Entries tagged with “Uitkyk”.


imageAt the presentation of the 2016 FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards at Nooitgedacht outside Stellenbosch on Friday, it was announced that eight out of the Top 20 Sauvignon Blancs come from Elgin and Durbanville.
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imageYesterday I attended the Chenin Blanc Showcase at the Cape Grace Hotel, a presentation of 44 wines segmented into six categories.  (more…)

Pete Goffe-Wood 'A Life Digested'Chef Pete Goffe-Wood launched his latest book ‘a life digested’ at his Kitchen Cowboys studio in Woodstock in December.  The book celebrates his 50th birthday year, and his 30th anniversary of a chef.

Published by Quivertree Publications, a publisher which is known for its quality books, the book consists of ten articles which Chef Pete wrote for GQ in the past 10 years, each article paired with dishes, and recipes provided. The photographer was Craig Fraser, with styling by Hemelhuijs’ Jacques Erasmus. The foreword is written by Michelin star restaurant Chef Michel Roux Jnr of La Gavroche in London, who calls himself a friend, praising Chef Pete as a ‘true gent’, but also as a ‘very gifted chef’.

Chef Pete admits that he had no family inspiration to become a chef.  In his digs in Cape Town he offered to do the cooking as he hated washing dishes. He had worked as a waiter at the Balalaika Hotel on weekends as a teenager, but (more…)

Cheni BA Summer Outside table Whale CottageThe Chenin Blanc Association hosts a tasting of its top members’ wines twice a year, to match the summer or winter season.  Last week a tasting of 25 top Chenin  Blancs was followed by a summery Italian-inspired lunch with a view onto Table Mountain at Meloncino in the V & A Waterfront.

The tasting of the 25 Chenin Blancs was divided into five groups of five wines, and was led by Jeff Grier of Villiera, a gentle good off-the-cuff speaker, being so good with his notes that he often knew more about the wines Chenin BA Summer Jeff Grier Whale Cottage than was shared by the winemakers. Jeff stood in for Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, who spends a lot of his time marketing his wines in the USA.  What makes these events great is that writers can meet a number of the winemakers at the table, getting to know them a little better, the Simonsig (Hannes Meyer), Ayama (Liezel Delport), and Rijk’s (Pieter Waal) representatives sitting (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The economy contracted in the first quarter of this year, and a further contraction is expected in the second quarter, putting the economy into recession, speculates The New Age.   The mining sector is the biggest culprit, with a 25% decline in the first quarter of 2014.

*   The Nederburg Auction will be held on 12 and 13 September, and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.   Three Nederburg Edelkeur dessert wines (1979, 1993, and 2006 vintages) will be on offer, as will be Nederburg’s 12-year-old partially wood-fermented Chenin Blanc Reserve, a ten-year-old Riesling Private Bin S316, a five-year-old II Centuries Sauvignon Blanc, a Private Bin Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2000, Private Bin Gewűrztraminer Special Late Harvest 2000, and the 1989 and 1990 Eminence.  A number of other Nederburg wines will go under the hammer. (received via De Kock Communications)

*   The ANC has served papers on the City of Cape Town, requesting ‘a review of the decision of the council‘ about its new logo, in not having followed a process of public participation and its estimated cost of R8 million, reports The New Age. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  UK X Factor judge and singer Cheryl Cole was spotted at The Duchess of Wisbeach in Sea Point on Saturday evening, and Tweeted to her 4,5 million Twitter followers, The Daily Mail reports.

*   Internationally revered and feared Wine Advocate reviewer Robert Parker is to publish a new magazine ‘100 Points by Robert Parker,  with German Hubert Burda Media as publisher.

*   Beer sales in Africa are expected to be the fastest growing, predicts a report by Rabobank, the continent having the fastest growth in legal beer drinking population between 2013 – 2018.  SABMiller has announced that it will triple production at its plant in Nigeria, with an investment of £110 million.

*   The Good Food & Wine Show 2014 will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 29 May –  1 June, and an action-packed program has been announced: 8 top restaurants will offer signature dishes; Woolworths and Robertsons will (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Alide Dasnois, editor of the Cape Times, has been relieved of her post, for an article by her environmental reporter Melanie Gosling about the improper awarding of a contract by the Minister of  Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries to a Sekunjalo subsidiary owned by the Sekunjalo consortium which owns Independent Newspapers!  Ms Dasnois has been replaced by Gasant Abarder as editor of the Cape Times.

