plant one hectare in 2014. The patterns on the label were inspired by those made by the must during fermentation, the result, Michela claims, of the classical music that serenaded the wine in the cellar at this state.

 

To mark the release of this special wine, a single vintage auction, both local and online, will take place on Youth Day, June 16 at the Roodebloem studios in Woodstock. The venue, a decommissioned historic church reminds one of many similar sites in Italy where beautiful churches also fulfil other roles – such as the world launch of Slow Food a couple of decades ago...

 

Perdjie school consists of a creche and after-school project started by Ayama and neighbouring farm Scali in the Voor-Paardeberg a few years ago. Close to 40 youngsters, children of farm workers, are cared for daily. Transport is difficult, and it is hoped to raise money to buy a school bus.

Ayama will donate all profits from proceeds of the Vermentino auction to this worthy cause, an apposite one for a Youth Day event.

See http://ayama.co.za/perdjie-school/ for more info.

 

There are just 40 seats reserved for members of the public who would like to attend this event. They cost R300, but readers who contact Ayama directly, identifying themselves as readers of this blog, can claim R100 discount, paying just R200 for their ticket. Either send an e-mail to info@slentfarms.com or call 021 869 8313.

 

 

 

 After the bidding closes guests will be served drinks and canapés . Seats can also be booked  through www.wine.co.za.

 

A new Mediterranean varietal to add to others being introduced to Cape vineyards is always a welcome achievement, and one presumes that Vermentino will be water-wise as well to suit our declining water reserves. Those who wish to bid online need to access the website http://ayamavermentino.com/.

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HERMANUS FYNARTS WINE PLUS:

 

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The wine focus at this year’s FynArts festival revolves around personalities in the wine world, from cellarmasters to critics, viticulturist to vinous  story-tellers. There are also two late-afternoon discussions and the hugely popular tasting of the Wine Critics’ Choice.

Hosted again by Melvyn Minnaar, the 2017 theme of 'personality' suggests someone out of the ordinary, outstanding, possibly unusual. He has asked  six personalities to select wines of “personality” which should prove an interesting collection. Starting on June 10 the wine sessions take place daily for four days at 12 noon and 15h00 , with two demo-talks at 17h00. Tickets can be bought individually or in sets. Pieter Ferreira starts the fun with his talk on bubblies, and he continues into the late afternoon session. Duimpie Bayly will recall great moments  and legends about local wine, along with pouring some vintage labels. Jan Boland Coetzee of Vriesenhof will focus on soil and climate, and Rosa Kruger will talk about wine heritage and pour some great examples.

Monday June 12 sees Ntsiki Biyela recall career experience and pour wines that influenced her. Ex-Nederbutg cellarmaster Razvan Macici will take the hot seat in the 15h00 slot.

On Tuesday June 13 Christian Eedes, well-known wine judge and editor will offer a discussion on the controversial manner of ratings, and illustrate his points with some vinous examples.

At 15h00 on June 13 eight wine critics will nominate a favourite wine and give their reasons while the audience  sample their choice.  This year’s critics are Michael Fridjhon, Myrna Robins, Samarie Smith, Tim James, Winnie Bowman, Gregory Mutambe, Christine Rudman and Higgo Jacobs.

Guests stand a chance of winning a set of the Wine Critics' Choice wines by buying a raffle ticket in aid of Hermanus FynArts Development Fund.

To book, visit www.webtickets.co.za or www.hermanusfynarts.co.za. For further info, call 060957 5371 or 028 3122629.

 

The Fine Art of Hermanus FynArts 2017

 

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Hermanus today is a busy, thriving town yet maintains its attraction for artists of all kinds, inspiring talent as it has done for many decades. Along with many art galleries and exhibitions at some of the Hemel-en-Aarde wine estates, there is the annual midwinter Hermanus FynArts festival, the 5th such event this year.

Taking place from June 9 – 18, it features the work of an invited artist, as well as shows at the art galleries.  Lectures and talks, debates and discussions are part of the programme.

Music and food complement the cultural angle and then there is, of course, wine.

Mary Faure, founding festival director, talks about “celebrating the creativity of people”.

The annual Sculpture-on-the-Cliffs at Gearing’s Point near the Old Harbour, for which sculptors and artists are invited to make public art, is a very popular project and the works stay  in place for months after the festival.

