The wines we drink: Chamonix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

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Making a withdrawal of a case or 2 of wines stored at the Wine Cellar is a bit like having your birthday halfway through the year; unpacking the cases, unwrapping bottle after bottle, ooh-ing and ah-ing over every label, every vintage…

The early arrival of winter was the flimsy excuse for opening our newly “discovered” bottle of Chamonix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, carefully crafted by gifted winemaker Gottfried Mocke and team.  Chamonix has won acclaim as Winery of the Year and heaps of accolades for individual wines, they do not produce a wine that we do not enjoy.

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The wines we drink: Blackwater MMX Noir

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Blackwater Wine is the brainchild of Francois Haasbroek, who cut his teeth at Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch.  We met Francois during an extremely informative lecture he gave on Burgundy during our WSET level 3 course.  His passion for and in-depth knowledge of his subject shone through and it was no surprise when we heard that he is striking out on his own, producing wine under his own label.

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The wines we drink: Giorgio 2011 by Dalla Cia

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Giorgio Dalla Cia needs no introduction to any lover of South African wine; after all, he was the wine maker that put Meerlust on the map and subsequently set out under his own name.  His wines are as well known as his Grappa and the family’s Italian food and wine bar (Pan E Vino) set in Stellenbosch.

The bar is clearly set high at Dalla Cia: Premium wines are produced that sell at premium prices.  Last year we purchased a bottle of his maiden release Dalla Cia Pinot Noir 2011 – this is no light weight tooty fruity Pinot Noir.  “Robust” is the word that springs to mind, “serious” would be another and doubtless “delicious” would complete this short description.  Will we buy it again (if an when we can afford it) – Yes.

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Tasting history at Eagle’s Nest

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We recently had the fortune of being at the right place at the right time: A visit to Eagle’s Nest while they were tasting every single vintage of their wines ever produced.  This is the type of thing that makes us wine geeks very excited – a rare opportunity to taste library stock and thus see how the estate (and its young wine maker) has developed.

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Eagle’s Nest has graced the pages of our virtual publication before (click here) and we are regular visitors to the estate, introducing as many friends as possible to a (now) bastion of quality and elegance.

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I Love My Laundry – Buitenkant Street

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The new year has started with a “bang” in the I Love My Laundry house with the opening of a third store in Buitenkant Street.

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Is this the world’s greatest white grape?

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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.

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La Colombe; where food is an experience & dinner is an event

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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.

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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

Spending a night with history at the Mount Nelson Hotel

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A gift certificate for High tea at the Mount Nelson was the small incentive we needed to book a night in Cape Town’s best known hotel.  We have visited the Mount Nelson on more than one occasion; enjoying several excellent meals in the Planet Restaurant but staying over was one for the hotel “bucket list”.

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We arrived late one Friday afternoon in (what can only be described as) grotty Cape Town weather: overcast, howling wind, occasional drizzle and grey everywhere.  By the time we parked at the hotel entrance, the friendly smile and wave from the guard at the bottom of the drive and the friendly valet service had dispelled any winter day blues we had.

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The House of Machines: coffee, food & even repairs

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Shortmarket Street is alive and well, thanks to The House of Machines that opened their doors this morning. We have been wondering by daily, almost begging them to open, as our area of the City was in dire need of the good stuff!

The House of Machines offers you excellent coffee (the house brand is called “Evil Twin” and is served with organic milk & sugar) and freshly made sandwiches ready to go 6 days a week.  We have sampled the avo & tomato on toasted rye (R45) and the muesli with yogurt and banana (R60) – both delicious; I may even be ordering the muesli for lunch!  The muffins (R18) are fresh, never dry and tasty.  Jason’s legendary bacon croissants (R20) are also on sale, but get there early before we’ve been there…

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Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

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I’m a numbers guy. I never thought I’d say it, but I am. Statistics and numbers fascinate me, and even more so in wine. How much it costs to put a bottle of wine in the market for instance. In Hartenberg Estate’s case there are 4 numbers that are the most interesting.  These numbers are 321, 55, 26 and 20.

321 is the number of years that the property that is now known as Hartenberg has been farmed. It was originally 2 properties (Het Hartenberg and Welgemeend), but was amalgamated in 1725. If you consider that South Africa is only 361 years old, it should give you an idea of just what history is to be found here.

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55 is the number of hectares under vine at Hartenberg. The property has over the years become regarded as one of the country’s top producers winning numerous accolades for wine varieties such as Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.

26 is the number of years that Hartenberg has been owned by the McKenzie clan. Ken McKenzie from Bermuda bought the property from Gilbey’s in 1986. Some serious investment was done during a time when South Africa was the dog of the world. This investment continues to this day through Ken’s 2 daughters who are now the owners. More

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