Entries tagged with “Platter’s Guide”.


On Tuesday I attended the first tasting of wines introduced by a winemaker and paired with a meal, at OpenWine, the tasting room representing a number of our country’s top wine brands in its Wale Street venue, at the invitation of co-owner Marta Gobbo. It is the first time that I have experienced their new format of wine tasting and food pairing. (more…)

Waterford FountainAbout two weeks ago we received the media release announcing the South African winners of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism awards. On Friday the awards were officially handed over at the Tuscan-inspired Waterford Estate, which won the South African leg of the competition.

I had never been to Waterford Estate before, at the end of the Blaauwklippen Road in Stellenbosch, and it is a surprise to see the Tuscan-design buildings once one has passed theWaterford walkway to entrance ponds, parking amongst the fruit trees.  We were told that the wine estate had been in an almost derelict state when it was bought by Jeremy Ord, and built into the magnificent estate it is now over about 12 years.  Sustainability of all natural resources is important to the owners and staff, and the ponds collect all waste water, which is recycled, we were told by Cellar Master Kevin Arnold.

Prior to the Awards luncheon, invited guests were able to enjoy a Wine Drive or to walk the Porcupine Trail. We enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine by KWV, found our names on a (more…)

Rossouw's by Diner's Club South African Restaurant GuideAfter a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants.  Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!

Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide.  Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw.  The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide.  A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’!  To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example.  Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored.  All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown (more…)

Diners Club Winelist banner Whale CottageThe Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape.  During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.

A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years!  Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday!  A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.

Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have Diners Club Pongracz Whale Cottageenough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue.  We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi!  There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year.  It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*  Cape Town has a new feather in its cap, having been announced in Vancouver in Canada on Thursday as the WWF Global Earth Hour Capital 2014.  Won in competition against 163 cities, including Colorado, Chicago, Cleveland in the USA;  Seoul and Suwon in South Korea; Copenhagen; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo;  Antwerp; and Edmonton and Surrey in Canada, the accolade recognises Cape Town’s actions on climate change and its focus on creating a sustainable environment in the city.  Cape Town’s reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels by retrofitting the City buildings, improving the energy efficiency of street and traffic lights, the introduction of its solar water heater program, the MyCiTi Bus network, the city centre cycle lanes, and the campaign to save electricity were recognised through the accolade.

*  The potentially most crippling strike ever in Germany is the threatened 3 day Lufthansa pilot strike, from 2 – 4 April. which will ground all planes of the airline.

*   Europe and the UK turned back the clock to Summer time today, Europe being in the same time zone as South Africa, and the UK (more…)

It was a surprise to see that Antonij Rupert Wines (correctly speaking Antonij Rupert Wyne, as per the gates, there not being an English translation) has started operating from its new tasting room in the previous Graham Beck Wines premises outside Franschhoek, and an even bigger surprise was to discover the Antipasto Bar, which opened five days ago.

More than a year ago Johan Rupert, owner of the neighbouring Antonij Rupert Wines, bought the Franschhoek Graham Beck property, and moved into the property mid-year.  On the surface little has changed, but the tasting room has been moved upstairs to the light and spacious landing, and the Antipasto Bar has been created downstairs where the tasting room was. The security guard at the boom is much stricter than the Graham Beck Wines one used to be, and initially did not want to allow me to enter at 16h35, because they close at 17h00!  I promised to not do a tasting, and on that basis I was allowed in. It was a surprise to meet Gidi Caetano there, as the Hospitality Manager, having left French Toast about six months ago, to help set things up.  She was previously the manager of Salt Restaurant.

The Antipasto Bar seats about 35, and faces the tanks through a glass window.  It looks cosy with neutral decor greys and browns making the space look sophisticated. The Chef is HW Pieterse, who moved across when Café Dijon closed its restaurants in Stellenbosch, and was at Delaire Graff and the Grande Roche before.  The menu has a small selection of dishes, but this list will grow, Gidi assured me.  Three different olives, in three different marinades, cost R30; Artichokes marinated in thyme, lemon and olive oil cost R48; Caprese salad costs R60; Parma ham and melon costs R50; a selection of Italian cured meats costs R55; a platter with four Italian cheeses and fig preserve costs R75; artisanal bread is R20; a mixed antipasto platter R50/R85; and Biscotti costs R25.   I ordered the Franschhoek smoked salmon trout bruschetta, which was served with crème fraiche. lemon, and pink peppercorns (R60).   The restaurant will be sourcing supplies from the new L’Omarins (belongs to Johan Rupert too) organic herb and vegetable garden, and in future they will serve carpaccio from their own Wagyu cattle.  Marinated white anchovies will be added to the menu in future.  All dishes are offered with the L’Omarins olive oil, which won Silver in the recent Olive Oil awards, and the Terra del Capo olive oil range, which is still made for them by Willowcreek.  They bake their own breads, and marinade their own olives.  A new dessert special which is not yet on the menu, is Burrata, honey and strawberry, drizzled with balsamic, costing R35.

