Entries tagged with “Hennie Coetzee”.


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…)

platters_wine_guide_2017A 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.  (more…)

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 (more…)

RE•CM (standing for ‘Regarding Capital Management‘) is a wealth management company based in Cape Town, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Wine writer Christian Eedes encouraged the company to celebrate this anniversary with a ten year old wine awards competition. Out of the top three entered finalist wines, Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003 achieved the highest rating by the judges.

The event was held at The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenhort on Thursday evening, a hotel that is Relais & Châteaux certified, but has the most inefficient ‘boomsman’ who ultimately allows one to drive through anyway after a long story, does not offer enough parking for larger functions, has ineffective signage as to the whereabouts of the different buildings and venues inside them on the property, and has staff that has no interest (nor knowledge) in directing one to the function venue.  A pre-dinner glass of sparkling wine on the manicured lawn, and a few canapés that did not reach many of the guests, highlighted that a large number of the guests were writers.  We discovered later at the table that the other guests were clients of RE•CM who had supported the company since its inception, as well as staff of the investment company.  I sat next to Daniel Malan, Investment Director of the company, who shared two or three sentences throughout the whole evening! A charming table neighbour and client guest on the other side was Chris van Wyk, once a top executive at Sanlam, and who has more recently been involved with PSG Consult in its Hermanus branch.  RE•CM is a ‘privately-owned, independent asset management company that follows a bottom-up value approach based on thorough, fundamental research’, the brochure we received states. Commendably there was no hard sell during the dinner at all, and the focus was purely on the 10 year old wine awards.

After welcoming the guests, RE•CM Executive Chairman Piet Viljoen quickly handed over to Eedes, who provided the background to the competition. He said that like investments, wine requires patience for its quality and value to emerge over time.  He deplored that wine libraries do not exist in South Africa, in which the top wines are stored.  For the competition wine estates were invited to submit their best ten year old wines, and had to be able to provide 24 bottles for the tasting and to be served at the dinner. A total of 73 entries was received from 39 wineries. Judging was done blind by wine educator and entrepreneur Nkululeko Mkhwanazi, sommelier Jörg Pfützner, and Eedes, pictured here with Boekenhoutskloof’s Marc Kent.   All wines were scored out of 20.  Eedes writes in his report about the wines of 2003: ‘2003 was a cracking vintage, described in Platter’s 2013 as “(o)utstanding, especially for reds – concentrated and structured, and often slow to show their best”’.

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003 was the only wine that achieved a 5 star (‘extraordinary, profound‘) score from the panel, and Eedes describes it as follows: ‘From a single vineyard in Wellington. Matured for 27 months in only used French oak. Hugely complex showing red and black fruit, floral perfume, crushed herbs, spice and some pepper. Pure and fresh with fine tannins. Still remarkably primary with great flavour intensity – a very precise offering’. After the judges had tasted this wine, there was a ‘moment of silence’, and it was the most impressive wine of all, Eedes shared.

Rudera Syrah 2003 achieved a score of 4,5, and Eedes described it as: ‘From Faure and Koelenhof vineyards. Matured for 11 months in French oak, 20% new. The nose shows red and black fruit, some floral character but also earthy, malty notes. Pleasantly sweet on entry but offset by fresh acidity. Has a noble rusticity about it – powerful but not at the expense of complexity’. Equally Remhoogte Estate Wine 2003 achieved a 4,5 rating, and it was described as follows: ‘59% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Pinotage. Matured for 22 months in French oak, 40% new. Upfront red and black fruit (cherries, cassis) offset by some herbal and spicy notes. Oak smartly used adding just a hint of dark chocolate. A carefully assembled wine which appears medium bodied with well integrated acidity and fine tannins’.  Other 4,5 score wines were Tokara 2003, Morgenster 2003, and Chamonix Troika 2003.

