At the presentation of the 2016 Prescient Chardonnay Report at SMITH Studio on Wednesday afternoon, Winemag.co.za Editor Christian Eedes said that South African Chardonnay at the top end had ‘never looked so good‘! The number of awards presented to Chardonnay wines scoring 90 or more out of a quality score of 100 points was testimony to his enthusiasm about the category.
Tag Archives: Sterhuis
‘Farm to table’ Little Saint restaurant serves ‘food for living’, with a Spanish touch!
Last week I was invited to try Little Saint restaurant on Upper Bree Street, in the semi-detached section of Cape Town’s top trendy restaurant street. I was pleasantly surprised to find the first working herb ‘garden’ inside a restaurant. Continue reading →
‘Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South Africa Wine Guide’ launched with a number of changes!
The 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide was launched at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel last night, in a Beaujolais Ferment colour, with a number of changes in terms of its methodology to evaluate the 5 star wines, as well as in the content of the Wine Guide. Out of 6000 wines submitted for evaluation, a total of 50 wines and one brandy received the highly desired 5 star rating. The Platter’s Winery of the Year is Sadie Family Wines, the second time that Eben Sadie has received this accolade. DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2013 was named the White Wine of the Year, and De Trafford Blueprint Syrah 2012 was named the Red Wine of the Year.
The first Platter’s change is that JP Rossouw has been the new publisher for the past year, looking confident last night, relative to his first more restrained presentation a year ago. It was nice to see former publisher Andrew McDowell Continue reading →
Restaurant Review: Chalk & Cork dirty, average food, with abusive Chalk & Cheek!
I was bombarded with a barrage of Tweets when the new owners of Mozzarella Bar on Kloof Street first opened in July, having bought the business from ‘Mr Charm’ Giorgio Nava. Nava must have sold the owners Amy and Marc Botes a good dose of rudeness and cheek too, which is what I experienced when I popped in at the now renamed Chalk & Cork, waiting for my car to be washed at the Engen garage nearby, earlier this week. I enjoyed going to the Mozzarella Bar, with its charming Italian manager Simone, previoulsy.
I photographed the counter as one enters (there is no signage at the entrance, but only on the low wall of the outside seating, visible to all passing on Kloof Street (the patrons that is, and not the branding)! The waitress could not tell me why the restaurant is named Chalk & Cork, other than to say that they have a lot of wine on the winelist! She could not explain the ‘Chalk‘ part. There is a cork collection building up on both sides of the front door. The downstairs entrance doesn’t appear to have changed much, although there is more equipment against the back wall behind the counter compared to the Mozzarella Bar. The Pizza oven is still there, as is the drinks fridge. They are no longer selling Mozzarella, which will be available at Piazza Italia, up the road on Park Road. Upstairs they can seat 30 patrons. On a rainy day they have next to no business, the upstairs seating not being visible nor known. Continue reading →
Franschhoek celebrates ‘Magic of Bubbles’ at Cap Classique and Champagne Festival!
One of Franschhoek’s most popular annual events is the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, which will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday. Close to 50 top Champagnes and MCCs (Méthode Cap Classique) will be available to taste, as is food supplied by Franschhoek restaurants.
The theme is ‘Black and White‘, with an emphasis on spots and stripes, and bubbly fans will be enjoying ‘The Magic of Bubbles‘ on what is forecast to be a perfect weather weekend. Not only will MCCs from Franschhoek be on show, but top sparkling wines from other regions and Champagnes will be too.
Veuve Clicquot winemaker Pierre Casenave will be at the brand’s stand between 12h00 – 13h00 on both days. Other Champagne brands available for tasting are Billecart- Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, and Tribaut.
The 40 well-known MCC producers pouring their bubblies are Pierre Jourdan, Continue reading →
WOSA Sommelier World Cup clever way to market South African wines!
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 →
WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 29 August
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Tourism to Africa has grown by 3,8% in the past six months, and could be higher, if there were no conflict on the continent. Growth is strongest for South Africa and Tanzania.
* The best of the Stellenbosch Winelands will be shown off at the Sanlam Private Investments’ (SPI) fourth ‘Stellenbosch at Summer Place‘ event in Johannesburg on 30 October, pairing wines, food, art, music, and fashion from the second oldest town in the country. It will be a ‘grapes-gourmet-and-gallery affair’, with art, fashion, Continue reading →
Franschhoek sparkles with Cap Classique and Champagne Festival!
The Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is one of the highlights of the Franschhoek calendar, and its contribution to tourism is in the league of the Bastille Festival and Franschhoek Literary Festival. In the next two days 51 Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) and Champagne producers will be offering their bubblies for tasting, at marquees alongside the Huguenot Monument. Thirteen MCC producers are from Franschhoek. The dress theme is ‘Black and White’ with an emphasis on ‘Birds and Bows’, and the Festival is open from 12h00 – 17h00. Entrance costs R200.
The bubbly producers are as follows: Colmant, Graham Beck Wines, Krone, La Motte, Morena, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Simonsig, Steenberg, Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage, Boschendal, Bramon, Cederberg, Chabvin, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine des Deux, Francois La Garde, Villiera, Genevieve, GM & Ahrens, Guinevere, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Kumkani, Laborie, L’Omarins Anthonij Rupert, My Wyn, Plaisir de Merle, Pongracz, Quion Rock, Rickety Bridge, Ross Gower, Saltare, Saronsberg, Silverthorn, Sterhuis, Stony Brook, Tanzanite, Villiera, Weltevrede, Wonderfontein Paul René, Woolworths, Billecart Salmon, Tribaut, Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon, Therry Lesne, and Veuve Clicquot.
Food and other beverages will be offered for sale by Franschhoek restaurants, including Café Bon Bon, Deluxe Coffeeworks, Chamonix, Haute Cabrière is offering salads, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Jessie’s Ice Cream, Le Franschhoek Hotel is offering pork pies and macaroons, Le Quartier Français, Bread & Wine, Mont Rochelle, Roca Restaurant, Salmon Bar, with Wild Peacock selling oysters.
POSTSCRIPT 2/12: The Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival has just endeded, a highly successful event. The best dressed stand, in our opinion, was Morena from Franschhoek, always looking classy. Graham Beck was the best branded stand.
Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, end of Huguenot Road at Huguenot Monument, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-2861. www.franschhoek.org.za Book via www.webtickets.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
MCC Franschhoek is a bubbly new showcase of MCCs of Franschhoek!
One of the cleverest ideas for a new restaurant and champagne bar is MCC Franschhoek, and it is appropriate that its opening co-incided with the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival this weekend. MCC Franschhoek is a showcase of 34 Franschhoek sparkling wines of 14 Franschhoek producers.
The brainchild of Philip and Christy Harrison, previously managing De Huguenot Estate, MCC Franschhoek allowed the couple to work with a beverage they love best. Christy told me that Philip loves cooking, having started to do so in Majorca, after studying accountancy. Both Philip and Christie owned a Weatherspoons outlet in Heathrow, but moved back to Cape Town thirteen years ago, Philip managing The Galley in Fish Hoek. They moved to the design of wedding stationery, and it is Christy who designed the stylish logo for MCC Franschhoek. Due to the closure of the De Huguenot restaurant and Harry Q Bar at De Huguenot Estate (to be run as a wedding and event venue only in future), Philip and Christie took part of their share of the venture in kind, and therefore they have the stylish silver-upholstered chairs, black bar chairs and tables, and couches from De Huguenot restaurant, which are spread out in the courtyard of the Village Square. Each table has the MCC range and price list, and a perspex salt and pepper grinder stand. Quality material serviettes and Fortis cutlery are stylish.
Alleé Bleue (Brut Rosé), Boschendal (MCC Le Grande Pavillion Brut Rosé, MCC Grande Cuvée Brut), Cape Chamonix (MCC Blanc de Blancs), Colmant (Brut Reserve, Brut Rosé, Brut Chardonnay), Dieu Donné (Maingard Brut, Rose MCC), Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena Brut, Brut Rosé, Cuvée Catherine, Malabar Shiraz), Graham Beck (Brut, Brut Rosé NV and 2008, Bliss Demi Sec, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Zero), GM & Ahrens (Cap Classique), Hauté Cabriere (Pierre Jourdan Brut, Cuvée Belle Rose, Brut Sauvage, Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Reserve), La Motte, Môreson (Miss Molly, Solitaire, Gala, Pink, One), My Wyn, Stony Brook (The Lyle), and Topiary (Blanc de Blancs Brut) sparkling wines are sold by the bottle, while a select number of bubbly brands can be bought by the glass, advertised on a blackboard. Prices start at R110 for Miss Molly, peaking at R650 for the GM & Ahrens. Surprisingly (given its name), a number of wines are offered too, and many are non-Franschhoek. Protea Sauvignon Blanc, Glenwood Sauvignon Blanc, Haute Cabrière Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Beyerskloof Pinotage Rosé, Glenwood Shiraz Merlot blend, Graham Beck Game Reserve, and Guardian Peak Shiraz are all available by the glass, reasonably priced in a range from R20 – R35.
MCC Franschhoek opens from 8h00, and serves well-priced breakfasts, one paying per item (e.g. 2 eggs, bacon and toast costs R47); muesli, yoghurt and berry coulis, and a croissant with cheese and preserves cost R20 each. There is no breakfast cut-off time. The ‘Bites’ menu has a mix of salads (R45 – R65), sundowner platters (R50 – R75, and includes oysters, cheese, cold meats, and biltong), main courses, and desserts (R35 – R45), which can be ordered throughout the day. I ordered a perfectly prepared Franschhoek salmon trout served with boiled potatoes, and a crispy fresh asparagus salad (R75). Other main course options are sirloin steak and prawns in a beer batter, also costing R75. One can also order beef lasagne, mussels, an open chicken Satay burger, and two tarts. The menu will be updated and amended regularly.