*   Delheim is offering a new Cupcake and Wine pairing.  Chef Christine Claasen’s Rooibos cupcake is paired with Delheim Unwooded Chardonnay; the Pomegranate cupcake is paired with the Pinotage Rose; the Makataan (wild melon) cupcake is matched with Delheim’s Chardonnay Sur Lei; and the Pumpkin cupcake is paired with Delheim Pinotage.  The cost is R75. (received via media release from Random Hat Communications).

*   Bain’s Cape Mountain single grain whisky from Wellington has won double gold at the New York International Spirits Competition, having been named World’s Best Grain Whisky earlier this year.   It is distilled at The James Sedgwick Distillery. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   Uitkyk is offering ‘Georgian’ picnics at its restored Georgian manor house outside Stellenbosch.  The picnic basket includes artisan breads, cheeses, pates, olives, charcuterie, smoked salmon, fruit, and chocolate brownies, paired with a bottle of Uitkyk wine as well as a bottle of mineral water. Cost is R350 for two. (received via joint media release from Paula Wilson Media Consulting and Manley Communications)

*   Kenyan visitors to South Africa have reacted with horror for having to pay a private operator for a visa to South Africa, which is meant to be free (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Angola and Nigeria will be the two African countries on which Wines of South Africa (WOSA) will focus its attention, says new CEO Siobhan Thompson

*   Jancis Robinson chose two South African cultivars, out of a total of seven,  at a New York tasting of  ‘unusual grape varieties that typify an ongoing trend in wine to re-visit traditional grapes in their historical homes around the world‘, being Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

*   The price of petrol has decreased by 28 cents a liter.

*   Huffington Post Travel recommends ten wine destinations around the world, and includes ‘Cape Town’, but elaborates that the Cape Winelands is meant, and Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek in particular. Groot Constantia is recommended for a visit.   The other destinations are the Yarra Valley in Australia, Napa and Sonoma in the USA, Okanagan in Canada, Bordeaux in France, Finger Lakes in the USA, Mendoza in Argentina, Willamette Valley in the USA, Tuscany in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.

*   New World wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa make up 30% of world wine exports, states the Morgan Stanley report.

*  A bottle made from recycled paper and weighing only 65 (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Finalists for the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year 2013, being under the age of 30 years, have been announced:  Murray Barlow of Rustenberg Wines, Hendrien de Munck of Longridge, Attie Louw of Opstal, Emile van der Merwe of Vondeling, Narina Cloete of Quoin Rock, and David Sadie of Lemberg.   The winner in this category, as well as the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year 2013, will be announced on 30 November. (received via media release from African Sky Communications)

*   Pedestrian safety in Cape Town is the theme of the City of Cape Town’s Transport Month this month.  With the use of radio and print ads,  the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater, Councillor Brett Herron, ‘has urged pedestrians to be safe and to make use of designated pedestrian crossings’, says the City media release.

*   Vinexpo Beijing, planned to have been held in June 2014, has been cancelled, due (more…)

Even though it shouldn’t have been a surprise, it was a most impressive visit to the new wine tasting center at Babylonstoren, not only offering a tasting of its own four wines, but also offering for sale two wines from each of the wine estates surrounding the Simonsberg, as well as gorgeous produce in its cheesery, bakery, and charcuterie, which opened two months ago.

One enters the tasting centre, housed in the original smithery and stable on the farm, which has been beautifully restored by owner Karen Roos and her GM Terry de Waal, to keep the building as authentic as possible. Flooring which looks weathered and as if it has been there for ever, comes from the old Dietman piano factory in Wellington.  The walls are part raw brick and part plastered and painted.  As Ms Roos has shown on the estate, she is a ‘less is more’ decorator, giving the tasting room a spacious feel, with only a central table displaying the Babylonstoren wines and one other Simonsberg wine, as well as a cheese of the day to taste. A small wooden table with a bench on one side is the only seating in the room, beautifully ‘decorated’ with a box of just picked and washed vegetables, including carrots and purple potatoes. From the central room the cheesery and charcuterie are on the right, behind modern glass doors, and the bakery is to the left.

Koos Bekker, husband of Ms Roos, has a passion for the terroir of the Simonsberg, and came up with the idea of a ‘home’ on his wine estate for the wines produced at the wine estates on the ‘inner circle’ surrounding the mountain.  When Babel restaurant opened on the wine estate over a year ago, it served wines from the neighbouring wine farms when it had not yet made its own wine, a commendable service. A ‘map’ showing the ‘Simonsberg Wine Route’ is painted onto a tile collage on the wall, showing where each of the 27 wine estates, being Vuurberg, Zorgvliet, Thelema, Tokara, Neil Ellis, Rustenburg, Glenelly, Morgenhof, Remhoogte, Quion Rock, Knorhoek, Muratie, Delheim, Uitkyk, Kanonkop, Natte Valleij, Marianne, Mt Vernon, Anura, Glen Carlou, Neil Joubert, Backsberg, Noble Hill, Rupert & Rothschild, Vrede & Lust, Plaisir de Merle, and Babylonstoren, is located.  A shelving unit stores the wines of the other Simonsberg estates, and as they are lying, it is difficult to see the estate names. Each is price marked, and sold at the cellar door price of each wine estate. Because the ‘Simonsberg Wine Route’ is not a formal one, there are no maps, no price list, nor information about any of the wines, including the Babylonstoren ones, a surprise, given the marketing and advertising background of Mr Bekker (Y&R, M-Net/Multichoice/MWeb, Naspers).  None of the four Babylonstoren wines have their 2011 vintage indicated on their bottles, and the staff could not explain this unusual strategy. They called winemaker Charl Coetzee to come over for a chat, and he seemed to think it odd that I was asking questions about this, only mentioning that they were matured in tanks (with the exception of 20% of the Viognier, which was matured in barrel). He was generally cagey about providing information about the Shiraz, Viognier, Mourvèdre Rosé, and Chenin Blanc.  He explained that there is no price list, as the two wines sold per Simonsberg wine estate will change over time, depending on their customers’ interest in them.  He referred to the launch of their flagship Chardonnay and Shiraz in September, and these will have the vintages on them, having been matured in barrels.  He was previously at Clos Malverne and Kaapzicht, and has been at Babylonstoren for about eighteen months. He said that he personally loves Pinotage, but this grape variety is not grown on the estate.  Grapes were on the farm when it was bought by the Bekkers, and the vines are 14 years old. This is the first winemaking on the farm. The wine side is so new to the wine estate that it is not even on their website yet, he said.  In the upstairs section there is a private winetasting and wine storage area, with minimal decor.

Having got stuck on the wine information, Karen ‘Bread’ Pretorius came to my rescue before the winemaker could be found, and she was extremely friendly and informative. She is in charge of the tasting centre, and also doubles up as the baker, having previously worked in the Babel kitchen. The breads baked vary every day, cost R25 each, and include baguettes; a 50% Rye, with Rooibos and raisins; and a tomato relish on a white loaf.  All are baked with Eureka stoneground flour in their wood-fired oven, which looks like it has been there for ever.  Karen is not formally trained in breadmaking, she said honestly, learning through ‘trial and error’, and ‘stealing with my eyes’, describing herself as a passionate breadmaker.  She was the Head Chef at Umami in Stellenbosch previously, and praised Maranda Engelbrecht for what she has learnt at Babel.  The Charcuterie is a large room, and its painting of a duck, bull’s head, and a pig onto the white brick wall, which is visible from the tasting room, reminds one of the bull painted on the Babel restaurant wall. The meats are supplied by Jason Lucas’ Jamon from Prince Albert, who also was the thatcher of the building roof.  They sell pre-packed portions of Black Forest, Parma ham, Pancetta, and Coppa hams, salami, Kalbsleberwurst, and biltong.  The cheeses come from nearby Dalewood predominantly, but also from Kleinrivier and Nuwehoogte.  The cheeses are displayed in fridges, and also in the airconditioned cheese room, which opens into the charcuterie.  Karen told me that they have a close relationship with their suppliers, all having passion for their products in common with Babylonstoren, being chemical-free, MSG-free, and healthier.

Babylonstoren is bound to come up with further surprises in future.  A Loyalty Card is in the pipeline.  A visit to see their extensive vegetable and fruit garden, to eat at Babel restaurant or at the Babel Tea House, to try their wines in the winetasting centre, and shopping at their bakery, charcuterie, and cheesery is highly recommended.  As the tasting centre is only two months old, there were some information deficiencies amongst the staff, which Karen will fix through training.  A coffee machine may be in the pipeline for the tasting centre too, as Babel does not serve coffees only, and the Babel Tea House is a long walk away.

Babylonstoren Tasting Centre, Bakery, Charcuterie, and Cheesery, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 863-3852. www.babylonstoren.com Twitter: @Babylonstoren.  Cellar Tour 12h00 Wednesday – Sunday, must be booked ahead as they only take 12 – 15 persons, R100. 10h00 – 16h00 for tasting centre. R10 per person entry fee to the wine estate.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage