Tag Archives: Perdeberg

Veritas Awards: KWV, Spier, and Nederburg lead the ‘Oscars of the SA wine industry’!

Veritas Wine top achieversKWV, Spier, and Nederburg are our country’s top three wine estates based on the number of Double Gold and Gold Awards they received at the 2014 Veritas Awards Gala Dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday evening, making up almost half the 51 Double Gold awards. The Veritas Awards are viewed as the ‘Oscars of the South African wine industry‘, with close to 1800 wines entered, a slight decrease on the number of 2013 entries.

KWV was announced as the Best Wine Producer for the fourth year running, and increased its Double Gold awards from four last year to seven this year.  KWV also won 2 Double Golds for its Brandy.  Spier has greatly enhanced its Veritas performance, with 7 Double Gold awards, compared to only one last year. Nederburg increased its Double Gold tally from four last year to six.  Flagstone won Best Performer in the less than 10 wines entered category, and the KWV won in the 11+ wines entered category.

Four wine industry legends Danie de Wet of De Wetshof, Diaan de Villiers, Professor Diko van Zyl (author of historical works on Continue reading →

Chenin Blanc Association announces 2014 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge winners!

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Logo Whale CottageThe inaugural Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge winners were announced yesterday at a cosy function on a wet Winelands day at the ever smart Delaire Graff.  The function and competition, combined with the recent three-year sponsorship by Standard Bank of the Chenin Blanc Challenge, are giving Chenin Blanc the recognition it deserves, said Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association.  ‘Chenin Blanc is a wine whose time has come’, he said,Chenin Blanc Top 10 Ken Forrester Whale Cottage adding that ‘Chenin Blanc is THE white wine of South Africa‘!

A total of 126 wines was entered for the Challenge, and assessed blind by a panel of judges which included chairman Christian Eedes, Jamie Goode, Alan Mullins, Carrie Adams, and Higgo Jacobs. Interviews were conducted with the judges,  Allan Mullins of Woolworths saying that Chenin Blanc has been underrated for so long. He lauded Standard Bank for the support of the competition, and as Chenin Blanc drinks so well, it should be drunk by all.  It is a gem of a wine variety, and ranges in price between R25 – R 300 in retail outlets.   British wine writer Jamie Goode said that our country has a variety of Chenin Blanc styles, ‘ranging from the ‘VW Beetle to a ‘Rolls Royce’! Eedes said that he was honoured to chair the judging panel, and while he may be ‘shot down‘ for the results, having the auditors made the results indisputable. Out of the wine Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 25 August

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A Red Alert has been issued for Europe air travel, with the imminent eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland, the most serious alert indicating an expected ‘significant emission of ash into the atmosphere’.   Four years ago the Eyjafjallajokul volcano erupted, and caused international travel chaos, with 100000 flights cancelled at that time, threatening the arrival of passengers for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

*  Yesterday’s earthquake measuring 6,2 on the Richter scale has shaken San Francisco and Napa Valley, and is expected to have caused damage to bottles of wine in America’s prime winemaking region.

*   Sadly MasterChef SA Season 1 Top 4 Finalist Sarel Loots, better known by his Twitter handle @SarelvanSabie, passed away from a heart attack today.  In the last episode in which he appeared, he was described by the judges as having ‘a big heart’.

*   The 2014 SA Young Wine Show awards attracted 1972 entries. Trophies were Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 6 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The City of Cape Town has developed a new parking policy based on transport trends in Cape Town, including increasing numbers of delivery vehicles, and traffic congestion in peak times.  The City plans to discourage parking of 2 hours and longer, by encouraging parking outside the city centre and then to use a different form of transport (the MyCiTi Bus no doubt) to reach the city centre. Demand-based pricing is to be introduced, the bays in higher demand areas having higher charges, and higher demand times of the day attracting higher charges.   Smartcard payment is being considered yet again.  The cost of the first phase of the parking policy is R15 million.

*   SA Tourism is running a massive #MeetSouthAfrica blogger campaign at the moment, 14 local and international bloggers having arrived in Johannesburg last Friday, and heading in different directions in groups, to discover various parts of our country, until they meet up again in Durban at Indaba this coming weekend.

