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Events

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Harvest has begun in some regions, while grapes are being sampled and assessed in others as cellars get ready for the first influx of the 2017 harvest. Around McGregor the air is not yet filled with the aromas of crushed grapes, but the trail of trucks loaded with peaches that trundle down the main drag seem endless... With the apricot harvest behind us, and the peak of the tomato season just ahead, we have been bottling our 2016 harvest of ripe olives, making pesto, or rather pistou (no nuts) as our basil plants wave in the wind, wafting enticing aromas toward the kitchen. The first batch of ripe fig jam will be bubbling on the stove soon, although keeping birds, large and small, from our crop, is a thankless task.

 

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Durbanville Hills' maiden chenin blanc 2016  arrived just before year end, and its a charmer, Its fresh and lively, fruity and undemanding, yet far from run-of-the-mill. It's the sort of weekday wine that is ideal for those hot January evenings when a well-chilled chenin will precede your salad supper, accompanied by a further glass. The label offers no clue as to the source of the grapes, but cellarmaster Martin Moore told me that he found old chenin vines on various Durbanville farms to make his maiden vintage. So yes, this is Durbanville Hills chenin from Durbanville valley grapes.

 Selling at R55 it should  hold its own with the cellar's several stellar sauvignon blancs, but you may have to hunt for it - its not yet listed on their website or, at time of writing on the Vinoteque site yet. Worth putting on your shopping list.  

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By the first weekend of February, winelovers should be ready to don something cool and white and head to Leopards Leap Family vineyards for a late summer celebration. The 2017 Franschhoek Summer Wines takes place on Saturday, 4th February, offering a selection of summery whites, roses, Cap Classiques and light reds all suitable for warm weather sipping. Pair them with fare from the rotisserie kitchen and relax on the verandah or lawns as you drink in the valley panorama. tickets cost R180 and are obtainable from www.webtickets.co.za/

at R180 per person.  This includes a wine glass and a tasting of all the wines on show between 12pm and 5pm.  

For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861 or email info@franschhoek.org.za.

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DESTINATION MCGREGOR FOR SLOW WINE WEEKENDS

 

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Slow Wine weekends in the picturesque village of McGregor offer two days of diverse wines, fine fare that ranges from gourmet to country, and the unique combination of tranquillity, hospitality and a pace that is as leisurely or lively as visitors choose to make it. Add in attractions like spa treatments, a busy pottery, serene art gallery and welcoming donkey sanctuary and the pressure to book for a stress-free weekend increases. Mid-February is traditionally time for romance, so the forthcoming weekend is entitled Bubbles for Lovers. There's a good choice of sparkles and Cap Classiques available in the valley, including one that's organic.

To find out more visit  <https://slowwineweekends.com/bubbles-for-lovers-february-2017/>and add a plethora of bubbles to your stay in this timeless village.

Looking ahead to late March, the organisers are putting together a four-day getaway focussing on the harvest in and around the Breede river valley. See  <https://slowwineweekends.com/four-day-harvest-experience-17-21-march-2017/>

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                                   2017 PINOTAGE AND BILTONG FESTIVAL  - ESSENTIAL DIARY DATE!

 

 

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Indulge in two of SA’s favourite delicacies on Saturday, 22  April and Sunday, 23  April 2017 at the  annual Pinotage & Biltong Festival, which takes place at  L’Avenir Wine Estate just outside Stellenbosch from 11h00-17h00.   

 A wide range of biltong products will be paired with specific wines from some of South Africa’s top Pinotage producers for each tasting. Guests can taste and buy some of the best red Pinotages or have fun with alternatives including rosé’s, bubblies, blends and even a white Pinotage!

 

The event is family-friendly with live music, food trucks, light meals and casual seating under the trees next to the dam or on the lawns in front of the cellar. The charity beneficiary is Anna Foundation who will be present to entertain the kids and raise funds for their many worthy projects.  Visit www.annafoundation.com for more info.

