Entries tagged with “Bartho Eksteen”.


Last night I attended the launch of the ‘Platter’s by Diners Club International 2019 South African Wine Guide’ at the Table Bay Hotel. It was an evening of some surprises, and new awards presented! But one thing was consistent – the Mullineux duo of Chris and Andrea lead this country in its consistent wine award performance, winning Winery of the Year for the third time in the 39 year history of the Platter’s Guide.  (more…)

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 (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   World Design Capital 2016 will be hosted by Taipei, and the city received the baton for the bi-annual event from incumbent Cape Town last weekend from the President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille present. Taipei’s theme will be ‘Adaptive City: Design in Motion’.  

*  Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will open the ‘Danish Showroom for Design, Architecture and Consumer Goods at Youngblood in Cape Town on 3 November.  Danish design products of ten companies will be on display, and the exhibition aims to improve collaboration between our country and Denmark.  Entrance is free, from 4 – 6 November.

*   A Ghandi tourism route has been developed, and was launched in Johannesburg by SA Tourism, with thirteen places on (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The vine growing regions in South Africa, Bordeaux, and South Australia could be affected negatively by climate change in future, due to droughts, while the Rhine region of Germany, New Zealand, the USA states of Oregon and Washington, and Mendoza are likely to benefit from climate change, writes Antonio Busalacchi, wine expert and climate scientist.

*   The Eat Out Restaurant Awards will take place at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront on 10 November, much earlier than usual.  Awards to be presented are

Restaurant of the Year
Chef of the Year
Service Excellence
Top 10 restaurants
Boschendal Style Award (more…)

After many years of criticism about their quality of wines and terroir, the Franschhoek Vignerons have vindicated themselves, with Chamonix and Boekenhoutskloof named Red Wine of the Year (Cape Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir 2010) and Winery of the Year, respectively, in the Platter’s South African Wines 2012, at The Vineyard Hotel last night. In addition, Boekenhoutskloof’s The Wolftrap White 2010 was named Superquaffer of the Year.  Badsberg Badslese 2009 was named the White Wine of the Year. Nine of the 45 five-star wines are from Franschhoek this year, the highest number ever.

The Platter’s Guide, with a ‘Karoo sunshine yellow‘ cover, as described by publisher Andrew McDowall, has 620 pages, with 56 more wineries and 1000 more wines evaluated than the 2011 edition.  More than 7000 wines were tasted by 15 judges, which included David Biggs, Christiaan Eedes, Michael Fridjhon, Tim James, Angela Lloyd (her 26th year of judging), Fiona McDonald, Jörg Pfützner, Christine Rudman, and Cathy van Zyl.

In its motivation for choosing Boekenhoutskloof as the Winery of the Year, Platter’s Guide wrote as follows: “For their remarkable 14 five star ratings stretching back to our 2000 edition – which featured the Syrah 1997, a stylistic window opener for the local industry and one of the most important wines of the modern South African era – and for their understated but highly influential role in placing South Africa in the international fine-fine (sic) map, we name Boekenhoutskloof our 2012 Winery of the Year.  Whilst some top achievers shy away from the entry level, Boekenhoutskloof co-founder and cellarmaster Marc Kent and his partners almost from the outset embraced the popular palate, first with their Porcupine Ridge label and latterly with another exceptionally drinkable and well-priced range, The Wolftrap. The White version of this budget offering is this edition’s Superquaffer of the Year – yet another reason for us to honour and congratulate this consistently exceptional Franschhoek team”. Both Boekenhoutskloof’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah 2009 were awarded five stars in the latest Platter’s.

Badsberg is based in Rawsonville and its Badslese 2009, presented in a beautiful bottle, is described by Platter’s as ‘…outstanding elegantly presented Natural Sweet dessert from chenin. 09 great concentration & spread of flavour, from floral to spicy, huge sweetness concludes on a tangy savoury/leafy note, which is uncloying & decidely moreish. With 10% hanepoot, unwooded’. The Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2010 was described as follows: “…shows savoury cedar whiffs, with bright cherry & strawberry aromas powering through tealeaf cigarbox spice. Plush tannins, sweet berry notes. Integrated 80% new French oak, natural ferment. Even more vibrant & detailed than finely managed ’09”. Gottfried Mocke is the winemaker and cellarmaster at Chamonix in Franschhoek.