*   The Palm Beach Daily News has chosen Glenelly Lady May 2009, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot blend, as one of its ten top picks for the coming American summer season.  It is the only South African wine selected.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Risuna Mayimele as its Global Manager Communications. She previously Continue reading →

Chenin Blanc Winter Showcase: Chenin ‘most dynamic wine category’ in SA!

Chenin Winter Showcase Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday 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 →

Azure at 12 Apostles Hotel sparkles with flavourful food and summer spoiling!

12 Apostles Shell plate Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday was a picture perfect day to try out the new Summer menu of new Executive Chef Christo Pretorius at Azure restaurant at the 12 Apostles Hotel, at the invitation of its GM Horst Frehse.   The amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean is brought into the restaurant and reflects in the menu too.

Chef Christo was promoted when Chef Henrico Grobbelaar left the hotel to head up the kitchen at Equus restaurant at Cavalli Estate in Stellenbosch a few months ago.   He had previously worked at De Huguenot (no longer operating) with Chef Tanja Kruger, and at the Cape Royale before joining the 12 Apostles.  He travels overseas every year, to experience international cuisine. He acknowledged that he is nothing without his team, and that he delegates to his staff, mentors and trains them. 12 Apostles Chef Christo Whale Cottage PortfolioChef Christo focuses on ingredients that are seasonal, and sources them as locally as he can, the game coming from Uitenhage and Oudtshoorn.  Only green-listed SASSI fish is served.  He has a good relationship with his suppliers, and knows that they will assist him when he has urgent requests.  His focus at Azure is on ‘flavourful food‘.  Horst shared that they have had very good feedback about Chef Christo’s menu, and that the chef comes out of the kitchen as much as he can, to meet the guests and to obtain their feedback. Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Emily’s lost without Chef Peter Veldsman, has sold its soul to Coca Cola!

Emily's Interior 2 Whale Cottage Portfolio (2)Emily’s restaurant is 21 years old, and has recently opened at its third home on Kloof Street, having spent ten years each in Woodstock and in the V&A Waterfront.  The restaurant has lost all of its previous charm, and its main attraction (Chef Peter Veldsman) is nowhere to be seen.  It has sold its soul to Coca Cola, its branding seen throughout the restaurant, not befitting an establishment of the stature of Chef Peter and his partner Chef Johan Odendaal.

Chef Peter once was the most high profile food editor of Sarie magazine, and was known and loved by all, the doyen of food writers in his heyday. He has written eleven cookery books, and has contributed to many others too. He has won numerous food awards. He started the Culinary Arts Institute of Africa Restaurant School at the same time as opening Emily’s restaurant in Woodstock in 1994, long before the suburb became trendy, and it was extremely popular for a decade.  I remember its quirky decor, inside an attractive building, and being particularly popular amongst Afrikaans Capetonians, it being their first real Afrikaans restaurant.  Chef Johan ran the cookery school, and his students were the servers.

Surprisingly Emily’s moved to the V&A Waterfront, badly Continue reading →

Cape wine drinkers and restaurant-goers are misled by unethical ‘reviews’!

Tweeters are starting to express their frustration at being misled by two Cape Town based reviewers, Lionel Lelyveld, Tweeting about restaurants as @IntertwEAT, and Michael Olivier, Tweeting as @FoodWineGuru about wines.

What the two Tweeters have in common is that neither reveal to the readers of their blogs/websites nor in their Tweets (nor to the Fine Music Radio FMR listeners) that they have received their meals for free in the case of Lelyveld, and that the wine reviews are part of an advertising package offered by Olivier, showing that both the reviewers have no ethics in misleading their Twitter Followers and blog readers, and radio listeners.

Michael Olivier has been around for a while, and appears to have needed a new source Continue reading →

Chenin Blanc largest SA wine cultivar, one of least known by SA winedrinkers!

The Chenin Blanc Association hosted the ‘Cape Chenin Unveiled’ seminar at the One&Only Cape Town yesterday, and its main focus was the presentation of a comprehensive three year research project on South African Chenin Blanc wines, a tasting of twelve Chenin Blancs, and a pairing of five dishes at Nobu with fifteen Chenin Blancs.  The research presentation by Dr Hélène Nieuwoudt of the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch highlighted that despite Chenin Blanc being South Africa’s largest cultivar at 19% of production, it is one of the least known and understood by wine drinkers.

