Entries tagged with “Winnie Bowman”.


A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. (more…)

platters_wine_guide_2017A number of records were broken last night when 94 wines and one brandy were awarded 5 star status at the launch of  the Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, a new venue, the event having been held at the Mount Nelson for years. The colour of the 2017 Platter’s Guide is Harvest Green.  (more…)

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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imageFor the fourth year Hermanus FynArts is showcasing and celebrating the best of South African Arts, from 10 – 19 June. The theme of the Festival this year is ‘French Connection’. (more…)

imageThe FNB Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Top 10 wines were announced over a lunch held at Val de Vie today!

Invited guests included the Top 20 Finalists for the awards, and tasting tables had been set up to allow the twenty Finalist wines to be tasted. No one knew who would make the Top 10 list.  A shelf had been set up to display all top twenty (more…)

imageThe participation by restaurants in the Western Cape in the Diners Club Winelist Awards 2015 is a shock, declining from 80 restaurants in 2014 (already a decrease from 96 in 2013) to 65 restaurants this year!  Diners Club will have to find a solution to the declining interest in its Winelist Awards.

The Diners Club Winelist Awards acknowledge restaurants which take pride and interest in their winelists, and how the wines match the food (more…)

FNB Sauvignon B All Top winners Whale CottageI have not been to Nitida wine estate in Durbanville in a long time, nor to its Cassia restaurant.  As the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards were held at the wine estate, it was a good opportunity to revisit, and to experience the new function venue, which comfortably seated 120 guests for lunch yesterday.

Invited guests included two representatives each of the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 20 shortlist, writers, and FNB staff as well as their clients.  Prior to the lunch, each of the 20 Sauvignon Blanc producers manned a tasting table, and provided information, making it a good opportunity to rub shoulders with other guests.   (more…)

Platter's South African Wine Guide 2014 'Aquamarine' EditionIt was a boisterous Diners Club Platter’s South African Wines 2014 ‘prize-giving’ last night, with a record 80 wines receiving the much-desired 5 star accolade, selected blind-tasted from double the number of 5-star finalists.  It was an evening that honoured publisher Andrew McDowall, and saw new publisher JP Rossouw in action for the first time.

A number of records were set last night, with the largest number of wines evaluated ever, at 7434, there being 49 new entries, and close to 900 producers of wine in the Guide.  After an absence, brandy and sherry-style wines were awarded again.

On arrival, sipping Klein Constantia MCC, a number of well-known winemakers and estate owners were visible, giving one a taste of some of the 5 star winners, including last year’s Winery of the Year winner Gottfried Mocke of Cape Chamonix, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Johann Laubser of Delaire Graff, and Ginny Povall of Botanica.    We commented that it was wonderful to see so many women winemakers amongst the top 5 star recipients!  Once we were allowed to enter the venue at the Vineyard Hotel, the wines were displayed in groups, for one to taste and to see the 5 star winners by their presence.

David Hughes sang the praises of Andrew, and his direct involvement with 29 of the 34 Platter’s Wine Guides.  He described Andrew as a man ‘massive in character’, who has a nickname ‘Grunter‘, who got himself smuggled into a Nederburg Wine Auction via the boot of a car when he did not receive an invitation, who fell onto a cannon at the bottom of the steps of the Mount Nelson when he slid down the bannister at his 40th birthday party, a man one can trust when he gives you his word, ‘and a hell of a good guy‘, warning JP that he has big boots to fill in taking over from Andrew.  There was roaring applause for Andrew.

Andrew looked well, and his dry humour was on full form, saying thatPlatter's Andrew McDowall Whale Cottage Portfolio the romance with Diners Club last year had led to marriage during the year.  He was full of praise for his ‘young, strong and virile’ successor JP.  He was proud that the edition was printed locally and not in Singapore.  He revealed the ‘Walker Bay blue’ cover, saying that they had considered calling it ‘Pendock sea sick’, which brought the house down!  He praised editor Philip van Zyl as the ‘most ethical man’, which led to applause from the floor. The 80 5 star winners include 7 brandies, up from 62 last year.  I asked Andrew what he would be doing with his time, and he said he wasn’t sure, but getting better at bridge is one of his goals. (more…)

I was invited by Noble Hill to join a small group of guests (including viticulturist consultant Rosa Kruger, Platter wine taster Winnie Bowman, sommelier Greg Mutambe from the Twelve Apostles Hotel, sommelier Josephine Gutentoft from the Grande Roche, wine writer Christian Eedes, and Babylonstoren Food & Beverage Manager Annelle van Tonder) on the sail training yacht, the s.t.y. Howard Davis, to celebrate the launch of their new ‘The Longest Day’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011, on the longest day of the year, being the summer solstice yesterday. This is the first Sauvignon Blanc made by winemaker Bernard le Roux at Noble Hill, with just over 2300 bottles, receiving 4,5 stars from Platter.

Owner Kristopher Tillery explained the name of the new wine, in that the grapes are grown at high altitude (700 m) at Kaaimansgat in the Elandskloof, in the Villiersdorp area, receiving an above average amount of sunlight, with a long but cool growing season, the grapes ripening in March. The grapes were harvested by hand and delivered in a refrigerated truck to the 30 ha Nobel Hill winery on the Simondium-Klapmuts Road. Their land once formed part of the neighbouring Babylonstoren. The fruit was cooled to 5°C before crushing and pressing into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The wine was racked and occasionally stirred for eight months before bottling, to give the wine complexity and richness, after primary fermentation.   Fruit notes include melon, passion fruit, green apple, and gooseberry, with some green fig, nectarine and peach.  The wine is balanced with ‘racy acidity balanced by rich fruit’. The wine is ideal to drink with good friends and food ‘in the dog days of summer’, says the Noble Hill information sheet.  Yesterday the sun rose at 5h32, and set at 19h57, giving 14 hours and 25 minutes of sunshine on the longest day of 2011.  The wine is recommended to sell at R95.

Winemaker Bernard le Roux studied at the University of Stellenbosch, and has worked at Flagstone, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, and Vilafonté before joining Noble Hill.  He has good sea legs, pouring the wine and remaining upright without much effort, despite the bumpy ride. He sailed around the Seychelles and the Maldives a few years ago, he told me.  Noble Hill first started producing wines ten years, and the Tillery family bought the farm five years ago.  It is known for its unique ‘leaf and stem water potential irrigation’, the write-up in Platter states.

Noble Hill already produces a Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and the 1674 Signature Red Blend, each receiving 4 stars in the latest Platter Guide.  Kristopher studied at Harvard University, and lived in Nigeria for fifteen years.  The family regularly came to Cape Town on holiday since 1994.  He was a consultant to the largest USA insurance company, and approached the family’s new acquisition as he would a consulting job, ‘asking the right questions’, he said, and focusing on balancing production and sales.

Our sail was an exhilarating one, with a heavy swell until we reached Clifton, so much so that most of us stopped eating Kathleen Tillery’s lovely snacks and had more of ‘The Longest Day’ to calm our nerves!  The return journey to the V&A Waterfront was a breeze, so to speak, and we didn’t want to leave the yacht.  The Howard Davis was designed by Kurt Öhlmann, and was commissioned by the South African Merchant Navy in 1965.  She participated in the first Cape to Rio yacht race in 1971, and has since been restored to its former glory by its current owners.

Noble Hill, Simondium-Klapmuts Road to Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 874-3844.   www.noblehill.com Twitter: @NobleHill Monday – Sunday.

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