Entries tagged with “Samarie Smith”.


Yesterday I attended the launch of Yumcious Café in the DeVille Centre in Durbanville, the second restaurant of Chef Jenny Morris, her first one being the very successful Yumcious Café in the Cape Quarter.  (more…)

A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. (more…)

imageAt the conclusion of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference held at Spier over the past two days, the seven South African winners of the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards were announced.  (more…)

platters_wine_guide_2017A number of records were broken last night when 94 wines and one brandy were awarded 5 star status at the launch of  the Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, a new venue, the event having been held at the Mount Nelson for years. The colour of the 2017 Platter’s Guide is Harvest Green.  (more…)

imageLast night I attended the ‘I love Paris’ concert at La Motte’s old cellar, performed by Louise Howlett and accompanied by Albert Combrink, which set the French scene at the wine estate for the celebration of Bastille Day on Tuesday, but celebrated in Franschhoek this weekend. It was a natural to book a table at Pierneef à La Motte for after the concert, the menu having a French theme, but the experience disappointed!

I made both the bookings telephonically on Friday, and was treated with efficiency and friendliness by Angela for the concert, and by a grumpy (more…)

Blaauwklippen Artwork for Blend label Whale CottageFriday’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 seenBlaauwklippen Canapes Waitress Whale Cottage 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 (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Mosaic Team South Africa participating in the World Blind Challenge on 18 October in Champagne against 22 other teams will consist of the winners of the South African Wine Tasting Championship 2014: wine writer Samarie Smith, Chris Groenewald, Lizé Oosthuizen, Ralph Reynolds, and Gavin Whittaker. (received via e-mail from Jean Vincent Ridon)

*   Nominations for the 34th Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (dry white blends) and 14th Young Winemaker of the Year (30 years or younger, producers of red blend) are now open, the winners receiving a flight to the USA for two as well as prize monies of R50000 and R25000, respectively. The winners will be announced in November. (received via media release from African Sky Media)

*   Guinness is targeting its (black) beer at Africa, via a multimedia campaign using artists and performers from Africa, which positions the brand as #madeofblack.

*   The 17 gold medal winners of the SA Olive Awards have been announced in three categories:  in the Delicate (more…)

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Wine customers of TOPS at SPAR now have a panel of six wine experts to guide them in buying wines at the liquor outlets linked to SPAR supermarkets, as full page advertisements in major newspapers informed on 22 August.  The ‘Wine Fundis’ also assist TOPS at SPAR in offering a more customer orientated wine range at its more than 500 outlets.

The Wine Fundi project was the brainchild of Tinus van Niekerk, a wine consultant, in conjunction with Mark Robinson, SPAR Liquor Executive.  ‘Regardless of where wine is sold, making a reliable choice amongst the plethora of labels is often a daunting task that can very easily result in “wrong” or “unwise” buying.  Therefore, objective wine recommendations will surely always be generally valuable to all consumers wherever wine selections are done and wine purchases are made‘, Mr van Niekerk explained.

The panel of Wine Fundis is the following, and their credentials are detailed in the advertisement. Mr van Niekerk emphasised the panelists’ impartiality, passion for wines,  and credentials:

*   Neil Pendock, described as ‘international wine blogger, wine judge, commentator & author of several books‘, and now minute gallery owner!

*   Samarie Smith, ‘wine judge, food writer and critic. Seasoned travel journalist’.

*   Tinus van Niekerk, ‘International wine consultant, wine maker, wine writer & wine judge’

*   Melvyn Minnaar, ‘Wine, food and art critic, writes for several local and international publications’

*   Ntsiki Biyela, ‘S.A.’s first black female winemaker, Woman Winemaker of (more…)

Blaauwklippen Blending Competition Bottle and FrameYesterday Blaauwklippen celebrated the 30th anniversary of its popular Blending Competition, and it was a day filled with celebratory balloons and nostalgic reflections of the heritage of the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition on the 331 year old wine estate in Stellenbosch.  The competition has helped to demystify wine and make it more accessible to wine drinkers.

I have attended the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition (which they refer to as BBC) for a number of years, but had never seen so many guests before, 70 guests seated in the Barouche restaurant, many of whom having links to 1984, the first year of the blending competition.  Blaauwklippen MD and Cellarmaster Rolf Zeitvogel reflected on the world 30 years ago, Apple having launched its Macintosh PC, Archbishop Tutu receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mrs Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister of the UK, and Nelson Mandela seeing his wife Winnie for the first time in 22 years.  Through a number of speakers, we heard about the history of the blending competition, having been the idea of Angela (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The number of Indian tourists is likely to grow further, as the Rand weakens further, says Hanneli Slabber, the SA Tourism Country Manager in India, reports the Southern African Tourism Update.

*   South Africa is advanced in embracing online tourism sales and marketing, says an international online consultant.

*   Simonsig is hosting a Vintage Wine Day on 24 August, showcasing a selection of older signature wines which were held back for release at optimal maturity, some vintages dating back to the early 1990’s. Cellarmaster Johan Malan will offer Simonsig flagships such as the Bordeaux style Tiara, the Cape blend, Frans Malan Reserve, the award winning Redhill Pinotage and Merindol Syrah.  Rare vintages of Simonsig Pinotage, Simonsig Cabernet Sauvignon and Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Méthode Cap Classiques will also be available to taste, and will be available at special prices for the day only.  Johan will offer master classes free of charge, being interactive vertical wine tastings.  Tickets cost R150  (information received from GC Communications).

*   Bad news for tourism to Cape Town is the report by Travel Mole that bookings with online travel agencies have dropped by 20% due to the heatwave in the UK. (more…)