Dr Nieuwoudt related that scientific research was conducted between 2010 and earlier this year, at three levels: at the chemistry level, analyses were done on grapes, fermentation, and maturation; at the sensory level, the sensory intrinsics, taste and smell were evaluated; and at the consumer level, the perceptions and psychology of wine-drinking were analysed.  The research project has been conducted in conjunction with Stellenbosch University, Consumer Check (in Norway, Italy, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands), and Consumer Perception (in France and USA).  Chenin Blanc was one of the wine cultivars which was evaluated in the study.

The diversity of Chenin Blanc in its chemistry, sensory make-up and consumer perceptions led the researchers to conclude that Chenin Blanc suffers from a ‘confusion of style identity’, as to whether it is dry or off-dry. Seventy cellars making 170 wines were evaluated, and at the chemical level there was no obvious measurement of the chemistry of Chenin Blanc.  At the sensory level a database of descriptors was built up, and lemon, citrus, peach, pear, and apple were most often identified, and recorded in terms of number of mentions, but also their intensity.

Research conducted amongst 5261 consumers at the Johannesburg Wine Fair and Robertson Wine Fair found that Chenin Blanc has a ‘vague knowledge as a wine style’ amongst local consumers, with only 8% of all respondents interviewed knowing and understanding the cultivar. Chenin Blanc had a very low level of awareness amongst wine drinkers, which would result in a low likelihood of it being bought.  The research also showed that there is a confused segmentation of local Chenin Blancs, ranging from ‘fresh and fruity’ (and also less expensive) on one end of the spectrum, to the other end of the spectrum of ‘rich and ripe’, being the more expensive Chenin Blancs.  A spontaneous Liking score of 5,8 out of 10 increased to about 7 out of 10 when respondents were exposed to information about Chenin Blanc, showing that consumers need to be informed about Chenin Blanc, to improve their probability of buying it.  Dr Nieuwoudt said that consumers are becoming label readers in general, and suggested to Chenin Blanc producers that they evaluate how they are communicating the cultivar on their labels.

Ross Sleet summarised the research findings, and said that the Chenin Blanc Association had contributed financially to the research, to improve the ‘production of quality Chenin Blanc in South Africa.’  The Association wants to position Chenin Blanc as a ‘desirable drink‘, he added.  Whether ordered by the bottle or glass, Chenin Blanc is an excellent wine to pair with food. An ‘on-bottle device is being investigated to demonstrate the continuum of Chenin Blanc styles‘, said Sleet.

Jeff Grier, winemaker at Villiera, took the delegates through a wine tasting, segmented into ‘Fresh and Fruity’ and ‘Rich and Ripe‘ Chenin Blancs:

*   Fresh and Fruity: Perdeberg 2012, Slanghoek 2012, and Simonsig 2012 were the entry level Chenin Blancs, costing below R40, a price point which is excellent for younger drinkers.  These young drinkers will evolve into ‘Rich and Ripe’ drinkers over time.   Lutzville Diamond Collection 2011, Radford Dale Renaissance 2010, and Mulderbosch Small Change 2009 are lightly wooded, medium bodied, with minerality, and not too high in alcohol. The latter two wines cost around R200.

*   Rich and Ripe:   Spier 21 Gables 2010, Rudera Robusto 2009, and Rijk’s Reserve 2008 are wooded, while Remhoogte Honeybunch 2011, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2010, and Ken Forrester FMC 2010 are noble late harvest wines influenced by botrytis.  Generally these wines have more tropical fruit, and more yeast on the palate. The Rijk’s costs R170, the Ken Forrester FMC R325, and the other wines in this segment around R120.

Stellenbosch is associated with Chenin Blancs, and the majority of the wines selected for the tastings were from this region, reflecting that a large proportion of Chenin Blanc is made here, with low yields of 7 tons per hectare.  The Chenin Blanc Association was formed to collectively market the category, the ‘Fresh and Fruity’ Chenin Blanc brands being used to draw consumers into the category. Jeff warned that Chenin Blanc should not make a Chardonnay look-alike, given that international feedback reflects that our Chenin Blancs are excessively wooded. He recommended using bigger barrels, and coopers in Loire and Burgundy to help the ‘wooding’.

