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 →
We have had a very soft spot for Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage at our Whale Cottages, the Hamilton Russell second brand suiting our guest house perfectly. It was one of the first wines we added to our wine list (joined by Creation’s Whale Pod more recently) when we opened our first Whale Cottage in Hermanus 19 years ago.
The Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2015 has just been launched, its 21st vintage. The wine has won ‘Best Value’ five times in Wine Spectator. It has complexity, depth, dry minerality, and ‘age-worthiness we are proud of’, explains the media release received from Hamilton Russell.
The Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc is unique in that : Continue reading →
* The Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau has won the South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) Award for Best Convention Bureau in Southern Africa for the second year running. The Bureau is part of Wesgro, and its Award was based on a vote by SAACI members.
* WOSA (Wines of South Africa) CEO Siobhan Thompson has described the wines of our country as using ‘fusion wine-making’, the ‘newest generation of wines‘ being made with confidence in the Continue reading →
* The crayfish season closed at the end of the Easter weekend, kicking off an educational campaign by the City of Cape Town’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit to promote compliance with the Marine Living Resources Act. The seaworthiness of boats and certification of skippers was also checked, as was the minimum size and quantity of rock lobster caught.
* The first ever export of Pinotage grapes from our country to the USA has arrived, sold into the market by suppliers Gino Pinto Inc. The grape shipment has sold out.
* SA Tourism and National Geographic Channel have teamed up to create a Continue reading →
UK wine judge and writer Jancis Robinson spent most of this past week in the Cape Winelands, after a seven-year absence. She spoke kindly about our industry, and offered insights into the UK and USA markets. She wrote from Delaire Graff, where she had attended a Chenin Blanc tasting and stayed over: ‘South African wine is in full ferment. It deserves far more international attention than it is currently getting‘!
* SA wine estates should target UK restaurants, which have far more reasonable mark-ups. Young British people spend their money on food and wine, not being able to afford to buy Continue reading →
* British wine writer Jancis Robinson has ended her visit to the Cape Winelands this week, and writes that she has been ‘hugely impressed by the quality of the wines of the best producers and by the much broader range of wine styles and provenances than there was on my last visit’ seven years ago. She described our country as the ‘wonderful source of underpriced fine white wine. It has taken longer for red wines to please this finicky international palate‘. Our industry does not need to be defined by our indigenous Pinotage, she feels.
* Could Cape Town/South Africa/Africa get a Grand Prix again, after more than 20 years? Bernie Ecclestone has speculated that such a race could be possible by next year. As Killarney is not suitable, it would have to be a street race in Cape Town. This proposal was however rejected by City of Cape Town’s Directorate of Tourism, Events, and Marketing in 2013, due to the cost.
* Roger Jones, owner of Michelin star restaurant Harrow at Little Bedwyn in the UK, has just returned from a trip to our country. Continue reading →
* Mayor Patricia de Lille has launched a Beach Safety campaign, handing out goody bags containing sunscreen, a frisbee, and beach safety pamphlets at Clifton 4th Beach, Camps Bay, Silwerstroom, Gordon’s Bay, Muizenberg, and Monwabisi. The campaign includes a ‘I love my Beach’ promotion, aimed at keeping Cape Town’s 83 beaches clean, safe and free of alcohol. The City has budgeted an additional R 22 million to keep the beaches, scenic routes, and business areas clean until February.
* The Minister of Tourism is inviting tourism players to apply for a three-year position as Non-Executive directors on the board of SA Tourism. Entries close on ‘23 January 2014′ (sic).
* The Wall Street Journal has slated South African Pinotage as a wine variety to avoid buying as a gift over the festive Continue reading →
* KWV has launched Earth’s Essence Pinotage, with the claim that it is the ‘healthiest wine in the world‘, made with Rooibos bark. No sulphur dioxide has been added in making the wine, and wooden staves made from the bark of rooibos and honeybush plants, having natural anti-oxidant properties, are used. KWV chose to use the staves in the production of Pinotage, both Rooibos and the wine varietal having an iconic South African heritage. The wine should do particularly well in the Scandinavian countries, where organic, sulphur-free or Faitrade wines are high in demand.
* The massive ‘Perceiving Freedom‘ sunglass frame artwork on the Sea Point Promenade has received heavy criticism as being opportunistic and nothing but commercial exploitation for Ray-Ban, sponsors of the installation. It is also criticised for its cost of R170000, paid for by City of Cape Town ratepayers! The City says that its Outdoor Signage by-law is not contravened, as the work carries no branding. The artwork is dedicated to the memory of the late Nelson Mandela, and faces Robben Island. It is a World Design Capital 2014 approved project.
* Sales of Prosecco are popping through the roof in the UK, almost tripling in the super-premium category, and increasing Continue reading →
I 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 the 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 Continue reading →