Entries tagged with “De Trafford”.


A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. (more…)

johnplatterbook1John Platter’s name is synonymous with the wine industry, having created the Platter’s Wine Guide 36 years ago with wife Erica. His surname is still linked to the Guide by name, even though he has sold the Guide. Launching a new book, it was obvious that it would have something to do with wine. ‘My Kind of Wine‘ is such a book, (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Design Indaba has announced that it will eliminate the Design Indaba Expo, largely due to the large drop in attendance this year, reaching the 2009 attendance level. The venue of the Design Indaba conference will change to Artscape, and the date will move from the last weekend in February. Owner Ravi Naidoo would like to take the event to Johannesburg and Durban too, as well as internationally.

*  South Africans traveling in Europe can now access data via an Orange Holiday (more…)

imageStaying in Munich for four days, I did day-time outings to what are regarded food temples of the city, including Dallmayr, Kaiser, and the Viktualienmarkt. Most impressed, others were disappointing.I certainly fell in love with tomatoes on my trip, imageand the rich red shiny stemmed tomatoes attracted not only my attention, but also that of my Facebook followers. I do not recall having seen such fresh looking and smelling tomatoes anywhere in our country. What was an even bigger surprise was the very reasonable (more…)

Cab Sav Report Waterford winemaker 2On Thursday afternoon we were invited to attend the annual presentation of the results of the fourth Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, held at Burrata at an unusual 15h30 start time.  Thirteen wines were scored at 90 or more points out of 100, and Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was rated the top, out of 60 invited entries.

We were welcomed with a glass of water, and jokingly Christian Eedes opened the proceedings with an explanation for the tableclothless tables, the water we were served, and the pizzas to come.  His former sponsor Sanlam had dropped him, he explained, and hence the austerity of the (more…)

Keet Van Biljon Bottles Nicolette Waterford 10313993_10152151046053668_7677220915155877955_nOne acclaimed winemaker, one Stellenbosch cellar, two brands, both Bordeaux blends, but vastly different and each unique.  So the two brands Van Biljon CINQ 2011 and Keet First Verse 2010 were presented to more than 30 wine writers at Aubergine Restaurant on Friday last week.

Chris Keet started off as winemaker at Delheim, and then moved to Delaire. This was followed by 15 years at Cordoba Wines.  When he left Cordoba in 2008, he decided to offer his services as a wine consultant.   He made his own wine under the Keet Wines name in 2009, and has just released the 2010 vintage.  Chris said his Bordeaux blend First Verse consists of 32% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, 23% Keet v B Chris Keet Whale Cottage PortfolioCabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec.  The wine was matured in French oak barrels for 18 months.  Chris buys in his grapes from some of his clients as well as from other farms in the Helderberg, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Mountain,  and Polkadraai Hills, and hopes to buy some grapes from Van Biljon Wines in future, he shared.  In Platter he and his 4,5* 2009 First Verse wine is described as follows by reviewer Tim James: ‘Unusually for a top Bordeaux blend, he uses little new oak- it’s part of the unshowy Keet style’.   Keet achieved 5 stars in Platter for his 2010 vintage.  Keet is not only highly regarded as a very competent winemaker, but also as a viticulturist and oenologist.  Only 6000 bottles of First Verse have been made, and cost R320 each. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Tim James has used an aggregation poll of 29 wine retailers as well as writers, some international, to compile a Top 5 and Top 20 South African winery list.  The Top 5 ranked list is Sadie Family Wines, Mullineux Family Wines, Kanonkop, Boekenhoutskloof, and Chamonix.  The ranking from 6th to 20th is as follows: Paul Cluver, Newton Johnson, Cape Point Vineyards, Hamilton Russell, Vergelegen, Tokara, Thelema, Jordan, Cederberg, Delaire Graff, AA Badenhorst, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Reyneke, and De Trafford.

*   A consumer promotion has been launched in the UK by Kumala wines, the largest selling SA wine in that country, to tie in with the launch of the ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘ DVD, with prizes of a visit to South Africa offered, DVDs, and wine.

*   Eat Out is inviting nominations for its Eat Out Top 500 restaurants to be included in the 2015 edition. The nominated restaurants will be evaluated by a panel, to choose the top 500 restaurants.  The closing date for nominations (on www.eatout.co.za) is 13 May. (received via media release from Irvine Bartlett)

*   The inaugural Mandela International Film Festival will be held from 3 – 12 December 2015 in Port Elizabeth.  Given (more…)

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak 2012 Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Wednesday evening I attended a special tasting of the wines of Bouchard Finlayson, a Boutique Vineyard according to its marketing material,  at the invitation of Janie van der Spuy of FIVE STAR PR.  It was held in the special function room upstairs at Mondiall, with Chef Oliver Cattermole and his team preparing excellent tapas dishes which were paired with the four flights of wines we tasted.

I have to admit that I have not previously stopped at Bouchard Finlayson on the R320 Wine Route in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus, it being the longest standing wine farm in the area.  I was fortunate to sit next to Peter Finlayson, who has been at the farm for 25 years.  He studied Oenology (Chemistry was a tough subject, but he is grateful for the grounding it gave him for winemaking) at Stellenbosch University, which he followed up with a year at Geisenheim in Germany.    Of his class of nine graduating in 1974, only two have become winemakers.  Peter previously worked at Boschendal.  Only 22 ha of the 125 ha farm is planted to vine, Peter having bought it in 1989 from a farmer Bouchard Finlayson Peter Finlayson Whale Cottage Portfoliowho farmed with ‘mielies, sheep, and baboons‘, Peter said, at a time when the locals said that the valley was only suitable ‘for farming by poor Whites’!  The baboons are still there, he told me with a laugh!   The remainder of the land is covered with fynbos, and Bouchard Finlayson is committed to conserving and adding fynbos, and they joined the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. Peter was the first winemaker to import Nebbiolo and Sangiovese vines, planting them in 1994.  His real achievement has been with Pinot Noir, known as the ‘Pioneer of Pinot Noir’, and now the whole valley is synonymous with the varietal.    Galpin Peak Pinot Noir is the flagship Bouchard Finlayson wine.   Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also do exceptionally well in the valley. (more…)

Whilst many wine farmers may not feel that they make money out of their wines, Sanlam Private Investments Director of Investments Alwyn van der Merwe said that one can make money by investing in fine wines, quoting a 6,5 % return on 2006 wines. The Livex Fine Wine 100 index, tracking a hundred of the world’s most desired wines, has increased by 40% since 2006. There is a good supply of quality wines, with heritage, a legacy, and with craftmanship.  Creating successful wines are the ‘passionate people of the industry’.  It was on this note that the Christian Eedes Top Ten Cabernet Sauvignon wines for 2012 were presented on Thursday, sponsored by Sanlam Private Investments.

Whilst being a judge in a number of wine competitions, including Veritas Awards, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, and Platter’s Wine Guide, Christian Eedes remarked that he is ‘bemused at the state of wine competitions in South Africa’,  and he said that some of their results ‘are curious’.  He feels that wine competitions should be held for ‘talent spotting’, to identify the ‘best of a bunch’, especially the undiscovered wines, and to recognise those wines that deserve to be at the ‘top of the pile’.  ‘Cabernet Sauvignon is a much-loved variety, and a category in which South Africa traditionally does well’, and this led Eedes to choose this variety for evaluation, showcasing the ‘potential of this variety to produce wines that can compete with the world’s best’. It is the second most planted variety locally, at 12%, but is often overlooked against other varieties, he feels.

Eedes therefore invited 50 Cabernet Sauvignon wine producers to participate in his competition, and this grew to 60 after he received requests by others to be included too. He explained the methodology as being blind tasting of the wines, a responsibility which he shared with Roland Peens of Wine Cellar and James Pietersen, the Group Sommelier of Belthazar and Balducci restaurants. The winning wines were rated on points out of 20/stars out of 5, as per the Platter rating system. The majority of winning wines were 2009 vintages. The list of Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons was announced as follows:

Delaire Reserve 2009 (5 stars)

De Trafford 2009 (5 stars)

Graham Beck The Coffeestone 2009 (5 stars)

Tokara 2009 (5 stars)

Cederberg Five Generations 2009 (4,5 stars)

Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve 2009 (4,5 stars)

Stark-Conde 2009 (4,5 stars)

Stark-Conde Three Pines 2009 (4,5 stars)

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2007 (4 stars)

Louis 2008 (4 stars)

The function was held at French Toast wine and tapas bar, and they served a selection of tapas dishes including goat’s cheese tomato tarts, chicken empanadas, and a prawn and calamari dish.

Eedes highlighted the role of Social Media, praising the ‘mutually supportive ethos amongst Bloggers and Tweeters’, especially as he comes from a print media background (past editor of Wine) which still is cynical towards the ‘New World’ communication style.  Eedes has left the print media world, and has embraced Social Media, writing the BlogWhat I drank last night’, Tweets (@ChristianEedes), and Facebooks.  He added that his Social Media colleagues have ‘exceeded his expectations‘.

DISCLOSURE: We received a bottle of Graham Beck The Coffeestone 2009 with our media pack.

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

At the Bouchard Finlayson tasting at the Twelve Apostles Hotel last week ‘Wine Tourism Handbook’ publisher Monika Elias gave me a copy of her 2012 edition.  It is a very handy guide to the wine estates of the Western Cape in particular, but also in the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.  It is ideal for tourists wishing to get a quick overview of our wine routes and regions, and for staff working in the hospitality industry.

‘The Wine Tourism Handbook‘ introduces the topic by painting a picture of the 350 year history of South African wine, as well as the making of the first wines in the world up to 10000 years ago!  It tells the story of South African wine-making by Jan van Riebeeck, in February 1659 for the first time, the establishment of the KWV in 1918, the creation of Pinotage in 1941, and the launch of the first wine route, in Stellenbosch, in 1971. From these early beginnings South Africa has become the 7th largest wine producer in the world.  It addresses equitable issues of winemaking via Fairtrade, which promotes ‘greater equity for small producers in the international trading arena. The ethos of their work is that trading partnerships should be based on transparency, respect and a sustainable and ethical system of production and purchase’.   The growing trend to sustainability led to the development of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, with land of wine farms set aside for conservation, eradicating alien vegetation, and protecting endangered species such as the Cape Leopard, Geometric tortoise, the Cape Leopard toad, and the Riverine Rabbit.

A chapter is dedicated to winemaking, starting with viticulture, and describing the white and red wine making processes.  The value of the label, in communicating the region and farm from which the wine comes, the alcohol content, the vintage, the variety, the origin of the grapes is explained.  Details about the origin, cultivar and vintage are certified by a seal from the Wine and Spirit Board.  Just more than half of vines planted are for white wine production, and Chenin Blanc is the single largest varietal, at 20% of planting. The methods used to make Fortified wines, Rosés, and sparkling wines are also described.  A ‘South African Bubbly Route’ lists 69 producers of MCC sparkling wine. The best way to store wine is shared, and companies through which one can order South African wines in other countries are listed.

Brandy production is addressed separately to wine production, and the types of brandy, and tasting it, is covered.  Two Brandy Routes are described – the R62 Brandy Route, and the one including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington, and Elgin. Twenty brandy producers are listed.

Most of the book is dedicated to the wine routes of the Western Cape, categorised as Central Region, Inland, East Coast, and West Coast. The Central Region consists of Cape Town wine production in Constantia and Durbanville, and also in Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch Berg, Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Valley, Tulbagh and Wellington.  Advice is provided on getting around on the wine routes, and drinking and driving is strongly  advised against. Tour guides specialising in wine are recommended.  A Top 10 ‘Things to do’ list is presented, which includes lunch at Jordan wine estae, Staying in a tented camp at Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve, seeing a show and eating at Die Boer Theatre Restaurant, viewing the Hess Collection at the Glen Carlou art gallery, tasting Jorgensen Distillery’s ‘artisanal drinks’, visiting the first biodynamic farm Bloublommetjieskloof, making wine at Stellenrust, enjoying a braai at Midddelvlei, and going on a game drive at Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary.

Highlights of the Constantia Region include Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagle’s Nest, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg, and Cape Point Vineyards, and the restaurants La Colombe, Bistro Sixteen82, and Buitenverwachting.  Some top Durbanville wine estates include De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Meerendal, and Nitida.  The Franschhoek wine route includes Allée Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cape Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Morena, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Holden Manz, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, Stony Brook and Vrede en Lust. Restaurants on this Route include Pierneef à La Motte, Fyndraai, Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant, and Babel.  The Paarl wine route includes Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Fairview, Glen Carlou, KWV Wine Emporium, Laborie, Landskroon, Nederburg, Noble Hill Wines, Perdeberg Winery, Scali, Veenwouden, Val de Vie,  and Vondeling.

Stellenbosch is the oldest and largest wine region, and has a number oif wine routes. Some of the best known estates on these routes include Waterford, Blaauwklippen, De Trafford, Flagstone, Kleine Zalze, Neil Ellis, Stark-Condé, Beyerskloof, Hartenberg, Hazendal, Villiera, Delaire Graff, De Meye, Bartinney, Kanonkop, Mont Destin, Rustenberg, Slaley, Thelema, Tokara, Uitkyk, Warwick, Alto, Dombeya/Haskell, Graceland, Ken Forrester, Longridge, Rust en Vrede, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, De Toren, Dalla Cia, Jordan, Meerlust, Spier, and Vilafonté. Recommended restaurants are the Postcard Café, Terroir, Delaire Graff, Towerbosch, Overture, and Jordan Restaurant by George Jardine.

The Inland region consists of the Breedekloof, Klein Karoo (Boplaas is one of the best known), Swartland, Robertson (dominated by Graham Beck, but also with Zandvliet, De Wetshof, and Van Loveren being better known) and Worcester wine routes.  The Swartland wine route is growing in stature, and very fine wines are being made in this region, including Mullineux, Sadie, AA Badenhorst, and Allesverloren.

Agulhas and Elim (Jean Daneel and Raka are best known), Bot River (Beaumont is best known), Elgin (a wine route with increasing recognition for Almenkerk, Paul Cluver, Shannon, and Iona), and Walker Bay are the wine routes classified under East Coast in the book.  The new Hermanus Wine Route has excellent wineries, including Creation, Hermanuspietersfontein, Ataraxia, Bouchard Finlayson, and Hamilton Russell.

The West Coast region consists of the Darling (Cloof is best known) and Olifants River (Cederberg and Stellar better known) wine routes.  The Garden Route is not well-known as a wine region, and Bramon makes an organic sparkling wine in Plettenberg Bay.  In KwaZulu-Natal Abingdon and Meander wines are made.

Twenty-seven wine-related festivals are also listed, with dates for the year ahead.

The Wine Tourism Handbook is a wealth of wine information, and should ideally be given to all tourists arriving in Cape Town, as compulsory reading about the excellent and extensive wine range on its doorstep.

Wine Tourism Handbook 2012: Enjoying Wine at the Source, World Focus Media, Tel 083 631 3393 www.winetourismhandbook.co.za

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