 

On 14 and 15 October 2017 it’s the turn of Gauteng fans when the festival will be held at the Leriba Hotel in Centurion, Gauteng as part of the official Pinotage Day celebrations, presented by the Pinotage Association.

 

Tickets @ R200 pp includes a branded crystal wine glass, a biltong cup and a pairing card for the Free Pinotage and Biltong tastings.  Tickets  at www.plankton.mobi.   or www.computicket.co.za from 1 March 2017.

 

For more info visit www.cvomarketing.co.za  

 

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Sunday December 04: the final Pop-up Sunday lunch along the Bottelary Hills wine route takes place at Kaapzicht. Chef Bertus Basson will whip up a seafood feast over the fire, to relish with wines from the sub-route. The fun starts at 12,30 and the event costs R350 a head, which includes wine-tasting, three-course meal with a glass of wine per course. Booking is essential. Tel 021 886 8275 or email marketing@wineroute.co.za.

 

Friday, Dec 09 and onward:

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La Petite Ferme is introducing Festive Fridays, where, from 4 - 6pm they will offer unique cocktails and delicious bites in their lovely garden. Cocktails - named The Pretty Lisa, The Mariano, The Spa and The Garden, are either vodka or gin-based with fruity and other ingredients. Live music wil add to the vibe, and the event will also take place on December 16 and 30, and January 06 and 13. For more info, call 021 876 3016 or see www.lapetiteferme.co.za

December 16, 17 and 18 Gabriëlskloof’s Favourite Things Market

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gabrielskloof-Market-LR-5.jpgWhether you visit for fun, relaxation, or undertake a serious shopping spree, this lovely Overberg olive and wine estate is an excellent venue to choose. Their popular three-day market offers fabulous food and wines, a host of handmade goodies including alpaca wool items, designer jewellery, exquisite quilts and intricate ceramics, along with homemade toys and knits. Friday evening visitors will be treated to the sounds of the Gypsy Jazz trio, while a French accordian adds to the charm of Saturday and Sunday browsing.

The market starts at 5pm on Friday and at 10am on the other two days.

 

For more information about the annual Gabriëlskloof Favourite Things Market contact Nicolene Finlayson on 028 284 9865 or nicolene@gabrielskloof.co.za;

 

Daily from now until April: Uitkyk estate has contracted Pikant Catering to offer lunches and tapas to visitors seven days a week  until the end of January. Main courses cost between R89 and R140.  Their picnics make another option, costing R400 for two. More info from tel 021 88 44416

 

 

Final result of the year? Sauvignon  Blanc still holds its own as first choice of many a wine consumer. This year’s results of the annual FNB Sauvignon Blanc competition hosted by the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group of SA are as follows, wines listed alphabetically:

  • Almenkerk Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (wooded)
  • De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Hermanuspietersfontein Nr 5 Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (wooded)
  • Jordan The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (wooded)
  • Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015
  • Merwida Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Nitida Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Uitkyk Sauvignon Blanc 2015
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What a pleasure to rediscover the chardonnays of Lanzerac! First up, a classy non-vintage Cap Classique, which is eminently suitable for a bubbly start  to a day on this noble estate. This Blanc de Blanc is produced from Jonkershoek valley grapes, harvested early, whole bunch-pressed and left on the lees for 18 months before disgorging.

Classicists will relish the characteristic aromas of nuttiness, apple and citrus, followed by biscuit and more fruit on the palate. A great recent addition to the Lanzerac stable, selling for R220.

Two delicious wines for summer include the 2015 chardonnay, a medium-bodied, carefully wooded wine, where b2ap3_thumbnail_Lanzerac-Wynand_20161110-102633_1.jpgcitrus and gentle spice are followed by a medley of tropical fruit that does not overwhelm the cream that accompanies them. Alcohol levels of 14% are not obtrusive, and the R105 price tag should inspire visitors to take home a case or two to enjoy for Christmas or tuck away for a year or more. As cellarmaster Wynand Lategan suggests, this is a wine that will partner several Cape Malay classics with panache: worth remembering for autumn feasts.

