Before arriving in Buenos Aires on this my second visit to the city, I had not prepared for my visit from a wine perspective, my main goal in spending a month in Argentina being to learn to dance the Tango. I have planned to visit Mendoza, renowned for its Malbec, have attended a wine tasting and food pairing evening at COWI in Buenos Aires, drunk three wines at the dinner at Buenos Aires’ Tegui, 86th Best Restaurant in the World, one wine at Don Julio, the 34th Best Restaurant in the World and Best in Argentina, and two wines at dinner at 1884 Restaurant in Mendoza. I have summarised my initial knowledge about the wine industry of Argentina, the fifth largest in the world, to which I have added some research information too. Continue reading →
On Friday a group of writers was invited on behalf of Holden Manz, by its marketing consultant Tanya Fourie. We were taken on a tour of the Holden Manz wine cellar, tasted its latest wine vintages, introduced to the new Holden Manz Chenin Blanc to be launched soon, and spoilt with an excellent lunch prepared by Chef Ricardo Le Roux and paired with some of the Holden Manz wines. Continue reading →
Once a year Blaauwklippen invites writers to attend a Zinfandel tasting, followed by a lunch. Last Thursday the focus for the tasting was Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Noble Late Harvest, held at the Cape Grace hotel. The launch of Triple Three Distillers Cut gin towards the end of the lunch will be covered in a stand-alone Blogpost, linked to a Triple Three gin tasting held at OpenWine on Monday.
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At the conclusion of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference held at Spier over the past two days, the seven South African winners of the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards were announced. Continue reading →
Chef Michael Deg of Delaire Graff Restaurant must be a happy man, with the news that the restaurant has been named the Best Winelands Restaurant in our country, in the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards!
The news must be even more joyous for Chef Michael, given that he was excluded from the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Continue reading →
New winemaker Gielie Beukes met the media for the first time at the function, having started at Doolhof last September. He comes across as a little shy in speaking, but his confidence will grow. I was lucky in sitting next to him, so could obtain more information from him after he introduced us to his range of wines, just after General Manager Johan Fourie welcomed us. Gielie handled all aspects of the 2015 harvest for the first time, which meant that some of the wines we tasted (2014 and older) had been overseen by Rianie Strydom, who consults to the wine estate. Gielie moved across from Schalkenbosch, in Tulbagh, having previously worked harvests in Bordeaux and Napa, and having worked at Glen Carlou and La Motte. Gielie announced that they are discontinuing their Shiraz, and will sell off their grapes of this variety. They have also discontinued their Wooded Chardonnay, in a move to consolidate their range. Gielie shared with me that doing harvests in different countries was an immense learning experience, the French looking for optimum ripeness when picking grapes, while the Americans look for premium ripeness, picking grapes at an almost over-ripe state. Gielie is not only the winemaker, but has also been appointed as the Estate Manager. Continue reading →
* ‘The Bachelor’ Australia is featuring Cape Town (with Table Mountain), the Winelands, and Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the last two episodes of the dating series, in which bachelor Blake Garvey shows the final three dates the beauty of the Cape. The series has been produced by Channel Ten in Australia, in conjunction with the Australia country office of SA Tourism. The publicity shot appears to have been taken at Delaire Graff. Three complete series of ‘Der Bachelor‘ Germany have been shot in Camps Bay in the past three years.
* A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Brazil and South Africa last week, to enhance the tourism relationship between the two countries. Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom visited Sao Paulo to attend the opening of the new SA Tourism office in that city, and to visit the ABAV Travel Tradeshow. Brazil is the last of the BRICS countries with which South Africa has signed such a Memorandum of Understanding. Last year tourism from South Africa grew by 8%, and from Brazil close to 6%.
* South African winemakers are getting younger, writes Wall Street Journal‘s Will Lyons, agreeing with UK wine writer Continue reading →
* On Freedom Day President Jacob Zuma bestowed a number of awards upon South Africans as well as some international recipients, for their contribution to our country. Sadly many of the awards were made posthumously. The recipients included Caster Semenya (Bronze Order of Ikhamanga), Cameron van der Burgh (Silver Order of Ikhamanga), Fanie van der Merwe (Silver Order of Ikhamanga), Zakes Mda (Silver Order of Ikhamanga), Sandra Prinsloo (Silver Order of Ikhamanga), Raymond Ackerman (Silver Order of the Baobab), Chris Ball (Silver Order of the Baobab), Alex Boraine (Silver Order of the Baobab), Frederick van Zyl Slabbert (Silver, Order of the Baobab, posthumous), Lord Richard Attenborough (Silver Order of the Companions of OR Tambo), Danny Glover (Silver Order of the Companions of OR Tambo), and Quincy Jones (Silver Order of the Companions of OR Tambo).
* American tour operators are seeing a shift of bookings to South Africa, due to the weak Rand, comparing the cost of a top end ‘five star’ meal in our country to the price one would pay for a meal at McDonalds in the USA, and praising the price of the good value ‘world class wines’ locally compared to those from Napa.
While Vergelegen may have been disappointed in not scoring a 5 star wine at the Platter’s South African Wines 2014 on Friday evening, the wine estate must have been in seventh heaven to have done so well at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards for South Africa, for which the winners were announced on Thursday at a gala dinner in the Napa Valley. Vergelegen won in the Arts and Culture as well as in the Restaurant categories, and performed well in four further categories. The award-winning performance makes Vergelegen the South African Best of Wine Tourism winner for the third time, having last won in 2009.
In addition to winning two categories outright, Vergelegen came second in four out of a total of seven categories: Architecture and Landscapes, Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices, and Wine Tourism Service. It is Camphors at Vergelegen, one of two restaurants on the wine estate (with Stables at Vergelegen Bistro, a more casual daytime restaurant), that is recognised in the Restaurant award. The seventh category (Accommodation) was not entered, as this service is not offered.
Vergelegen joins nine other winelands region winners this year:
* Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco in Rioja, a museum and winery complex, celebrated for its Enoturismo y Experiencias that offers a wide range of exhibitions, courses and other innovative experiences
* Château de Rouillac, that dates back to the 19th century when it Continue reading →
* Angola and Nigeria will be the two African countries on which Wines of South Africa (WOSA) will focus its attention, says new CEO Siobhan Thompson
* Jancis Robinson chose two South African cultivars, out of a total of seven, at a New York tasting of ‘unusual grape varieties that typify an ongoing trend in wine to re-visit traditional grapes in their historical homes around the world‘, being Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
* The price of petrol has decreased by 28 cents a liter.
* Huffington Post Travel recommends ten wine destinations around the world, and includes ‘Cape Town’, but elaborates that the Cape Winelands is meant, and Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek in particular. Groot Constantia is recommended for a visit. The other destinations are the Yarra Valley in Australia, Napa and Sonoma in the USA, Okanagan in Canada, Bordeaux in France, Finger Lakes in the USA, Mendoza in Argentina, Willamette Valley in the USA, Tuscany in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.
* New World wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa make up 30% of world wine exports, states the Morgan Stanley report.