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 →
Yesterday the 2017 Winemag.co.za Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report awards were presented at the colorful The Stack, a well attended function, and offering good lighting for photography. Winemag goes to great lengths to find interesting venues to host its awards. It is the sixth Cabernet Sauvignon Report presented by Winemag.
Continue reading →
Yesterday I attended the Winemag.co.za 10 Year Wine Awards at Magica Roma in Pinelands, and 19 wines (six white wines, ten red wines, and three fortified wines) scored 90 points or more. Tokara won the most awards, with three of the 19 awards collected by its GM Karl Lambour. Tokara Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2007 and Nuy Muscadel 2007 were the highest scoring wines, at 94 points out of 100. Continue reading →
It being Women’s Month, the invitation to Dr Riana Hall of Rudera Wines to present her wines to and pair them with dinner at Azure restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa on Friday evening was a perfect match.
Many of the Azure tables were booked for the food and wine pairing Continue reading →
* The Design Indaba has announced that it will eliminate the Design Indaba Expo, largely due to the large drop in attendance this year, reaching the 2009 attendance level. The venue of the Design Indaba conference will change to Artscape, and the date will move from the last weekend in February. Owner Ravi Naidoo would like to take the event to Johannesburg and Durban too, as well as internationally.
On Thursday afternoon we were invited to attend the annual presentation of the results of the fourth Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, held at Burrata at an unusual 15h30 start time. Thirteen wines were scored at 90 or more points out of 100, and Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was rated the top, out of 60 invited entries.
We were welcomed with a glass of water, and jokingly Christian Eedes opened the proceedings with an explanation for the tableclothless tables, the water we were served, and the pizzas to come. His former sponsor Sanlam had dropped him, he explained, and hence the austerity of the Continue reading →
The 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, and 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 Continue reading →
On Saturday I was introduced to De Brasserie in Strand by Annette Beller-Sogor, whom I had met at an art exhibition recently and who lives in Gordon’s Bay. She raved about the excellence of the restaurant, and mentioned that it is owned by the Belgian wine family Van Almenkerk from Elgin. We found an unexpected European haven in a most unlikely town!
It was the most beautiful clear day, with the snow capped mountains of Somerset West visible from Beach Road. False Bay looked flat and one could even see Cape Point, the raised former Kaapzicht restaurant offering an excellent view. The restaurant exterior looks very modern from outside, but the restaurant name could be difficult to read, being partially blocked by beams. In smaller type size it states ‘Est 2012 by Almenkerk’, which one cannot read from the road. Having booked last minute, we were seated at the bar counter first, but were promised a table as soon as one became available.
De Brasserie is Joep van Almenkerk, who is a most amazing host, friendly, attractive, charming, attentive, and he makes one feel that he knew what was happening at each table, and that he made every Continue reading →
The pioneering Stellenbosch Wine Route, founded in 1971 by winemakers Frans Malan of Simonsig, Neil Joubert of Spier, and Spatz Sperling of Delheim, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an extensive wine and food feast and fest from 28 – 31 July. The Route has established itself not only as one with the largest number of outstanding wine farms of the 18 wine routes in the country, representing 18% of all vines planted in South Africa, but also with the largest collection of outstanding restaurants in South Africa, Stellenbosch now wearing the Gourmet Capital crown.
The trio which established the Stellenbosch Wine Route was inspired by the wine route Routes de Vins at Morey St Denis in Burgundy, the late Frans Malan and Neil Joubert returning from their 1969 trip and connecting with Spatz Sperling to establish the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the first wine tourism activity in our country. I was delighted to meet Spatz Sperling (who celebrated his 81st birthday last week) and his wife Vera, as well as daughter Nora and son Victor on their Delheim wine farm recently. To create the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the founding wine farmers had to overcome red tape and bureaucracy, and even had to have wine legislation rewritten to accommodate the new Stellenbosch Wine Route. Meals were not allowed to be served at wine estates, and bottled wine could not be sold from a winery in those days.
The renamed Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes has 147 wine farms, making it the largest wine route in our country, but also is the only one to celebrate its assets with the Stellenbosch Wine Festival for the 10th year running. Not focusing exclusively on wines, food has been added to the Festival. Celebrity chefs from Towerbosch Earth Kitchen, The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, The Restaurant at Waterkloof, and De Volkskombuis (the oldest restaurant in Stellenbosch) will be cooking in the Gourmet Lane at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival venue of Paul Roos Centre in Stellenbosch. Presentations at the Clover Demo Kitchen will be done by outstanding photographer Russell Wasserfall with his wife Camilla on ‘Home Entertaining at its Best’ in conjunction with De Meye wines; by @KitchenVixen Bianca du Plessis, who reviews restaurants on the Expresso Show; by wine PRO Emile Joubert with wine writer Neil Pendock; by chef George Jardine of Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine on ‘Cheese if you Please’; and by Chef Greg Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof, who celebrates the ‘French Connection’.
The Stellenbosch Wine Festival has been stretched out into the Stellenbosch Wine Week, which commenced on Friday, and continues until Sunday. During the Stellenbosch Wine Week one can enjoy dinner with the Warwick family, a fundraising concert at Delheim, vertical tastings of Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel, vintage tastings of Scintilla Cap Classiques at the House of JC le Roux, a salt pairing with Fleur du Cap wines by Sofia chef Craig Cormack, a food and wine pairing dinner at Neethlingshof with Katinka van Niekerk, paired venison carpaccio with Vergenoegd wines, blend and bottle one’s own Cape Blend at Clos Malverene, enjoy free winetastings in the Waterkloof Tasting Room, vertical tasting of Kanonkop wines followed by a snoek braai, vintage and barrel tastings of Jan Boland Coetzee’s Vriesenhof wines, tasting with David Trafford of his De Trafford wines, taste rare Cabernet Sauvignon vintages at Le Riche, wine and venison pairing at Middelvlei, picnics at Chabivin with Champagnes and Cap Classique tastings, art-house films screened at Le Bonheur, ‘Dine and 30 Seconds’ dinners at Uitkyk, and participate in a chipping competition at Ernie Els Wines,
A new feature of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival will be a MCC Lounge, in which Simonsig Estate, which created South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique Kaapse Vonkel, Villiera, Mooiplaas, Longridge, Spier, and Pongrácz will be presenting their MCC’s, paired with oysters and other delicacies.
We wrote last year that the Stellenbosch Wine Route should create the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route, and while they have not yet done so, we have created it on this Blog nevertheless, and in honour of the cuisine excellence in Stellenbosch, list from it the restaurants on wine farms in Stellenbosch:
* Rust en Vrede – named the best restaurant in the country in 2010 by Eat Out, a slick operation, previously with talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate. Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009, and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World – read the review here. Tel (021) 881-3881
* Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve. On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010. Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here. Tel (021) 880-2721
* Terroir is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list, with Chef Michael Broughton. The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day. Tel (021) 880-8167
* Delaire at Delaire Graff – no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection. Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work and good service. Read our review here. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Indochine at Delaire Graff- is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant. Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges. He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally. Read our review. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine – a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality. Set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, it overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife. Interior functional. Most beautiful and unique ”bread” plate ever seen. Read the review. Tel (021) 881-3612
* The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe – set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise. The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats. Read the Review. Tel (021) 881-3746
* Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics are a great hit in summer. Winter Tapas menu – read the picnic review here. Tel (021) 884-3144
* Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here. Tel (021) 808-5950
* Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg. Tel (021) 809-1188
* Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street – belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well. Wine shop to come. Tel 082 697 0870
* Pane E Vino – this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing. Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too. Good Italian fare. Tel (021) 883-8312
* Bodega @Dornier – Tel (021) 880-0557
* Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – interesting modernist Cape Dutch interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Impressive quality food, tableware, stemware, napery, and service. Tel (021) 888-4932
* Tokara – Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara to open Casparus on Dorp Street, and Richard Carstens has stepped into the kitchen, cooking up a storm as South Africa’s Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame. Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.
* Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate, designed by Neil Stemmet. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate. Read the review. Tel (021) 865-2114.
* Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on LongridgeWinery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant. Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa. Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines. Read the review. Tel (021) 855-2004
* Delheim restaurant – read about the visit during the Delheim Nouvelle Mushroom Week earlier this month. Tel (021) 888-4600
* The Table at De Meye opened in September, and won the Eat Out Best Country-Style Award in November. It is only open for Friday. Saturday and Sunday lunches.
Stellenbosch Wine Festival, 28 – 31 July. Paul Roos Centre, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 886-4310. www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za. Book www.webtickets.co.za. Entry R120 on-line, R140 at door. R350 for a pass for entry over the whole period of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Not only is the 2011 edition of Platter’s South African Wines grass green in colour, but it also focuses on sustainability in the guide by highlighting the work by organisations and individuals in protecting and restoring the environment, and in promoting biodiversity. Each of the invited guests at the launch function received their guide in a lively new multi-coloured carry-bag which Woolworths is selling, to educate wine drinkers about responsible wine production and drinking.