The food at Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant The Greenhouse is always a treat, and assured the hosts an excellent attendance. Chef Peter Tempelhoff was in attendance in the kitchen, we were told, but he did not come into the restaurant. The menu had been prepared to pair with the three top ten year old red wines.  A bread basket was brought to the table, with a variety of bread styles, with two tiny glass bowls with soil, avocado, and miniature vegetables from the hotel garden, to share amongst a table of twelve.  The amuse bouche was a West Coast lobster and bisque poured into the plate at the table, which was served with a sweet corn and roast garlic espuma, and crispy leeks, paired with Villiera Monro Brut 2007.

Springbok tataki was served with a fig and almond pesto, honey roasted figs, almond crumble, celeriac remoulade, and a shiraz gel, and was paired with the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003, which everyone at our table wanted more of.  A course of Beetroot Risotto was served with cepe purée, mushroom fricassee, fresh baby peas, and a parsley and pecorino sauce, and was paired with the Rudera Syrah 2003.

The main course was a combination of lamb loin and braised shank, which was accompanied by artichoke dauphinoise, smoked aubergine purée, black olive jam, and tomato fondue, which was paired with Remhoogte Estate Wine 2003.  The tiniest dessert/palate cleanser was a pineapple compote with foam, and buchu ice cream, sprinkled with chocolate. We loved the petit fours that were served with the coffee, and how they were served, our table ordering seconds because they were so delicious, being chocolate truffles and nougat.

The evening ended far too quickly, and the reality of a working day lying ahead sent us home.  Good food (although quite uncharacteristic of The Greenhouse I felt, but perhaps they have special menus for corporate functions and to assist the kitchen with a small pass in coping with preparing the food for close to 60 guests), excellent wines, and the good company of Chris van Wyk and his wife and Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert of Batonage Blog made it a special evening.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of Remhoogte Estate Wine 2007 with our media pack.

RE•CM, Tel (021) 657-3440. www.recm.co.za Twitter: @RECM_Online

The Greenhouse, The Cellars-Hohenort, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia.  Tel (021) 794-2137.   www.collectionmcgrath.com/cellars/the-greenhouse/ Twitter: @GreenhouseCT

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

On Thursday wine and food writers were spoilt with a tasting of Delaire Graff wines followed by an excellent lunch, to celebrate the launch of its outstanding new Laurence Graff Reserve 2009, which was revealed at CapeWine 2012 for the first time, and which achieved a 5-star rating from Platter 2013, the only Cabernet Sauvignon to receive this top rating this year, judged by esteemed Michael Fridjhon.

Delaire Graff Estate CEO Johann Laubser spoke about the great vision which owner Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International, had in developing the estate into what it has become now, having opened four years ago, immediately visible to visitors through the beautiful plants along the drive to the restaurant, the gardens having been developed by renowned landscaper Keith Kirsten.  Laurence Graff has a fine eye for detail, and invests in the finer things in life, which is evident through the outstanding artwork by South Africa’s leading artists throughout the building, including the painting of Mr Graff by Lionel Smit in the entrance hall.  He shared that Mr Graff had left school at 14, had become an apprentice jeweller, and owned his first jewellery store at the age of 23.  He is now listed on the Fortune 500 list, having grown his wealth on his own, without any family money.  He likened Mr Graff’s marketing insight to that of Dr Anton Rupert.  A number of interior decorators were invited to pitch for the contract, but Mr Graff wanted the best, choosing David Collins from London. Mr Graff is passionate about his property, we were told.

The Laurence Graff Reserve 2009 came about, with winemaker Morné Vrey bringing Mr Laubser a sample of wine from remarkable barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes coming from a 12 year old vineyard on the estate, which were hand picked and sorted, with whole berry fermentation, and basket pressing to create a gentle extraction of the fruit. The wine was matured for 15 months in new French oak barrels, and then the best five barrels out of 60 were selected, matured for another five months, and then blended with 8% of Bordeaux varietals. They felt it was good enough to become their flagship brand, and wanted to name it after the owner.  Only 1370 bottles have been produced, and the wine will only be produced in exceptional years. The new wine is being sold at $200 per bottle, one of the most expensive bottles of wine in South Africa, and the first to be marketed locally in a dollar price.  Platter gave it the 5-star crown immediately. The wine was described as being complex, multi-layered, having structure and balance, being immediately drinkable yet would age if put down, or even once the bottle is opened. Delaire Graff only has 20 ha to plant its vines, and uses its own land to grow Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.  Grapes are bought in for the white wines.

Chef Christiaan Campbell, who has been at Delaire Graff since it opened, is excited about the Eat Out 2012 Top 10 Restaurant Awards, his restaurant being on the Top 19 shortlist.  He shared that he has never won an award, and has never been on the Eat Out shortlist before.  We were extremely spoilt, the restaurant having been closed for our function, with a large complement of waitrons looking after our every need.  On a perfect wind-free day we sat outside on the terrace, with the magnificent view onto the Simonsberg.  I was lucky to share the table with Marketing & PR Manager Tanja Mackay-Davidson, gregarious Greg Landman who had us giggling throughout the lunch, award-winning wine writer Joanne Gibson, winemaker and writer Jonathan Snashall, Batonage Blog writers Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee, and Delaire Graff winemaker Morné Vrey’s assistant Jacqueline van Wyk.

Chef Christiaan is dedicated to the ethics of food sourcing in his restaurant, and obtains his meat and eggs from Farmer Angus McKintosh at Spier, and vegetables from his own garden at Delaire Graff as well as from Daniel Kruger’s vegetable and herb garden at La Motte. The bread basket offered four different bread varieties, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The starter reflected his dedication to freshness, being spring vegetables, lemon confit, set goat’s milk, goat’s cheese ice, and almond cream, which was paired with Delaire Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (grapes come from Olifantsrivier, Walker Bay and Durbanville, costing R70 at the cellar door) and Delaire Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (grapes coming from Stellenbosch, Darling, and Durbanville,  with some Franschhoek Sémillon added, costing R90 at the cellar door).

The Intermediate dish was a lovely medley of octopus, lobster, pickled radish, broad beans, crackers, drizzled with a lobster vinaigrette, paired with the Delaire Graff Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010, the Sémillon coming from Franschhoek, and the Sauvignon Blanc from Olifantsrivier, Durbanville, and a 45 year old Franschhoek vineyard,  and costing R180 at the cellar door.

Our main course was served on beautiful black plates imported from France, Tanja shared, and was a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, served with potato pavé, broad beans, and velouté, paired with the new Laurence Graff Reserve 2009.  Tanja had a special Vegetarian dish prepared, and it looked so delicious that she ordered another plateful of it, and shared it at our table.

The dessert was a delicious study in chocolate, consisting of a chocolate tart, banana crumble, peanut  butter ice cream, and a most delicious home-made ‘Del-air’ chocolate that looked brittle, but was as soft as Aero, which was paired with Delaire Graff Cape Vintage 2010, a port-style wine, and coffee and tea.

Disclosure: We received a special gift pack of the precious Laurence Graff Reserve 2009 with our media pack.

Delaire Graff Estate, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 885-8160. www.delaire.co.za Twitter: @DelaireGraff    Wine Lounge Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 17h00. Lunch Monday – Sunday, Dinner Monday – Saturday.

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

The July Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting, held at What’s On Eatery on Wednesday, was a bubbly affair, with Batonage bloggers Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee sharing their passion for the good things in life, being eating out and drinking wine, and then blogging about it. Siris Vintners kept things bubbly too, by taking the bloggers through a tasting of five Moreson sparkling wines.  It was the first Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting to be sold-out the day before the event.

Batonage is made up of two very passionate foodies and wine lovers, says its Blog introduction:  “Together we decided to create a record of our adventures in food and wine, something we indulge in almost daily.  We are avid wine hunters, always on the lookout for something new and unique to talk, write and spread the word about.  When it comes to food we consider ourselves adventurous eaters, scavenging the latest food and wine pairing at the best eateries, but equally happy to indulge in uncomplicated fare at our local bistro.  The focus will be on visiting wine farms and restaurants, both old and new, and telling you dear reader, of our experiences there.   Every attempt will be made to make the information relevant and we might even make you smile once in a while”.

What makes Hennie and Maggie interesting and unique is that their day job is far removed from their food and wine blogging, and that they write about both wine and food on the same Blog.  Hennie developed a love for wine whilst studying at Stellenbosch University, moving from financial management to wine sales, and ultimately, as sommelier at Singita, a leader in the accommodation industry. To become a sommelier, one must drink a lot of wine, he said, and he completed courses at the Cape Wine Academy.  While he learnt a lot about excellence in food, wine and service, the hospitality hours were not for him, so he has returned to the financial industry.  Maggie studied Accounting at the University of Stellenbosch, worked as a waitress at the Spur in Stellenbosch and did her articles, before setting up her own practice.  Her past experience as a waitress and her accountant’s perspective gives her a unique evaluation of restaurants and wineries. She advised bloggers to be honest ‘nicely’, and to write what they would be prepared to tell someone to their face.  Photographs and writing should not be ‘ho hum’, and one must spellcheck. She advised newer bloggers to attend functions, to eat out and drink a cross-spectrum of wine, and to discover new things.  Hennie advocated the drinking of sparkling wine on more than just special occasions, and even Champagne, when the occasion calls for it. 

Terence van der Walt is a wine merchant at Siris Vintners, a company established by Nigel Cattermole, and Willeen and Philip Burdell.   Terence took the bloggers through the Môreson MCC tasting.  Môreson was established in 1986, and first wines were bottled in 1994.   Clayton Reabow was appointed the winemaker in 2007, after studying at Stellenbosch University, and working at Grande Provence, Distell, Laroche L’Avenir, Vrede & Lust, Chateau de Fleur du Bouard, and in Zell.  We started with Miss Molly 100 % Chardonnay MCC Non Vintage, named after the Weimeraner at Môreson, and captures her personality and passion for life.  The wine label has braille on it, saying “I’m delicious”, and a portion of the sales is donated to the Guide Dog Association.    Solitaire MCC Non Vintage is a new release, with 24 month maturation.  Its palate is a fine mousse with well-balanced acidity complimented by biscuit and marzipan aromas.  Gala MCC Non Vintage has a balanced fruit-forward palate with good structured acidity, made from Pinotage (70%) and Chenin Blanc (30%) grapes, has a sweeter taste, and has matured for 24 months.  The One is Môreson’s first Vintage (2007) MCC made from Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%),  matured for 36 months in bottle, and described as ‘extra brut’.  It can only be bought from the farm, at R160 a bottle.  Pink MCC Non Vintage has strawberries and cream aroma and palate, is made 100% from Pinotage, and was matured for 12 months.

To demonstrate the principles of food and wine pairing, Maggie and Hennie had asked Trevor Jordaan of What’s On Eatery to prepare snacks that would pair well, and some that did not pair at all.   Hennie told us that food and wine pairing is not an exact science, but one’s evaluation of it is a subjective opinion.  It helps to know the acidity of the wine, and that of food, when deciding on a good pairing match.  He explained that sparkling wine is segmented into Brut (very dry), Sec (dry), Demi-sec (semi-sweet) and Doux (sweet).  The acidity in a sparkling wine prevents it from having too sweet a taste, Hennie said.  Some would advocate pairing an acidic dish with a bitter wine, or vice versa, but Hennie disagreed with this approach.   Neither of the two should dominate, and we smiled when Hennie said that food is masculine and wine is feminine. The Tempura prawns on avocado and papaya salsa, and smoked salmon and cream cheese wrap paired well with the Môreson MCC Miss Molly, good value in only costing around R25 a glass in restaurants.  The truffle infused cream on parmesan tuille was not regarded as a good pairing, the parmesan being too dominant.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.  Each of the two bloggers talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club gives fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

   Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

   *   17 August:  Nikki Dumas of Swirl Blog, and Matt Allison of I’m no Jamie Oliver Blog, Den Anker venue, Jordan wines

   *   21 September:  Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682, and wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg

   *   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery and Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street. 