Then the star of the range, the well-established Mrs English chardonnay, the 2014 vintage marking exactly 100 years since that august lady - Elizabeth b2ap3_thumbnail_Lanzerac-Mrs-English-chard_20161110-102710_1.jpgKatherina English to give her her full name - bought the eminent estate, then known as Schoongezicht - for just 18 000 pounds. Not only did she rename the farm Lanzerac but she bottled the first estate wine as well. She would approve, I am certain, of this tribute, sporting its gold sticker from this year's Michelangelo awards.

This is a patrician wine, sleek, full-bodied, probably containing a little pinot blanc to add further interest, yet with moderate alcohol levels at 13,5%. Aromatic and full-flavoured, yet elegant and presenting classic fruit, topped with a little butterscotch, this requires a meaningful menu to complement and do it justice.

If you haven't already booked, check your diary and, if you and a group of friends are free next Wednesday, plan to enjoy a great day at the estate. It will be a High Tea to remember, its called the Most Meaningful Tea in Town and it's set to raise a substantial sum for the Community Keepers, a charity which offers both social and psychological services to children, - and their parents and teachers - who are suffering from emotional and/or social problems, thanks to family or community circumstances beyond their control.

The event offers a delectable lunch, along with fabulous bakes and cakes, gourmet coffee, exotic teas, and that wonderful Lanzerac bubbly. Fashion shows, raffle ticket prizes, and culinary workshop presented by the talented go-getter Jade de Waal, live music and great company await visitors. The event starts at 12 noon on November 16, it costs R850 and to book, click on www.themostmeaningfulteaintown.co.za.

 What a great way to start the festive season!

 

 

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More events to fill early summer weekends with country air, fine wines, delectable fare and good company…

Bid October farewell in style at the popular Country Market at Groote Post which have returned along with a new addition to the attractions in forms of a trail run.

The market, which is free to enter, is open from 10am – 3pm on Sunday October 30 and guests can relish artisanal foods, arts and crafts, as well as home-ware and décor. All the favourite stalls will be back, plus a few new ones to broaden the range. Darling locals will be out in force with gourmet produce including breads, cheese, mushrooms, charcuterie, wors, sauces, olive oils and more. Fine fare to be consumed between sips of Groote Post’s well-loved wines and popular craft beers from Darling Brew. There are two new rieslings to look out for, one a 2016 vintage of the unwooded Riesling and another, limited edition of a partially wooded Riesling the Barrique 2014. More on these when I have had a chance to sample them..

Plenty for children to do as well and the award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but booking is essential. Although pets are welcome, dogs must be on a leash at all times. Visitors arriving without their dogs on a leash will be given an option to buy one from the SPCA stall or hire one at the information stall.

The new trail run presents three options, the 18km Bobbejaanberg Challenge (R 180.00), the13.5km Atlantic View (R 150.00) and the 4km Ommie-Dam Fun Run (R 80.00) Entries: https://www.entryninja.com/events/event/7661-groote-post-country-run

For further information on the Groote Post Country Market Contact: Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or eldre@iloveyzer.co.za.

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Perdeberg, perennially popular winery, is holding its annual Family Festival on Saturday November 5, from 10am to 5pm.

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This year visitors will find a new function venue, that will house the art expo, crafts, and provide indoor seating for those who prefer this. Outside, a marqee and umbrellas will provide shad on the lawns, where you can sip those renowned chenins and enjoy your choice of fast fare.

There will be a structured chenin blanc tasting that will be repeated twice in the barrel cellar for just R20 a head. Children will enjoy their own supervised area with plenty of play and a petting zoo.

Before the festival, the cellar will host a family fun run through their vineyards on Monday October 31- choose between a 5 or 10km route. For more information and bookings for Run The Vine, please visit www.runthevines.co.za

Entrance tickets cost R80 and are available through iTickets or at the door. Under -18s go in free of charge.

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For Gauteng connoisseurs Cinsaut wines in a tutored tasting

 
Three top South African winemakers will lead a unique Cinsaut tasting in Johannesburg next month hosted by Corlien Morris, owner of the popular boutique Wine Menu.

