Tag Archives: sommeliers

Influential UK wine writer Jancis Robinson praises SA white wines, deserve more international attention!

Jancis Robinson Delaire GraffUK wine judge and writer Jancis Robinson spent most of this past week in the Cape Winelands, after a seven-year absence.  She spoke kindly about our industry, and offered insights into the UK and USA markets.  She wrote from Delaire Graff, where she had attended a Chenin Blanc tasting and stayed over: ‘South African wine is in full ferment. It deserves far more international attention than it is currently getting‘!

Unable to attend two public meetings addressed by Ms Robinson, I have looked for information aboutJancis Robinson her talks, admired by some, and slated by a few.

A detailed summary about Ms Robinson’s (with her husband Nick Lander) talk at #RootstockSA, held at Alleé Bleue, was written by Judy Bouwer of wine.co.za.   Key points she summarised were:

*   SA wine estates should target UK restaurants, which have far more reasonable mark-ups.  Young British people spend their money on food and wine, not being able to afford to buy Continue reading →

MasterChef SA Season 3 episode 10: Sommeliers judge Tapas and Nederburg 56Hundred pairings!

MasterChef 3 10 four teamsIn MasterChef SA episode 10 last night five top South African sommeliers were invited to evaluate the pairing of two Tapas dishes of each of four teams with two Nederburg wines.  The Red Team won the challenge, winning a Secret Reward (it looks like it could be lunch at The Pot Luck Club), while the Blue Team had the lowest score, and will go into an Elimination Test in episode 11.

In winning the best chicken dish with her Coq au Vin in episode 9 last week, Penny Fitchet was honoured with the pairing of the eight finalists.  She paired herself with Francois Zietsman and decided on Blue aprons.  Philippa Robinson and Roxi Wardman were paired in the Yellow Team; Abigail Mbalo and Mel Sutherland were paired in the Green Team; and Ian Young and Sipho Mdlankomo were Nederbrug 56Hundred MasterChefpaired into the Red Team.  Each team had 60 minutes to prepare each of two Tapas dishes, to be paired with Nederburg 56Hundred Chenin Blanc for the first dish, and Nederburg 56Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon for the second dish.  We had learnt in a previous Season of MasterChef that the 56Hundred range was named after the price of 5600 guilders which was paid by Philippus Wolvaart to buy the farm which he named Nederburg.  Invited Sommeliers were Neil Grant, chairman of the South African Continue reading →

Diners Club salutes top Western Cape winelists, Bushman’s Kloof judged best!

Diners Club Winelist banner Whale CottageThe Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape.  During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.

A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years!  Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday!  A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.

Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have Diners Club Pongracz Whale Cottageenough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue.  We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi!  There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year.  It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →

Riedel gourmet glassware makes wines taste better, enhances restaurant experience!

Riedel display Whale CottageI sat next to The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company Cape Town representative Tarryn Thomas at the Chefs who Share‘ Gala Dinner last week, and she invited me to attend the special tasting of wines in the Riedel glassware which they represent in South Africa.  The tasting on Tuesday at The Local Grill function venue was made more special in that it was led by 10th generation Georg Riedel, currently heading up the Austrian-based company. Herr Riedel encouraged the restaurant managers and sommeliers present to invest in glassware and a glass washing machine to bring out the best in the wines they serve.

We were welcomed by Michael Fridjhon, owner of Reciprocal, and he introduced Herr Riedel.  It was the first time that I met Michael, and sat next to him during Riedel Michael Fridjhon Georg Riedel Whale Cottagethe tasting.   I had brought my glass of water into the venue, and was quickly told to put it away, and we were all told that we should not open the bottle of water on the tasting sheet nor taste anything before we were given the go-ahead by Herr Riedel to do so.

Herr Riedel led us to question what makes a restaurant visit successful, the welcome, the food, and the wine selection combined making the cost seem good value or not. Eating at a restaurant is a ‘multi-layered symphony’, he said, to describe the functional and emotional experience of eating out.  He feels that wine Continue reading →