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 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 eat at: Foodbarn Restaurant

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The name Franck Dangereux is synonymous with fine French cuisine – he put La Colombe on the fine dining map and when he opened his own restaurant called Foodbarn, things could only get better!  More relaxed, open spaces also gave him room for demo evenings and exclusive food and wine pairing events.


Foodbarn…relaxed and informal

 We do not visit Foodbarn often enough – the trek to Noordhoek should not be an issue but the great wine list options always cause a state of near euphoria even before we have looked at the menu!  Our recent visit was no exception:  Right off the bat we could order the hard-to-get-hold-of Mooiplaas single vineyard Houmoed Chenin Blanc (2013 vintage a steal at R216).  A glass of Silverthorn The Green Man Brut MCC will only set you back R59 and the Raats Original Chenin Blanc R56.  There is a wide selection that even includes some foreign producers.


The places we eat at: Babel at Babylonstoren

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We are late visitors to Babel at Babylonstoren; we have seen so many glowing reports about the beautiful gardens and gorgeous food  for the past year.  A visit by The Navigator’s sister from the Free State was the perfect excuse to finally go see what the fuss is all about.


You do get greeted with a R10 per person admission fee to the farm – feels a bit cheeky, but then again, the place is simply breathtakingly beautiful.  Feels a bit tourist-trappy at times (especially the gift shop) but then again, this is a business and they have to make money, right? More

The places we eat (and drink) at: Tjing Tjing Torii

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A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred (as per Wikipedia).


The renaming of The White Room at Dear Me to Tjing Tjing Torii is apt, as it introduces you to adulthood: The service is attentive (there’s always a sommelier on duty), the wine list and food are exceptional, your surroundings are elegant and even the music and lighting is just so.  You are so comfortable, it’s not too loud, no brash noises, no cigarette smoke polluting the air. More

The places we eat at: Inside & You’re Out

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We love the slow upgrade of Bree Street; especially the added meal options available over lunch time.  Inside & You’re Out is the new kid on the block; burgers are their specialty.


What makes their burgers different is that each burger patty is filled with artisanal cheeses and other gourmet ingredients (hence the clever branding).  They do business with local suppliers and focus on reducing the environmental impact and using ethical products where ever they can. More

The places we eat at: Bocca

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Bocca is the latest restaurant opened by restauranteur & sommelier, Neil Grant.  Sister to the successful Burrata at the Woodstock Biscuit Mill, Bocca is situated in the Cape Town CBD (corner of Wale & Bree) – convenient, as it is a few blocks from our office.  We’d resisted temptation to visit Bocca sooner; we did not think we could resist those gorgeous pizzas if we set foot in there…avoiding refined carbs can sometimes be hard work.


Bocca can be described as a more compact version of Burrata: This is clearly a city restaurant, with minimal yet functional decor, clean lines, maximum use of space.  The lunch menu is also pared down and caters to the busy city worker drone crowd, service is attentive and your food arrives in time to still enjoy it at leisure without spending to much time away from your desk. More

The wines we drink: Testalonga El Bandito


Craig Hawkins is probably the bravest man in the South African wine industry; sticking to his guns and wine making philosophy, going where the grapes take him and adding as little as possible.  He admits to making a few mistakes, but he is learning from every one, it makes him understand the vineyards better and it makes him a better winemaker.


We recently had the pleasure of tasting his current releases at the fabulous Chalk & Cork in Kloof Street (go support them, please – they have a decent wine list and serve a mean cup of coffee).  We tasted the following wines: More

The places we eat at: Chefs Warehouse

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We’ve never mentioned Chef’s Warehouse on these pages; what do you say about your local “go-to” place?  Situated just around the corner from our office, we’ve spent a good few hours browsing the kitchen equipment and cook book selection (and we may have spent a good few Rands there, as well).

Being “locals” we never visit when it gets too full, so we’ve never had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the full compliment of tapas on offer at the Canteen as they are understandably, very popular.  What a menu it is!  Eight delicious tapas dishes for R320 (more than enough for 2 people sharing).  My calculator tells me that is R20 per person per dish!



The wines we drink: Paserene Chardonnay

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Martin Smith’s day job is being the winemaker at Vilafonté.  After hours he has been working on his own wine making project, called Paserene.

Some history on the man:  After finishing high school in Worcester, Martin set out on his wine journey.  He worked at Amorim Cork in Portugal, returned to South Africa and studied at Elsenburg .  His internship was served under Jan Boland Coetzee at Vriesenhof.


Martin had a romantic vision of cruising through the USA driving his Ford F250 truck with his girlfriend and a dog.  This dream was cut short when his first Napa harvest lead to a full-time position as viticulturist at Cosentino Winery.  He stayed there for 5 years before accepting a position Caldwell Winery before moving to Newton Winery in 2007 as their winemaker. More

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