The wines we drink: Le Lude MCC

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In an era where so many producers view bubbly as a “cash cow” and a must-have because they host celebratory events and “people demand it”, it is refreshing to come across a man who makes bubbly because he has a passion for it.  We have far too many MCC’s on the market in South Africa that are made as an after thought with minimum time on the lees and maximum bank account returns.



Paul Gerber not only has a passion for champagne/sparkling wine, he is busy with his Masters’ Degree in a part of the whole process (gas exchange)!  It was a pleasure to spend a day in his company, geeking out on wine at the Le Lude Estate in Franschhoek.  We were certainly privileged to get a sneak peek before the launch of these special wines. More

The wines we drink: Cork vs Screw cap

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There are pros and cons to any wine closure; some are based in scientific fact, others are based on consumer perception.  We decided to put together a tasting to compare the effect of the 2 closures on the ageing and thus the taste of the wine.  In a nutshell:  What closure has the wine tasting better after time in the bottle?


To kick proceedings off, we tasted the lovely non vintage rosé MCC from Le Lude:  Second fermentation under crown cap vs under cork (secured with an agrafe).  The wines were clearly different, with the wine under crown cap showing more fruit, especially strawberry.  The wine under cork was richer, broader and showed clear brioche character.  Fascinating stuff, when you  know that both wines were identical when bottled.

Panel choice:  standard crown cap 4 – 7 cork 2nd ferment.


The wines we drink: Naudé Old Vines Range.

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We have written about our regard for the Naudé White before but the Board of Directors and Ian Naudé at Adoro Wines are not resting on their laurels; they have just released the new range of wines made from old vines.



The Alchemy Best Burger Competition – the Batonage entry

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The KnowItALL Burger – a classic style burger but with local knowledge


Note the hand crafted mustard and tomato sauce in the background. And of course, the Alchemy White.

It’s official!  Our entry has bene selected as a finalist in the competition – come & taste it at Hartenberg Wine Estate on 24 September.  More details here.


The story:


The places we eat, drink and stay at: Steenberg

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The Red Wine Romp held at Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg was the perfect occasion to revisit one of our favourite hotels and wine farms.  The concept was simple:  Celebrate the great red wines of the Constantia area, paired with a veritable winter feast prepared by Chef Garth Almazan and his team and the outstanding service and warm hospitality one always experiences at Catharina’s.




The places we eat at: Pot Luck Club

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We first visited the Pot Luck Club a few years ago in its original incarnation adjacent to the Test Kitchen.  We have on occasion visited the Pot Luck Club at the new location at the top floor of the old Silo building and have always enjoyed our meal(s).


Our recent visit was no exception; we were yet again impressed by the excellent service, delicious food and the sheer energy of the space.  The menu has evolved (entirely expected from an establishment with such a reputation and capabilities) and is now divided into sections listing the primary taste (sweet, salty and so forth). More

The places we stay at: Bonne Esperance Studio Apartments

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We regularly visit Stellenbosch and more often than not wine is involved, leaving us with the dilemma of finding accommodation that is unfortunately, due to the popularity of the town, prohibitively expensive.  We found Bonne Esperance Studio Apartments on exactly such an occasion: A visit to the popular De Warenmarkt.


We have a severe aversion to guest houses and prefer to self-cater and these guys tick all the boxes:  The amenities are modern and everything is in working order, you have enough space and privacy and best of it all: It is affordable (rates start at R700 per person sharing).  Did I mention the free wi-fi that actually works? More

The places we eat at: The Dining Room

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Being encouraged to bring your own wine to a restaurant is already a huge PLUS in our eyes, so when friends invited us to join them at The Dining Room we jumped at the opportunity.


The Dining Room is the brain child of Karen Dudley (The Kitchen in Woodstock) and was primarily a venue for private functions.  The Dining Room is now open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for a set 3-course meal.


The wines we drink: Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella 2013

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The MR de Compostella 2013 was announced as the best overall winner of the inaugural Riscura Red Hot Wine Awards.  This is a 5-way Bordeaux style blend led by Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch area.


The wines were vinified seperately and tasted blind after one year in barrel. The wines that scored less than 90 points were not considered for the final blend. The percentage components of the blend were determined by the scores achieved in the blind tasting. This is the reason for the wine’s name: De Compostella meaning The Compilation of Stars.


The places we eat at: El Burro Taqueria

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Had to go to Wikipedia to learn about Taqueria’s:  “Taquería (pronounced: [takeɾ’ia]) is a Spanish word meaning taco shop or place that makes tacos.  As tacos are an integral part of traditional Mexican cuisine, shops selling them have proliferated throughout Mexico and other areas with a heavy Mexican culinary and cultural influence…More typical taquerías specialize in tacos, as expected, but in some localities it can be used to refer to restaurants specializing in burritos, where tacos themselves are less of a point of emphasis. Originally, a taquería could only be a street vendor; however, today many taquerías are restaurants that occupy buildings.”



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