Myrna Robins

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I have received so many releases on Valentines Day/night/weekend events that they would fill blogs of three times the length of mine - so I am not including these tastings/lunches/dinners/overnight offers at all. But I am starting the February diary with a one-day fest that falls over the romantic mid-month weekend. Revving up Rosé its dubbed, its a first of its kind, and I think the timing is great. Along with being a wine geared to romance, late summer through autumn is the season when rosés come into their own - refreshing, inviting, easy-drinking wines that pair so happily with salads, salmon, berries, watermelon  - in fact most rosy-hued foods while also making a  companionable beverage to picnic fare and most al fresco menus. On Saturday February 13 the fun begins at at 8,30am at Rickety Bridge estate outside Franschhoek with  a run and mountain bike ride, with breakfast on sale to follow. Tasting starts at 10am, and cellars taking part include Anthonij Rupert, Babylonstoren, Delaire, Foothills, Haute Cabrière, Krone, Le Lude, Lynx, Paul René, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, The Wolftrap and Vrede en Lust … The lunch menu at  Paulina's restaurant will, of course, be rosé-friendly, or picnics can be pre-booked. A cocktail bar, live music and tapas will operate from 4 - 6pm. Rosé wines, carefully made from a variety of cultivars, are on the up, and this is a good chance to sample well-made examples. Tickets cost R120 which includes glass and tastings. Available through or at the door.





Savour the Stellenbosch lifestyle during the 2016 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay at Coetzenburg Sports Grounds. From 5 to 7 February  festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample some of the best wines in the country, delight in gourmet food offerings from top restaurants, enjoy great live music and take part in fun outdoor activities, in what must be the most picturesque surroundings in South Africa.

The three-day lifestyle festival will showcase hundreds of wines from Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ members, ranging from award-winning producers to small boutique wineries.  The Gourmet Lane and Pick n Pay Fresh will offer delicious snacks, while guests can explore the magic of food and wine pairings presented by select winemakers in the Tasting Room.

Daily tickets cost R180 for adults, and include a tasting glass. Tickets are available from  Children under 18 pay R60.  Tickets are limited, so book early.  Visit the festival website for a full event schedule. Follow the Stellenbosch Wine Festival on Twitter @StellWineFest and sign up for regular updates on Facebook at  


Two local artists - Nuka and Morne  Meyer will alternate performing at this Franschhoek mountainside cellar from 5 - 7pm every Thursday until April. the view and the sunset are added free attractions. Seating is on the terrace and lawns, and the Terrace menu will be offered. There is no cover charge. For reservations and info, email or call 021 876 3688.


Grande Provence Harvest Day

On Saturday, 20 February this Franschhoek estate will host its annual harvest day fest, starting at 9am with coffee and muffins, followed by grape picking, stoming, wine tasting and a cellar tour. Chef Darren Badenhorst will present his harvest lunch feast to a background of live music. Tickets are R650 for adults and R350 for children under 12. Booking is essential,  contact Barbara at Tel: 021 876 8600 or e-mail



Feast of the Grape

27 & 28 February 2016b2ap3_thumbnail_Dbnville-Fes.PNG

Kick off your shoes for some squishing and splatting at this year’s Durbanville Wine Valley’s Feast of the Grape, a weekend of harvest fun hosted by 12 wine farms in the Valley. Celebrating the bounty of harvest season, the festival takes place on 27 and 28 February 2015, which takes place at  D’Aria Wine Farm with an abundance of seasonal wines and entertainment to enjoy.

The 12 farms coming together from the Durbanville Wine Valley to take part in the grape festivities are: Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, D’Aria, De Grendel, Diemersdal, Durbanville Hills, Groot Phesantekraal, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Meerendal, Nitida and Signal Gun. 

“This year’s festival  brings all our member farms together on one wine farm, rather than each hosting its own separate harvest celebration”, says Angela Fourie, Marketing Manager of the Durbanville Wine Valley Association. 

 Tickets costs R120 and include entrance to the festival, a wine glass and tasting coupons. Tickets will be available full festival program is available on


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With January reaching the halfway mark this week, the holidays are behind most of us, but the summer season in the winelands is just reaching its peak.


