Despite a hugely challenging year for the wine industry due to the drought, CapeWine 2018 is an impressive showcase of optimism, friendliness, and proudly South Africaness, running at the Cape Town International Convention Centre until tomorrow. I attended yesterday, with my Parisian friend Aurelié Jullien, and we were both impressed with the magnitude and professionalism of the exhibition, held every three years, and attended by the local and international wine trade. Continue reading →
South Africa’s top cheese at the 29th annual World Cheese Awards held in San Sebastián in Spain recently is the Benedictus hard ewes’ milk cheese made by Belnori Boutique Cheesery. The World Champion Cheese 2016 was Kraftkar, made by Tingvollost from Norway. Continue reading →
Only ‘a fraction of the total wine production’ will be affected by the devastating wind-fueled fires that blazed on the Simonsberg last week, according to VinPro, reports the office of Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunity. Continue reading →
Organisers of the Championships Agri-Expo said that it is the first time in the history of the dairy product competition that a frozen yoghurt has won the SA Dairy Championships, against a total of close to 900 dairy product entries received from 80 dairy producers, judged by 61 judges, including chefs and food writers. A total of 95 dairy products were named South African Champions, and Continue reading →
It was a unique experience to meet seven chefs who have worked or are currently working at Michelin star restaurants (10 Michelin stars awarded in total) in Austria and Germany for breakfast at the Lanzerac on Tuesday. While it was an early morning start, it was energizing being in the company of the ever-bubbly Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living, who had extended the invitation to a number of writers.
We were seated at one long table intermingled with the chefs, and a half way swopping of seats was clever too, so that we could get to chat to at least three of the seven chefs for a longer period of time. Opulent Living, organisers of the charity Gala Dinner ‘Chefs who Share‘ in the City Hall this evening, welcomed the seven chefs, who had all flown in from Europe to Cape Town on Monday.
Tonight seven teams of two local chefs each, a local sommelier, and one of the German-speaking chefs, will prepare a four course dinner for 36 guests who have paid R3000 each to attend, a total of 250 guests not only eating delectable food, but also drinking excellent local wines, and interacting with the three chefs looking after their tables. Last year Opulent Living raised R1,2 million through the charity Gala Dinner, and decided to raise the bar this year by flying in the seven German-speaking Continue reading →
I have visited almost every winery in Franschhoek, but never Rupert & Rothschild, its tastings having been by appointment only in the past ten years since we have operated Whale Cottage Franschhoek. It was a set of Facebook photographs of Hein Koegelenberg, brother-in-law of co-owner Johann Rupert, that attracted attention to the new Tasting Room, which opened on 1 July.
The farm Fredericksburg was owned by a French Huguenot, and was established in 1690, and taken over by the late Dr Anton Rupert and the late Baron Edmond Rothschild in 1997 when they established their partnership. The owners shared a commitment to preservation and conservation. Grapes are harvested by hand, and the berries are hand-sorted after destemming, to generate the best quality juice. Intervention during the wine-making process is kept to a minimum.
I popped in yesterday, and found a very elegant yet informal and friendly Tasting Room, with a beautiful setting overlooking the Simonsberg mountain and the vineyards of the wine farm. From the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium one cannot see any buildings on the wine estate, being set back far from the road. The Tasting Room door is locked from inside, so one of the staff must go to the door to press a button to unlock it, which is not clear when one arrives, and appears unfriendly if the staff do not get to the glass door quickly enough. One enters close to the Tasting Desk, seating about 20 tasters on both sides of the desk Continue reading →
One acclaimed winemaker, one Stellenbosch cellar, two brands, both Bordeaux blends, but vastly different and each unique. So the two brands Van Biljon CINQ 2011 and Keet First Verse 2010 were presented to more than 30 wine writers at Aubergine Restaurant on Friday last week.
Chris Keet started off as winemaker at Delheim, and then moved to Delaire. This was followed by 15 years at Cordoba Wines. When he left Cordoba in 2008, he decided to offer his services as a wine consultant. He made his own wine under the Keet Wines name in 2009, and has just released the 2010 vintage. Chris said his Bordeaux blend First Verse consists of 32% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec. The wine was matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. Chris buys in his grapes from some of his clients as well as from other farms in the Helderberg, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Mountain, and Polkadraai Hills, and hopes to buy some grapes from Van Biljon Wines in future, he shared. In Platter he and his 4,5* 2009 First Verse wine is described as follows by reviewer Tim James: ‘Unusually for a top Bordeaux blend, he uses little new oak- it’s part of the unshowy Keet style’. Keet achieved 5 stars in Platter for his 2010 vintage. Keet is not only highly regarded as a very competent winemaker, but also as a viticulturist and oenologist. Only 6000 bottles of First Verse have been made, and cost R320 each. Continue reading →
Sustainably presenting these Championships for 180 years, as well as the impressive growth in number of entries and quality thereof over the last decade, is indeed an achievement of note. The Championships today represents the entire South African dairy industry and is perceived as one of the top dairy competitions in the world’. More than 800 dairy products by 68 dairy Continue reading →
Yesterday I enjoyed an interesting lunch with restaurateur Michael Townsend at Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, one of the most low key restaurant entrepreneurs in Cape Town but with a fast growing empire which has focused on fish to date. Now he is opening a steak restaurant in Muizenberg, and if it is successful there, he will bring it to the city centre.
I have only met Michael once before, on Kalk Bay’s main road outside his La Parada, when he called my name as I walked past, and did not react initially as I do not know anyone living on that side of Cape Town. He persisted, having recognised me from the blog and previous writing I did for the Weekend Argus Ad Monitor column which I created many years ago. We have become Facebook friends since. Yesterday morning he contacted me, requesting a meeting. I suggested Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, having just written the review. He had arrived early, and bought seven books relating to meat from the shop, with help from Chef Liam Tomlin. What he wanted input on was the appointment of a group Executive Chef, who can look after all his restaurants (two Harbour House, five Lucky Fish, and two La Parada to date).
He told me that he once was a student in Fashion Design, including dresses and handbags, moving to Johannesburg to join a company called Brandcorp, of which he became a director, and when it was listed on the JSE, he made his first good money. He intimated that he cannot hold on to money for too long, and is not materialistic, always wanting to put it into a new business. His first money went into Harbour House in Kalk Bay, previously called Canteen Tequila, of which he changed the name when they opened about 15 years ago. It did not run very well in early days, Continue reading →
* Minister of Finance Pravin Ghordan has agreed to relook his ban on the purchase of wines with state funds, announced in Parliament on Wednesday, after he received complaints from WOSA as well as Parliamentarians that entertaining foreign dignitaries without wine is unthinkable!
+ Christiaan Groenewald of New Cape Wines
+ Mary-Louise Nash of Black Pearl
+ William Wilkinson of Wildekrans Wine Estate
+ Johan Malan of Simonsig
+ Johan Jordaan of Spier
+ David Finlayson of Edgebaston.
The 33rd Diners Club Winemaker of the Year will be announced at La Continue reading →