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 They are Ian Naudé (Adoro Wines), Francois Haasbroek (Blackwater Wine) and Duncan Savage (Savage Wines), all of whom are making Cinsaut in the same cellar  
Cinsaut, which is making a great comeback in the same vein as its sister chenin blanc has done in spectacular sytle, was earlier known in South Africa as Hermitage and was famously crossed with Pinot Noir in 1925 to create Pinotage. Cinsault produces varietal wines that are light in colour and low in tannin, often displaying bright cherries, earth and spice.
 Says Morris:  “We will taste eight different wines - and in particular those made from old vineyards - the Cinsaut grapes will tell their own story in the glass – it is all about terroir.”
After the panel discussion guests will have the opportunity to taste and buy the winemakers’ other wines

The Cinsaut Evening will take place at Rosebank's Clico Boutique Hotel on Wednesday, November 9, at 18.00. Cost is R160 per person. Seating is limited so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.Contact Corlien Morris on 011 440-5498 or via email at corlien@winemenu.co.za.

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 Celebrate the Circle of Life with one of several Waterkloof Estate excursions

Waterkloof biodynamic estate overlooking False Bay invites nature-lovers to enjoy a farm and winemaking biodynamic tour on the crest of the Schapenberg in the Helderberg. Farm manager Christiaan Loots – the driving force behind Waterkloof’s cutting edge, environmentally responsible farming methods – will lead this edu-eco tour which illustrates biodynamic and organic farming practice.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Waterkloof-tours-4.jpg. With groups limited to 12 people, visitors will meet its beautiful Percheron horses that are used instead of tractors, to plough, compost, spray and harvest.

 An alternative is the new Tour With Us experience which includes a cellar visit, wine tasting nd, a two-course lunch at the estate’s Top 10 restaurant, in groups limited to six.b2ap3_thumbnail_waterkloof-tours-1.jpg

-Visitors can also explore the Schapenberg’s dramatic surroundings on horseback. The Ride With Us adventure offers a picturesque, 60-minute trail ride through the area and ends with a two-course lunch at Waterkloof.

All excursions must be pre-booked. For bookings, contact Zandri at Tel: 021 858 1491 or send email to zandri@waterkloofwines.co.za., Activity cost* per person: Circle of Life Biodynamic Tour  R100; Tour With Us R520; Guided Walk  R630 and Ride With Us: R670   

           

 

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This round-up of events first appeared on the front of Life of the Cape Argus on Monday October 17.

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Wonderful wine, alfresco feasts and country music are a winning combo. Add a background of some of the most beautiful winelands on the planet, and the temptation is irresistible. A preview of early summer events.

Countrywide tastings of South Africa’s finest wines take place in October and November, while the wine regions of the Western Cape lure visitors with enticing festivals that star a lot more than good wine. Many of them are geared to family entertainment for a weekend of good food, live music and children’s activities, while soft drinks and even craft beer augment the beverage choice. Make time to grab sunhats and baskets and head for your choice of rural delights.

This roundup of fests and events is largely chronological: log onto the relevant websites for more information. Veritas is the largest and longest-running wine contest in South Africa and wine bottles bearing their medal stickers are sought-after by consumers. Take advantage of the line-up of all double gold and gold winners at the Veritas A Taste of the Best event, on October 18 at the CTICC at 5pm. Wine, brandy and Qualité cheeses will be available and tickets cost R140. Veritas will host similar events in Johannesburg (October 25), Durban, (November 10), Port Elizabeth (November 16) and Knysna (November 17 and 18.) Visit www.veritas.co.za or send an e-mail to info@veritas.co.za for details.

