Today I attended an interesting Nederburg event held at MOMA Gallery on Buitengracht Street, to create awareness for new labels for the wines in the Nederburg range, as well as a new TV commercial. The new pay-off line for the brand is ‘There’s always a story Continue reading →
Invited guests included the Top 20 Finalists for the awards, and tasting tables had been set up to allow the twenty Finalist wines to be tasted. No one knew who would make the Top 10 list. A shelf had been set up to display all top twenty Continue reading →
On Thursday afternoon we were invited to attend the annual presentation of the results of the fourth Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, held at Burrata at an unusual 15h30 start time. Thirteen wines were scored at 90 or more points out of 100, and Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was rated the top, out of 60 invited entries.
We were welcomed with a glass of water, and jokingly Christian Eedes opened the proceedings with an explanation for the tableclothless tables, the water we were served, and the pizzas to come. His former sponsor Sanlam had dropped him, he explained, and hence the austerity of the Continue reading →
* South African wines won more than 300 medals at the 2015 International Wine Challenge held in London, which included 28 Gold (double the number compared to last year), 111 Silver, and 175 Bronze medals. The organisers said that South African white wines had ‘an outstanding year‘, while Shiraz was the top SA Red wine performer. Stellenbosch wines won the most SA Gold Awards.
* The 2015 Bollinger Wine Exceptional Service Award is now open for entries, which must be in by 31 May. The first Continue reading →
I have not been to Nitida wine estate in Durbanville in a long time, nor to its Cassia restaurant. As the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards were held at the wine estate, it was a good opportunity to revisit, and to experience the new function venue, which comfortably seated 120 guests for lunch yesterday.
Invited guests included two representatives each of the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 20 shortlist, writers, and FNB staff as well as their clients. Prior to the lunch, each of the 20 Sauvignon Blanc producers manned a tasting table, and provided information, making it a good opportunity to rub shoulders with other guests. Continue reading →
It was the first episode in the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg in episode 3 last night, and it was much easier to follow the action of the twelve finalists, who had to deal with a Proudly South African Mystery Box. Roxi Wardman was the creator of the winning dish, and jetted off to Ireland, while Phila Vilakazi, Ndumiso Mncwabe, and Melissa Sutherland were in the bottom three, their dishes putting them into the Pressure Test next week in episode 4.
The brief to the twelve finalists was to use any of the ingredients in the Mystery Box, which were only revealed after the first commercial break, keeping the tension high. The Mystery Box included South African favourites such as Ouma rusks, Pecks Anchovette paste, Oros, spinach, butternut, Colman’s mustard, Lucky Star pilchards, ostrich, Cremora, Illovo golden syrup, Black Cat peanut butter, flour, chocolate, Maltabella, Mrs Balls chutney, Melrose cheese, and more, collectively described as creating ‘nostalgic foods and memories’. The use of Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Pinotage was mandatory. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood told the finalists that Pinotage is a cultivar unique to South Africa. The time limit to create a ‘South African Masterpiece’ was set at 45 minutes.
As each finalist spoke to the camera, to share what dish would be prepared, we got to know a little more Continue reading →
The pace in last night’s episode 2 of MasterChef SA Season 3 was a little slower than that of the first episode, but irritating was the judges whispering amongst themselves in evaluating the contestants, so softly that one could barely hear what they were saying. The episode was designed to reduce the 24 contestant from Bootcamp 1 to the 12 Finalists going to the Nederburg MasterChef SA kitchen, ending off with a last-minute scone-baking competition.
The 24 contestants were still in the Cape Town harbour for Bootcamp 2, but now inside a warehouse, with cooking stations set up for each of them, and a Woolworths pantry too. The brief for the Invention Test sounded easy enough, in preparing their choice of dish within 60 minutes. The pantry would be closed down during the episode, the contestants were told. Chef and judge Pete Goffe-Wood said that the pantry was so well stocked that ‘if you can dream it, you can cook it’. One contestant was looking for tomatoes for her dish, and was surprised that there were none. Midway a curved ball was introduced, Chef and Continue reading →
* The Pinot Noir producers in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley are hosting their second Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration at Bona Dea Estate on 30 and 31 January, with only 150 tickets available for the event. The key-note dinner speaker will be Norman Hardie, regarded as Canada’s best Pinot Noir producer. (received via e-mail from Hamilton Russell Vineyards)
* South Africa has the lowest transport costs compared to 50 other countries, according to GoEuro’s Transportation Price Index. For air travel our country ranked third cheapest, while our costs of train travel ranked cheapest of all countries.
It was a boisterous Diners Club Platter’s South African Wines 2014 ‘prize-giving’ last night, with a record 80 wines receiving the much-desired 5 star accolade, selected blind-tasted from double the number of 5-star finalists. It was an evening that honoured publisher Andrew McDowall, and saw new publisher JP Rossouw in action for the first time.
A number of records were set last night, with the largest number of wines evaluated ever, at 7434, there being 49 new entries, and close to 900 producers of wine in the Guide. After an absence, brandy and sherry-style wines were awarded again.
On arrival, sipping Klein Constantia MCC, a number of well-known winemakers and estate owners were visible, giving one a taste of some of the 5 star winners, including last year’s Winery of the Year winner Gottfried Mocke of Cape Chamonix, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Johann Laubser of Delaire Graff, and Ginny Povall of Botanica. We commented that it was wonderful to see so many women winemakers amongst the top 5 star recipients! Once we were allowed to enter the venue at the Vineyard Hotel, the wines were displayed in groups, for one to taste and to see the 5 star winners by their presence.
David Hughes sang the praises of Andrew, and his direct involvement with 29 of the 34 Platter’s Wine Guides. He described Andrew as a man ‘massive in character’, who has a nickname ‘Grunter‘, who got himself smuggled into a Nederburg Wine Auction via the boot of a car when he did not receive an invitation, who fell onto a cannon at the bottom of the steps of the Mount Nelson when he slid down the bannister at his 40th birthday party, a man one can trust when he gives you his word, ‘and a hell of a good guy‘, warning JP that he has big boots to fill in taking over from Andrew. There was roaring applause for Andrew.
Andrew looked well, and his dry humour was on full form, saying that the romance with Diners Club last year had led to marriage during the year. He was full of praise for his ‘young, strong and virile’ successor JP. He was proud that the edition was printed locally and not in Singapore. He revealed the ‘Walker Bay blue’ cover, saying that they had considered calling it ‘Pendock sea sick’, which brought the house down! He praised editor Philip van Zyl as the ‘most ethical man’, which led to applause from the floor. The 80 5 star winners include 7 brandies, up from 62 last year. I asked Andrew what he would be doing with his time, and he said he wasn’t sure, but getting better at bridge is one of his goals. Continue reading →
What a beautiful setting the Company’s Garden and backdrop Table Mountain was to last night’s episode 15 of MasterChef SA, fantastic marketing of Cape Town to the rest of the country’s TV viewers! The Red and Blue Teams had to prepare a dish reflecting our country’s cultural food heritage, and the scoring was pretty close, or so the viewers thought!
Having won the Best Dairy Dish Challenge in episode 13, Kamini Pather was allowed to choose her team of five for the next challenge, as well as the apron colour, when the box of aprons was delivered to the Finalists’ house. She chose the colour blue, and the two van der Wat sisters Seline and Leandri, Ozzy Osmond and Jason Steel for her team. Amanda Beck and Karen Els appeared to be in charge of the Red Team, which consisted of Khumo Twala, Joani Mitchell, and Tiron Eloff too. The team challenge was to make a dish that would reflect the origin of our country’s culinary heritage dating back to 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck planted the Company’s Garden to serve as a halfway house trading station of fresh foods for ships of the Dutch East India Company travelling between Holland and the Far East. The South African Culinary Olympic Team, which participated in the Culinary Olympics 2012 in Germany, and returned with 12 medals for our country, was invited as judges. We recognised Chef Tanja Kruger Continue reading →