Entries tagged with “Almenkerk”.


Last Monday I attended The Sommeliers Selection 2018 tasting of the top-scoring wines at Tokara Delicatessen, driving through from Cape Town on a rainy day. My two favorites I tasted were Arra Shiraz 2015, as well as Trizanne Reserve Syrah 2017.  The top wines in the tasting were selected by top Sommelier members of the South African SOmmeliers Association, and the Black Cellar Club.  (more…)

imageYesterday Ben Goble, Llewellyn Lambert, and I tried the new Christmas Tasting Menu at Benguela on Main in Somerset West, at the invitation of Chef Jean Delport. I was impressed with the creativity which Chef Jean has become renowned for, and how he put Christmas on the plate with his Chef’s Christmas Tasting Menu. The seven course Tasting Menu had two added courses and costs R720 per person, and R1050 with the wine pairings. It runs until 24 December.

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imageAt the presentation of the 2016 FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards at Nooitgedacht outside Stellenbosch on Friday, it was announced that eight out of the Top 20 Sauvignon Blancs come from Elgin and Durbanville.
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Constantia Fresh posterI was invited to the Constantia Fresh Fine Wine and Food Festival held at Buitenverwachting yesterday afternoon. It was a sold out fun event, 44 wine estates (not only from Constantia) presenting their 200 ‘freshest’ and most interesting wines, and chefs (mainly from Constantia) preparing food.

The entrance fee was R400 per person, and included as much wine tasting and food as one liked.  The tables were set out by region, with Constantia having the central stage around a massive oak tree in the middle of the large lawn on which the Festival was held.  It is always interesting to see how the wine estates market themselves in the relatively small space they have.  It was impossible to taste all the wines of all the wine estates represented at the Festival, and it was a pity that one did not receive a leaflet or information about each of the wines and wine estates at the Festival.  The Festival is the concept of wine editor, Platter taster, sommelier, and wine consultant Jörg Pfützner, who is known as a Riesling fan.

The Constantia Fresh Festival was preceded by two events on Friday: Jörg led a themed tasting with the interesting title: ‘If modernity is sexy, is tradition passé?’  This was followed by a four course dinner cooked by Chef Bertus Basson, paired with a total of twelve wines from the Constantia valley, which was held at Klein Constantia.  Yesterday the ‘walkabout tasting‘ allowed attendees to taste to their heart’s content, and to meet wine estate representatives, although most top winemakers were not present due to the harvest being in full swing. On its website, Constantia (more…)

Beerhouse Bottled Beers Whale Cottage PortfolioDespite one of  the worst winters ever experienced by the Cape hospitality industry, few restaurants have closed down recently.   A surprise however is the movement of staff between restaurants. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Beerhouse has opened on Long Street, with 16 beers on tap and 99 bottled beers from around the world.

*    The House of Machines has opened on Shortmarket Street, building motorcycles, offering good Evil Twin coffee, and serving very healthy food.

*   Pure Good has opened downstairs in the Associated Magazines building opposite Parliament, and is owned by Shannon Smuts, the first MasterChef SA Finalist to have been eliminated.

*   The Harbour House group has opened La Parada Spanish Tapas restaurant on (more…)

De Brasserie Bar counter Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Saturday I was introduced to De Brasserie in Strand by Annette Beller-Sogor, whom I had met at an art exhibition recently and who lives in Gordon’s Bay.  She raved about the excellence of the restaurant, and mentioned that it is owned by the Belgian wine family Van Almenkerk from Elgin.   We found an unexpected European haven in a most unlikely town!

It was the most beautiful clear day, with the snow capped mountains of Somerset West visible from Beach Road.  False Bay looked flat and one could even see Cape Point, the raised former Kaapzicht restaurant offering an excellent view.  The restaurant exterior looks very modern from outside, but the restaurant name could be difficult to read, being partiallyDe Brasserie Exterior Whale Cottage Portfolio blocked by beams.  In smaller type size it states ‘Est 2012 by Almenkerk’, which one cannot read from the road.  Having booked last minute, we were seated at the bar counter first, but were promised a table as soon as one became available.

De Brasserie is Joep van Almenkerk, who is a most amazing host, friendly, attractive, charming, attentive, and he makes one feel that he knew what was happening at each table, and that he made every (more…)

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. (more…)

This weekend the sixteen Elgin Valley wine producers have launched a new Wine Route, which they have called ‘Elegantly Elgin’, to market the ‘superior and complex structured wines synonymous with this district’, says its media release.

Almenkerk, Arumdale, Elgin Ridge, Elgin Vintners, Hannay & Catherine Marshall Wines, Highlands Road Wines, Iona Vineyards, Lothian Wines, Mofam Wines, Oak Valley Wines, Oude Molen Brandy Distillery, Paul Cluver Wines, Shannon Vineyards, Spioenkop Wine, South Hill Wines, and Winters Drift make up the ‘Elegantly Elgin’ Wine Route.  The vines in the Elgin area ‘benefit from diverse soils and cool maritime breezes which ensure perfect conditions for slow ripening. This allows the grapes to develop their intense flavours, great natural acidity, complexity and strong core of elegance’. The wines of this region are fruity, and Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz wines perform well in Elgin.