Most farms celebrate the end of harvesting, Delheim does its differently: for years they have marked the Start of Harvest with an open weekend of roll out the barrels, stomp the new grapes, al fresco dining and a load of fun. January 23 and 24 are the dates when a maximum of 120 adults will be served a glass of must and a mosbolletjies on arrival, then settle to enjoy the music, the picnic style buffet or take part in the highly competitive stomping contest.The fun starts at noon and tickets cost R300 which includes all food and activities. Children aged 2 and under go in free, others pay R175. For more info and to book contact Wilm on 021 888 4607 or send an email to


b2ap3_thumbnail_Stellenbosch-Street-Soirees-HR-9.jpgStellenbosch Street Soirees

If you are still on holiday, or wish you were, head to Drostdy street tomorrow (or on Wednesday, Jan 27) for this month's vibrant street party, when Stellenbosch diverts traffic so that guests can sip, savour and share the hospitality and delicious wines of the region. To accompany them, gourmet snacks from local eateries, music by local talent, and the communal spirit is alive and well as visitors and local meet, chat, and enjoy . Time: from 6 - 8pm. Cost: R70 for a tasting glass - and as many tastes as you wish, with street food on sale.

February's soiree dates: 10th and 24th

For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, or visit




In keeping with healthy eating (a favourite new year resolution) at a glorious destination where eggs, poultry and meat are ethically farmed and the giant herb and veggie garden presents a model of organic cultivation, spend Saturday January 30 on a roving, four-venue dinner at Boschendal estate : Vegetarian focussed, with meat on the side, chef Christiaan Campbell will transform the sustainably produced ingredients into three delectable courses. Vegetables, herbs and salads will star, diners will wander to their next course led by food garden manager Megan McCarthy, who will show diners ingredients that will appear on their plates a little later. Stilettos are not recommended and jerseys may be required. A welcome drink, beverage with the main course and coffee are included in the R495 a head price. To book, email or call 27(0) 21 870-4274.


Saturday February 6 is the date to diarise for Franschhoek Summer Wines at Leopard’ Leap Family vineyards. Bubbly, white and rosé wines will be there for sampling, the rotisserie kitchen will cater lavishly well and local performers will add live music. Dress in cool white is recommended. Tickets cost R150 and can be booked through Tastings start at noon. For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861.   


The thought of relaxing on the lawns at Neethlingshof after a long hot  Wednesday of work, sounds tempting enough. Add a glass of one of cellarmaster De Wet Viljoen's enjoyable wines, snack on items from a cheese or charcuterie platter, and take in the smooth sounds of acoustic guitar played by Francois Haasbroek, and you have a midweek break perfect   for recharging our batteries.  Wednesday Wine breaks take place from 5 - 8pm until the end of March. Platters cost from R85 to R175.


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b2ap3_thumbnail_GP-country-market.JPGIt could be the break you deserve! The monthly country market at Groote Post takes place on Sunday Dec 27, when artixan foods, arts and crafts will be on show along with the cellar's enjoyable wines for tasting and buying. If the pantry at home is looking empty after the festive cook-up, you may want to stock up with Darlilng produce like mushrooms, wors, home baked breads, cheese, charcuterie, pomegranate juice, sauces and spices, handmade toffee and more for the New Year. Theres plenty to keep the small fry amused, and - if the market fare is not enough, you can book for lunch at Hildas Kitchen.

Dogs are welcome, providee they are on a leash at all times. Entry to the market is free, and its open from 10am to 3pm. For further info, contact     Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or


Riesling & Rarities Rock @ Hartenberg Estate


Celebrate the start of 2016  at the annual Riesling & Rarities Rock Festival, Saturday, 23 January 2016. Hartenberg Wine Estate and winemaker Carl Shultz host this intimate event, which gives visitors the opportunity to taste the finest Rieslings and other niche varietals. The Cape's top producers of Weisser/Rhine riesling will show their products, Other varietals being showcased included semillon, viognier and gewurztraminer. Riesling, of course, is a wonderful food wine, pairing with a wide variety of fare, from sushi to antipasti,while Hartenberg picnic baskets offer an indulgent meal at R175 a head. 

Tickets cost R150 which includes all tastings and glass. Tastings will be offered from 12 noon - 5pm. Book through


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Last week saw the official opening of the first of several Leeu destinations in Franschhoek. From December 1, pampered guests will check into this charming 12-room boutique hotel on the main street, just a couple of blocks down from the Huguenot memorial.

The former guest house was only built in the 1970’s, but its comparatively modern background is barely visible, as it now presents an air of great serenity, coupled with a luxurious but understated international feel: the décor, based on natural fabrics and fibres, wood, marble and stone, is the proof that Beverley Boswell is an inspired interior designer.

There is a serious swimming pool, an inviting terrace, and bedrooms are partnered by classic bathrooms with room-for-two showers. The service is set to be exemplary – someone who has booked in (to experience the cuisine!) was most impressed to be asked what size bathroom robe he would like…

Neither Leeu Estates’ owner Analjit Singh nor MD Hector de Galard were there, being on route to India, but we enjoyed meeting regional director Luis Pinheiro and GM Matthew Smith. Oliver Cattermole is the estate’s executive chef and made an excellent first impression with his lunch menu for the media. His first course of green asparagus, pancetta and poached egg was well matched to the Mullineux & Leeu Kloof Street chenin blanc, while a delectable fish masala on puy lentils coped effortlessly with an unusual skin contact chenin, “made like a red wine” explained marketing manager Nicola Tipping . A meaty grenache partnered a delicious course of blue cheese mini-gougères with green grapes, and dessert was a culinary triumph. Vanilla panna cotta topped with lemon verbena sorbet was finished with diced fresh pineapple while the five-star Platter Olerasay complemented the finale with fresh and irresistible sweet sipping. Sadly chef Oliver’s considerable talents cannot be enjoyed at present by anyone except hotel residents: we will have to wait for further Leeu enterprises to open in order to do this…

And indeed, this will not be a long wait – in February Tuk Tuk a microbrewery and Mexican restaurant, neighbour to Leeu House, will start operatons, and this will be followed by Marigold, an Indian restaurant and first for the town, just across the main road. Around midwinter the star of the show, Leeu Estates, comprising a 17-room country house retreat  high on the mountainside, formerly Klein Dassenberg farm, opens along with a winery to produce the outstanding Mullineux & Leeu family wines which are already grabbing headlines in the world of wine. Chef Oliver will be creating fine fare in the restaurant, open to visitors. Then there is the much-publicised acquisition of Le Quartier Francais which will continue to operate both hotel and restaurant much as before.

The Lion has made its first mark in this village renowned for hospitality, good food and wine. It’s a very elegant paw-print, and is set to be followed by more in the same vein.

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Muscat de Hambourg is a German cultivar that is uncommon in South Africa, with Stellenbosch Hills being one of two local cellars that processes it. Cellarmaster P-G Slabbert told us this German cultivar reached our shores in the 19th century – I cannot find it listed under any variations of muscat/moskat/etc in my Sothebys wine encyclopedia.

But these grapes were responsible for the fine aperitif or digestif that is La Serena, an aristocratic blend of Muscat de Hambourg with seven-year-old potstill brandy. La Serena is seductive to the eye, offering brilliant shades of ripe pomegranate, with a nose that incorporates rose petals and also  offers a diverse flavours to the palate, including nuttiness. There is no doubt that its handsome packaging matches its patrician status, being housed in a black box, lettered in gold, that requires some ingenuity to open. Childproof? Probably, and possible adult-proof too if being opened after a long liquid dinner… Only 1400 bottles of this anniversary tribute have been made, and it sells for R350. Wonderful birthday gift for anyone reaching their three score and 10 …. And equally appetising well chilled and paired with a variety of good SA cheeses.

But before we reached the stage of sampling this unique liqueur, Stellenbosch Hills had lined up an enjoyable function at the equally serene Signal restaurant of the Cape Grace hotel, where an impressive menu had been created to pair with the Stellenbosch Hills range.

The first course of citrus cured salmon was partnered by new vintages of the cellar’s sauvignon and chenin blancs. These two popular summer wines have always offered very pleasant quaffing at equally pleasing prices. The current prices –R45 and R35 respectively – seem to have stayed much the same, but the quality of the 2015 vintages has rocketed onto a higher plane indeed: the fruity, medium-bodied crisp sauvignon is fresh, flavourful and impressive, while the fresh and zingy chenin presents a tropical fruit salad with underlying minerality – a bargain buy of note.

Staying with whites to counter temperatures in the 30’s, the fine 1707 Reserve White 2013 made an excellent  accompaniment to a delectable porcini mushroom risotto topped with truffle foam. This opulent blend of mostly chardonnay with some semillon, finished with 10% viognier, enjoyed 10 months in French oak, each component maturing separately. It’s a limited edition, and one that can take on all kinds of spicy seafood, poultry and Middle Eastern layered compositions like B’stilla with panache. Also well priced at R70.

To Stellenbosch Hills and its team, including family member and voluntary PR Nicolette Waterford, a toast to the next three decades!


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