Yesterday I posted an overview of the Media Visit day we spent in McGregor for Wacky Wine Weekend, my first taste of the wine event covering the Robertson Wine Valley, which continues until the end of today. It is the 14th Wacky Wine Weekend. I was unable to ascertain where the ‘Wacky’ part of the event name comes from! Continue reading →
Last night The Station on Bree opened on Bree Street, in a heritage (previously notorious) building, which is said to have housed a business of ill-repute called The Nunnery. Continue reading →
Last night I attended a Charity dinner at Locandoa at Villa 47, cooked for by Chef Theo Penati, of one star Michelin restaurant Pierino Penati in Vigano in Italy. The focus of his dinner was pork, having been brought to our city and to Villa 47 by Beretta, cured cold meat supplier to Villa 47 and to Woolworths via Rialto. Chef Theo introduced us to traditional Italian food culture. Continue reading →
Chef Mike has been at Myoga for eight years, having opened the restaurant after leaving Ginja, at which he worked with a number of younger chefs who have Continue reading →
John Platter’s name is synonymous with the wine industry, having created the Platter’s Wine Guide 36 years ago with wife Erica. His surname is still linked to the Guide by name, even though he has sold the Guide. Launching a new book, it was obvious that it would have something to do with wine. ‘My Kind of Wine‘ is such a book, Continue reading →
Piazza Italia appeared on our latest list of Restaurant Openings, and it was a Facebook message from Davide Ostuni, Puglia Cheese mozzarella producer by day and Chef at Piazza Italia by night, that encouraged me to try it out last night. The restaurant has two Italians in the kitchen, a genuine Italian menu (without pizza), and Italian patrons eating there, a vote of confidence in a restaurant which has only been open for a month.
The restaurant belongs to Theresa Pearman, who comes from the jewellery industry, and fashion designer Pietro Giannuzzi, who had a dream to open a restaurant in which they could welcome and entertain their friends, bringing their dining room to the restaurant. Neither of them have prior restaurant experience, giving them a refreshing approach to owning the business, and not having any preconceived ideas about restauranting. Pietro only recently met Davide, and Theresa described the two men as being ‘soul brothers’, having a ‘bromance‘ about Italian food. I have only met Davide briefly at Burrata some time ago, and have been to see the Puglia Cheese factory, shown around by Davide’s wife Ursula. I had forgotten that Davide and Ursula owned five Italian restaurants in London, before moving to Cape Town, Continue reading →
A new association of independent wine estates belonging to industry heavy weights was launched at Ellerman House in its new Wine Gallery yesterday. Cape Vintner Classification (CVC) aims to build our country’s reputation as a producer of world class wines, and to ‘promote the Cape’s distinctive site specific wines‘, according to a report in fin24.
The association’s mouthful of a name, which does not seem customer driven, has a logo which includes the date 1659, the first year of wine production in the Cape, and creates an identity and logo look similar to the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Companje, or Dutch East India Company).
The association was formed by Johann Rupert, owner of Anthonij Rupert Wines, L’Ormarins, and Rupert & Rothschild, all in Franschhoek, which wants to introduce an accreditation system which gives wine buyers confidence in the integrity of the wine and its origin. It is said to be an association of individuals rather than of wine estates.
Rupert is critical of bulk wine exports and the damaging effect it has on our country’s wine reputation, and about some members of WIETA, the agricultural ethical trade initiative of South Africa. The standards set for CVC will be higher than those of WIETA and Fairtrade.
Membership costs R16000 a year, and a minimum membership requirement is 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 →
Welcoming the guests attending the Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2013 at Burrata on Thursday, sponsor Sanlam Private Investments CEO Daniël Kriel said that South African wine drinkers should thank our winemakers for producing such good quality wines at affordable prices. It was the second year in which the Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report was presented.
Kriel said he had done a Google search about Cabernet Sauvignon, and to his surprise found that Wikipedia did not mention South Africa in its first paragraph. He learnt about the wide range of terroirs and climates in which the grape variety is grown, from Canada down to the 15° latitude in Argentina. South Africa is only referred to in the New World wines section, and then only Stellenbosch and Constantia are mentioned. He referred to the markets being in terrible chaos on Thursday, and he was happy to escape the office to not see what was happening on his computer screen. Having recently been to New York, and paying $89 for a reasonable Californian, he said that we should be grateful for the affordable and good quality wines which our winemakers produce. He justified the investment by Sanlam Private Investment in The Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report in that their clients love wine and have a passion for them, as do the leaders of businesses!
Christian Eedes thanked the wine writers present for spreading the word about his 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Report, allowing him to renew the relationship with his sponsor. Using the same judges Roland Peens of Wine Cellar and James Pietersen of Balducci’s, sixty Cabernet Sauvignons were evaluated. He announced that Wade Bales has put together a special Cabernet Sauvignon Top 10 pack, based on Eedes’ Report results. Bales could not tell me how much he will charge for the special pack.
In introducing the Top 10 list, Eedes said that the 5 point scale had been used for the ratings (instead of the 100 score which he has recently moved to for his wine evaluations), and that within a star band, the estates are listed alphabetically on his Top 10 list. The panel had found the local Cabernet Sauvignons, the second most planted varietal locally, ‘on the whole, very impressive in quality…characterised by richness and weight‘. He added that while Cabernet Sauvignon ages well mainly due to its high level of tannins, wine drinkers are placing less value on this characteristic. ‘Winemakers seem to be going to great lengths to emphasise fruit and the resulting wines are tending to be ever riper, sweeter and more alcoholic. The best examples display fruit concentration but retain shape and form’. The panel had found some ‘clumsy addition of tartaric acidity‘, done to add freshness, but it resulted in sourness in some instances.
The Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2013 Top 10 list is as follows:
* 4,5 stars: Graham Beck The Coffeestone Cabernet 2011, Guardian Peak Lapa 2010, Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve 2010, Rudera 2011, Springfield Méthode Ancienne 2006, Thelema 2009, and Waterford 2009.
* 4 stars: Rust en Vrede 2010.
Burrata served a selection of tasty canapés, including porcini and cheese sticks; sirloin and radicchio crostini; fried crumbed smoked mozzarella, short rib and red pepper risotto balls; and toasted brioche with chorizo, green olive and mint purée. The restaurant had been cleared of all its table and chairs, to allow the top ten Cabernet Sauvignons to be set up for tasting after the announcement of the top achievers.
It was a treat to catch up with a small select group of ten winemakers, and share their news. Erika Obermeyer was still excited about her recent trip on the Queen Mary 2 from Durban to Cape Town, spending one day giving lectures to the cruise guests. Irene Waller was excited for Franschhoek (she heads up the local Vignerons association) that two of the top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons are from the wine valley, which is receiving increasing recognition.
Disclosure: We received a bottle of Graham Beck The Coffeestone Cabernet 2011 as part of the media pack.
Burrata, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Tel (021) 447-6505. www.burrata.co.za Twitter: @BurrataSA Monday – Saturday, Lunch and Dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: WhaleCottage
Earlier this week Katie and Jonny Friedman invited me to see the expansion of their Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, The Dining Room having opened in an adjacent building three weeks ago. This is the first step of the expansion, with the Orphanage Club opening later this year.
One can enter The Dining Room directly from around the corner in Orphan Street, or via The Parlour on Bree Street, and down a flight of stairs. The interior feel in the long rectangular space is similar to that of The Parlour, with blue and white striped upholstery on the couch seating all along the wall, and is dominated by a similar crystal and key chandelier. The space has been cleverly used, with a bar counter, as well as an open kitchen.
The menu has evolved, and is no longer the sheet of folded brown paper, but a neatly bound menu of cocktails, wines, and food. The food offering has grown vastly, a number of the original dishes having been retained. The same menu is offered in the Cocktail Emporium and in The Dining Room, meaning that one can choose to eat in the relatively more quiet The Dining Room, or in the ‘clubby’ Cocktail Emporium. The prices are good value, with none of the dishes exceeding R135. One of the new dishes is the Brewers & Union Beer Battered Linefish, which a most delicious kingklip covered in a thick tasty batter, wrapped in paper and served with crispy fries (R85). Rui Esteves, co-owner of the brewery, Tweeted his approval of how his product has been used when he saw our Tweet: ‘Had it last night…it was good’. Katie had the new Sesame Chicken Skewers, a colourful dish (R85). The menu is divided into
* ‘Sharing Plates’, being starter or tapas styles dishes (R50 – R85), meant to be shared with friends, including Cauli Fritters, cheese poppers, smoked snoek paté, breaded prawns, octopus crunch, spicy fish cakes, mini chicken pitas, and little lamb buns.
* ‘Light Plates’ are meant to be eaten individually, and range from R40 – R75. One can choose between Orphanage omelette, Gazpacho, feta and roasted butternut ciabatta or salad, corn and avocado salad, Caesar salad, and Tricolore salad.
* ‘Main Plates’ range from R55 – R135, and include the signature crayfish on butter buns, chicken Milanese, espetadas, Quesadilla, large lamb bun, spicy meatball subs, large Wiener, Orphanage Risotto made with porcini mushrooms, Arrabiata pasta, Beef fillet Robata served with mustard aioli, springbok carpaccio, cheese slate, charcuterie, and an Orphanage Mezze platter.
* I chose the Panna Cotta with a berry coulis from the ‘Pudding’ selection, which also offers cheesecake, a sorbet trio, and the popular molten cocoa fondant, all costing R40. The cappuccino was made perfectly, as per my request.
Kent Scheermeyer has acted as consultant for the Orphanage house wines, the range including Chenin Blanc (R40/R150), Sauvignon Blanc (R42/R160), Chardonnay (R42/R160), Rosé (R46/R180), Red Blend (R46/R180), and Pinot Noir (R50/R195), each wine made by a different winemaker. The Red Blend, for example, comes from Mullineux Family Wines. An additional wine, which we enjoyed together, was Thunderchild, made for Die Herberg children’s home in Robertson, of which 5 ha on their property have been planted to vines, with the support of a number of Robertson winemakers. The wine has made by Springfield winemaker Abrie Bruwer, its maiden vintage 2008 now being available. All the profit of the wine goes to the children’s home.
The Orphanage Club will open when they have received their licence to operate until 4h00, likely to take another six months, Katie said. She showed me the space upstairs, above The Dining Room, which will have its own bar, and entertainers performing. It has a terrace, with a good view over Cape Town. Both the Orphanage Club and The Dining Room can be booked for events.
The Dining Room, Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. Corner Bree and Orphan Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 422-2004. www.theorphanage.co.za Twitter: @OrphanageClub Monday – Saturday. Occasional opening on Sundays and public holidays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage