Entries tagged with “Hermanus Wine Route”.


Biga Exterior Whale CottageWithin 2 minutes of walking into Biga Café, Bakery, and Deli the rudeness of co-owner Hanli Carstenson came to the fore, and this continued from her, magnified by a rude departure ‘greeting‘ from fellow co-owner Glen Herringshaw, when I popped in there yesterday, after visiting the Hermanuspietersfontein market further down the street!

Biga (meaning sourdough starter in Italian, Hanli said) has been open since December, and has taken over the space of former Season, one of the few restaurants in Hermanus which I enjoyed eating at (mainly for its calf’s liver and mash).  It has also taken over some of the space of Hornbill House, an art gallery, (more…)

PLATTERS 2015 Guide CoverThe 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide was launched at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel last night, in a Beaujolais Ferment colour, with a number of changes in terms of its methodology to evaluate the 5 star wines,  as well as in the content of the Wine Guide. Out of 6000 wines submitted for evaluation, a total of 50 wines and one brandy received the highly desired 5 star rating. The Platter’s Winery of the Year is Sadie Family Wines, the second time that Eben Sadie has received this accolade.   DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2013 was named the White Wine of the Year, Platter's JP Rossouw Whale Cottageand De Trafford Blueprint Syrah 2012 was named the Red Wine of the Year.

The first Platter’s change is that JP Rossouw has been the new publisher for the past year, looking confident last night, relative to his first more restrained presentation a year ago.  It was nice to see former publisher Andrew McDowell (more…)

Riedel display Whale CottageI sat next to The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company Cape Town representative Tarryn Thomas at the Chefs who Share‘ Gala Dinner last week, and she invited me to attend the special tasting of wines in the Riedel glassware which they represent in South Africa.  The tasting on Tuesday at The Local Grill function venue was made more special in that it was led by 10th generation Georg Riedel, currently heading up the Austrian-based company. Herr Riedel encouraged the restaurant managers and sommeliers present to invest in glassware and a glass washing machine to bring out the best in the wines they serve.

We were welcomed by Michael Fridjhon, owner of Reciprocal, and he introduced Herr Riedel.  It was the first time that I met Michael, and sat next to him during Riedel Michael Fridjhon Georg Riedel Whale Cottagethe tasting.   I had brought my glass of water into the venue, and was quickly told to put it away, and we were all told that we should not open the bottle of water on the tasting sheet nor taste anything before we were given the go-ahead by Herr Riedel to do so.

Herr Riedel led us to question what makes a restaurant visit successful, the welcome, the food, and the wine selection combined making the cost seem good value or not. Eating at a restaurant is a ‘multi-layered symphony’, he said, to describe the functional and emotional experience of eating out.  He feels that wine (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima seems to have making a rare visit to Cape Town, the jewel in the tourism crown, where he has come to attend the Mercedes-Benz  Cape Town Fashion Week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  He is upbeat about tourism to our country, saying it is ‘the new mining!  It is good to hear him compliment our city, which receives the bulk of international tourists to our country: ‘It is endowed with natural beauty. No matter how other provinces want to compete, they don’t have Table Mountain, Robben Island, the wine routes’.  Good media coverage for Cape Town, as well as its conference facilities benefit Cape Town.  When asked about the new Immigration Regulations he said that he would wait for the Ministers of Tourism and Home Affairs to discuss the impact of the Regulations on tourism.

*   Lovers of the MasterChef cooking series can now join a MasterChef Cruise around the Caribbean from 8 – 15 November, passengers being put through their paces in a  number of challenges including Pressure Tests and Mystery Boxes.   MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, and past winners of the series will be taking the passengers through the cooking programme, which includes blind taste tests, making macaroons, sushi, pasta, cocktails, all leading to a winner chosen as the MasterChef Cruise Champion.