This year the curator is the well-known artist/writer Lien Botha. Her theme is EchoLocation, which set a specific challenge to participating artists such as Bronwen Clacherty, Hannelie Coetzee, Hasan and Husain Essop,  Ledelle Moe, Right Mukore,  Jaco Sieberhagen, Brahm van Zyl and Emma Willemse.

The festival artist is pioneer-painter/sculptor Willie Bester. Curated by Michael Godby, the exhibition will be a mini retrospective.

 

 

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POP-UP SUNDAY LUNCH AT HARTENBERG

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Finish the merry month of May in delectable style at Hartenberg estate on Sunday May 28. Chef George Jardine is set to titillate palates with traditional cuisine at the Bottelary Hills Pop-up lunch, paired of course with the estates fine wines.

Tickets cost R550 per person and include a wine tasting followed by a delectable three-course feast as well as wines paired with each course. Each person will also get a bottle of Hartenberg wine to take home. Pre-booking is essential as seating is limited. For bookings and more information visit www.wineroute.co.za or phone 021 886 8275.

 

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Wine Concepts invites you to their seventh chard and pinot fest 

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Diarise Friday June 2 for the seventh annual Chardonnay & Pinot Noir celebration hosted by Wine Concepts and held at the Vineyard hotel in Newlands. More than 40 top Cape producers will show their best bottles of these two varietals. Delicious snacks will accompany them. All wines showcased will be for sale at special prices at the event.

The show takes place from 17h00 to 20h00. Tickets cost R200 a head and include glass, tastings and snacks. Special rates apply for those wanting to stay over at the hotel. Get your tickets through www.webtickets.co.za or at Wine Concepts branches or at the door, subject to availability. Email admin@wineconcepts.co.za for info and bookings.

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 ITS WWW TIME!

 

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As many fans already know, its time to head to Robertson Wine valley for the annual Wacky Wine Weekend taking place from June 1 – 4. This year there are several tutored tastings, cellar tours and other informative events to diarise, along with the fund of live music, sports, arts and crafts, country fare and family fun. It’s essential that visitors look at the full programme online a wackywineweekend.com, to decide what they wish to attend and book for. More than 40 wine producers are taking part from all the towns in the Robertson valley.  All ages and tastes will be well catered for.

 

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TOP WINE TASTINGS IN CAPE TOWN AND JOHANNESBURG 

 

Every wine lover who wants to sample some of South Africa’s top wines should make a date for the 2017 Old Mutual Tropy Wine Show tastings, either in Cape Town or in Jo’burg. The winners of the competition’s top achievers in several categories will be pouring their best, adding up to more than 150 top, gold and silver medal winners of every kind.

The winning wines will be on sale online and can be collected at the nearest Makro pick-up lockers.

The 2017 winners will go live immediately after final results are announced on May 30.

.Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting Cape Town

Date:               Thursday, 8 June 2017

Venue:             CTICC (Ballroom, Level 1), Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town

Time:               17h00 to 21h00

Parking:           Secure underground parking available in CTICC parkade

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting – Johannesburg

Date:               Friday, 9June 2017

Venue:             Bill Gallagher Room (Level 2), Sandton Convention Centre, Maude Street, Sandton

Time:              17h00 to 21h00

Parking:          Secure underground parking available at the convention centre and neighbouring shopping malls.

  • Bookings: Ticket sales via
  • Ticket price:  R175 Early Bird for bookings by 2 June; R190 thereafter.  Buy online or at the door, subject to availability. No under 18s, babies nor prams. 
  • Refreshments:  Light meals are for sale at the tastings.
  • Enquiries:  (011) 482 5936. ;.

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Experience Fungi-Fever at Delheim’s Mushroom Forages

 

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It’s mushroom time again! Soon, foragers will head into the forests in search of these delicious delicacies that  pop out for a short time in the year.

Delheim Estate’s popular Mushroom Forages takes place on  15, 16, 30 June and 1 July . Only 40 guests a day are accepted, and hunts are led by Delheim’s Noral Sperling-Thiel and Gary Goldman, a mushroom fundi.

The day begins with mushroom identification in the farm’s vat cellar, followed by a walk to the mushroom hunt in Delheim’s lush pine forest. Foragers then enjoy at three-course lunch showcasing the funghi, paired with Delheim wines. The day costs R695 a head. Those attending should wear walking shows, a warm jacket, bring a pocket knife and baskets. Book through Computicket. For more information visit www.delheim.com

 

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This round-up is listed chronologically.

