Tag Archives: Gottfried Mocke

John Platter launches ‘My Kind of Wine’!

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, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines : 17 September

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*.   Noma owner Chef René Redzepi has announced that he is closing down the tasting menu Noma on 31 December 2016, moving to the Christiania suburb in Copenhagen, where he will build a glass house over a derelict skating park for a new restaurant, and create an urban farm. The produce served as well as the place settings will change as the seasons change.  In January next year Noma sets up a pop-up restaurant in Sydney for 10 weeks.

*   The Western Cape Government’s Tourism department has made a detailed analysis of the new visa regulations, and their Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 14 September

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The announcement last week of the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi at The Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng, and its international media coverage by National Geographic in particular, could give Tourism to our country a much-needed boost.

*.  The 31st Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild will be held at Spier on Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 31 October

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SAA would consider a partner to assist it in running its loss-making operation, the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said earlier this week.  The airline’s application for more funding was recently rejected.

*   Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has opened a Hong Kong office to market our country’s wines to all of Asia, and will be managed by Michaela Stander, who has managed the region from South Africa for the past six years.  South African wine sales into China grew by 5% and to Japan by 12% in the past year.   The marketing program includes consumer education, a sommelier competition, dinners, and offering wines by the glass.  It will be visible at the HKTDC fair in Hong Kong next week, and at ProWein China from 12 – 14 November.

*   The 40th annual Volvo Ocean Race of 39000 nautical miles, will welcome the first yachts into Cape Town on Sunday, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 22/23/24 August

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The City of Cape Town is spending R3 million on the soccer match between Bafana Bafana and Nigeria for the Africa Confederation (AfCon) Cup qualifier at the Cape Town Stadium on 10 September. One wonders what benefit this would have for the tourism industry. In the past the soccer matches with international teams have not benefited our city and its tourism industry when former Councillor and Tourism Mayoral Committee member Grant Pascoe used this as his main strategy to try and boost tourism! (received via Twitter and Kfm)

*   UK wine writer Jancis Robinson praises Franschhoek as a gourmet and tourism town, but writes that there are few wineries. She describes it as a place ‘where the swallows make their own wine!  She highlights Boekenhoutskloof as the best known and Chamonix as the most consistently performing wineries in the village. She generally praises Franschhoek’s terroir as being ideally suited to Sémillon, and particularly winemaker Gottfried Mocke’s Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon blend, the 2012 vintage in particular.

*   Tourism booking cancellations have led Cape Town Tourism to issue a statement about Ebola:‘Cape Town Tourism would like to remind would-be visitors that there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in South Africa during the recent outbreak. In Continue reading →

Bouchard Finlayson: small boutique vineyard with big wines!

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. Continue reading →

Diners Club Platter’s Guide 2014 sets new records, Mullineux new Winery of the Year!

Platter's South African Wine Guide 2014 'Aquamarine' EditionIt was a boisterous Diners Club Platter’s South African Wines 2014 ‘prize-giving’ last night, with a record 80 wines receiving the much-desired 5 star accolade, selected blind-tasted from double the number of 5-star finalists.  It was an evening that honoured publisher Andrew McDowall, and saw new publisher JP Rossouw in action for the first time.

A number of records were set last night, with the largest number of wines evaluated ever, at 7434, there being 49 new entries, and close to 900 producers of wine in the Guide.  After an absence, brandy and sherry-style wines were awarded again.

On arrival, sipping Klein Constantia MCC, a number of well-known winemakers and estate owners were visible, giving one a taste of some of the 5 star winners, including last year’s Winery of the Year winner Gottfried Mocke of Cape Chamonix, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Johann Laubser of Delaire Graff, and Ginny Povall of Botanica.    We commented that it was wonderful to see so many women winemakers amongst the top 5 star recipients!  Once we were allowed to enter the venue at the Vineyard Hotel, the wines were displayed in groups, for one to taste and to see the 5 star winners by their presence.

David Hughes sang the praises of Andrew, and his direct involvement with 29 of the 34 Platter’s Wine Guides.  He described Andrew as a man ‘massive in character’, who has a nickname ‘Grunter‘, who got himself smuggled into a Nederburg Wine Auction via the boot of a car when he did not receive an invitation, who fell onto a cannon at the bottom of the steps of the Mount Nelson when he slid down the bannister at his 40th birthday party, a man one can trust when he gives you his word, ‘and a hell of a good guy‘, warning JP that he has big boots to fill in taking over from Andrew.  There was roaring applause for Andrew.

Andrew looked well, and his dry humour was on full form, saying thatPlatter's Andrew McDowall Whale Cottage Portfolio the romance with Diners Club last year had led to marriage during the year.  He was full of praise for his ‘young, strong and virile’ successor JP.  He was proud that the edition was printed locally and not in Singapore.  He revealed the ‘Walker Bay blue’ cover, saying that they had considered calling it ‘Pendock sea sick’, which brought the house down!  He praised editor Philip van Zyl as the ‘most ethical man’, which led to applause from the floor. The 80 5 star winners include 7 brandies, up from 62 last year.  I asked Andrew what he would be doing with his time, and he said he wasn’t sure, but getting better at bridge is one of his goals. Continue reading →

Cape Chamonix Platter Winery of the Year, Franschhoek tops second year running!

Franschhoek has shown the wine industry that it is a serious wine destination, winning the Platter’s 2013 Winery of the Year a second year running, the accolade going to Cape Chamonix wine estate, and its winemaker Gottfried Mocke.  The Mullineux Family Wines of Riebeeck Kasteel also performed excellently.

Publisher Andrew McDowall announced that the blood orange colour of Platter’s South African Wines 2013 is ‘West Coast Sunset‘ this year. Published for the 33rd time, the publication has started a ‘relationship’ with and has become ‘engaged’ to Diner’s Club, the credit card brand appearing on the wine guide cover for the first time.  McDowall hinted that a ‘marriage’ may follow!  For the new Guide, 900 wine estates and 7300 wines were evaluated, 54 of the wineries being new.  The largest number of 5 stars was awarded ever, to 62 wines. The theme of the publication this year is ‘Backstories’, showcasing the dreams, passions, challenges, and successes of the wines featured in the Guide.

Michael Fridjhon opened the proceedings, and spoke about his first involvement with the Guide 30 years ago, when it was owned by Erica and John Platter, who had just moved to Delaire at that time.  He shared that Erica Platter was very strict, and a word such as ‘mouthfeel’ was banned by the tasters.  He said that 30 years later, ‘the guidelines for the tasters have become far more rigorous, but that the editors are gentler’. Fridjhon was congratulated for having been announced as the International Wine Columnist of the Year 2012 in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.

The motivation for choosing Cape Chamonix as the 2013 Platter Winery of the Year, in addition to winning four 5 Star Platter Awards for its Greywacke 2010 Pinotage, Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Chardonnay Reserve 2011, and White Blend Reserve 2011, is ‘Kaizen’, Platter’s editor Philip van Zyl said, the process of continuous improvement, and the seamless integration of viticulture and winemaking by the same team. This has made Cape Chamonix one of the top wine growers in the country, he said. Winemaker Gottfried Mocke has worked at Cape Chamonix for eleven years, and proudly shared the honour with his assistant winemaker Emul Ross, who has worked with him for just over a year.

The husband and wife team of Chris and Andrea Mullineux did well last year, and repeated its performance this year, winning three five star Platter awards for its Mullineux Family Syrah 2010, Straw Wine 2011, and Schist 2010, and was recognised for Red Wine of the Year for its Syrah.  Nederburg (Ingenuity 2011, Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2011, Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Private Bin D252 2012) and Fairview (La Beryl Blanc 2011, Nurok 2011, Jakkalsfontein 2009) also received three five stars each.

The White Wine of the Year went to Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011. Superquaffer of the Year, selected out of 12 candidates in a 2,5 – 3 Platter star band and costing R 50 – R70 a bottle for reds and R40 – R60 for whites, was selected as the Muratie Melck Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.  Three of the Platter’s winners could not be present, being stranded in America due to Hurricane Sandy: Ken Forrester, Pieter Ferreira, and Kathy Jordan.