With one’s meal one can enjoy a glass or bottle of wine, very reasonably priced at mainly cellar door prices, at R13 – R21 per glass/R41 – R80 per bottle for the Protea range, R17 – 28/R59 – R115 for the Terra del Capo range, R17 – R43/R85 – R190 for the Cape of Good Hope range; and R30/R125 for the Antonij Rupert Optima.

The Tasting room opened three weeks ago, and the staff manning it looked professional, with white shirts, black pants and black aprons.  The 2013 Platter’s Guide is on the tasting counter.  The tasting offering is unusual, one tasting a choice of flights: Protea whites (Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Chenin Blanc 2011, and Chardonnay 2010) for R10; Protea reds (Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Merlot 2011, Shiraz 2011, and Reserve 2011) for R15; The ‘TDC’, which is the Terra del Capo range (Pinot Grigio 2011, Sangiovese 2009, Arne 2008) for R15; ‘The Blends’ are Protea Reserve 2011, Terra del Capo Arne 2008, and Antonij Rupert Optima 2008 at R20; ‘The Unusual’ is a collection of Terra del Capo Pinot Grigio 2011, Sangiovese 2009, Cape of Good Hope Semillon 2010, and Pinotage 2008, at R30; The Cape of Good Hope whites (Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Chenin Blanc 2010, Semillon 2010, and Chardonnay 2010 at R30; ‘Merry Merlot’ comes from the Protea 2011, Cape of Good Hope 2008, and Antonij Rupert 2007 ranges, at R40; and the Antonij Rupert range, being Optima 2008, Merlot 2007, and Shiraz 2007, at R60.  Some typos are unforgivable on this list.

Gidi shared that they are keeping the opening low key until they have completed setting up the late Mr Beck’s manor house, in which tastings of the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be done from the end of January onwards, ‘paired’ with High Tea.  The idea is to offer a ‘whole day package’ to visitors, Gidi said.

Antipasto Bar, Antonij Rupert Wines, R45, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 874-9004.  www.rupertwines.com (Restaurant website under construction).  No Social Media. Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 17h00.

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

One of South Africa’s top wine estates, Hamilton Russell Vineyards from the Hemel & Aarde Valley outside Hermanus, is celebrating the 30th vintage of its award-winning and iconic Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, by launching a 5-year Vertical-Vintage pack of its Pinot Noirs from 2005 – 2009.

Pinot Noir is quoted in The Essential Guide to South African Wines as an “exasperating variety for growers,  wine-makers and consumers alike.  It is sometimes said to be feminine, alluring or capricious, but mostly it is the pursuit of richness and elegance which makes it ultimately satisfy the Holy Grail of winemaking”.  Hamilton Russell Vineyards is listed as one of the key South African Pinot Noir producers.  The 2010 Platter’s Guide awarded the 2009 4,5 stars and the 2008 4 stars, referring to it as ‘long a local classic”, and describing it as “black cherry, herbal aromas, hints of mushroom, forest floor, rhubarb”.

What makes the Vertical-Vintage Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir packs unique is that their back-labels have been specially made for the five-vintage pack, using the works of five top South African artists:

*   2005   William Kentridge

*   2006   Gerard Sekoto

*   2007   Gail Catlin

*   2008   JH Pierneef

*   2009   Beezy Bailey

Hamilton Russell Vineyards is selling 2400 Vertical-Vintage Pinot Noir packs for R 2000 each from its estate.   Only one-fifth of the total number of packs will be sold per year, for the next five years, and each year the cost will increase.   Half of the Vertical-Vintage Pinot Noir packs will be sold locally and the balance internationally.  Owner Anthony Hamilton Russell said: “While many enthusiasts have cellared Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir over the years, there are still a lot who only encounter the wine at a youthful stage.  This vertical allows enthusiasts to really get to know our Pinot Noir and its story of place over time and through different life stages”.

The first  Pinot Noir was planted on the estate in 1976, and its first vintage was sold in 1981.   Hamilton Russell describes the ‘almost uniquely classic and “European” style within the New World, with each vintage showcasing it in a subtly different way.  This is something which has excited wine collectors and Pinot Noir enthusiasts – particularly Burgundy enthusiasts – for 30 vintages.’

Using artwork on wine labels has been done by Tokara, used by William Kentridge for the promotion of his production of the opera ‘The Magic Flute’, and more recently by La Motte, in using woodcuts by JH Pierneef on the bottles as back labels for their Pierneef Collection.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus.  Tel (028) 312-3595.

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