The most coveted 2019 Diners Club Winelist Award, its Icon Award, recognising restaurants that meet all the requirements of a Diamond Award, but also feature an extensive collection of international wines, as well as Reserve and vintage wines, having a sommelier on the floor, and having ‘a deep interest in wine curation’, were awarded to Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient Boutique Hotel in Pretoria, and the Saxon Hotel Villas & Spa in Johannesburg. This is the second year that the Icon Awards have been presented, to both restaurants. Continue reading →
* The ANC has taken the City of Cape Town to the Cape Town High Court, about the change in its logo last year without obtaining public input. The logo was widely criticized when it was launched. The political party estimates the cost of rolling out the new logo at R8 million.
The black-tie gala dinner for ‘Chefs who Share – the Art of giving‘ will be held for the third time this year, once again in the City Hall in Cape Town, on 10 September. What is an exciting development is that a Young Chef Award will go 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 →
In MasterChef SA episode 10 last night five top South African sommeliers were invited to evaluate the pairing of two Tapas dishes of each of four teams with two Nederburg wines. The Red Team won the challenge, winning a Secret Reward (it looks like it could be lunch at The Pot Luck Club), while the Blue Team had the lowest score, and will go into an Elimination Test in episode 11.
In winning the best chicken dish with her Coq au Vin in episode 9 last week, Penny Fitchet was honoured with the pairing of the eight finalists. She paired herself with Francois Zietsman and decided on Blue aprons. Philippa Robinson and Roxi Wardman were paired in the Yellow Team; Abigail Mbalo and Mel Sutherland were paired in the Green Team; and Ian Young and Sipho Mdlankomo were paired into the Red Team. Each team had 60 minutes to prepare each of two Tapas dishes, to be paired with Nederburg 56Hundred Chenin Blanc for the first dish, and Nederburg 56Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon for the second dish. We had learnt in a previous Season of MasterChef that the 56Hundred range was named after the price of 5600 guilders which was paid by Philippus Wolvaart to buy the farm which he named Nederburg. Invited Sommeliers were Neil Grant, chairman of the South African Continue reading →
The 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 enough 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 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 →
The Sweet Service Award goes to The New Age, which generously delivers a pack of its newspapers every day on weekdays, to the benefit of our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests, at no charge.
The Sour Service Award goes to the Taj Cape Town, for associating itself with The White Club owner Rene Dehn, in preparing seven months ago what appeared initially to be its exclusive Taj First Growths Wine List Exceptionelle. Dehn has just been outed as having been fraudulent in his The White Club tastings held around the world, in London, Hong Kong, and in Switzerland, as well as locally, in having served what he said were very rare wines with old vintages, but may have been younger wines thought to have been decanted into the older bottles. The exclusive Taj wine list was described as being the most sought-after in the world, many of the 36 wines having been sourced from Dehn (at high prices no doubt). It is hand-written with detailed tasting notes, and is bound in white leather. At the time Dehn was quoted Continue reading →
Yesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.
The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch. After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this Continue reading →