Launching the 31st edition of Platter’s at Capelands in Somerset West yesterday afternoon, publisher Andrew McDowell said that 6500 wines had been evaluated sighted from 800 producers, and the highest number of 5-stars ever was awarded to 58 wines. The short-list of wines was tasted unsighted, and resulted in the final list of 5-star wines. The Red Wine of the Year was voted as De Trafford Shiraz 2008, described by the judges as “pure hedonism and promising outstanding development over the next decade”. White Wine of the Year was Fleur du Cap’s Bergkelder Selection Noble Late Harvest 2009, made from chenin blanc in the main, and was described as “arresting, with astounding balance of ripe fruit and crisp acidity”. Superquaffer of the Year, offering outstanding value, was Nederburg Lyric 2010, a blend of chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, described as “a celebration of fruit and a delightful demonstration of how well the three varieties can work together”.
The Platter’s Winery of the Year went to Nederburg, in recognition of a ‘winery (which) stood head and shoulders above the rest’. The winery won eighteen 5-star ratings in eleven editions, and five 5-star wines in the new edition. Cellarmaster Razvan Macici was delighted to receive this prestigious honour, particularly as he is celebrating his 10th anniversary at Nederburg.
The 5-star rated wines are the following, by variety (* denotes first-ever 5-star rating):
Cabernet Sauvignon: Boekenhoutskloof 2009, Delaire Graff Reserve 2008*, Kanonkop 2007, Klein Constantia 2008, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2007, Le Riche CWG Auction Reserve 2007
Grenache: Neil Ellis Vineyard Selections 2008
Pinot Noir: Meerlust 2008, Newton Johnson Domaine 2009
Pinotage: Beyerskloof Diesel 2008
Shiraz: Boschendal Cecil John Reserve 2008, Eagles’ Nest 2008, Haskell Pillars 2008, Rijk’s Private Cellar 2005, Saxenburg Select Unlimited Release 2006
Merlot: Shannon Mount Bullet 2008*
Red Blends: Ernie Els Signature 2007, Graham Beck Ad Honorem 2007, Hartenberg The Mackenzie Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007, Nederburg Ingenuity Red 2007, Reyneke Reserve Red 2007*, Spier Frans K. Smit 2006, Vergelegen Red 2005
Chardonnay: Groot Constantia Gouverneurs 2009, Julien Schaal 2009*, Mulderbosch 2008, Rustenberg Five Soldiers 2008
Chenin Blanc: Botanica 2009*, StellenRust ’45’ Barrel Fermented 2009*
Grenache Blanc: The Foundry 2009
Sauvignon Blanc: Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2010, Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2009, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2009, The Berrio 2009, Zevenwacht 360º 2009*
White Blends: Cape Point Isliedh 2009, Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho 2009*, Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2009*, Nederburg Ingenuity White 2009, Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay Private Bin D253 2009, Rall White 2009, Sadie Family Palladius 2009, Steenberg Magna Carta 2009, Steenberg CWG Auction Reserve The Magus 2009, Strandveld Adamastor 2009*, Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2009
MÃ©thode Cap Classique: Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008*, Villiera Monro Brut 2005
Dessert Wine, Unfortified: Fairview Le Beryl Blanc 2009, Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2006, Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2009, Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 2009
Port: Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2008, De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2008, De Krans Cape Tawny NV, JP Bredell Cape Vintage Reserve 2007
The Woolworths Biodiversity & Wine Initiative bags depict colourful images of wine glasses, bottles and proteas, and the logo of the World Wildlife Fund’s Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI). Wording on the bags encourages sustainability: “Support conservation in the Winelands; look out for our wines displaying this label…Get the latest project information by writing www.bwi.co.za”; “Woolworths supports the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. The Cape Winelands is home to more plant species than are found in the entire northern hemisphere, with 70 % of these plants found nowhere else in the world. The Cape Floral Kingdom is recognised as a World Heritage Site”. Attached to the bag is a BWI brochure, which explains the importance of ‘production integrity and environmental sustainability”, lists the members of the BWI, and salutes the BWI “Champions”: Backsberg, Bartinney, Burgherspost, Cederberg, Cloof, Delheim, Eikenhof, Graham Beck, Hermanuspietersfontein, Klein Constantia, La Motte, Lourensford, Oak Valley, Paul Cluver, Schalkenbosch, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, Waverley Hills, and Wedderwill. Woolworths encourages wine drinkers to look for wines carrying the BWI logo on the back labels of its wines.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage