I had the luck to get a last minute booking at Alma, the two star Michelin restaurant of Chef Henrique Sa Pessoa in Lisbon last week, one of only two restaurants in Portugal with two stars. It opened four years ago. While one dish was superb, another was served incompletely, and my waitron let the restaurant down. Continue reading →
Despite a hugely challenging year for the wine industry due to the drought, CapeWine 2018 is an impressive showcase of optimism, friendliness, and proudly South Africaness, running at the Cape Town International Convention Centre until tomorrow. I attended yesterday, with my Parisian friend Aurelié Jullien, and we were both impressed with the magnitude and professionalism of the exhibition, held every three years, and attended by the local and international wine trade. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Every week OpenWine introduces the top wines of one of its wine brands, at a tutored tasting on Tuesdays. It is a fantastic way to learn more about a wine estate in an hour. Last night Georgie Prout, Marketing and PR Manager of Glen Carlou, introduced four wines with her Regional Sales Manager colleague Elize Barnard. Continue reading →
The 3rd ‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ Gala Dinner, held in the City Hall on Thursday evening, raised close to R2 million for two charities, bringing the total raised to R6 million in the past three years. It also crowned the first ever ‘Chefs who Share’ Young Chef of the Year.
The ‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ idea was conceptualised by Opulent Living co-owner Barbara Lenhard (who looked very glamorous) with Chefs Rudi Liebenberg and Bertus Basson, all 14 leading participating chefs as well as 7 sommeliers giving their time and expertise for the Gala Dinner at no charge. In the past two years R4 million net has already been raised through the last two Chefs who Share events. The monies raised from ticket sales (at R3000 a head and sold out on the same day as tickets went on sale), as well as from the Auction benefit Make a Difference Leadership Foundation and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Without the support of main sponsor Mercedes-Benz the event could not have been held in the past three years. Swiss International Air Line was also acknowledged for its sponsorship, bringing Chef Reto Mathis to Cape Town, and taking the winning Young Chef of the Year to Europe.
The chefs were paired as follows, each of them having one top Sommelier, and one Young Chef of the Year Finalist as an assistant too: Continue reading →
New winemaker Gielie Beukes met the media for the first time at the function, having started at Doolhof last September. He comes across as a little shy in speaking, but his confidence will grow. I was lucky in sitting next to him, so could obtain more information from him after he introduced us to his range of wines, just after General Manager Johan Fourie welcomed us. Gielie handled all aspects of the 2015 harvest for the first time, which meant that some of the wines we tasted (2014 and older) had been overseen by Rianie Strydom, who consults to the wine estate. Gielie moved across from Schalkenbosch, in Tulbagh, having previously worked harvests in Bordeaux and Napa, and having worked at Glen Carlou and La Motte. Gielie announced that they are discontinuing their Shiraz, and will sell off their grapes of this variety. They have also discontinued their Wooded Chardonnay, in a move to consolidate their range. Gielie shared with me that doing harvests in different countries was an immense learning experience, the French looking for optimum ripeness when picking grapes, while the Americans look for premium ripeness, picking grapes at an almost over-ripe state. Gielie is not only the winemaker, but has also been appointed as the Estate Manager. Continue reading →
A month ago we were given the scoop of the then planned opening of Lanique Restaurant & Bar within Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter, which opened in the record time of two weeks thereafter. The former Andiamo Deli space is unrecognisable as the new Lanique Restaurant & Bar, and its new look reflects the history and heritage of the Lanique spirit.
The venue is named after the exclusive Lanique 200 year old Polish crafted liqueur made with Attar of Rose, the oil said to be worth its weight in gold. A former employer of Nigel Price, Lawrence Huggler from Jersey, liked the liqueur so much that he bought the brand! Nigel has been given the right to distribute Lanique in Africa, and Australia and New Zealand will follow. The Lanique Restaurant and Bar within Andiamo is a collaboration between Nigel and Andiamo owner Bruce Walker, who got to know each other as Nigel’s mineral water company aquav supplies Andiamo.
The previous Deli space has been cladded with red brick, to give the space an old world feel. A stage for live music, a dance floor, and a door separating Andiamo restaurant and Lanique have been built. Tables and bar stools have been made from wood, a banquette has blue and gold upholstery, and chandeliers have been added. During the day the Lanique Bar counter will be closed off, but lunch will be served and its coffee bar will be open throughout the day. The Lanique Bar within Andiamo will stock a full complement of spirits, beers, and wines, and its liquor licence will allow it to remain open until 2h00. Electro Swing Alternative is played when the dance floor operates. Free wifi Continue reading →
On 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 who 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. Continue reading →
* Cape Town has a new feather in its cap, having been announced in Vancouver in Canada on Thursday as the WWF Global Earth Hour Capital 2014. Won in competition against 163 cities, including Colorado, Chicago, Cleveland in the USA; Seoul and Suwon in South Korea; Copenhagen; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; Antwerp; and Edmonton and Surrey in Canada, the accolade recognises Cape Town’s actions on climate change and its focus on creating a sustainable environment in the city. Cape Town’s reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels by retrofitting the City buildings, improving the energy efficiency of street and traffic lights, the introduction of its solar water heater program, the MyCiTi Bus network, the city centre cycle lanes, and the campaign to save electricity were recognised through the accolade.
* The potentially most crippling strike ever in Germany is the threatened 3 day Lufthansa pilot strike, from 2 – 4 April. which will ground all planes of the airline.
* Europe and the UK turned back the clock to Summer time today, Europe being in the same time zone as South Africa, and the UK Continue reading →
The AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction 2014 is an inaugural exclusive, almost elitist, charity event which aims to raise monies which are to be used for educational purposes in the Winelands. It takes place at Delaire Graff Estate over lunch today, with 250 guests, half of whom are likely to travel from overseas to the Cape especially for the auction.
With an aura of a by-invitation-only attendance, Auction organiser Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Wines invited 30 Auction Ambassadors to assist him in spreading the word about the event, to assist in raising lots for the auction, and to invite guests as bidders to the event. Ambassadors include May de Lencquesaing of Glenelly, Wendy Appelbaum of De Morgenzon, Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte, Rose and Michael Jordaan of Bartinney, Delaire Graff, Charles Banks of Mulderbosch, Paul Cluver, Jeremy Ord and Kevin Arnold of Waterford, Chris and Andrea Mullieneux and their partner ‘Anlajit’ (sic) Singh, Zelma Long and Dr Phil Freese of Vilafonte, the Buys family of Vrede en Lust, Francois Pienaar, Eben Sadie, Ryk Neethling, Jean Engelbrecht, Ken Forrester, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Lanzerac Estate, Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell, and Giorgio and George Dalla Cia. One wonders why so many of the country’s top winemakers have not been involved in the Auction, the list of Auction Ambassadors clearly concentrated in Stellenbosch. Missing from the list, one would think, is Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Boekenhoutskloof, and a winery or two from the Constantia, Paarl, Wellington, Robertson, Tulbagh, and Durbanville Wine Continue reading →