Ken Forrester is the Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, which is administered by Ina Smith.

At lunch at Nobu I was lucky to sit at what someone described as a ‘VIP table’, with Jeff Grier, Chenin Blanc Association founder and MW Irina von Holdt, Alan Mullins from Woolworths, wine writer Norman McFarlane, and Olivia Mitchell from garagiste Andy Mitchell in Greyton.  For each of the five courses, three Chenin Blancs were poured for pairing, the first 12 being the same Chenin Blancs we had tasted in the seminar. The Whitefish New-Style Sashimi with chives, ginger puree, garlic, and yuzu citrus soy sauce was paired with Perdeberg 2012, Slanghoek 2012, and Simonsig 2012.  The latter wine was found by our table to pair best.

This was followed by a Baby Spinach Salad with Lobster, a sprinkling of parmesan, and a drizzle of truffle oil and yuzu, which was paired with Lutzville 2011, Radford Dale Renaissance 2010, and Mulderbosch 2009.  The table found the Radford Dale to pair the best.  Shrimp Tempura Cut Roll was served with light soy, and was paired with Spier 21 Gables 2010, Rudera Robusto 2009, and Rijk’s Reserve 2008, the table choosing the Rudera as the most suitable Chenin Blanc to pair with the dish.  Irina von Holdt shared that Chenin Blanc is the ‘ultimate restaurant wine‘, she said, being so versatile.

Grilled salmon topped with a salmon skin crisp, served with brown rice salsa, with a light soy sauce, a jalapeno dressing, lemon juice and olive oil was paired with Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve 2011, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2010, and Ken Forrester FMC 2010, the Graham Beck found at our table to pair best.  The dessert was excellent, being a Passion fruit Brûlée served with coconut ice cream, and was paired with Villiera Inspiration 2010, Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest (NLH) 2008, and Joostenberg NLH 2005.  Jeff explained that the Villiera wine name came from a trip to France, which he and his team had won in a blending competition, where they tasted lots of Chenin Blanc and Noble Late Harvest, which was the inspiration for the creation of the Villiera.

The Nobu lunch demonstrated how well the spectrum of Chenin Blanc wines can be paired with foods, and will have gained Chenin Blanc producers a whole lot more fans.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of Villiera Chenin Blanc 2011.

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

Wine Tourism Handbook 2012: Enjoying wine at the source!

At the Bouchard Finlayson tasting at the Twelve Apostles Hotel last week ‘Wine Tourism Handbook’ publisher Monika Elias gave me a copy of her 2012 edition.  It is a very handy guide to the wine estates of the Western Cape in particular, but also in the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.  It is ideal for tourists wishing to get a quick overview of our wine routes and regions, and for staff working in the hospitality industry.

‘The Wine Tourism Handbook‘ introduces the topic by painting a picture of the 350 year history of South African wine, as well as the making of the first wines in the world up to 10000 years ago!  It tells the story of South African wine-making by Jan van Riebeeck, in February 1659 for the first time, the establishment of the KWV in 1918, the creation of Pinotage in 1941, and the launch of the first wine route, in Stellenbosch, in 1971. From these early beginnings South Africa has become the 7th largest wine producer in the world.  It addresses equitable issues of winemaking via Fairtrade, which promotes ‘greater equity for small producers in the international trading arena. The ethos of their work is that trading partnerships should be based on transparency, respect and a sustainable and ethical system of production and purchase’.   The growing trend to sustainability led to the development of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, with land of wine farms set aside for conservation, eradicating alien vegetation, and protecting endangered species such as the Cape Leopard, Geometric tortoise, the Cape Leopard toad, and the Riverine Rabbit.

A chapter is dedicated to winemaking, starting with viticulture, and describing the white and red wine making processes.  The value of the label, in communicating the region and farm from which the wine comes, the alcohol content, the vintage, the variety, the origin of the grapes is explained.  Details about the origin, cultivar and vintage are certified by a seal from the Wine and Spirit Board.  Just more than half of vines planted are for white wine production, and Chenin Blanc is the single largest varietal, at 20% of planting. The methods used to make Fortified wines, Rosés, and sparkling wines are also described.  A ‘South African Bubbly Route’ lists 69 producers of MCC sparkling wine. The best way to store wine is shared, and companies through which one can order South African wines in other countries are listed.

Brandy production is addressed separately to wine production, and the types of brandy, and tasting it, is covered.  Two Brandy Routes are described – the R62 Brandy Route, and the one including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington, and Elgin. Twenty brandy producers are listed.

Most of the book is dedicated to the wine routes of the Western Cape, categorised as Central Region, Inland, East Coast, and West Coast. The Central Region consists of Cape Town wine production in Constantia and Durbanville, and also in Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch Berg, Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Valley, Tulbagh and Wellington.  Advice is provided on getting around on the wine routes, and drinking and driving is strongly  advised against. Tour guides specialising in wine are recommended.  A Top 10 ‘Things to do’ list is presented, which includes lunch at Jordan wine estae, Staying in a tented camp at Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve, seeing a show and eating at Die Boer Theatre Restaurant, viewing the Hess Collection at the Glen Carlou art gallery, tasting Jorgensen Distillery’s ‘artisanal drinks’, visiting the first biodynamic farm Bloublommetjieskloof, making wine at Stellenrust, enjoying a braai at Midddelvlei, and going on a game drive at Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary.

Highlights of the Constantia Region include Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagle’s Nest, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg, and Cape Point Vineyards, and the restaurants La Colombe, Bistro Sixteen82, and Buitenverwachting.  Some top Durbanville wine estates include De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Meerendal, and Nitida.  The Franschhoek wine route includes Allée Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cape Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Morena, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Holden Manz, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, Stony Brook and Vrede en Lust. Restaurants on this Route include Pierneef à La Motte, Fyndraai, Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant, and Babel.  The Paarl wine route includes Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Fairview, Glen Carlou, KWV Wine Emporium, Laborie, Landskroon, Nederburg, Noble Hill Wines, Perdeberg Winery, Scali, Veenwouden, Val de Vie,  and Vondeling.

Stellenbosch is the oldest and largest wine region, and has a number oif wine routes. Some of the best known estates on these routes include Waterford, Blaauwklippen, De Trafford, Flagstone, Kleine Zalze, Neil Ellis, Stark-Condé, Beyerskloof, Hartenberg, Hazendal, Villiera, Delaire Graff, De Meye, Bartinney, Kanonkop, Mont Destin, Rustenberg, Slaley, Thelema, Tokara, Uitkyk, Warwick, Alto, Dombeya/Haskell, Graceland, Ken Forrester, Longridge, Rust en Vrede, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, De Toren, Dalla Cia, Jordan, Meerlust, Spier, and Vilafonté. Recommended restaurants are the Postcard Café, Terroir, Delaire Graff, Towerbosch, Overture, and Jordan Restaurant by George Jardine.

The Inland region consists of the Breedekloof, Klein Karoo (Boplaas is one of the best known), Swartland, Robertson (dominated by Graham Beck, but also with Zandvliet, De Wetshof, and Van Loveren being better known) and Worcester wine routes.  The Swartland wine route is growing in stature, and very fine wines are being made in this region, including Mullineux, Sadie, AA Badenhorst, and Allesverloren.

Agulhas and Elim (Jean Daneel and Raka are best known), Bot River (Beaumont is best known), Elgin (a wine route with increasing recognition for Almenkerk, Paul Cluver, Shannon, and Iona), and Walker Bay are the wine routes classified under East Coast in the book.  The new Hermanus Wine Route has excellent wineries, including Creation, Hermanuspietersfontein, Ataraxia, Bouchard Finlayson, and Hamilton Russell.

The West Coast region consists of the Darling (Cloof is best known) and Olifants River (Cederberg and Stellar better known) wine routes.  The Garden Route is not well-known as a wine region, and Bramon makes an organic sparkling wine in Plettenberg Bay.  In KwaZulu-Natal Abingdon and Meander wines are made.

Twenty-seven wine-related festivals are also listed, with dates for the year ahead.

The Wine Tourism Handbook is a wealth of wine information, and should ideally be given to all tourists arriving in Cape Town, as compulsory reading about the excellent and extensive wine range on its doorstep.

Wine Tourism Handbook 2012: Enjoying Wine at the Source, World Focus Media, Tel 083 631 3393 www.winetourismhandbook.co.za

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