Forty-five wines were selected as 5 star wines, in a blind tasting of all 5-star candidates, a methodology following continued criticism of Platter’s sighted wine evaluation from wine writers such as Neil Pendock.  The full list of 2012 5-star wines, with three each for Boekenhoutskloof, Nederburg, and Mullineux Family, is as follows:

Cabernet Franc

• Warwick 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon
• Boekenhoutskloof 2009
• Graham Beck Chalkboard #3 2007
• Stark-Condé Three Pines 2009

Pinot Noir
• Cape Chamonix Reserve 2010
Newton Johnson Domaine 2010
• Oak Valley 2009

Shiraz/Syrah
• Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2009
• Fairview The Beacon 2008
• Mont Destin Destiny 2007
• Mullineux Family Syrah 2009
• Saxenburg Select 2007

Red Blends
• Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2010
• De Toren Fusion V 2009
• Glenelly Lady May 2009
La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier 2009
• Meerlust Rubicon 2007
• Miles Mossop Max 2008
• Sadie Family Columella 2009

Chardonnay
• De Wetshof The Site 2009
• Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2010

Chenin Blanc
• Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2010
• Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2010
• Vins d’Orrance Kama 2010

Grenache Blanc
KWV Mentors 2010

Sauvignon Blanc
• Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2011
• Hermanuspietersfontein No 5 2010
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2010
• Steenberg CWG Auction Reserve The Magus 2010
• Strandveld 2010

White Blends
• Fable Jackal Bird 2010
Flagstone CWG Auction Reserve Happy Hour 2009
• Mullineux White Blend 2010
• Nederburg Ingenuity 2010
• Tokara Director’s Reserve 2010

Méthode Cap Classique Sparkling
• Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV
• Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009

Natural Sweet
Badsberg Badslese 2009

Dessert Wine Unfortified

• Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2008
• Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010
• Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2010
• Nederburg Edelkeur 2010
Nederburg Eminence 2010

Port

• Boplaas Family Cape Vintage Reserve 2009
• De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2009

The 95 wines that did not make the 5-star rating after the blind-tasting were designated ‘Highly Recommended’, and include Shannon Mount Bullet 2009, Hartenberg Gravel Hill 2007, Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2010, Sadie Family Palladius 2010, Steenberg Magna Carta 2010, and Ken Forrester ‘T’ Noble Late Harvest 2009.

The Platter’s launches, of which I have only attended the last two, could do with more ‘5-star quality’, both the Vineyard Hotel and Capelands not being ideal venues, both in respect of acoustics and snacks!  It was noticeable how many of the 2012 top 5-star winemakers, including Eben Sadie (Sadie Family Wines), Hein Koegelenberg (La Motte), and Bartho Eksteen (Hermanuspietersfontein) did not attend the function last night.

Platter’s South African Wines 2012, R159,95.  www.kalahari.com and www.sawinesonline.co.ukwww.wineonaplatter.com Tel (028) 316-3210. iPhone application available.

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

I had the most heavenly experience, visiting the little-known and relatively new Hermanus Wine Route with outstanding wine estates located in the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley outside Hermanus recently, on a perfect warm winter’s day.

As a guest house owner in Hermanus, I stopped at the Hermanus Tourism Bureau and at the Village Wine Shop, in search of a map of the wine estates in the area.  I was most surprised that both stops could only offer me the ‘2011 Overberg Wine: Cape South Coast’ booklet, which lists wine estates in the broader Overberg district, including Hermanus.  Our experience is that a wine map, such as that of Franschhoek, is a handy way to explore a wine route.   I drove to the furthest wine estate on the Hemel en Aarde Road, to start my winetasting journey at Creation, of which I have heard such good things, and then made my way back towards Hermanus. It was at Creation that I received a number of A4 copies of the brand new Hermanus Wine Route map. I did not manage to visit all 17 wine estates, as my stay in Hermanus was cut short due to an emergency which necessitated my return to Cape Town.  I have provided contact details, and impressions of the estates which I visited:

