Yesterday I attended the Media Launch of the Leeu Estates new Afternoon Tea, which had been created by Leeu Collection Executive Chef South Africa Oliver Cattermole, and brand new Group Pastry Chef Martin Senekal. Continue reading →
Last week was a lucky week of spoiling, which included staying over at Leeu Estates outside Franschhoek, the signature local accommodation property in the Leeu Collection. The variety of local artwork, and top name artists, makes Leeu Estates an art gallery within a hotel! Continue reading →
Last week we attended the tasting of the latest Stellenbosch Hills vintages at the very rustic Panama Jacks, a restaurant most of us had been to in the past, in a time band of 15 – 25 years ago. The attendance was excellent, probably due to the length of time which we had last been to the restaurant. Continue reading →
On Wednesday I attended the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Association Top 10 Challenge award presentation at Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch, at the invitation of Waterford Communications. Continue reading →
Yesterday I attended the Chenin Blanc Showcase at the Cape Grace Hotel, a presentation of 44 wines segmented into six categories. Continue reading →
Yesterday 30 or so writers, mostly from Cape Town, dedicated a full 10 hour day to travel to Graham Beck Wines in Robertson, to celebrate its 25 year Silver Jubilee with a vertical tasting of more than 25 Cap Classiques and base wines which go into the making of the Graham Beck range of MCCs. The event was also a salute to Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, in having worked at Graham Beck for 25 years already.
Always organised, PR consultant Nicolette Waterford had organised a Le Quartier Français snack pack with water and juice for us for the two-hour bus trip. We arrived to a misty day in Robertson, but the day became sunny and warm. We were welcomed by the Graham Beck staff, and by Pieter with his trademark bubbly shirt in particular, and it felt a lot like Pieter’s ‘birthday’ party (he did recently celebrate a special milestone birthday). Continue reading →
Blaauwklippen launched the tenth Zinfandel-inspired product in its range last week at a lunch held at Blues restaurant in Camps Bay, the new Diva Zinfandel MCC 2013 being the first made with this grape varietal in our country. Only two others are made with Zinfandel, in California, we were told by Rolf Zeitvogel, Cellar Master and MD of Blaauwklippen. The launch of Blaauwklippen Diva MCC 2013 forms part of the wine estate’s celebration of its 333rd anniversary this year.
Blues has operated in Camps Bay for more than 25 years, and was a
clever choice in ‘pairing’ the two ‘blue’ brand names. It was a perfect summer day, and we were welcomed on the terrace with canapés of chicken liver paté, and mushroom with truffle oil bruschetta on the Continue reading →
Friday’s 31st Blaauwklippen Blending Competition event was not only a celebration of the enthusiasm and skills of wine clubs around the country, but also of the rejuvenation of Blaauwklippen, with a number of changes made with a new Tasting Room venue, the addition of a new Bistro with a new champion for it, a new Spirits Room, and a redecorated entrance and cellar function room. The Blending Competition made history with its most unusual outcome.
We were welcomed on a perfect function weather day on the lawn between the Tasting Room and the Manor House and Jonkershuis, a space I had never seen before. We were served Blaauwklippen’s Ons Sprankel wine, and canapés made by new Blaauwklippen Bistro owner and charcutier Steve Jeffery. They were served by dapper looking waitresses, wearing Bistro black outfits and cheeky hats, looking smarter than most restaurant staff I have seen in a long time. They offered platters of spinach and feta phyllo pastry parcels, and mozzarella pesto roulades, which doubled up as the starters (I did not see the third canapé specified on the menu). Natalie Campbell told me that the Manor House is used for conferences and weddings, while the Jonkershuis is used for staff accommodation.
I had a chance to chat to Steve before we sat down, and he told me that he has been at the Old Biscuit Mill for the past nine years, selling his charcuterie products, having had a stand at Blaauwklippen’s Market at one stage too. Rolf and Steve had been talking for about two years about doing something jointly, and Continue reading →
One acclaimed winemaker, one Stellenbosch cellar, two brands, both Bordeaux blends, but vastly different and each unique. So the two brands Van Biljon CINQ 2011 and Keet First Verse 2010 were presented to more than 30 wine writers at Aubergine Restaurant on Friday last week.
Chris Keet started off as winemaker at Delheim, and then moved to Delaire. This was followed by 15 years at Cordoba Wines. When he left Cordoba in 2008, he decided to offer his services as a wine consultant. He made his own wine under the Keet Wines name in 2009, and has just released the 2010 vintage. Chris said his Bordeaux blend First Verse consists of 32% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec. The wine was matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. Chris buys in his grapes from some of his clients as well as from other farms in the Helderberg, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Mountain, and Polkadraai Hills, and hopes to buy some grapes from Van Biljon Wines in future, he shared. In Platter he and his 4,5* 2009 First Verse wine is described as follows by reviewer Tim James: ‘Unusually for a top Bordeaux blend, he uses little new oak- it’s part of the unshowy Keet style’. Keet achieved 5 stars in Platter for his 2010 vintage. Keet is not only highly regarded as a very competent winemaker, but also as a viticulturist and oenologist. Only 6000 bottles of First Verse have been made, and cost R320 each. Continue reading →
Yesterday we attended the Chenin Blanc Winter Showcase, held at Delaire Graff, at which 22 Chenin Blanc wines were presented for tasting. The feedback was that Chenin Blanc is ‘flying‘, and the recent announcement that Standard Bank is sponsoring the Association has added a lot of confidence for both the producers and even drinkers of Chenin Blanc. It was commented that the Chenin Blanc Association is the leader relative to other varietal associations in our country. Chenin Blanc is not only the largest wine cultivar in South Africa, but also is the ‘most dynamic wine category’ in South Africa, said Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association.
Standard Bank was visible through its branding on banners, pens, note pads, and tasting note sheets. CEO Ben Kruger, head of Business Banking in the Western Cape Willie du Plessis, and Western Cape marketing executive Ntombi Kulati attended too. The total value of the sponsorship is R1,2 million over a three year period, starting at R300000 this year, and growing by R100000 each year. The contract contains an option to renew the sponsorship. The marketing muscle of the bank was seen as the major benefit for the Association’s winemakers, whose brands are likely to receive far more visibility in future. The sponsorship also contains prize monies for an annual Chenin Blanc competition, the top ten Chenin Blanc winemakers being rewarded with a R20000 prize each, which is to go to the development of their staff. Continue reading →