The 5 star Platter 2013 wines are the following (first time 5 star recipients marked with an asterisk):

Cabernet Franc

Raka 2009
Von Ortloff Quintessence 2008*
Warwick 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon
Delaire Graff Laurence Graff Reserve 2009
Pinotage
Cape Chamonix Greywacke 2010
Kanonkop 2010

Pinot Noir
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2011

Shiraz/Syrah

Boschendal Cecil John Reserve 2010
Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog 2010*
Delheim Vera Cruz 2009
Fable Bobbejaan 2010
Fairview Jakkalsfontein 2009
Mullineux Family Schist 2010
Mullineux Family Syrah 2010
Raka Biography 2010
Saronsberg 2010*
Simonsig Merindol Syrah 2010

Red Blends

Dalla Cia Wine & Spirit Company Giorgio 2007*
Fleur du Cap Lazlo 2008
Keets First Verse 2010*
Ken Forrester The Gypsy 2009
La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier 2010
Mvemve Raats MR De Compostella 2009*
Nico van der Merwe Mas Nicolas Cape 2007
Sadie Family Columella 2010

Chardonnay
Boschendal Reserve 2011
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Hamilton Russell 2011
Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2011
Jordan Nine Yards 2011

Chenin Blanc

Alheit Cartology 2011*
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2011
Botanica 2011
DeMorgenzon Reserve 2010
Jean Daneel Signature 2011
KWV Cathedral Cellar 2011
Sadie Family Skurfberg 2011
Spice Route 2011

Sauvignon Blanc
Fryer’s Cove 2011*
Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run 2012
Tokara Walker Bay 2012

White Blends

AA Badenhorst Family 2010*
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Cape Point CWG Auction Reserve 2011
David Aristargos 2011
Fairview Nurok 2011
Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2010
Miles Mossop Saskia 2011
Nederburg Ingenuity 2011
Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Private Bin D252 2012
Nitida Coronata Integration 2011*
Rall 2011
Tokara Director’s Reserve 2011

Méthode Cap Classique

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2008*
Villiera Monro Brut 2007

Dessert Wine Unfortified

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2011
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2011
Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2011
Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2011
Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011

Fortified Wine

De Krans The Last Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2010

Catering was by the Vineyard Hotel, and one of the waiters said that each of their canapés was planned to be paired with a wine varietal.  An unusual combination was the strawberry Turkish delight dessert.

It would appear that Franschhoek’s reputation as the best wine destination in South Africa will receive another boost on Saturday, when it is likely that Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof will be announced as the 2012 Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year, judging by the posters on lamp posts throughout the village, announcing that ‘Franschhoek home to the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012‘, without mentioning his name.  Kent is the only finalist from Franschhoek. Discussing this with Christian Eedes at the Platter function, he expressed his disappointment, in saying that it takes the ceremony out of the award evening if the result is known up front.

POSTSCRIPT 31/10: This blogpost received an honourable mention from Neil Pendock on the Times Live blog today, quoting our last paragraph about the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year Award in full. The question he raised is how Boekenhoutskloof managed to not receive any 5 stars from Platter yesterday, yet was named Winery of the Year 2012, and how anyone could know the results of the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012 accolade, as the wines were tasted blind!  We have heard that the Diner’s Club awards function will be held in Franschhoek, and the poster headline may have referred to this, yet that would make the wording misleading.

POSTSCRIPT 3/11: The Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year posters in Franschhoek were certainly misleading. Razvan Macici, Cellar Master of Nederburg, has been named Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012.  Interesting is the Tweet from Llewellyn Lambert, who attended the event, that finalist Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof did not attend the Awards dinner.

Platter’s Wines of South Africa 2013. Available at book stores, retailers, and wine estates from mid-November. R169.95. www.wineonaplatter.com www.sawinesonline.co.uk Twitter: @WineonaPlatter

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

Platter’s 2012: Franschhoek becomes centre of fine wine!

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

Restaurant review : Buitenverwachting is beyond expectation

I have not been to Buitenverwachting for so many years, that I cannot remember when last I had been there.  The wine estate has become over-shadowed by its neighbours in the Constantia valley, and seems to have become hidden as a Cape Town restaurant destination in the past few years.  By appointing Sandy Bailey as a PR consultant, this is about to change, and resulted in her extending an invitation to food and wine bloggers and to journalists (including the lovely Jos Baker, Angela Lloyd, John and Lynne Ford, Cathy Marston, Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee) to join her and delightful soft-spoken winemaker Brad Paton and his wife Wendy to enjoy the newly launched Sunday lunch buffet last week.

Buitenverwachting was originally part of the Constantia wine farm, belonging to Simon van der Stel.   In 1773 it was sold to Cornelus Brink, who named it Nova Constantia, writes WINE magazine.  In 1794 Arend Brink bought the farm and called it Buitenverwachting (beyond expectation).   Buitenverwachting is now owned by German citizen Richard Müller, whose son Lars Maack has been running the estate locally for the past few years, and personally handles the international marketing of the wines, especially focused on Germany.  The drive to the wine estate makes one feel that one is leaving the busy city and escaping to the countryside, a beautiful tree-lined lane taking one to the estate, and then one has to drive slowly past vineyards and lawns with grazing sheep, to get to the restaurant. 

The chef is Austrian Edgar Osojnik, who came to Buitenverwachting from Grande Roche.   A six-month stint at Bosman’s culminated in a farewell party for Osojnik, and it was at this party that he met his future wife, and he decided to stay in South Africa.  In 2003 Osojnik was recognised as the Top Chef of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards for Buitenverwachting.  Chef Edgar offers a fine dining menu for dinners, and a lighter Courtyard menu for lunches.  He is also offering a special Asparagus menu, which costs R260 for three courses, including a glass of wine, until the end of November.

On Sundays the buffet lunch is set up inside the restaurant, and was a most generous selection of starters, mains and desserts, with a cheese plate to follow, at R240 (half price for children under 12 years).   I do not recall seeing so many starter dishes for a buffet before, most unique and special, and not just a variation of salads which one experiences so often.  The presentation of the starters and desserts attracted attention.  For example, the sushi looked like little gift parcels, as Osojnik created square sushi slices with colourful ingredients such as avocado, rice, and salmon, with a black “tie”.

The starters included Vitello Tonnato, Vegetable-goats feta tian with rucola, Cauliflower-broccoli Royale with Dukkah Chicken Breast, Prawn espuma, smoked Norwegian salmon buttermilk terrine, Bobotie in a ramekin, Duck liver parfait set on caramelized apple, smoked fish, roasted asparagus with Parma-style ham, tomato-mozzarella, Melon with smoked Kudu, Potato salad, Roast Beef filled with French salad, and Caesar salad with white anchovies.  Mains are a traditional buffet, with a selection of leg of lamb, Chalmar rib-eye steak, veal breast, roast pork belly, linefish of the day and chicken curry.  Potatoes are served roasted and Dauphinoise, there is basmati rice, a choice of five vegetables, and five sauces are served with the main course. Desserts and cakes included Sacher Torte, Schwarzwälder Torte, Gugelhupf, Kardinal Schnitte, Chocolate Mousse, Yoghurt Crème Catalan, fruit salad with Marsala Zabaglione, Vanilla Pannacotta with fresh strawberries, as well as a cheese platter.

Brad has been the winemaker at Buitenverwachting for the past six years, and his colleague, cellarmaster Hermann Kirschbaum, has been at the wine estate for the past 18 years.  Brad worked at Chamonix in Franschhoek with Gottfried Mocke before studying winemaking at Geisenheim in Germany and worked there too, for a total of nine years, now speaking perfect German.  He is grateful for his German language skills, as they receive many German visitors at the estate.    One gets the feeling that not only is the wine estate steeped in tradition and history, but its staff are loyal, and that consistency in all respects is the success factor at Buitenverwachting.

Brad told me that the recession is hitting wine farms, and the newer small independent operators appear hardest hit, many not being able to pay for their bottles to get their wines sold.  He feels that prices of the newer wine estates are too high.  Sales to restaurants have been badly hit, he said, as BYO is seeing a growth due to excessive prices of wines in restaurants.   He also felt that Constantia restaurants should be more “Proudly-Constantia”, in stocking brands from the Constantia wine estates.  Buitenverwachting has recently appointed Meridian for its distribution.

I was surprised to hear how reasonable the Buitenverwachting wine prices are, with entry level Buiten Blanc costing R45, and the Merifort (a lovely smoky Bordeaux Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot) costing a mere R55.   The other stalwart wines in the Buitenverwachting range are Blanc de Noir, Chardonnay, Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Christine, and Merlot.  Brad and his colleagues are making “out of the box” wines too:

*   Intensity: 85 % Sauvignon Blanc and 15 % Semillon

*   Trinity: Riesling, a Chenin Blanc and Viognier blend

*   Rough Diamond: 60 % Petit Verdot and 40 % Malbec

Going back to Buitenverwachting after so many years was a reminder of the talent of Chef Edgar and his restaurant team, as well as of the quality of the estate’s wines.  I plan to return to try the Asparagus menu.   I am a new convert of the Buitenverwachting Merifort, even though I am a dedicated Shiraz drinker.

Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia Road, Constantia, www.buitenverwachting.com. Tel (021) 794-3522.  Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner, Sunday Buffet lunch. Corkage R55.

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