*   Creation: Dynamic husband-and-wife team Swiss-born JC and Carolyn Martin (daughter of Walter Finlayson) are producing excellent artisanal, terroir-driven wines at the foot of the Babylons Toren mountain range, on 22 ha, 350 meters above sea level, 7 km from the Atlantic Ocean, in conjunction with Swiss winemaker Christoph Kaser.  The last 7 km is on gravel road, and the province has promised to prioritise the tarring of this road connecting Caledon and Hermanus.  The tasting room staff is headed by Joanne Kuhn, who used to be the Manager of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau.  She is a friendly, chatty and informative hostess, supported by Pamela.   The tasting room is also the restaurant, with an interesting collection of tables (made from wine crates, and some from floorboards) and Biedermeier chairs, in different colours.  I loved the chandelier made from sparkling wine glasses. Works of art (e.g. by Jaco Sieberhagen, Jeanette Unite, Leon Müller) are an interesting part of the tasting room, and are for sale. The view onto the mountain range is amazing, and Joanne told me that it is 80 meters higher than Table Mountain.   The wine estate uses Social Media actively, being on Twitter, Facebook, and having a Blog.  Its range of wines includes Creation (Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Syrah/Grenache),  Whale Pod (which we stock in our Honesty Bar), and Shark Alley (created in conjunction with White Shark Projects).   Creation is part of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, and its A3 information sheet printed on recycled paper says the wine estate stands for ‘Original, distinctive flavours.  Exceptional, harmonious matches’.  Creation has teamed up with chefs Anli and Andre van Vuuren of Season restaurant in Hermanus, to offer a small menu. A wine pairing menu is offered at R90, consisting of Asian salmon dumpling with aubergine and goat’s milk cheese canneloni, paired with Creation Sauvignon Blanc; spicy chicken and apricot satay is paired with Creation Viognier; cauliflower soup is paired with Creation Merlot; springbok rillete with cherry jelly is paired with Creation Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot blend; chorizo espanadita with duck and sour cherry pie is paired with Creation Syrah; and bobotie spring roll, beef carpaccio, and prune chutney is paired with Creation Syrah/Grenache blend.   Should one just wish to taste wines, there is no charge.  One can order Creation wines with a meal, at R 20,50 – R 40 per glass, or R79,50 – R159 per bottle.  The information sheet details the food suppliers used, including Nouvelle Mushrooms, Chocolates by Tomes, Richard Bosman’s cured meats, Adamskloof olive oil from the same property, and Camphill Bakery. Monday – Saturday 10h00 – 17h00, Sunday 10h00 – 16h00. Tel (028) 212-1107. www.creationwines.com

*   Jakob’s Vineyards – Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux blend. ‘Passion, excellence and simplicity’ form the foundation of this wine estate.  Located next door to Creation, tastings by appointment only.  Tel (028) 371-5686. www.jakobsvineyards.co.za

*   Domaine des Dieux – located next door to Creation, tasting by appointment and at La Vierge restaurant.  Tel (028) 313-2126. www.domainedesdieux.co.za

*   Mount Babylon – SMV (Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier blend). Located next door to Creation, tastings by appointment.  Tel 084 511 8180. www.mountbabylon.co.za

*   Ataraxia – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Serenity.  Located just before Creation.  Wine tasting Monday – Friday 9h00 – 16h00, Saturday 10h00 – 15h30.  Tel (028) 212-2007. www.ataraxiawines.co.za

*   La Vierge Collection – private cellar, with tasting and sales at La Vierge restaurant, not on same property.  La Vierge Noir, Original Sin Sauvignon Blanc, The Last Temptation Riesling, Satyricon Italian blend, Nymphomane Bordeaux blend, Shiraz, and Chardonnay.  Tel (028) 313-0130. www.lavierge.co.za

*   Spookfontein – Merlot, Phantom Bordeaux blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.  Wines made using ‘Old-World techniques with New-Age attitude’.  Organic and single vineyard wines.  Tasting by appointment.  Tel 082 265 1071.  No website.

*   Newton Johnson Vineyards – the only wine estate of those that I visited that was seemingly disinterested in providing information and doing a tasting.  I arrived at 15h20, forty minutes before closing time,  and I got the feeling that everything was packed away already.  There was no wine in the counter, and the tasting room was extremely bare, with only one couch.  Lisa, the tasting room lady, told me that due to cash flow problems, that is the only furniture that the winery can afford!   First wines were made by Dave Newton Johnson, with sons Bevan and Gordon, in 1997.  Natural methods are used in the winemaking, including hand-picking grapes, yeast is not added to the fermentation, using gravity, no chemicals added, with soft extraction, creating wines with a ‘purity of flavour and natural expression’.  Newton Johnson Domaine Range (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir), Newton Johnson range (Resonance, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah Mouvedre), and Felicité Range (No Oak Chardonnay, Dry Rosé, Pinot Noir).  New Patron Chef Stefan Louw has taken over Heaven Restaurant, with a heavenly setting.  Lunches only currently, but will open for dinner in season.   Interesting menu, and all starters and main courses have a Newton Johnson wine recommendation.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 16h00, Saturday 10h00 – 14h00.  www.newtonjohnson.com

*   Sumaridge – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Maritimus, Merlot Rosé, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Syrah and Epitome.   Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 15h00. www.sumaridge.co.za

*   Bouchard Finlayson – Peter Finlayson was the first winemaker in this valley.  Blanc de Mer, Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Kaaimansgat Limited Chardonnay, Sans Barrique Chardonnay, Hannibal, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, and Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir.  Monday – Friday 9h30 – 17h00, Saturday 9h30 – 12h30.  Tel (028) 312-3515  www.bouchardfinlayson.co.za

*   Ashbourne – part of the Hamilton Russell collection.  Tasting by appointment.  Sales via Southern Right.  Tel (028) 312-3595.  No website.

*   Hamilton Russell Vineyards – one of the best-known wine estates in this valley, owned by Anthony Hamilton Russell, and synonymous with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 13h00.  Tel (028) 312-3595.  No website.

*   Southern Right – also part of Hamilton Russell collection, and co-owned by Mark Wilcox.   Stocked by Whale Cottage Honesty Bar.  Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage. 33000 olive trees on farm.  Paintings by Olive Hamilton Russell, with earthy textures created by mixing paint and soil from the farm.  Big quartz from farm in the tasting room, representing the quartz in the sandstone soils.  Tasting room has brown earthy decor.  Very friendly and informative manager Elmarie Pretorius.  Sell Southern Right Eucalyptus honey too.  Meat and cheese platters available in summer.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 13h00.  No website. Tel (028) 312-1318.  Independently operated Deli on property, Tuesday – Sunday 9h00 – 15h00.

*   Whalehaven – Whalehaven Pinot Noir, Merlot, Old Harbour; The Idiom Collection Idiom Cape, Viognier, Sangiovese, Zinfandel.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday and Sunday 10h30 – 16h30.  Tel (028) 316-1633. www.whalehaven.co.za

*   Hermanuspietersfontein : Located in the Hemel en Aarde Village, the modern wine cellar building is visible as one comes into Hermanus. Well-known venue for its Saturday morning Food  & Wine Market with interesting products and Hermanuspietersfontein wines, and for the excellent and creative Afrikaans -dominated marketing of its wines.  Probably has the longest wine brand name in the country, being the original name of Hermanus, but frequently abbreviated to HPF.   Winemaker Bartho Eksteen is highly regarded for Sauvignon Blanc, and won the 2010 Diners’ Club Winemaker of the Year Award.  He only makes wines that he likes, the brochure says!  They commit to “produce terroir-driven wines of the highest quality, focusing on Sauvignon Blancs and Rhône and Bordeaux-style blends. We are intent on adding value to the Walker Bay reputation as South Africa’s premium cool climate wine-producing region”. Wine range includes Bloos (‘blush wine’), Sonner Nommer (Sauvignon Blanc), Swartskaap (Cabernet Franc), 1855 Posmeester (Bordeaux-style blend), Kleinboet (Bordeaux-style blend), Nr 3 Sauvignon Blanc, Die Bartho (Sauvignon Blanc blend), Nr. 5 Sauvignon Blanc, Die Arnoldus  (Bordeaux-style blend), Nr 7 Sauvignon Blanc, and Die Martha (Rhône-style Shiraz dominant blend).  Open Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 16h00.  Tel (028) 316-1875.  www.hpf1855.co.za

*   Benguela Cove:  Open Monday – Friday 9h30 – 17h00, Saturday 10h00 – 14h00.  Tel 087 754 8650. www.benguelacove.co.za

Guest houses in Hermanus would love their guests to spend more than one night in Hermanus, and to come to Hermanus, even when there are no whales (December – April).   The Hermanus Wine Route is an ideal way to enhance the tourist experience of Hermanus, in experiencing its excellent quality wines and friendly wine estates.  One would like to see far more marketing of the Hermanus Wine Route, helping the tourism industry of Hermanus as well as the wine estates themselves.  The Hermanus Wine Route map has an empty back, which could contain valuable information about the wines made by each wine estate, to help one select which wine estates to visit.  Information about the restaurants on the estates should also be listed.  The opening hours of some of the wine estates should also be extended, to be as uniform as possible on the Wine Route, and to be open as late as possible (some close as early as 2 pm!). The Hermanus Wine Route map should be made available at the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, the Wine Village wine shop, and at guest houses in the area.  In the Hermanus Info booklet it is surprising that the first reference to the Hermanus Wine Route (they call it the ‘Wine Wander‘) is two-thirds into the booklet!

Hermanus Wine Route, Hemel en Aarde Valley, Hermanus.  Tel (028) 316-2761. www.hermanuswine.com Twitter: @HermanusWine

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

In the last month two new wine shops (WINES and the House of Wines) have opened on the main road in Franschhoek, a village that already has 45 wine estates open to the public, from which one can buy wines, in addition to a well-stocked Pick ‘n Pay Liquor department, and the long-established La Cotte Inn Wine Sales.

To get a feel for wine sales in Franschhoek via the four wine outlets, I went to visit each of them, and did a comparative price survey based on a randomly selected list of mainly Franschhoek wines, and asked each of the shops what makes them unique regarding the wines that they stock.

La Cotte Inn Wine Sales

Ludwig Maske has owned this wine shop at the entrance to Franschhoek for about fifteen years, the building previously housing a grocery store/general dealer, as well as the restaurant Lanternhof, which belonged to his father.  Ludwig started his career by running the liquor sales section of the old La Cotte Inn, where the Protea Hotel is located now, in his father’s hotel.  Maske’s grandfather owned the Swiss Farm Excelsior (now the Le Franschhoek Hotel), which was a well-known for a Sunday afternoon treat of tea/coffee and scones.  The Maskes have earned their stripes in Franschhoek, and La Cotte Inn Wine Sales is synonymous with Franschhoek wines. 

Ludwig told me that the main part of his business is to supply restaurants with their wine requirements, receiving stock from the wine estates, which is stored, and delivered to the restaurants on demand.  This service is of benefit to the restaurants and the wine estates, as each party works with only one monthly invoice.  Wine sales from the rather dark and characterful shop on the main road are incidental, and would not have carried the business alone, Ludwig said, almost feeling sorry for the new wine shops.

Ludwig said that he represents 48 of the 50 Franschhoek wine estates.   Scarce supplies of Boekenhoutskloof Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon may be easier to buy at La Cotte Inn Wine Sales than from the wine farm itself.   The shop sells mainly Franschhoek wines too, but also imported wines such as Mosel Riesling, and wines from France and Spain.  The largest number of imported wines in Franschhoek are sold by La Cotte Inn Wine Sales.  In addition to wines, they sell a wonderful selection of up to 100 imported French cheeses, Cuban cigars, Riedel stemware, and the popular Le Nez du Vin wine aroma testing kit.

Ludwig said that he sells about 30 non-Franschhoek wines, in addition to the 48 Franschhoek wine estates that he represents.  He helps wine farms with winelist compilation, and also with pricing, if required.  He urges restaurants to keep wine prices reasonable, and told me that he recently persuaded Le Quartier Français to reduce its wine prices.  In the shop, Porcupine Ridge is the best seller, priced at R33 for Sauvignon Blanc and at R47 for their reds.  Graham Beck and La Motte wines are in second and third place on sales, being strong and well-known Franschhoek brand names.

Being a wholesaler, La Cotte Inn Wine Sales offers the best prices of all four Franschhoek wine shops, especially for Franschhoek wines.  Ludwig was critical of Pick ‘n Pay nationally, saying that they offer customers one-shop convenience, but that they are ‘killing the small guys’, having recently bought five Aroma stores and turning them into Pick ‘n Pay Liquor outlets.

La Cotte Inn Wine Sales, 31 Main Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-3775  www.lacotte.co.za

House of Wines

It was interesting to talk to Sigi Juling, who described himself as a Namibian and not a German, but he and his fianceé Bettina are both German-speaking.   I was not aware that Sigi had owned Bijoux Square, also on the main road, and here Sigi had owned a House of Wines shop from 2002 to 2007.  He sold the building, and worked in Namibia and went to Europe, returning to open his wine shop in a new location on the main road, opposite the Post Office.