Fashion may be fickle but sauvignon blanc remains a firm favourite among winelovers throughout the season. Fans will be in seventh heaven at Durbanville Wine Valley’s Season of Sauvignon over the weekend of October 29 – 30. Offering a total of 12 farms to visit, member cellars not only present their latest sauvignon blanc but will pour the Durbanvaille Twelve 2016, an exciting blend made from combining one ton of sauvignon grapes from all the valley farms. Every producer offers individual attractions along with their wines, which vary in style but share those distinctive Durbanville characteristics. Visit www.durbanvillewine.co.za for details. Those who savour history with their wine should not miss out on Altydgedacht, the 17th century original wine farm in the valley. The original ringmuur, slave bell and cellar stand proud, evidence of winemaking across more than three centuries, while the 2016 sauvignon presents a wonderful mix of aromas and flavours – at R75 it’s a bargain buy.

Gauteng is the only province favoured by this year’s organisers of RMB Winex 2016, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre from October 26 – 28 at 5pm. As always, it offers a feast of over 800 prestigious wines, accompanied by celebrities and winemakers and a programme of launches and tastings. Book through Computicket or pay at the door and visit www.winex.co.za for list of exhibitors and other information.

POT, or Pinotage- on- Tap needs little introduction to the thousands who lap up coffee-chocolate pinotage. The original source of this popular wine is Diemersfontein farm in Wellington, where the home fest takes place on October 29, serving the new wine straight from barrel, alongside delectable fare and live entertainment. This year music lovers will be treated to a live performance directed by legendary Richard Cock with talented musicians, including the lead singer of Freshly Ground, the Cape Town Brass band, Jazz Trio and Wynberg Boys High steel drum brand. Book through Computicket.

There are many reasons to head south to the wild and lovely Cape Agulhas area, with its salt-laden winds and b2ap3_thumbnail_Elim-wine-fest-2.jpgcool-climate wines of the Elim wine ward. They are marking their 20th birthday with the Elim Wine Festival on November 05, an event worth contemplating by both connoisseurs and consumers eager to meet a bunch of dedicated winemakers who produce elegant, intense wines, some of which are crafted on farms dedicated to the conservation of local flora and fauna. Craft beer will be available, including the products of South Africa’s most southerly brewery while new vintages of Black Oystercatcher, Strandveld and Giant Periwinkle wines will be released. Country fare and farm products will tempt visitors of all ages. The venue is Black Oystercatcher farm. Visit www.elimwines.co.za for details.

Stellenbosch remains the Cape’s largest and most famous wine region with the oak-lined streets of the town retaining timeless appeal for locals and travellers. The bi-monthly Stellenbosch Street Soirees or summer parties, which have proved hugely popular, start again on November 16 on Drostdy Street. Wine farms bring their wares to share with that of food vendors, cars are banned, and musicians add live music to the after-work scene. Tickets, which include tasting glass, cost R70, giving access to sampling all wines on show. It’s cool and casual and very Cape. Log on to www.wineroute.co.za for more.

As the year winds down, the festive season starts up and the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, or Magic of Bubbles as it is dubbed, is the stylish, sophisticated, and trendy event that mark its arrival.

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It’s also the social place to be seen at over the weekend of December 3 – 4 when guests gather in the grand marquee at the Huguenot Monument. This year’s fest, sponsored by Mastercard, sees the bubblies of local producers share space with a selection of imported champagnes from France, while the valley restaurants compete in presenting delicious goodies to partner them. The best-dressed couple on both days wins a generous gift card. Tickets cost R350, the festivities start at 12 noon, and bookings are through www.webtickets.co.za

Rickety Bridge is among the wine farms taking part and you may wish to sample their delectable all-chardonnay Blanc de Blancs 2012, just released to great acclaim. It offers all that bubbly lovers want, from a fine mousse, delightful wafts of green apple and buttered toast adding richness to balance crisp freshness, an aperitif that will also partner summer fare with panache.

And then, as the festive season reaches it zenith, Gabrielskloof estate outside Bot River invites weary city folk to head to the Overberg for some hassle-free Christmas shopping at their annual Favourite Things Market taking place from December 16-18. Entrance is free, olives and wine and a range of country produce is on sale, alongside designer jewellery, exquisite quilts, handmade toys and intricate ceramics. Find out more by e-mailing Nicolene at nicolene@gabrielskloof.co.za.

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