DELHEIM GOES CAPE MALAY

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On Sat May 13,20 and 27 Delheim invites guests to a Cape Malay lunch when Chef Bruce von Pressentin will celebrate our favourite Cape cuisine with samoosas, pickled yellowtail, butter chicken, sambals and more. Green bean bredie and denningvleis are also on the menu, with finaltes of Kosuster and boeber. This is in addition to the a la carte winter menu.

The Cape Malay set menu is available at  R300 and booking is essential. Please note that the menu is only available for entire tables.To reserve your table, contact the restaurant at email restaurant@delheim.com or Tel: 021 8884607. Also visit www.delheim.com or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/delheim/)

 

CHARDONNAY AND PINOT NOIR FESTIVAL

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Calling Gauteng winelovers! Taste more than 80 of South Africa’s best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs as well as examples  from France, Chile and Argentina.
 
The show takes place at Killarney Country Club’s Crystal Room on Thursday, May 18, from 18h00. A limited number of tickets is available and cost R250 per person. The price includes a tasting glass as well as light snacks chosen to complement the styles of wine.
 Organiser Corlien Morris of Wine Menu has invited cellars that make the best chards and pinot noirs, as in previous years. These include Ataraxia, B Vintners, Creation, Charmonix, De Grendel, Eikendal, Ghost Corner, Glenelly, Groot Constantia, Hartenberg, Highlands Road, Jordan, Kloovenburg, La Brune, Longavi, Oak Valley, Paradyskloof, Paul Cluver, Paul Wallace, Sutherland, The Drift, Thelema and Vriesenhof.
 Specialist fine wine importers Great Domaines, LAPD and the Reciprocal Wine Trading Company will also be showing some of their finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.
 Wines – some of which are no longer available on the general marketplace – will be for sale at a 10 percent discount on retail prices.
 
Only 300 tickets are available for the Festival so booking is essential.They are available from Webtickets; from Wine Menu in the BluBird Shopping Centre, Illovo or - if still available - at the door on the night.
 For tickets go to:
https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1469046128
 Go to:
Website:
www.winemenu.co.za

A CARNIVAL OF CABERNET FRANC TO RELISH AT AVONTUUR

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Fans of this less common and charming varietal will get the chance to celebrate their favourite grape on Saturday, 20 May 2017 from 11h00-17h00 at the family-owned wine estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.

In addition to the tastings and purchasing of wines visitors can book for one of three tutored tastings of the Top 6 wines in the 2017 Cab Franc Challenge, presented by head of the judging panel and Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman.  Tickets costs R75 pp extra and only three sessions of 20 persons each can be accommodated at 11h30, 13h30 and 15h00.

“This is the only chance to taste the Top 6 together as many of these wines are extremely rare and were kept aside especially for the tutored tastings,” says organiser Cobie van Oort from CVO Marketing.

The very popular public “vote” to choose the favourite wine of the day,will once again take place which will give an interesting perspective on the differences between expert and amateur palates.

Participating wineries are:   Avontuur Estate, CK Wines, Doolhof  Wine Estate, Edgebaston,  Hannay Wines, Hermanuspietersfontein, Knorhoek Wine Farm, Lynx Wines, My Wyn, Nelson Wine Estate, Oldenburg Vineyards, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbow’s End Wine Estate, The Garajeest,  Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards, Vrede en Lust, Warwick Estate, Whalehaven, Zorgvliet Wines.

Tickets are R200pp which includes the tastings, a R50 discount coupon to spend on food, and a tasting glass. Tickets from www.plankton.mobi or www.computicket.co.za  as well as at Computicket branches. Follow us on Facebook at Cabernet Franc Carnival or on Twitter at @Cabfrancarnival .  More information on www.cvomarketing.co.za

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Lanzerac’s Winter Tastings

This stunning venue is the place to enjoy after-work winter tastings from end of May until August. Fireside temptations include Lanzeracs new releases and old favourites, then guests can savour a bowl of hearty soup and home-baked breads.Tastings start at 5,30pm, the first is on May 31, followed by June 29, July 26 and August 31. Booking is essential, and the cost is R95 which includes a welcome drink, tastings and the  supper.

Contact Zelda Furstenburg at Lanzerac Wine Estate on 021 886 5641 or winesales@lanzerac.co.za for queries or to book your seat.

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LA PETITE FERME PRESENTS INTERNATIONAL WINE AND FOOD EXPERIENCES

Note the following dates : June 8th, July 6th and August 3rd, which is when this Franschhoek venue invites diners to join them for a series of dinners where winemaker Wikus Pretorius will focus on a particular cultivar and pour samples from the Cape and overseas. Viognier makes the first choice, followed by chardonnay in Jue and cabernet sauvignon in July. The final event will see Cape and red blends under the spotlight. Tastings will precede three-course dinners paired with the farm’s wines.

The events start at 18h30 and cost R750. Booking is essential. To reserve a table email

pr@lapetiteferme.co.za or contact Ruan Olivier at Tel: +27 (0)21 876 3016.

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L’Ormarins MCC and nougat – a pairing of the senses

Tickle your tastebuds and pep up your palate with bubbly and nougat! Breaking with tradition, the estate’s three L’Ormarins Methodé Cap Classiques (MCC) have each been paired with hand-crafted nougat, which perfectly complement the wines as well as showcasing their versatility as a partner to confectionery. Each nougat has been designed to bring out a certain characteristic found in its MCC partner.

L’Ormarins Brut NV has been paired with a delicious morsel of Cassata nougat, which is fashioned on the traditional Italian-inspired dessert. The candied fruit, vanilla and almond perfectly partner the fruity and toasty notes of the Brut. The beautiful blush pink Brut Rosé has been paired with a cherry, cranberry and rose nougat, which amplifies similar flavours in the Rosé. Completing the trio is the stately Blanc de Blancs and it’s a match made in heaven with the toasted pecan, orange and fleur de sel (salt) nougat. Presented in a relaxed atmosphere in the comfort of the luxurious Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room the pairing is available at R60 per person.

 For more information contact the estate on 021 874 9041 or tasting@rupertwines.com.

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Taste the Helderberg epicurean fest

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It’s not too early to diarise Thursday June 15 when the 2017 Taste the Helderberg fest will be held in Somerset West.  It’s a one-night affair when wine farms and restaurants in the Helderberg region showcase their  fine local products. Guests are invited to shed the winter blues by donning something red – the theme colour that makes an eye-catching statement.

Taste the Helderberg’s smorgasbord will once again be served up from 17h00 to 21h00 at the landmark NH The Lord Charles Hotel – an arrangement that’s proven ideal for many visitors who traditionally make a weekend of it in the light of the public holiday the following day, Friday June 16.

Wine-lovers will be get an early-bird sampling of the region’s latest wines. Many of these show-stopper wines will be on sale at special rates that are also applicable on delivery through logistics and transport solutions company Aramex, proud partner of Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Also on offer will be foodie pop-ups by the Helderberg’s well-known eateries. .

Master classes on grape varieties have been laid on to emphasize the climatic and geographic reasons behind the quality that hails from this coastal area.

Tickets to the event are R100pp and should be booked online at www.wineroute.co.za. If any tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door.

For more information on Taste the Helderberg 2017 visit www.wineroute.co.za or call 021 886 8275.

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Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues

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Held every year for over a decade, this lingering lunchtime event’s cosy delights offer the perfect remedy to cold and rainy winter blues.

The Jazz and Cheese Fondues take place from 25 June to 27 August this year, returning to Delheim’s intimate underground wine cellar.

It’s the Sperling heritage and hospitality from which the idea for a farm-style fondue arose. There’s nothing fast and furious about Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues. Picture pots of Gruyère and Emmentaler for ladling, dipping and smearing with a selection of delicious bites and exceptional Delheim wines. This is festive food-sharing at its best- an occasion best enjoyed with a group of loved ones.

Says Delheim’s chef Bruce von Pressentin. “Ultimately, it’s about having a good time and this is what lies at the heart of our Jazz and Cheese Fondues.”

These good times are what Delheim has become famous for. In addition to renowned wines and the Garden Restaurant, Delheim is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the many mountain bike and trail-running routes.

Book now for the Jazz and Cheese Fondues. Each reservation includes a shared cheese fondue, live music and a glass of traditional heart-warming glühwein for only R230 per person. Starters and desserts are available for purchase from the a la carte menu and will be charged accordingly. To reserve your seat at Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues, email restaurant@delheim.com  or phone 021 888 4607.

Booking details:

Price: R230 per person

Dates: 25 June | 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 July | 6, 9, 13, 20 and 27 August.