Sigi is knowledgeable about wines, and their pairing with foods, having completed a Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy, having worked as a Sommelier at Grande Roche, having completed a hotel qualification in Germany, having worked at the Radisson Hotel in Granger Bay, and having been the Food and Beverage Manager of La Couronne Hotel before it was renamed Mont Rochelle. 

Sigi stocks wines from 170 wine estates, which are ‘perfectly matured’ according to his business card, and he is looking to increase this number.  He told me immediately that he stocks mainly non-Franschhoek wines, as his Franschhoek customers, many loyal from his previous wine shop, are bored with the Franschhoek wines, and want to try something new.  He also stocks a number of wine-related items in the shop, including an interesting game called Wine-opoly, bottle stoppers, wine books, DVD’s, and more.  Sigi described his shop as proudly-South African, not selling imported wines.  The wines he stocks are those that his clients like to buy, and those that he himself likes.  He does specialised wine tastings for his customers.  His top three sellers are Springfield Sauvignon Blanc, in top position by far (R84,85), followed by Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Chardonnay (R72,95), and Delaire Shiraz (R84,85).

Sigi is looking to add an olive oil and vinegar section, and both products will be available on tap, which can be bottled in one’s own containers, or in a selection of containers that they will sell.   

House of Wines, 28 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-4120.  www.how.co.za  Tuesday – Sunday 10h00 – 18h00.

WINES

The newest and most modern Franschhoek wine shop is in the new Franschhoek Centre, which also houses the new Pick ‘n Pay and Clicks, and is next door to Café Benedict.  It is co-owned by Elsa Post, an enterprising Franschhoeker, who also owns the Franschhoek Postnet franchise, and Robert Maingard, the owner of the centre, and of  a number of Franschhoek businesses, including Dieu Donné, Café Benedict, the Le Franschhoek Hotel, and the newly opened Le Coq.

What makes this wine shop different to the others is that the stock of wine is kept on consignment, meaning that the wine estates are paid when their wine sells.  Elsa told me that she bought the Platter’s database, and wrote to the wine farms in it, inviting them to have their wines sold on consignment.  She received a good response, and 83 wine estates’ brands are sold in the shop.  Interestingly, only six Franschhoek wine estates (Dieu Donné, Grande Provence, La Verdure, Chanteclair, La Manoir de Brendel, and Topiary) supply the shop, the Franschhoek Vignerons officially not supporting wine sales on consignment, which smacks of Franschhoek politics.   Each wine estate that has signed up with WINES at no charge has good shelf positioning, and is featured on touchscreen TV monitors on the shelves, with tasting notes provided about each wine.  The wine estates are also invited to conduct tastings outside the shop, which attracts attention to the shop, and yesterday I saw a number of persons coming to taste the wines of Arumdale from Elgin, the first time I had heard of the brand.

The top selling wine by far is the mouthful of a brand Hermanuspietersfontein, with Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Bartho Eksteen, and it is his Kleinboet (R104) and No 7 (R91) that sell particularly well, followed by wines from Under Oaks in Paarl (R54 for Sauvignon Blanc and R82 for Shiraz), and Muratie Shiraz (R123). 

In addition to the wines sold, they sell wine cooling bags, the book ‘South African Wines’, crystal glassware, and decanters. Delivery locally is free, and international shipping of wines can be done via Elsa’s Postnet service.  Special protective packaging for the shipping of wine bottles is sold by WINES.   One may buy a bottle from WINES, and then drink it at Café Benedict, without paying for corkage.

WINES,Centre de Franschhoek,23 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-3185.  No website.   Monday – Saturday (they have applied for a liquor licence, allowing sales on Sundays) 9h00 – 18h00 (the licence allows them to remain open until 20h00, and they will do so if they have clients wishing to buy wine). 

Pick ‘n Pay Liquor

The local supermarket has a large section allocated to its Liquor store, with about 20 Franschhoek and about 40 non-Franschhoek wines stocked, in addition to beer and spirits, cheap glasses, ice and cigarettes.  The wines are displayed by variety, and here and there a special can be found on the shelves.

The top three selling wines this month are Porcupine Ridge (R32,99), Graham Beck Brut Rosé (R99,95), and Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Chardonnay (R79,99).  The Haute Cabriere appears on two of the four best seller lists in the Franschhoek wine shops.

Pick ‘n Pay appears to be the most expensive outlet at which to buy wines in Franschhoek, and it does not have dedicated staff who can inform and advise their customers about the wines that they stock.

Pick ‘n Pay Liquor, Main Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-2075.  Monday – Friday, 8h00 – 20h00, Saturday 8h00 – 17h00

                                                                 La Cotte  House of Wine  WINES   Pick ‘n Pay

Graham Beck Brut                                    R87,00         R93,85                    –            R99,99

Topiary Brut                                              R90,00          –                        R98,00      R89,99

Pongracz Brut                                            R79,00        R93,95                     –            R69,99*

Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve           R210,00        –                          –           –

Springfield Sauvignon Blanc                    –                  R84,85                    –           –

Boekenhoutskloof Shiraz ’08                   R290,00      out of stock          –           –

Chocolate Block ’08                                   R150,00       R173,00                  –           R169,99

Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run                R140,00         –                        –              –

 * Note: special sale price, normal price R88,99.

La Cotte Inn Wine Sales definitely is the shop to buy a Franschhoek wine at, both in terms of having a good likelihood of the wine being in stock, and of it being cheaper to buy there than elsewhere in Franschhoek.  For non-Franschhoek wines, WINES and House of Wines would be the best  sources, depending on the brand required, the latter offering a larger selection of wine brands, and both being likely to be cheaper than Pick ‘n Pay. 

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

One of the most refreshing wine marketers in South Africa, and focusing predominantly on traditional marketing media, is Hermanuspietersfontein, a mouthful of a wine brand, and also the original name of the seaside town of Hermanus.   Now its winemaker Bartho Eksteen has been named the 2010 Diners’ Club Winemaker of the Year, joining such illustrious previous winemakers winning this honour as Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck, Carl Schultz of Hartenberg, Günter Brözel of Nederburg, Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof, Sydney Back at Backsberg and Danie de Wet of Dewetshof.

Eksteen and his team are proudly-Afrikaans, choosing one of the longest wine brand names in the country(although abbreviated to HPF on some labels), in their choice of sub-brand names (Bloos for their Rosé, Swartskaap, Kleinboet and more), and in their advertising.  Leading their marketing is Gerrie Heyneke, an advertising veteran of The White House, Y&R Cape Town and DDB South Africa.  He is the CEO of grapefuel.co.za.   The winery is visible as a modern structure when one enters Hermanus, on the left,  and has made itself popular as the home to the Saturday morning food and wine market.  

Eksteen himself is a character, much like his wines, and his Die Bartho 2008 blend was awarded a 5-star 2011 Platter rating  for the first time last week. However, it is the 2009 Hermanuspietersfontein No.5 Sauvignon Blanc that won the Diner’s Club award, the wine produced for the first time exclusively from grapes of its own vineyards.   His prize is a SAA ticket to any wine-producing country in the world plus expenses. Eksteen was previously a winemaker at Wildekrans in Bot River, winning SA Champion Young Wine in 1996.  He launched the Bartho Eksteen label for his Sauvignon Blanc, and five years ago he became a partner in Hermanuspietersfontein Vineyards.

The Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year was judged on Sauvignon Blanc submissions this year.   Chairman of the judging panel, Dave Hughes, said of the six finalist wines submitted: “There was not a single wine amongst them that was not deserving of praise.  Where they differed was in style” .  Every one of them was expressive of their location and, taken together, represented virtually the entire taste spectrum that can be produced locally. We tasted the typical cool-area grassy nose and sweet gooseberry fruit; lemons and limes on the nose with a ripe tropical fruit palate and citrus zing; dusty hedges and zippy acidity; exotically oaked with opulent sweet fruit; a tropical fruit salad; and West Coast green peppers, grass and green figs”.

At the awards evening last night, the 2010 Diners’ Club Young Winemaker of the Year was awarded to RJ Botha of Nitida in Durbanville, and went to the winery’s 2009 Calligraphy, a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

To celebrate thirty years of the Diner’s Club Winemaker Awards, a commemorative pack of 12 wines made by past winners of the Award, including Rust en Vrede, Graham Beck, Allesverloren, Thelema and Bouchard Finlayson, has been made available via the Diner’s Club Wine Society.

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