Tag Archives: Andrea Mullineux

40th edition of Platter’s by Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide launched, with a record of 125 5-star wines!

On Friday evening I attended the launch of the 40th edition of the Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide, at the Table Bay Hotel in the Waterfront, an event that is pretty much the same in format every year, yet was different this year, in the interest of making the event shorter.   

More than 8000 wines from more than 900 producers were rated for the 2020 Platter’s Wine Guide edition. Of the 125 5-star wines awarded, 26 went to Chenin Blanc brands, 18 to Shiraz/Syrah, and 11 to Chardonnay brands. 

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Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase 2018 presents 44 top winemakers’ exclusive Wines!

I was invited to attend the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Thursday evening, tasting some of the superb wines of the 44 members of the Guild, representing the best of the best of our country’s winemakers. The Auction Showcase is in preparation of the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, which takes place at Spier on Saturday 29 September. It was impossible to taste all 44 winemakers’ wines, so I have reported on those wines I tasted and the winemakers I spoke to. Talk of the Showcase was the resignation of three senior members of the Guild. 

 

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Geometric Gin and Symmetry Botanical Tonics launched at The Gin Bar!

It fascinates me how the local Gin market is growing by leaps and bounds, and that new Gin producers see new gaps to launch their brands. On Monday I attended the launch of Cape Town’s newest Gin brand Geometric Gin and associated with it unique Symmetry Botanical Tonics.  Continue reading →

Hermanus FynArts 2017: Rosa Kruger Tutored Tasting of exceptional ‘Old Vine’ wines!

Yesterday I attended a Tutored Tasting of some of our country’s exceptional wines, which had in common that they were made from vines many decades old. The Tasting was led by South Africa’s leading expert on Old Vines, Rosa Kruger being a passionate pioneer for the preservation of our country’s vintage vines.  Continue reading →

Leeu Passant first flagship Franschhoek-produced Mullineux-made wine range!

The Mullineux husband and wife team Chris and Andrea have created news yet again, with the launch tomorrow, Monday 3 April, of their new flagship Leeu Passant range of Dry Red Wine 2015, Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2015, and Elandskloof Chardonnay 2015.  Continue reading →

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase puts prime wines on show!

Cape Winemaker Guild IMG-135 hrTo give wine lovers a taste of the excellent quality of wines to be sold at the 31st Cape Winemakers Guild Auction at the Spier Conference Centre on 3 October, a tasting of the 55 wines takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre tonight.

The focus of the Cape Winemakers Guild auctions is quality-crafted wines made by the select group of winemakers who form part of the elite Guild. Each of them makes a wine specifically for the Auction, and is branded and labeled as such. This year 34 red wines, 17 white wines, 3 Méthode Cap Classiques, and one straw wine will be auctioned, and available for pre-tasting, representing a total of Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 7 August

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Du Toitskloof and Standard Bank are calling for entries for their second Wine  Writer of the Year competition, this year linking to Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014.  The writing topic for this year is ‘The role and/or history of design in contributing to the uniqueness of the South African wine industry‘, and the entry should not previously have been published.   Entries close on 26 September.

*   Evelyn Mahlaba has been appointed by SA Tourism as its Director for Africa, responsible for enhancing tourism to our country from East, West, and Central Africa, working with its travel trade in particular.

*   Amarula Cream is celebrating its 25th birthday over three months, from October onwards, offering gifts and prizes in competitions.  When buying two bottles, one receives R50 back in cash via an ABSA ATM. Independent retailers are offering prizes.  Ordering an Amarula birthday drink at participating bars, clubs and restaurant could win a R25000 cash prize.  (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   The Cape Winemakers Guild has announced the wines each of its members will be offering for tasting (in Cape Town on 21 Continue reading →

Chenin Blanc is unique in its drinkability and diversity, ideal for food and wine pairing!

On Tuesday I attended the Chenin Blanc Association Winter Showcase at Delaire Graff Estate, and was reminded by the association chairman Ken Forrester, a passionate champion for the varietal, that Chenin Blanc’s unique attributes are that it comes in a diversity of styles, and that it is the wine that can be paired with the largest range of foods.

Six months ago I had attended a first such Chenin Blanc Summer Showcase at the One&Only Cape Town, which focused on the full spectrum of Chenin Blanc styles, both light and fruity, and rich and fuller.  The association has classified chenin blanc styles on the basis of residual sugar:

*   fresh and fruity (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – unwooded (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – wooded (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – slightly sweet (9 – 30g/litre)

*   sweet (30+g/litre)

*   sparkling (tank fermented or Cap Classique)

Interesting consumer research was presented at the previous Showcase, highlighting that our country’s largest grape variety is not well known at all by local wine drinkers.  The Chenin Blanc Association is focusing on changing the low level of awareness about the varietal, in hosting bi-annual showcases of Chenin Blancs which are more suitable to drink in summer (light, fresh and fruity), and those that are better suited to winter (rich and fuller).  Another goal the association has is to see more restaurant wine lists feature a Chenin Blanc category with a number of different options, instead of this varietal being lumped into an ‘Other/Blend’ category.  The association is ably managed by Ina Smith.