Time: 12:30 - 15:30

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The time is ripe for championing chardonnay. The time is always right for chardonnay, I hear some say. Well yes, but autumn bounty means mellow days and cool nights, risottos,  rich seafood pastas and paella,  bouillabaisse and citrussy chicken ,  duck with gingered apples, roasted gourds and much more. This is the perfect season for pairing full-bodied elegant chards with rich seasonal fare that has taken more than a few minutes to stir together.

 

 

On Friday May 26, gourmets and winelovers will celebrate World Chardonnay Day,  another great excuse to indulge in an appetising unwooded chard to start proceedings at sunset, and follow with a choice of complex chardonnays that offer citrus and cream against a structured core of oak and minerality to enhance a menu chosen for the wine and finishing with gourmet cheeses.

 

Three fine chards  sampled recently which more than  lived up to my expectations:

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Glenelly estate makes two chardonnays, with the oaked version being better known and more highly rated in Platter. But I love cellarmaster Luke Cuinneagain's  unwooded chardonnay, a junior sister that displays typical hallmarks of elegance in a fresh but sophisticated wine . Delicious aromas of citrus and honey precede a mouthful of well-balanced fruit and rounded structure, followed a long finish. Alcohol levels at 13% are in keeping .

 

The Cape of Good Hope is a distinguished range of terroir-specific wines, many of which are also produced from venerable vines. Part of Anthonij Ruperts portfolio, the Serruria chardonnay 2015 is another gem, sourced from a vineyard in the Elandskloof, high above Villiersdorp, on the farm Atltima. From a reserved start of wafts of  orange blossom aromas, the wine opens up to  reveal a harmonious combo of oak and citrus flavours and satisfying freshness. Winemaker Mark van Buuren is the talented creator of this range. This wine will enhance a wide range of seafood and poultry fare, along with South-east Asian specialities.

 

Hartenbergs Grande Dame, the Eleanor 2015 is a chardonnay to approach with keen  anticipation. One of the estates Super Premium wines, previous vintages have been rated four and a half and five stars. The 2015 vintage, which has produced superb chards from various corners of Stellenbosch region and from others, is no exception.

Eleanor Finlayson and husband Maurice owned the farm Montagne, as Hartenberg used to be known, from the late 1940s to 1977. She was an exceptional matriarch, multi-tasking as she brought up her sons and dispensed warm hospitality to visitors.  This chardonnay is another fitting tribute, a classic that can compete with any other in South Africa and many from across the globe. Rich, yet fresh, presenting nutty and vanilla flavours along with some citrus, well-balanced complexity and delightful mouthfeel. Cellarmaster Carl Schultz moves from award-winning shiraz to champion chards with equally prestigious results.

 

 

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Posted by on in Restaurants

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Glenelly’s  Lady May range consists of just one wine – Lady May 201 is  a beautiful cab  finished with 10% of petit verdot and a splash of cab franc. It’s an elegant wine in the best Gallic tradition:  cellarmaster Luke O’Cuinneagain expresses his talent in understated creations that many connoisseurs relish.

 

 The wine is a tribute to estate owner May de Lencquesaing who  - along with running Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux -  invested in Stellenbosch 14 years ago, buying an old fruit farm and transforming it into a distinctive and beautiful wine estate.

Should any woman think she is too old to take on a venture like this, Lady May could be the inspiration  needed: she is in her 90's, and is still very active in running both her French and Cape estates, supported by her two grandsons.  At the launch last year of the renovated cellar and opening of a new tasting room and The Vine  Bistro, her young grandson introduced some of the wines, casually mentioning that he was in charge of marketing the estate across the USA, Europe and Asia.

Glenelly offers visitors a world-class destination, with May de Lencquesaing’s extensive private glass museum as an added attraction .

 

There are more than 300 items on display, antique and contemporary, dating from Roman pieces through glass from the 18th and 19th centuries, Art  Nouveau and Art Deco pieces, creations gy Salvador Dali and the Italian glassblower master, Lindo Tagliapietra, to contemporary South African works.

 One need not be a mother to savour a day in such beautiful surroundings, but for children looking for an unique venue for mothers who appreciate fine wine and relaxed seasonal  bistro fare, it would be hard to beat a day at Glenelly with its  spectacular views. Or just schedule a visit to see what hard work and vision can be achieved by a nonagenarian who takes little heed of passing years.

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