I could not think it possible that the Eat Out Awards 2018 could be so refreshingly different, but it appears that new Head Judge Margot Janse has created a fresh new look at the restaurant judging criteria. Many of our top old-guard chefs took a severe beating at the Awards last night! Continue reading →
On 5 April Chef Heston Blumenthal will receive the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Melbourne, it was announced last week. Chef Heston owns The Fat Duck in Bray, which was at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in 2005, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, the 45th World’s Best Restaurant, which I visited for lunch last July. Continue reading →
A number of records were broken last night when 94 wines and one brandy were awarded 5 star status at the launch of the Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, a new venue, the event having been held at the Mount Nelson for years. The colour of the 2017 Platter’s Guide is Harvest Green. Continue reading →
Chenin Blanc is our country’s top-selling white wine, and is also the most widely planted white wine variety in South Africa! More and more Chenin Blanc wines are winning awards. Sales are growing dramatically, reports the Chenin Blanc Association. Continue reading →
Yesterday 30 or so writers, mostly from Cape Town, dedicated a full 10 hour day to travel to Graham Beck Wines in Robertson, to celebrate its 25 year Silver Jubilee with a vertical tasting of more than 25 Cap Classiques and base wines which go into the making of the Graham Beck range of MCCs. The event was also a salute to Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, in having worked at Graham Beck for 25 years already.
Always organised, PR consultant Nicolette Waterford had organised a Le Quartier Français snack pack with water and juice for us for the two-hour bus trip. We arrived to a misty day in Robertson, but the day became sunny and warm. We were welcomed by the Graham Beck staff, and by Pieter with his trademark bubbly shirt in particular, and it felt a lot like Pieter’s ‘birthday’ party (he did recently celebrate a special milestone birthday). Continue reading →
About two weeks ago we received the media release announcing the South African winners of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism awards. On Friday the awards were officially handed over at the Tuscan-inspired Waterford Estate, which won the South African leg of the competition.
I had never been to Waterford Estate before, at the end of the Blaauwklippen Road in Stellenbosch, and it is a surprise to see the Tuscan-design buildings once one has passed the ponds, parking amongst the fruit trees. We were told that the wine estate had been in an almost derelict state when it was bought by Jeremy Ord, and built into the magnificent estate it is now over about 12 years. Sustainability of all natural resources is important to the owners and staff, and the ponds collect all waste water, which is recycled, we were told by Cellar Master Kevin Arnold.
Prior to the Awards luncheon, invited guests were able to enjoy a Wine Drive or to walk the Porcupine Trail. We enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine by KWV, found our names on a Continue reading →
After a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants. Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!
Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide. Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw. The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide. A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’! To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example. Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored. All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown Continue reading →
Diners Club announced its three finalists for the 2014 Young Winemaker of the Year today, the 13th year in which the title will be awarded. The winner will be announced at a Gala Dinner at La Residence on 15 November.
The finalists in the category Red Wines, for winemakers under the age of 30 years, are: Continue reading →
The Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape. During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.
A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years! Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday! A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.
Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have enough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue. We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi! There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year. It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →
Slowly a number of changes are being introduced to the publishing and marketing of ‘Platter’s South African Wines’ since JP Rossouw took over as Publisher of the wine guide about six months ago. Not all the changes may be to the liking of the wine estates, users, and advertisers of the Guide.
For the first time Platter’s has advertised! Yesterday I saw an advertisement for Platter’s in the Sunday Times Food Weekly supplement, advertising the Guide, with its newish parent Diners Club benefiting from it too. The advertisement bears the headline ‘Platter’s Wine Guide discovers the perfect pairing’, being a self-aggrandizing accolade to the marriage between Platter’s and Diners Club! The copy reads: ‘Platter’s Wine Guide, South Africa’s original and most authoritative guide to who’s who and what’s what in the Winelands, has the perfect partner in Diners Club, the world’s original and most prestigious charge card. Platter’s has always been the go-to-guide to discovering, rating, pairing and sharing South African wines. Now there’s a quick and easy way to also enjoy Platter’s on your mobile device or desktop. Filled with the latest wine news, festival alerts, hot picks and competitions, Platter’s has become an even more valuable guide. Whether you are shopping for wine, wanting to learn more, or need help planning a trip to cellars, Platter’s will enhance your journey. No App required. Simply go to www.wineonaplatter.com to subscribe’. The pay-off line is corny and meaningless: ‘When your thirst for knowledge coincides with the means to enjoy it, you BELONG‘! One would hope that Rossouw was not the copywriter of this nonsensical ad, given his past copywriting career! More likely is that the advertisement comes from the Marketing department of Diners Club, the give-away being that it contains the Facebook page address and Twitter handle of Diners Club, but not of Platter’s, a bizarre omission! Continue reading →