Last Monday I attended The Sommeliers Selection 2018 tasting of the top-scoring wines at Tokara Delicatessen, driving through from Cape Town on a rainy day. My two favorites I tasted were Arra Shiraz 2015, as well as Trizanne Reserve Syrah 2017. The top wines in the tasting were selected by top Sommelier members of the South African SOmmeliers Association, and the Black Cellar Club. Continue reading →
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 →
An unique ‘The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa‘ has been published, the first of its kind, providing an overview of olive oil production in our country, and providing details of the top quality olive oil producers.
Olives were first brought to South Africa from California by Piet Cillie in 1893. A mere 14 years later Jan Minnaar from De Hoop farm in Paarl won the prize for the best olive oil produced in the British Empire at the 1907 London Show! Reni Hildenbrand now owns the farm in Wellington on which Piet Cillie farmed, and she has written a book ‘Olives and Olive Oils in South Africa‘. Ferdinando Costa arrived from Genoa in Italy a few years later, and brought in Italian plants, grafting them on the local Olienhout rootstock. He planted large numbers of olive trees in Paarl in 1925, and pressed his first olive oil in 1935. The Costa name is synonymous with olives and olive oil, and his relative Linda runs SA Olive, a quality standards body for the industry. Italian Baron Andreis began planting olive trees in the ‘Fifties, using Carlo Castiglione to make olive oil from 1972, under the Vesuvio brand. Its Extra Virgin Olive Oil won four awards in Italy for the first time, and regularly wins international awards. Italian Guilio Bertrand bought Morgenster next door to Vergelegen just over twenty years ago, and saw the potential to produce quality wines and olive oils. He now runs an olive oil nursery, and won the SA Olive Lifetime Achievement Award last year.
The quality of olive oil quality is influenced by the terroir, cultivar, climate, and the oil maker, similar to wines. The biggest threat to good quality local Extra Virgin Olive Oils is inferior olive oils which are imported, and bought by consumers in the belief that the imported products should be of a better quality. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted from the olives at a temperature below 30° C, Continue reading →