I was impressed with the scale of the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival in showcasing the leading bubbly brands for sale in this country. It is held at the Huguenot Monument, which attracted 2000 bubbly-lovers yesterday, and more are expected today between 12h00 – 17h00. Eight champagne brands (Billecart Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon Brut Tradition, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, Tribaut Brut Tradition, and Veuve Clicquot) presented their precious bubbles, as did 37 local sparkling wine producers. Staff representing the local brands Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage (in beautiful Carrol Boyes coolers), Boschendal, Bramon, Chabivin, Colmant, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine Des Dieux, Francois la Garde, Genevieve MCC, The House of GM & Ahrens, Graham Beck, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Krone, Laborie, La Motte, Nicolas Feuillate Champagne for Woolworths, Morena, Môreson, My Wyn, Namaqua Wines (Guinevere very deep pink, with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, all 3000 bottles exported), Pierre Jourdan, Pongracz, Quoin Rock, Rickety Bridge (new 2010 release, 50% each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with only 3500 numbered bottles produced from Franschhoek grapes), Ross Gower, Saltare, Silverthorn, Simonsig, Steenberg, Sterhuis, Villiera, Weltevrede and Woolworths Wines all looked chic in their black and white outfits, the dress code of the Festival, which most attendees honoured too. There were surprisingly few Franschhoek restaurants represented (Le Quartier Français, Mont Rochelle Country Kitchen, Haute Cabrière, Roca Restaurant, and the Salmon Bar), and the food was generally of a disappointing quality, given the theme of the Festival. An exception was the sushi, salmon and other canapé platters made by new Le Franschhoek Hotel chef Oliver Cattermole.
MCC Franschhoek, 3 Village Square, 53 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. Tel 083 772 9449/083 391 3869. No website. Twitter: @MCCFranschhoek Wednesday – Monday, 8h00 – until late, weather dependent.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
The Mussel Bar: ‘musseling’ in on Camps Bay’s Platinum Mile!
My colleague Charmaine and I were invited by The Bay Hotel’s Sarah Martin to try the newly opened Mussel Bar in Camps Bay on Friday, and we did so in the interest of being able to inform our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests about it, even though we both do not eat mussels. While the small menu is very focused on mussels, there is enough to enjoy if one does not eat them, and more non-mussel items will be added to the menu over time.
The Mussel Bar space has been a street bar over the years, and attempts to be a ‘tourism bureau’ too, but it does not have any official accreditation. The Bay Hotel belongs to Maree Brink, who also owns the large network of Village & Life properties in Camps Bay, the V&A Waterfront, Mouille Point, and De Waterkant, and therefore The Mussel Bar is one way of attracting new business. In its favour counts the bus stop directly across the road for the Hop On Hop Off bus, and therefore we saw mainly tourists sitting there. Bicycles are available for rent, and the operators of the cycle rentals sit at a table, hoping for business.
A water wall adds to the summery feel of the restaurant, and there are white tables and grey plastic chairs. Each table has an interesting magazine, including TIME, art magazines, etc. A surprise was the disposable cutlery with a paper serviette. The music was the only aspect of The Mussel Bar that we did not like, being very loud and heavy rock, not matching the light summery feel of the restaurant.
Despite not eating mussels anymore, I liked the focus of the menu on mussels, and the simple but fun menu with a large mussel, printed in black on thick brown board. Quite simply, one can order snacks (biltong, nuts, olives and vegetable chips), at R15 – R18, and 500 gram (R75) or 1 kg (R150) of mussels. The mussels are served with a beer sauce, hand cut fries, rosemary salt and aioli, on beautiful circular wood platters. Chef Laetitia Essau has been at the Bay Hotel for eleven years, and bakes the most delicious herb bread daily, and this costs R16, the idea being to dip the bread into the sauce. Not listed on the menu is a daily cake and other sweet treats, which were Hertzoggies jam-packed with apricot jam and coconut, still warm as they came fresh out of the oven.
Cocktails cost R40 – R50, and we enjoyed a ‘virgin’ Strawberry Daiquiri, making it feel that we were on holiday. Castle Lite, Windhoek and Heineken are sold for around R18, Darling Slow Beer costs R38, and five &Union Beers cost R32 – R38. Sterhuis sparkling wine costs R40/R170. White wines range from R30/R95 for Lands End Sauvignon Blanc – R 40/R170 for Teddy Hall Chenin Blanc; the red wine choice is Sgt Pepper Red Blend (R33/R100) and Hidden Valley Pinotage (R35/R120). Coffee is by Origin, and The Mussel Bar staff have been for barista training.
It is becoming trendy for chefs to become consultants (Chef Reuben Riffel is a past master at this), and Chef Bertus Basson, a friend of Brink, was a consultant to the development of the Mussel Bar. Chef Brian Smit, who started at Tides Restaurant a month ago and helped set up the Noisy Oyster in Paternoster five years ago, came to say hello, and brought us sample menus of the restaurant, which he changes daily. The Manager Carolyn was very efficient, coming to the tables all the time, checking that all is well. She has worked at numerous restaurants, including the Sand Bar and La Vie.
The Mussel Bar, Bay Hotel, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town. Tel (021) 438-4612. www.themusselbar.co.za Twitter: @MusselBar Monday – Sunday, 11h00 – 23h00
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage