I have been an avid supporter of OpenWine, ever since Seth Shezi and I went to pop in to see the wine tasting service and wine shop, which opened on Wale Street in August last year. I enjoyed their weekly wine estate introductions and tastings, which were held for a couple of months. On Tuesday Llewellyn Lambert and I attended a new format wine educational and tasting at OpenWine. Continue reading →
Every Tuesday evening OpenWine on Wale Street offers a wine tasting for roughly fifteen wine lovers, led by a representative of one of the wine estates stocked at the central wine tasting centre in Cape Town. Last night it was Oneiric from Elgin, the tasting led by its new representative Khail van Niekerk. Continue reading →
I was invited to the Constantia Fresh Fine Wine and Food Festival held at Buitenverwachting yesterday afternoon. It was a sold out fun event, 44 wine estates (not only from Constantia) presenting their 200 ‘freshest’ and most interesting wines, and chefs (mainly from Constantia) preparing food.
The entrance fee was R400 per person, and included as much wine tasting and food as one liked. The tables were set out by region, with Constantia having the central stage around a massive oak tree in the middle of the large lawn on which the Festival was held. It is always interesting to see how the wine estates market themselves in the relatively small space they have. It was impossible to taste all the wines of all the wine estates represented at the Festival, and it was a pity that one did not receive a leaflet or information about each of the wines and wine estates at the Festival. The Festival is the concept of wine editor, Platter taster, sommelier, and wine consultant Jörg Pfützner, who is known as a Riesling fan.
The Constantia Fresh Festival was preceded by two events on Friday: Jörg led a themed tasting with the interesting title: ‘If modernity is sexy, is tradition passé?’ This was followed by a four course dinner cooked by Chef Bertus Basson, paired with a total of twelve wines from the Constantia valley, which was held at Klein Constantia. Yesterday the ‘walkabout tasting‘ allowed attendees to taste to their heart’s content, and to meet wine estate representatives, although most top winemakers were not present due to the harvest being in full swing. On its website, Constantia Continue reading →
It was restaurant reviewer and now Platter’s South African Wines 2014 publisher JP Rossouw who told me about Springfontein Eats outside Stanford, asking me at the launch of the wine guide whether I had already eaten there. Having spent the past weekend in Hermanus, I drove to the restaurant on Saturday, finding a culinary oasis, with former 1 star Michelin Chef Jürgen Schneider preparing a lunch feast just for me!
I had booked for lunch and was the only patron in the restaurant, despite it being a long weekend. The restaurant opened two months ago. Springfontein was bought by Jürgen and Susanne Schneider as well as by Johst and Jen Weber in 1994, then a cattle farm. The farm had belonged to David Trafford’s father in law, and it was suggested to them that the abundance of water, the terroir, the limestone soil, the nearby ocean location, the difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures, and the slope on the farm, would be ideal for wine production, which advice they followed and they started planting vines eleven years ago. They were laughed at initially, being ridiculed for the ‘vinegar’ that they would be producing, but they have proven their critics wrong! Springfontein is the oldest wine farm in Stanford. They sold their grapes to Hamilton Russell and to Rupert & Rothschild initially, until they started making their own wines 7 – 8 years ago.
The road to Springfontein is not the easiest to find in Stanford, one driving down Stanford’s main road, and then turning left into Moore Road, and carrying on straight, the road becoming a gravel one and taking one to Springfontein 5 km along. The road signs are tiny, not brown tourism ones, as I had expected. Gravel roads are not my favourite, due to a childhood experience of a car accident on such a road, but the condition of the road was reasonable.
Three cottages on the farm have been transformed into guest accommodation, and the Springfontein Winery wine cellar was built. The old homestead was transformed into Springfontein Eats restaurant, the most recent of the facilities on the wine estate to open. I asked Chef Jürgen why he would leave a lucrative and successful Michelin star graded restaurant Strahlenberger Hof in Schriesheim they have run for 18 years, Continue reading →