*  The Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2015 has kicked off, seeking the best cocktail in the country.  The competition (more…)

Whalehaven Tasting Room Whale Cottage PortfolioI have driven past the Whalehaven Winery on numerous occasions when visiting Hermanus, and it did not attract me into the building, having looked clinical and functional in all its time, being well located at the entrance to the Hermanus Wine Route.  Recently the owners of Whalehaven Winery renovated and enlarged the Tasting Room, creating a welcoming space in which to showcase its wines.

Italian-born Alberto Bottega is the patriarch of Bottega Family Wine, which consists of Whalehaven in Hermanus and Idiom Fine Wine on Sir Lowry’s Pass. He is charming, and explained that his daughter Sylvana is in charge of Marketing since they bought the winery eleven years ago, but that she is based in Johannesburg as the CEO of the Southern Africa Luxury Association. Alberto pops in at the boutique winery regularly, to Whalehaven Alberto Botega Whale Cottage Porfoliocheck that all is in order.  The winemaker is Reino Thiart, while Naomi Herbst is the Tasting Room Manager.

The Whalehaven range currently consists of Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Viognier Chardonnay 2012, Chardonnay 2011, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010, Pinot Noir 2010, Merlot 2010, Cabernet Franc (more…)

Creation wines Whale Cottage Portfolio (2)I last visited Creation more than two years ago, when I wrote a story about the Hermanus Wine Route, which had been launched in 2011.   Since then a number of changes have taken place,  new chef Warwick Taylor offering even more heavenly food to match the heavenly Creation wines, living up to promise made in the Tasting Menu heading: ‘Original, distinctive flavours. Exceptional, harmonious matches’!  

The road to travel to Creation was never in great condition, having been a gravel road 7 km before the entrance to the wine estate.  They were very excited when the Western Cape province announced the tarring of the road to Caledon, and 3 km of the untarred section had been tarred when the construction contractor went bankrupt, a huge frustration for Creation.  A number of months have gone by while the province appointed a new contractor, and work has finally commenced again, it taking ten months for the road to be completed, owner JC Martin estimated.  The road currently is in a worse condition than it was on our last visit, in terms of its surface, with more accidents on the road, and having a stop/go system in place.  Co-owner Carolyn Martin said she is placing pressure on the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle to get things moving.  Creation will have to possibly change its entrance once the tarring is complete.  Despite the poor condition of the road, it was a surprise to see the car park at Creation completely full, Carolyn’s marketing of their wines and the Tasting Room being so excellent that tourists as well as Johannesburg and Pretoria locals come anyway.

I thought I had arrived without being recognised, but Carolyn had seen me (I was sitting with myCreation JC Martin Whale Cottage Portfolio back to the desk) and she called JC to come and say hello.  JC was busy in the cellar with the preparation for the start of the harvest the following day, but made time to chat, reflecting how good they are in connecting with their customers (we stock their Whale Pod range) and visitors.  JC said that the harvest is only 3 – 4 days later than last year after the wet winter, and that they have some botrytis, which his staff is picking out.  He expected the harvest to take a little longer this year, being 3 – 4 weeks, depending on the weather.  He shook his head, almost in disbelief, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Chapman’s Peak has re-opened, while  the Franschhoek Pass remains closed, reports Kfm News. (update: The Franschhoek Pass was re-opened today)

*   Signal Hill in Cape Town may have a controlled access system between 22h00 and 5h00, to control crime during the evening.

*   The 2013 Sustainable Tourism Marketing Guide is about to be published, co-sponsored by Cape Town Tourism.

*   Travelers in the UK, USA, and Australia use a mix of e-mails (for reminders), mobile apps, and online (to make bookings) before, during, and after their holiday. Surprising is that 70% switch off whilst on holiday, especially the UK tourists.  Most of those sharing their holiday information and photographs do so when they return from their holiday.

*   BA is introducing more flights between Cape Town and London for the (more…)

Seafood at The Marine interior Whale Cottage PortfolioAfter seeing a Tweet by The Collection by Liz McGrath Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff about the new interior of SeaFood at The Marine earlier this week, I decided to lunch there yesterday, being in Hermanus for the day.  It was a most disappointing experience, given the five star and Relais & Chateaux status of the hotel.

The Marine hotel has a long heritage and was bought by Mrs McGrath a number of years ago. and sat on its own on the cliffs overlooking Walker Bay, technically a magnificent location, but little is made of the beautiful view.  A recent flurry of development across the road from the hotel has given it a lift.  Mrs McGrath appears to be like Le Quartier Français owner Susan Huxter who renovates her establishment annually.  Mrs McGrath did the latest interior design of SeaFood at The Marine, her staff told me.  The colour scheme now is grey, with grey chairs, grey tables, and grey (more…)

In 10 weeks we will know who our own MasterChef SA Season 2 winner is.  We are curious to hear who our readers think will become MasterChef SA Season 2, and why.

We ask you to send your nominations with a motivation via Comment to this Blog (please add your name and surname and e-mail address).  To thank you for your input, we will award one lucky reader a complimentary weekend of your choice location at one of our Whale Cottages in Camps Bay, Hermanus, or Franschhoek, subject to availability and inclusive of breakfast, but exclusive of other meals and transport, out of all of those entries correctly predicting the winner of MasterChef SA. (more…)

Hermanus is synonymous with the annual Whale Festival.  This year it is laying on a 10-day Hermanus FynArts festival, a feast of the visual arts, classical music, jazz, literature, wines, and gourmet food, a fusion of Art Festival and Winter School in a town that has long been known for being home to many leading artists. It will run from 7 – 16 June.

Over the ten days entertainment will be offered over the two weekends, while on weekdays one can attend courses and workshops on photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, writing, cooking, and viticulture.  Top sculptor Dylan Lewis will exhibit his work outside the Marine Hotel and will host a talk about his work, interviewed by leading writer Christopher Hope, one of the co-founders of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Land sculptor Strijdom van der Merwe, and co-owner of Stellenbosch restaurant Casparus, will host a photographic exhibition of his work, with a talk.  Guy du Toit’s ‘Talking Hares’ will be on show at Sumaridge wine estate. Jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, photography and film will be exhibited.  Ceramicists include Clementina van der Walt, Hennie Meyer, and Tania Babb, with Ardmore Ceramics exhibiting at the Marine Hotel.  A National Art Competition will run alongside the festival, sponsored by the SA National Space Agency.  A talk will focus on JH Pierneef, one of our country’s best artists ever.

Vintage South African movies will be screened, as well as classic Hollywood movies, in the Romantiques vintage shop.

A number of the wine farms on the impressive Hermanus Wine Route (including Hamilton Russell, Creation, Newton Johnson, Ataraxia, La Vierge, and Bouchard Finlayson), as well as the art galleries in the town will host an art exhibition, and will offer special events.   During the festival, concerts will take place at lunchtimes in the Anglican Church; high teas will be available at the town’s coffee shops at 15h00 each day; wine tasting and food and wine pairing can be enjoyed on the wine farms and at the town’s restaurants, with Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris and Eat Out Top 10 Chef Peter Tempelhoff cooking a dinner on 7 June; guided walks in Fernkloof nature reserve will be offered; and one can enjoy a ‘virtual tour‘ of South African wines.

The Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will perform in the Hawston Hall in celebration of Youth Day, and UCT Head of the Opera School Professor Angelo Gobbato will talk about opera, and one of his talks will focus on ‘Celebrating Verdi’. There will be opera recitals too, including by Gobbato!  Singer Zanne Stapelberg and Kathleen Tagg (South African pianist now based in New York) will perform ‘Soul of Fire’.  Well-loved conductor Richard Cock will be in attendance, and the baroque Camerata Tinta Barocca will perform.

To allow a feast of ‘fine living’ without concern for drinking and driving, a hop-on hop-off bus will take festival goers to the wine estates as well as to the venues in the town.  Booking opens today.

Hermanus FynArts 2013. Hermanus Tourism Bureau.  www.hermanusfynarts.co.za

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