Ken explained the procedure for selecting the vast total of 26 Chenin Blancs we tasted, from the hundreds that are made in our country.  The 96 association members were invited to submit their wines, meeting the criteria of them being made from 30 year old bush vines or older, and having an alcohol content of 13,5 – 14,5%, which led to 30 entries being received.  Jeff Grier from Villiera and Association Vice-Chairman, and Carel van der Merwe from De Morgenzon whittled the Chenin Blanc portfolio for the Winter Showcase down to 26 wines. Grier led the tasting, which was held in the Delaire Graff restaurant, and he shared short notes about each of the wines, which were tasted in flights, it not being clear exactly what each of the seven flights had in common. I shared a tasting table with Delaire Graff GM Johann Laubser, Ken, and Orielle Berry from Bolander.

Our table particularly liked the De Morgenzon Reserve 2011, Tierhoek 2011 (grapes come from the Piekenierskloof area, also the area from which the Botanica chenin grapes are sourced), and Mullineux White Blend 2012 (with Viognier). Other Chenin Blancs we tasted included AA Badenhorst Secateurs 2012, Simonsig ‘Sur Lie’ 2012, Doran Vineyards Barrel Fermented 2012, Nederburg The Anchorman 2012, Spioenkop ‘1900’ 2011, Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2011, Sijjn 2011 (made by David Trafford), Joostenberg Fairhead 2010, Oldenburg 2012, Jordan 2012, Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Barrel Fermented 2012, Delaire Graff 2012, Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2011, Bellingham The Bernhard Series Old Vine 2011, Spier 21 Gables 2011, Stellenrust ’46’ Barrel Fermented 2010, Cederberg Five Generations 2010, The FMC 2010, Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest 2010, and Villiera Inspiration Noble Late Harvest 2010.  What was impressive is that so many of the top winemakers attended the tasting too, including Andrea Mullineux, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Erika Obermeyer from Graham Beck Wines, David Trafford, Bruwer Raats, and Kathy Jordan.

De Morgenzon uses cement eggs for its Chenin Blanc production, these fermentation and maturation vessels having been developed in France twelve years ago.  Eben Sadie was the first South African wine maker to introduce cement eggs locally, and now they are also used by Boekenhoutskloof and Hamilton Russell.  Ken explained that winemakers follow trends too, and cement eggs are one of them.  Ken spoke about winemaking, and shared that one must make wine that the customer enjoys, even though it is not always the winemaker’s taste.

To get to Indochine, the Asian fusion restaurant at Delaire Graff, we took a short cut through winemaker Morné Vrey’s cellar, and passed Chef Christiaan Campbell’s vegetable garden.  Indochine is in the Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa building, set back from the main restaurant.  The entrance is ‘guarded’ by two Dylan Lewis cheetahs, and there are more on the lawn outside the restaurant.  The Lodge interior is dominated by art of the same contemporary artists whose work is in the main restaurant building, including Lionel Smit, Anton Smit, and Deborah Bell.  The restaurant seats about 40 patrons, and it has a view over Stellenbosch on a clear day.  It has the most impressive work of art by Lionel Smit and Andre Stead on the ceiling, called ‘Flight of the Swallows’.  The colour scheme is blue, reflected in the leather seating and the very classy looking menu and winelist folder.  The chef is Virgil Kahn.

The very efficient waiters brought fritters made from cabbage, fennel and spinach as well as bread crisps  to the table, with a black bean and sweet soy sauce, spicy tomato relish, and cucumber and mint sauce.  Johann Laubser and Delaire Graff winemaker Morné Vrey were also at the table, and I asked Morne how the Showcase would influence his Chenin Blanc wine making.  He said that he had learnt a few things he may try for the next vintage, and it had set a benchmark, but it had also helped him to define what he would not do in his Chenin Blanc making.  Johann shared that Africa’s first Graff diamond store will open in the main Delaire Graff restaurant building in September, and it is being designed by the international interior designer of all Graff stores.

The amuse bouche was an unusually presented kingklip su mai (dim sum) with a gengati gel, and a citrus and fennel emulsion, a simple fresh start to the meal.  The wine stewards and waiters offered the guests a continuous choice of the Chenin Blanc wines we had tasted.  The Thai Duck starter, with pickled radish, bamboo, the most delicious cashew nut brittle, and orange, was the favourite course of many guests.  The main course is one of the signature dishes of the restaurant, being the 7 Thai spice pork belly served with edamame beans, pickled garlic, and red pepper.  An interesting looking and very tasty black rice was served with the pork.  The dessert was a colourful mango parfait served with passion fruit, rose water ginger crumble, and raspberry.

Most of the wine writers and wine makers had not been to Indochine before, and expressed how impressed they were with the restaurant and its good service.  Both the Chenin Blanc Association and Delaire Graff were gracious and generous hosts, and Ken thanked all involved for a fabulous event.

Disclosure:  We received a bottle of Tierhoek Chenin Blanc 2011 with our media pack.  My son is the Manager of Indochine.

Chenin Blanc Association www.chenin.co.za Twitter:  @CheninBlancAsso

Indochine, Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa, Tel (021) 885-8160.  www.delaire.co.za Twitter: @DelaireGraff

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