   *   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek   

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker.  Snacks are served by the restaurant. 

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com.  The cost of attendance is R100. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com.  Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Food and Wine Bloggers Club on Facebook 

The July Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting will ‘pair’ Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee, both writing Batonage blog about wines and foods that they have experienced, and will be held at What’s On Eatery on Watson Street on Wednesday 20 July, from 6 – 8 pm.

Batonage is made up of two very passionate foodies and wine lovers, says its Blog introduction:  “Together we decided to create a record of our adventures in food and wine, something we indulge in almost daily.  We are avid wine hunters, always on the lookout for something new and unique to talk, write and spread the word about.  When it comes to food we consider ourselves adventurous eaters, scavenging the latest food and wine pairing at the best eateries, but equally happy to indulge in uncomplicated fare at our local bistro.  The focus will be on visiting wine farms and restaurants, both old and new, and telling you dear reader, of our experiences there.   Every attempt will be made to make the information relevant and we might even make you smile once in a while”.

What makes Hennie and Maggie interesting and unique is that their day job is far removed from their food and wine blogging, and that they write about both wine and food on the same Blog.  Hennie comes from the Free State, and developed a love for wine whilst studying at Stellenbosch University, moving from financial management to wine salesperson, and ultimately, as sommelier at Singita, a leader in the accommodation industry. While he learnt a lot about excellence in food, wine and service, the hospitality hours were not for him, so he has returned to the financial industry.  Maggie comes from Pretoria, and studied Accounting at the University of Stellenbosch, worked as a waitress in Stellenbosch and did her articles, before setting up her own practice.  Her past experience as a waitress and her accountant’s perspective gives her a unique evaluation of her eating and drinking experiences.

Batonage is a wine term, and is the wine making operation of mixing up the lees (dead yeast cells from fermentation) in the barrel with the wine to release the mannoproteins, improving the flavour, mouthfeel, and stability of the wine.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

   Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

   *   17 August:  Nikki Dumas of Swirl Blog, and Matt Allison of I’m no Jamie Oliver Blog, Den Anker venue, Jordan wines

   *   21 September:  Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682, and wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg

   *   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery and Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street. 

   *   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek   

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Terence from Siris Vintners will lead bloggers through a sparkling wine tasting.  Snacks will be served by What’s On Eatery 

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 20 July, 6 – 8 pm:  What’s On Eatery, 6 Watson Street, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com.  The cost of attendance is R100.

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

The June Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting will ‘pair’ Neil Stemmet, interior curator and writer of the Blog ‘SoutenPeper’, with wine blogger Dion Martin, who writes the Blog  The Travelling Vineyard, and will be held at French Toast on Bree Street on Wednesday 8 June, from 6 – 8 pm.

Neil Stemmet  of KONCEPT attracted attention with his restaurant interior curation at Simonsig’s Cuvee and Knorhoek’s Towerbosch restaurants.  More recently, he curated the BOS Tea House at Decorex, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and has very specific ideas about the Restaurant of the Future.  Neil’s focus in his ‘SoutenPeper’ blog is to go back to the traditional South African recipes, and to document them for future generations.  He is working on a book by the same title.  Neil is a dynamic and very entertaining speaker.

Dion Martin is a Capetonian who grew up on
“Vleis, rys, aartappels, brandy and rugby”, he writes.  He became obsessed with food, and how it connects people.  He did a part-time Chef’s diploma with City and Guilds, and passed with distinction while doing his day job in running his digital book printing company. He also completed the Cape Wine Academy Certificate, and the University of Stellenbosch Wine Evaluation diploma.  He started The Travelling Vineyard Blog to share his food and wine experiences, leading to Tweeting as @TVDionysus, and also Vlogging (video blogging).

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

   Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

   *   20 July : Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert of Batonage Blog, at What’s On Eatery

   *   17 August:  Nikki Dumas of Swirl Blog, and Matt Allisson of I’m no Jamie Oliver Blog, Den Anker venue, Jordan wines

   *   21 September:  Chef Brad Ball of Bistro1682, and wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg

   *   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery and Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street. 

   *   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek   

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Dion will lead bloggers through a wine tasting.  Tapas snacks will be served by French Toast.  

 

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 8 June, 6 – 8 pm: French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar, 199 Bree Street, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com or call (021) 433-2100. The cost of attendance is R100.

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

The new Jordan 2009 The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc and 2008 The Prospector Syrah were launched to about sixty invited bloggers and/or Twitterers at the Jordan Wine Estate on Monday, and the launch was celebrated with a superb outdoors three-course meal prepared by Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant chef George Jardine, of Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine. 

Gary Jordan’s background as a geologist is reflected in the names of the two new wines.   The 2009 The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc was made from a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc located on the highest and coolest spot on the wine estate.  Jordan explained the origin of the ‘Outlier’ name, by explaining that it is a phenomenon which is outside of the norm, in scientific terms.  The ‘Outlier’ predecessor vintages, previously named Jordan Blanc Fumé, have been highly regarded, and the 2008 vintage received a Gold medal and Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, thus deserving the new ‘Outlier’ name. Geologically, an outlier is “an outcrop of rocks that is entirely surrounded by older rocks”, Jordan explained.  “The quartzite formation underlying the Sauvignon Blanc vineyard used for this wine is surrounded by older (600 million years old) mineral-rich granites”, he added. It is the barrel fermentation of this Sauvignon Blanc that puts it into ‘a different class, a true outlier’.  The cooler location of this vineyard makes the grapes ripen up to three weeks later than the other Sauvignon Blanc vineyards at Jordan.

The new 2008 The Prospector Syrah also has an interesting background.  Recently Jordan Wine Estate was one of the leading estates that put an end to plans to mine for minerals on key wine farms in the area.  The Jordan Syrah vineyards contain traces of tin as well as other minerals, going back to the gold rush of the 1800’s, and it is the minerals that give the Syrah a particular characteristic: “rich, dense, dark chocolate, black fruit and fynbos flavours interlaced with white pepper.  Barrel fermentation adds toasty nuances to the richly textured structure”.  As a Shiraz lover, The Prospector Syrah ‘spoke’ to me.

To reflect the geological theme of the new wines, small stones from the estate decorated the tables.  Each guest presentation pack had a small pouch with a very shiny stone in it, demonstrating the minerality of the soil at Jordan.

Guests were spoilt by the craft of Chef George Jardine.  Served on his trademark slate plate was a square of ‘barrel smoked pole caught yellow fin tuna, miso charred aubergine’, which was paired with the Jordan The Outlier.   I ate the starter with Chef George’s wonderful wholewheat bread, which his wife Louise generously gave me a loaf of when I asked her if she had one to sell.   The main course was a pan roasted blesbok, served with foie gras and a bourguigon garnish.  This course was served with the Jordan The Prospector.  The dessert was French imported Valrhona guanaja chocolate royaltine, which was served with Jordan Mellifera, a lovely dessert wine, and with a good foamy cappuccino. 

Kathy Jordan was a lovely table hostess, and I enjoyed the company of Allan Mullins of Woolworths, Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert of Batonage blog, and a UK couple who are regular guests at High Timber, the restaurant which the Jordans co-own in London.    

Disclosure:  All guests received a gift pack of the new Jordan The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc 2009 and The Prospector Syrah 2008.

Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 881-3441.  www.jordanwines.com

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

I had read about What’s On Eatery on Watson Street in the city centre on Twitter, with Hennie Coetzee (@Batonage) and Maggie Mostert (@BlackDelilah) recommending the new restaurant highly.  I was welcomed warmly by co-owner Trever Jordaan from the minute I stepped into the restaurant, and I felt completely at home in the elegant interior that has been created in the double story building that once was Platinum restaurant.  What’s On’s promise is “Food l People l Passion”, with a ‘fusion of family & friends’, and this is what I experienced last Friday evening.  It offers very good value food (the starters and desserts in particular) and wines.

Watson Street connects Bree and Loop Street, one block from Buitensingel Street.  I found parking easily, and a canopy identifies the eatery, and what it stands for.  One enters the attractive light grey Deli and Breakfast space, which doubles up as the bar, with wines stored on shelves, and a glass counter containing salads, pies and sandwiches during the day, with croissants, cakes, pastries, and other sweet bakery treats available too.    Trevor led the way to the restaurant upstairs, and showed me the private dining room, which can be used for functions with up to 10 persons.  The restaurant has ten tables, and the walls are a stronger grey colour.  There are lovely wooden floors, interesting paintings by Joseph Lucaks, beautifully upholstered chairs, and wallpaper on some walls, all creating a warm, homely and elegant space.  One wall has quirky-shaped mirrors on it.   Trevor and his partner clearly have a good decor hand.  The highback chairs are attractive, and reminded me of those at La Mouette – in fact the hearty welcome was reminiscent of La Mouette when it first opened.  The light was soft, created with a mix of candles, lamps and modern downlighters.  The tables have a white table cloth, and the white serviette had a silver pattern running through it.  Glassware is good, the cutlery is by Maxwell Williams, and the food is served on white plates and bowls, some of them not holding the cutlery, in that they slide into the plate, a common restaurant problem.  A Woolworths salt and pepper grinder are on the table, as was a vase with real roses.   What made an impression in being so unusual yet clever was a card with “Thank You” lying on the serviette, continuing as follows: “…for sharing our dream…please spread the news to family & friends and join our facebook group on our website…”.

Trevor is a most amazingly warm person, who clearly loves people and his new restaurant.   He was hands-on throughout the evening, asking for feedback continuously.  He was receptive to hearing my opinion and suggestions, and I was impressed by his positive reception thereof, and his immediate implementation of changes.  He joined Twitter immediately and is planning to start a blog too.   Trevor was previously a guest house owner, and that is probably why we connected so well.   His goal is to make his guests feel at home, as if they are visiting his home, and he wants to get to know his guests better, as he does not want any ‘strangers’ in his home, he said.   Trevor’s partner and co-owner is Chris Mears, but is not involved in the running of the restaurant.   I was served by Nina, previously with Col’Cacchio in town, and she was friendly and looked attractively dressed in a white shirt and black slacks, with a branded apron from Vrede & Lust.  Uri from Jardine, which closed down at the end of February, now works at What’s On.   The chef is Kerin D’Offize, previously with the Foodlovers’ Market in Claremont and Harbour Rock in Hermanus. 

The menu, winelist and bill holders have the same blue-green cover, with branding in white.   The pages are neatly affixed to the cover, but can be easily removed when any pages have to be updated.   Nina brought  a plate of delicious freshly-baked olive bread to the table, which was more-ish.  I ordered the duck liver parfait, served with morello cherry sauce and garlic crostini (R40).  I felt that the garlic and parfait were fighting each other, the garlic being overpowering.   The cherry compote was an unusual but good marriage with the parfait.  Other starter options ranged in price from R35 – R 45, and included braised leek and gorgonzola tartlet, springbok bobotie spring rolls, smoorsnoek and feta crepes, black mussels, and baked camembert fondant.  Unusual is that all salads can be ordered in half-portions too, at R 40 – R60 per half portion, and R60 – R80 for a full portion, probably meant to be shared.   Interesting sounding salads are the rooibos-smoked chicken salad; steamed prawn and baby calamari salad; and biltong, mango and feta garden salad.    I was surprised when a complimentary wild mango, mint, melon and vanilla pod sorbet palate cleanser was served.  I loved the taste combination, and never eat mango usually.

The Beef Wellington main course I ordered had porcini mushrooms, garlic and bacon in the pastry casing, but no chicken liver paté (R135).    It was served in two halves, the fillet perfectly prepared medium rare as ordered, with roasted beetroot ‘chips’, mash and butternut.  It was served with a green peppercorn Bordelaise sauce, which I found too sharp and salty.  Other main course options are oxtail, line fish and calamari, confit of lamb rib, roulade of chicken and spinach, venison fillet, sole, rib eye steak, tiger prawns, ostrich burger, and a grilled wild mushroom risotto, ranging from R 85 – R145.   Side dishes are available at R15 each.  I didn’t have a dessert, but the options are a chocolate and hazelnut fondant, a trio of sorbet, crème brûlee, chocolate truffle and espresso tart, and honey and almond cheesecake served with basil and chilli ice cream, ranging in cost from R40 – R50.  I had a foamy cappucino (R17), made with Tribeca coffee, and I liked Trevor’s description of the foam looking like a meringue!

The winelist is introduced as follows: “This list has been prepared to showcase the very best wines to complement our culinary concept.  We constantly search and hand-pick the perfect selection of wines so that you, as our guest, experience ultimate wine and dining at What’s On”.   The list specifies the regions from which the wines come, but there are no vintages for most of the wines listed.   The wine-by-the-glass choice is restricted to one white and one red, and my recommendation to Trevor was to expand the selection.  I had a generous glass of Vrede & Lust’s Boet Erasmus Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot blend, at R45 a glass/R265 per bottle, and I was allowed to taste the wine first.   I am not one for blends usually, but this was an excellent wine.      The white wine-by-the-glass is Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc (R35/R140).   Sparkling wines include Graham Beck Brut MCC (R185) and Boschendal Brut Rosé (R195).  Shiraz options are Brampton (R100), Graham Beck (R135) and Bernard Series Basket Press (R215).  A number of ‘cellar selection’ wines are also available, such as Kanonkop Pinotage 2008 (R440), Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2006 (R565) and Hamilton Russell Chardonnay (R475).  Corkage costs R30.    

Breakfast choices include French Toast; omelets; flapjacks; oats; muesli, fruit and yoghurt; and a cooked breakfast, none of these choices costing more than R32.   Lunch options include a variety of fillings on ciabatta (R39 – R55), salads (R45), beef fillet (R65); prawn, chorizo and saffron risotto (R65); chicken breast (R48); and chicken roulade (R55).

The bill says “Thank you for visiting us at What’s On.  We look forward to have you back ‘home’ soon”.  It is so refreshing to see a restaurant thanking its clients on arrival and on their departure.  I felt at home, and Trevor has found an opportunity to ‘chat’ by e-mail almost every day since I went to What’s On, and he is a strong relationship builder, something many restaurants fail at, taking one’s custom for granted.  As I did for La Mouette when they first opened last May, I spent time with Trevor to run through Social Media Marketing with him subsequent to my dinner.

POSTSCRIPT 19/5: Food bloggers and clients of What’s On Eatery were invited to try out the new winter menu this evening – two courses cost R125, 3 courses R150.  One can also order off the menu, at R 39 for a choice of nine starters (including grilled brown mushrooms – left, stuffed calamari tubes, tempura snoek and prawn); R98 for one of eleven main courses (including Duck la orange – right, Coq au vin, Beef Wellington, Beef fillet, Karoo lamb shank); and R40 for one of five desserts.  The winter menu is good value for money, and the portion sizes are very generous.

POSTSCRIPT 16/9: Exciting news is that Chef Oliver Cattermole from Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel will start as Chef at What’s On Eatery from 1 October.

What’s On Eatery, 6 Watson Street, between Loop and Bree Street, Cape Town.   Tel (021) 422-5652.   www.whatsoneatery.co.za (The homepage on the website has attractive food photographs, which will make one want to come to What’s On Eatery, but these are not carried over to the Image Gallery, which has more photographs of guests than of the food.  The menu is on the website). Twitter @WhatsOnEatery.  Deli open Monday – Friday 7h30 – 16h00.  Restaurant open Tuesday – Saturday evenings.

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