Events Bertus Basson, Bouchard Finlayson, Burgundy, Creation, Crystallum, Die Worsrol, Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils, Domaine des Dieux, Eric Bullpitt, George Jardine, Gerhard Smith, Hamilton Russel Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hemel-en-Aarde winegrowers Pinot Noir Celebration, Hermanus, La Vierge, Le Corton Grand Cru, leaf roll virus, Martinborough, New Zealand, Newton Johnson, Newton Johnson Domaine Pinot Noir, Newton Johnson Family Vineyards, Peter Templehoff, Pinot Noir, Remington Norman, South Africa, Storm, Sumaridge, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Whalehaven
This past weekend – the Hemel & Aarde Winegrowers Pinot Noir Celebration in the Hemel & Aarde valley. I suspected it was going to be any pinotphile’s dream and it certainly turned out that way. The kind of excitement the grape variety generates in me is akin to childlike.
The beautiful Bona Dea Estate
Friday kicked off with a tasting of the 2012 vintage wines from the 3 wards of the Hemel & Aarde (Hemel & Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel & Aarde and Hemel & Aarde Ridge) . It was to showcase the differences from the change in terroir for these 3 areas. A couple of the commentators on the day felt that there wasn’t that much of a difference in identity between the regions, although for me there was a thread through some of the wines. One thing that is incontrovertible is that Hemel & Aarde Pinot Noir has an unbelievable purity of fruit. More
Events, Just Wine aromatic wine, Botrytis, Cape Town, Caroline's, Egon Muller-Scharzof, German riesling, Germany, Hartenberg, Howard Booysen, Jancis Robinson, Jordan, Jorg Pfhutzner, Mosel, noble rot, Paul Cluver wines, Rhein River, Rheingau region, Riesling, Riesling Rocks, Scharzhofberger, South Africa, Spioenkop, trockenbeerenauslese, turpine
I like the aromatic wine category. Mainly because they are often interesting and pair well with the spicy, fusion type flavours I like in food. And mainly because they are not as run of the mill as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay (which I love for other reasons) In particular I like Riesling. The great white grape from Germany, where it is made in a myriad of styles and sold at everything from super market knock off prices to eye poppingly expensive. Sadly South African Riesling is few and far between and only a handful is remotely interesting. Typically I like Riesling with a bit of sugar on them, and again there are few in the South African context that isn’t fermented dry. There are of course exceptions and I quaff these whenever I get the opportunity.
Just Wine Backsberg, Beyerskloof Pinotage, Cartology, Champagne, Chateau Libertas, De Akker, evolution, Fifth Avenue Cold Duck, Four Cousins dry red, Graca, Helderberg Co-op, Leeukop, Louisvale Chavant, Nederburg Diamante, Nuy Cellar, Overmeer, Robertson, Springfield, Steenberg Nebbiolo, Stein, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch University, Tassenberg, Thelema Merlot, Van Loveren Four Cousins Naturally Sweet Rosé, Veenwouden Merlot, wine snob
ev·o·lu·tion ( v -l sh n, v -). n. 1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.
You often hear derogatory terms like “wine snob or pretentious git” when describing a person who professes to like fine wines. I am unashamedly a wine connoisseur, a lover of fine wine. I was not born with these tastes, the same way no child loves slabs of raw fish at birth – it is an acquired taste, honed over more than a few years.
The love of all things wine started early…
I am not discussing the idiots who profess to “lurve” this or that, simply due to the price tag (“we used the Black Amex for that, dahling”, origin (“it’s from a luvvely village in France, sweetie, we vacation there often”) or the bling stuck on the bottle (“it also won a competition no one entered and was judged by the Minister of Education, my dear”).We have all taken a personal wine journey. For some people there was that “Eureka” moment, for others it was a gradual evolution of the palate.
News 2013, 2014, Chris Alheit, corked wine, Craig Hawkins, David Sadie
Rest in peace 2013. You ugly old bitch. We would more often than not write a highlights reel of the past year, but why harp on the past? So let us move onwards, upwards into the rarified atmosphere of what we hope 2014 will be.
Let us hope 2014 brings us a year of:
Events 100 points, Adi Badenhorst, Andrea Mullineux, Benjamin Joliveau, Callie Louw, Chateauneuf du Pape, Chenin Blanc, Chris Mullineux, Cinault, Damien Delecheneau, Domaine du Pegau, Domaine Huet, Domaine La Grange Tiphaine, Domaine Vincent Careme, Eben Sadie, France, Hanepoot, Jan Boland Coetzee, Laurence Feraud, Mullineux White, Pinotage, Riebeek Kasteel, Royal Hotel, Sequillo, Shiraz, Swartland Cellars, Swartland Independent, Swartland Revolution, Tinta Barocca, Vincent Careme
I woke up on Sunday morning with one of those hangovers where you start groaning before you even open your eyes. I should’ve known better being a veteran of 4 Swartland Revolutions, but we enjoyed revolting so much on Saturday that we didn’t want the party to end.
The 2013 edition of the Swartland Revolution was bigger than ever before for many reasons. With over 400 tickets sold it was by far the most attendees that ever revolted. Yet, in spite of the increased numbers, It was the slickest organisation of the event ever. It went like clock work. Not that there were any major issues in the past, this year was just fantastic. The addition of air conditioners to the tasting tent was a master stroke by the organisers, the food was a step up in my opinion from in the past (again, the food wasn’t bad in the past – this year was just great) and the entertainers (Adi, Eben, Callie and the Mullineux’s) were in fine voice. I particularly enjoyed how Adi told his father in law not to be a doos in front of a packed tasting. Adi clearly is a bit of an adrenalin junkie.
Friday opened with a tasting of Domaine du Pegau wines. A Chateauneuf du Pape producer with a few 100 point wines in her (yes she’s a girl – Laurence Feraud) stable. We got to taste one of the 100 pointers and herein lies the crux of why we attend the Revolution. I certainly do not have the budget to buy wines like that, nor are they easy to get your hands on. The organisers of the Revolution always get special producers from France to showcase their wines and I consider myself fortunate to be able to taste them. Friday’s Chateauneuf’s also taught me a valuable lesson – drink them either very young, or leave them to age at least a decade. The wines that were 5 years or so old, were very muted, whilst a 2011 showed lovely bright fruit and structure.
Food and Wine, Restaurants Chef Henry Vigar, La Mouette Restaurant, Oldenburg Cabernet Franc 2009, Oldenburg Chardonnay 2012, Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2012, Oldenburg Rhodium Red Blend 2010, Oldenburg Syrah 2010, Oldenburg Wines, Salt & pepper prawns, Sea Point, South Africa, Stellenbosch
The three key ingredients for an excellent Food and Wine evening: good food, good wine and a sprinkling of magic to bring it all together. We were recently invited by the folks from Oldenburg to join them for an evening of indulgence at one of our favourite restaurants, La Mouette.
We’ve written volumes about La Mouette, a perennial favourite consistently delivering top class, exciting food at reasonable prices. The opportunity to see what the brilliant Chef Henry Vigar can do, unfettered by the usual budgetary constraints and given the opportunity to pair his creations with one of the most exciting wine ranges we have tasted in a long while.
Oldenburg Chardonnay 2012 paired with truffle & cheese croquettes, duck parfait on toast, beef tartare
Oldenburg is a relatively new kid on the Stellenbosch block. We recently visited the farm and after a morning of intensive wine tasting, purchased their whole range! There was not one wine in the range we did not love, but we tasted in isolation (at 9 am in the morning) and thus we leaped at the opportunity to see their wines in “action”. More
Restaurants Chef Margot Janse, Chef of the Year, Franschhoek, Le Quartier Francais, South Africa, Surprise Menu, The Tasting Room, Top 10, wine pairing
Dining at South Africa’s most acclaimed restaurant is never a decision that can be taken lightly. Chef Margot Janse has won more than one “Chef of the Year” accolade and The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français is consistently in any Top 10 restaurants awards list.
One does not simply dine at The Tasting Room on a whim; it takes some budgetary planning, you make a reservation weeks in advance, sign a written confirmation, make sure you have a place to stay over in Franschhoek and (most importantly) ensure your taste buds are in 100% working order.
Your bread is served….
Accommodation Avondrood, communal lounge, Franschhoek, Gardens, guest house, Honesty Bar, jacuzzi, Luxury accommodation, mini bar, room induction, South Africa, swimming pool, wi-fi
One cannot adequately translate the meaning of the Flemish word “Avondrood” as no single phrase can capture that perfect moment of romance, that final breath before the sun finally sets and the sky is still russet and coppery/golden before plunging you into the inky evening.
Avondrood is a 4 star luxury guest house in Franschhoek. Their beautiful Victorian building dates back to 1870 and is now a local heritage site. The entire guest house and garden of Avondrood was recently refurnished in a contemporary elegant style. With a comfortable lounge and bar, private patio and vast garden Avondrood can be whatever you need it to be: a romantic hide-away, a family getaway or a fully functional office-on-the-go.
Events Almenkerk 2010 Chardonnay, Anel Grobler, Cathy Marston, Diana Proctor, Fleur du Cap Semillon 2007, Haskell WInes, Johann Graue Hall, Masterchef Kitchen, Mullineux Wines, natalie Opstaele, Nederburg, Nederburg Auction, Nicky Claasens, Nicola Tipping, Paarl, Remhoogte Honey Bunch Chenin Blanc 2010, Riana Hall, Rianie Strydom, Rudera Robusto 2009, SImonsig Kaapse Vonkel 2005, South African Sommelier Association, South Afriica, vriesenhof, winetimes, Xolani Mancotywa
This weekend the 39th annual Nederburg Auction takes place at one of SA’s best known wine estates Nederburg, in Paarl. The concept is simple: assemble a line-up of older, more rare wines and sell them to the highest bidder. Sounds simple…and run-of-the-mill stuff if you are not an active bidder. Luckily the Nederburg Auction is so much more than just an auction – it is an event, an opportunity to taste the wines on sale, to chat to the wine makers, marvel in the beautiful Nederburg Estate and enjoy the longest running and largest garden party in South Africa…
Upon arrival you immediately notice that the organisation must be a mammoth task; but check-in & registration was slick and efficient…and followed by coffee and gorgeous breakfast canapés!
Restaurants Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East Award, Cape Town, Chef Scot Kirton, Constantia, Constantia Uitsig, Dave Nel, Journey through the Western Cape, La Colombe, San Pellegrino 50 Best restaurants of the World Awards, sommelier, South Africa
La Colombe, the “holy grail” of Cape Town’s restaurants: 12th place in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants of the World Awards 2010 and Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East Award. The current Executive Chef, Scot Kirton, has kept La Colombe firmly in the San Pellegrino 100 Best Restaurants of the World Awards 2011.
We approached dinner at La Colombe with high expectations and that nervous “please don’t disappoint me” flutter in the stomach. Our arrival at the restaurant was indeed marked by a brooding Cape winter storm, but inside we were warmly welcomed and enveloped in the La Colombe cocoon of elegant excellence. More