To attract visitors to the new wine route, ‘Elegantly Elgin’ has arranged ‘Open Wine Weekends’, held on the first weekend of every month, from 10h00 – 17h00, starting this weekend with the theme ‘Celebration of Cool Climate Wines’. All sixteen wine estates will open their doors on these weekends, in addition to their normal operating hours, focusing on the designated theme for the open weekend.  Further themes which have been planned are the following:

3-4 and 10-11 November: A Sauvignon Blanc Celebration

1-2 December:  A Chardonnay Celebration

5-6 January:   Elegantly Elgin Whites

Elegantly Elgin Wine Route’.  www.elginwine.co.za Twitter: @ElegantlyElgin

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

At the function to present The Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012 at French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar yesterday, sponsor Alwyn van der Merwe of Sanlam Private Investments emphasised that like Team GB obtained success in the 2012 Olympics, so too our Chardonnay winemakers are using ‘incremental improvement’ to obtain success. Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2011 and Jordan Barrel Fermented 2011 Chardonnays were both awarded a 5 star rating, and were the top two Chardonnays out of 60 evaluated.

Chardonnay is a white wine that should get recognition, said competition co-ordinator, wine judge, and wine writer Christian Eedes.  The first successful Chardonnay was made 20 years ago by Danie de Wet, of De Wetshof in Robertson.

Eedes explained that he started the Chardonnay competition last year, as he felt that wine judging needed a shake-up, as strange results were coming out of competitions.  Involving Roland Peens of Wine Cellar and James Pietersen, Beverage Manager of Belthazar and Balducci, as his fellow judges, they invited 60 Chardonnay producers to enter the competition, not charging an entry fee.  2010 and 2011 vintages were tasted, and Eedes said that they did not have the same richness as those of 2009, which now are ‘fantastically drinkable’. The vintages evaluated this year are ‘big and forceful’ wines, he said.

The Top 10 Chardonnay list, not ranked other than in terms of its star rating, is as follows:

* 5 stars:

Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2011

Jordan Barrel Fermented 2011

*   4,5 stars:

Tokara Reserve Collection Walker Bay 2011

Sumaridge 2011

Sterhuis Barrel Selection 2010

Radford Dale 2011

KWV The Mentors 2011

Hartenberg 2010

Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2011

Almenkerk 2011

French Toast served a number of their tapas dishes, including chicken kebabs, salmon pancakes, deep-fried seafood treats, mushroom bruschetta, and Mediterranean vegetable stirfry bruschetta.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of Uva Mira Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 with our media pack.

The Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Hermanus Wine & Food Fair is more low key than similar ones in Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Riebeeck Kasteel.  This year the Fair is expanding its reach by putting close to 50 wine producers’ more than 250 wines, from Elgin to Elim and including Hermanus and Stanford, on show over the Women’s Day long weekend, from tomorrow until Sunday, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Village at the entrance to Hermanus.  The proceeds of the Fair will go to the nearby Camphill School for children with special needs.

This is the 15th year that the Fair will be staged.  The wines on show represent a wine region which has more 4 and 5 star Platter-rated wines than any other in South Africa, says the Fair write-up in Bay.

For the first time an interactive website www.thevine.co.za will allow winelovers attending the show to rate and review the wines they have tasted, and so build up a history of their wine tasting experiences, and share these with other wine lovers.  The producers who will present their wines, many of them on the Hermanus Wine Route, are the following: Arumdale, Almenkerk, Ataraxia, Barton, Beaumont Wines, Belfield Wines, Black Oystercatcher, Boschrivier, Bouchard Finlayson, Brunia, Creation, Domaine des Dieux, Feiteiras Wines, Ghost Corner, Henry, Hamilton Russell, Hermanuspietersfontein, Hornbill, Iona, Jakob’s Vineyards, Jean Daneel, La Vierge, Lomond, Newton Johnson, Raka, 7Springs, Southern Right Wines, Spioenkop Wines, Spookfontein, Strandveld & First Sighting, Stanford Hills – Jackson’s, Southhill, Sumaridge, The Berrio, Vaalvlei, Whalehaven, Walker Bay Vineyards, William Everson, Winters Drift, and Zandfontein.  Paul du Toit, owner of Wine Village, is the co-ordinator of the Hermanus Wine & Food Fair.

The food at the Hermanus Wine & Food Fair will be provided by the restaurants in the Hemel-en-Aarde Village centre, including The Class Room, B’s Steakhouse, and Season.  EAT will run a Peroni Beer and wine bar.  In addition, cheeses, olive products, charcuterie, buchu teas, bee products, herb liqueurs, nuts, sundried tomatoes, pomegranate products, pesto pastes, artisanal chocolates, and breads will be available for tasting and to purchase.

Hermanus Wine & Food Fair, Hemel-en-Aarde Village, Hermanus. 9 – 11 August, 11h00 – 19h00. R 95 per day, or R200 for 3-day pass. Free parking.  www.hermanuswineandfood.co.za. Book via Computicket.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage