Entries tagged with “De Wetshof”.


Veritas Wine top achieversKWV, Spier, and Nederburg are our country’s top three wine estates based on the number of Double Gold and Gold Awards they received at the 2014 Veritas Awards Gala Dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday evening, making up almost half the 51 Double Gold awards. The Veritas Awards are viewed as the ‘Oscars of the South African wine industry‘, with close to 1800 wines entered, a slight decrease on the number of 2013 entries.

KWV was announced as the Best Wine Producer for the fourth year running, and increased its Double Gold awards from four last year to seven this year.  KWV also won 2 Double Golds for its Brandy.  Spier has greatly enhanced its Veritas performance, with 7 Double Gold awards, compared to only one last year. Nederburg increased its Double Gold tally from four last year to six.  Flagstone won Best Performer in the less than 10 wines entered category, and the KWV won in the 11+ wines entered category.

Four wine industry legends Danie de Wet of De Wetshof, Diaan de Villiers, Professor Diko van Zyl (author of historical works on (more…)

Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne FestivalOne of Franschhoek’s most popular annual events is the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, which will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday.  Close to 50 top Champagnes and MCCs (Méthode Cap Classique) will be available to taste, as is food supplied by Franschhoek restaurants.

The theme is ‘Black and White‘, with an emphasis on spots and stripes, and bubbly fans will be enjoying ‘The Magic of Bubbles‘ on what is forecast to be a perfect weather weekend. Not only will MCCs from Franschhoek be on show, but top sparkling wines from other regions  and Champagnes will be too.

Veuve Clicquot winemaker Pierre Casenave will be at the brand’s stand between 12h00 – 13h00 on both days. Other Champagne brands available for tasting are Billecart- Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, and Tribaut.

The 40 well-known MCC producers pouring their bubblies are Pierre Jourdan, (more…)

Emily's Interior 2 Whale Cottage Portfolio (2)Emily’s restaurant is 21 years old, and has recently opened at its third home on Kloof Street, having spent ten years each in Woodstock and in the V&A Waterfront.  The restaurant has lost all of its previous charm, and its main attraction (Chef Peter Veldsman) is nowhere to be seen.  It has sold its soul to Coca Cola, its branding seen throughout the restaurant, not befitting an establishment of the stature of Chef Peter and his partner Chef Johan Odendaal.

Chef Peter once was the most high profile food editor of Sarie magazine, and was known and loved by all, the doyen of food writers in his heyday. He has written eleven cookery books, and has contributed to many others too. He has won numerous food awards. He started the Culinary Arts Institute of Africa Restaurant School at the same time as opening Emily’s restaurant in Woodstock in 1994, long before the suburb became trendy, and it was extremely popular for a decade.  I remember its quirky decor, inside an attractive building, and being particularly popular amongst Afrikaans Capetonians, it being their first real Afrikaans restaurant.  Chef Johan ran the cookery school, and his students were the servers.

Surprisingly Emily’s moved to the V&A Waterfront, badly (more…)

WOSA Sommelier Cup Will Predhomme Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.

The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch.   After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Skywise and FlySafair are both low cost airlines due to take off soon in flying between Cape Town and Johannesburg, with FlySafair having an advantage in taking off on 17 October, despite criticism that it is not meeting the ownership criterion of no more than 25% foreign ownership.

*   BA will cut its number of flights per week between London and Johannesburg from 17 to 14 in February, when it introduces the A380 aircraft on this route.

*   Ending its themed ‘Taking Tapas to…’ dinners, Bistro Sixteen82 is going Asian for the month of October. Ten dishes from the Orient include StickyBistro Sixteen 82 Tapas Asian image001 Chinese Ribs and Teriyaki Chicken.  From November the restaurant returns to its classic tapas menu. (via media release from Communication Services Africa)

*   Parliament has a wine cellar with 3000 wines, writes Emile Joubert. Called the Speaker’s Parliamentary Wine Cellar,  Speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu said that Parliament is situated ‘around the (more…)

Shimmy Beach Club exterior Whale Cottage PortfolioWe were invited to try Shimmy Beach Club recently, not having had a chance to have a meal there since it opened six months ago, the restaurant, bar, and beach not being visible to visitors to the V&A Waterfront as it is hidden away in the port.  Given the client profile, and the R40 million expenditure invested in the new building, we were surprised about the good value and friendly dining we experienced.

One drives to the harbour entrance near the Caltex garage, and initially signage leads the way.  However, almost as one reaches a dead end, there is no further signage, until one sees a faded sign on top of a building with a guarded gate.  We were told that there had been an issue with the Transnet National Port Authority about the signage, and it had to be removed.  The building is adjacent to the Cape Town port authority, which regulates the shipping traffic entrance to and exit out of the port.  There was enough parking, but it could be limited (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Good news is that the UK travel industry is seeing the first signs of recovery, after two years of a ‘meltdown‘, which severely affected the Western Cape tourism industry too!

*   One third of active American travelers travel with a smart phone and a tablet, and are an important market to watch for trends, now called the ‘Digital Elite’!

*   Ataraxia Serenity 2008 was the best selling wine at the recent Free State FNB Wine Show. (via media release from Ataraxia)

*   Sarah Baker of Wild Peacock Emporium has moved to the wholesale division of Wild Peacock, focusing on the supply of artisanal boutique cheeses.

*   French wine estate owners are being warned against fraudulent (more…)

On Wednesday the Slick Group, owners of Balducci’s, Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs, and Belthazar, invited the Camps Bay guest house owners and managers for lunch at Balducci’s, to thank them for their support in the past year, to present the newly designed Slick Restaurant Group Loyalty Card, which is aimed at locals in the main, and to share information about the winter specials at Balducci’s and at Gibson’s. This Italian style restaurant has something for everyone, and has a menu with the greatest appetite appeal we have ever seen.

The A5 menu for Season 2013/14 looks like a magazine, with exquisite photography of their dishes, one per section of the menu, making the choice of what to order even harder, as everything on the menu sounds good enough to eat, and the photographs add to the appetite appeal. The second half of the Menu contains the winelist. Like a magazine, the menu is interspersed with advertising, which is not irritating, except that it is a large number of pages (68 in total) to go through when choosing what to eat and to drink.

The menu introduction explains the restaurant’s policy to be more ‘environmentally responsible’, explaining that it uses alien wood in its pizza ovens, it uses vegetables and fruit that are in season, and local ‘superb quality procured meat, poultry, fish and game’. Only fresh chicken is used, and grain-fed 28 day matured beef. Extra virgin award-winning olive oil is used, the menu states. No BYO wine is allowed, and neither is photography (I was not stopped in photographing the dishes for this blogpost), the first time that I have seen photography prohibited in a restaurant. In terms of the new Liquor Act (2013) it is a criminal offence for restaurant patrons to take unfinished bottles of wine, malt or spirits with them when they leave, the menu states.  The menu is printed on Sappi Triple Green recyclable paper.  Select menu items are marked in green as being the owner’s ‘personal healthy option choice’.

The Italian heritage of the restaurant shows in the division of the menu into

*   Antipasti – we shared Antipasti platters (R140) as a starter, which included a Caprese salad, Springbok carpaccio, avocado, tomatoes, butternut, grilled aubergine, grilled chili and garlic calamari, and fresh baked toasted bread.  Other options include Minestrone and Onion soups (R57 each),  prosciutto and melon (R90), tuna tataki (R88), salmon (R55), oysters (SQ), prawns (R40 – R180), as well as eleven salad choices (R75 – R104).

*   Primi Piatti – this section offers burgers (classic, gorgonzola, Swiss cheese, bacon guacamole, luxury lamb, ostrich, vegetarian, and chicken) ranging from R65 – R85; a very extensive sushi selection (the 24 piece Platinum Sushi Plate is a winter special at R109*); 35 pizza options, ranging from R60 – R110; and eleven pasta choices, ranging from R65 – R150.  In winter the prices of pizzas and pastas, with one exception each, have been reduced to R54*.

*   Secondi Piatti – most of us had a different main course, and each plate looked generous, and beautifully presented.  Our intern Lorraine chose the kingklip, which was served on a bed of grilled butternut, aubergine, and green beans, and was topped with parmesan slices, olives and tomatoes (R140). Other fish options are calamari (R95), Norwegian salmon (R159), mussels (R110), crayfish (R90 per 100g), and seafood platters (R345/R695). Corrie praised the Butter Chicken Curry (R150), as the best he has ever tasted.  My Veal Marsala was served with linguine and an excellent light parmesan cream, sautéed mushrooms, and a Marsala sauce (R115). Other meat dishes include veal (most cost R115), game (R180), a variety of steak options (most R160), and lamb shank (R160).  A 250g 28 day matured rump steak is on special during winter at R79*.

*   Dolce – Most desserts cost R59, and their Tiramisu has been a firm favourite for years, the finger biscuits soaked in Espresso and Kahlua, with an Amarula sauce. Other options are chocolate fondant, crème brûlée, malva pudding, ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt, and a white Lindt chocolate cheesecake.

*   Formaggi – a selection of cheeses costs R90.

The winelist section has a large number of advertisements of supplier wine estates.  Each wine region and wine variety is defined and described:

*   ‘Bubbly’ – MCCs offered include Pongrácz NV (R60 per glass/R240 per bottle), Pierre Jourdan Brut NV (R70/R250), L’Omarins Brut Classique NV (R88/R325), Steenberg ’1682′ Chardonnay 2011 (R350), and De Wetshof NV (R121/R480).  Moët et Chandon costs R650.

*   Bianchi/white wines – an extensive number of wines is offered per variety, eighteen alone for Sauvignon Blanc (from R34 – R68 per glass, and R130 – R280 per bottle).

*   Rossi/Red wines – eight Shiraz options are offered, from R37/R145 for Franschhoek Cellars ‘Baker Station’ 2011 to La Motte’s 2009 Shiraz (R360).

*   ‘Aficionado Lounge‘ – brandy, Calvados, Armagnac, Grappa, port, sherry, beers,  and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky are offered.

The Slick Loyalty Card was explained to us by Slick Marketing and Reservations Co-ordinator Michelle Page. Patrons receive 10% off their bill on presentation of the Loyalty Card, and a R200 birthday voucher. The Winter Special prices quoted above apply to dishes (marked with * above) ordered between 12h00 – 18h00.

Our Camps Bay guest house group had a most enjoyable lunch at Balducci’s, owner Ian Halfon popping in to greet the group.  The new Winter Specials are great value, for a restaurant that is perceived to be on the expensive side.  In going through the menu for this blogpost, it was a surprise to see how many reasonably-priced dishes it contains.  Service is smart, the serving staff is neatly and professionally dressed, and the location in a quieter section of the V & A Waterfront is an advantage.

POSTSCRIPT 10/6: Michelle has explained the photography policy in greater detail, and food and people photography is allowed: ‘Re photography of the décor, we felt we put a lot of effort into the look and feel of the restaurant. Creating something special.Guests can take pics of food and celebrations and of themselves with pleasure and post and review etc, we have no problem with that‘.

Disclosure:  We received a bottle of Balducci’s Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon House Wine and a small box of Emporio Leone chocolates with the menus of the three Slick Restaurant Group restaurants.

Balducci’s Ristorante Pizza Seafood Bar, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 421 6002. www.balduccis.co.za Twitter: @Balduccis_CT  Monday – Sunday.

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

Tweeters are starting to express their frustration at being misled by two Cape Town based reviewers, Lionel Lelyveld, Tweeting about restaurants as @IntertwEAT, and Michael Olivier, Tweeting as @FoodWineGuru about wines.

What the two Tweeters have in common is that neither reveal to the readers of their blogs/websites nor in their Tweets (nor to the Fine Music Radio FMR listeners) that they have received their meals for free in the case of Lelyveld, and that the wine reviews are part of an advertising package offered by Olivier, showing that both the reviewers have no ethics in misleading their Twitter Followers and blog readers, and radio listeners.

Michael Olivier has been around for a while, and appears to have needed a new source (more…)

Yesterday Franschhoek Wine Valley and the Vignerons de Franschhoek producing Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wines hosted a preview of twelve of their sixteen MCC producers and products, in the beautiful setting of the Le Verger restaurant at the Le Franschhoek Hotel.

The Franschhoek MCC Route will be officially launched early in 2013, we were told by new Vignerons Chairman Irene Waller, winemaker and GM at La Bri.  A full size map will be designed, for visitors to Franschhoek to use on their visits for MCC tastings. Ms Waller highlighted that the first MCC was made in Franschhoek by Achim von Arnim 32 years ago, while he was working at Boschendal, before he made his Pierre Jourdan sparkling wines in the French style on his own wine estate Haute Cabrière a few years later.  Ms Waller also explained that the Vignerons de Franschhoek has three geographical boundaries, being Backsberg on the R45, Val de Vie, and Boschendal on the road to Stellenbosch, potentially confusing to consumers wine writer Angela Lloyd felt, in not reflecting the Franschhoek Wine of Origin demarcation.

Divided into Blanc de Blancs, Bruts, and Rosés, each of the twelve winemakers addressed the writers attending the MCC Preview, and highlighted how their bubbly is made, its price, and other special product and production details.

Blanc de Blancs

*   Dieu Donné Methodé Cap Classique 2010 is made from Franschhoek vines, as  a fresh easy drinking sparkling wine for the increasing number of weddings being hosted on the estate. 100% Chardonnay.  Creamy, fresh apple, and lemon, with biscuity richness. 24 months on the lees.  Whole bunch pressed, fermented in French oak. Hand riddling and degorging. 8000 bottles produced.  R140 per bottle.

*   Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs NV was presented by the youngest von Arnim family member Tamo, its Brand Ambassador.  In 1982 Achim von Arnim bought Cabrière, and in 1986 the first MCC was made, a blend of Chardonnay from De Wetshof (Danie de Wet and Achim von Arnim studying together at Geisenheim) and Pinot Noir at that time.  Now it is produced from 100% Chardonnay, 40% matured in French oak for 4 – 5 months, which brings out vanilla.  It is a perfect welcome drink, pairs well with a variety of foods, and is a perfect palate cleanser.  Tamo shared that his sister-in-law Christiane is launching new Pierre Jourdan labels soon.

*   Môreson Solitaire Blanc de Blancs NV is made by winemaker Clayton Reabow, whole bunch pressing being an important aspect of the production, he said, as is the ‘Cuvee juice’, being the first 250 litres per ton. All their production is non-vintage, keeping a reserve of four previous vintages. No fermentation or food additives make it the ‘cleanest bubbly’. 18 months on the lees. R89.

Brut

*   L’Omarins Brut Classique 2008 is made by Dawie Botha, its 2008 produced MCC not yet released, it being its first public tasting.  The bottle is label-less, embossed with JR (for Jean Roi, the first L’Omarins owner, and not Johan Rupert, we were told). Blend of 60% Chardonnay from Elandskloof and 40% Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch. 48 months on the lees, 4 months on cork. To be released in January 2013.  R100.

*   Colmant Cap Classique Brut Reserve NV owner JP Colmant (left) works with Nicolas Follet of Oenosense Consulting, a French winery consultant now based in Franschhoek.  The MCC is one of three produced by Colmant, the others being a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend, and a Brut Chardonnay Rosé.  Grapes come from nine vineyards in Robertson, Elgin, Franschhoek, Somerset West, and Stellenbosch.  42000 bottles per year.  Focus on fruit and freshness.  No malolactic fermentation.  Also endorses use of reserve wines of previous years, using 10% from previous vintage.  R130.

*   Plaisir de Merle Grand Brut 2010 is made by Neil Bester, and he explained that the Marketing department had recommended the development of a MCC, given the increasing number of weddings held at the wine estate.  The Chardonnay grapes come from the farm, while Pinot Noir comes from Stellenbosch currently, but will be available on the farm from next year.  Blend of 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay.  Malolactic fermentation, 24 months on the lees. 12000 bottles, of which 4000 have been released. R140 – R150.

*   Backsberg Sparkling Brut 2008 is a blend of 40% Pinot Noir and 60% Chardonnay, and is hand riddled, said its marketing executive Alana Ridley.  It is made by winemaker Guillaume Nell.  Whole bunch pressed. R110.

*   La Motte MCC 2009 was presented by Edmund Terblanche, from grapes sourced from its own farm exclusively, a need that was stimulated by its restaurant Pierneef à La Motte. The Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1985 and the Chardonnay in the ‘Nineties.  60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, the blend proportion changing every year. Edmund said originally they had little knowledge of MCC-making, but learnt as they went along, experimenting with oaking. 25 months on the lees. Won Best MCC in the Terroir Awards in last two years. 3000 bottles.  R200.

*   Stony Brook The Lyle 2007 is now made by Craig McNaught, a fresh MCC blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir.  All grapes are from their farm.  450 cases produced. 50 months on the lees. Brioche flavours. R115.

Rosé

*   Rickety Bridge Brut Rosé 2010 is made by Wynand Grobler, a blend of 50% Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Wynand joked and said he wanted to make a MCC, because he saw Achim von Arnim do the Sabrage and kiss the young ladies!  His MCC uses 10% of their Reserve wine, and is Wine of Origin Franschoek. Hand harvested. Fresh acidity, uses signe method, 3500 bottles. R115.

*   Boschendal Grand Pavillon Brut Rosé NV was presented by JC Bekker, but is made by Lizelle Gerber, saying that women winemakers are better at making MCCs.  Strawberries on nose, and cream on the palate. No barrels, no malolactic fermentation. 24 months on the lees. The back label has all the MCC terminology, JC said.

*   Morena Brut Rosé was presented by raconteur Nick Davies from Franschhoek Pass Winery, the highest vineyard in Franschhoek.  They do a ‘green harvest’, and then 3 staged pickings. Half the grapes from own vineyard, balance from Stellenbosch, Robertson and Franschhoek.  Zesty, fresh. No malolactic fermentation. 24 months on the lees. Blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.  Nick has just returned from Champagne, and said that the international trend is to a fresher style, and that the target market is 25 – 40 year old females.  R100

La Bri will release its first MCC in 2014.  My Wyn, La Petite Ferme, Topiary, Noble Hill, and Cape Chamonix are also MCC producers on the new Franschhoek Cap Classique Route, but did not attend the presentation.

Le Franschhoek Hotel Chef Oliver Cattermole created a delicious feast of salmon dishes, an ideal pairing with the MCCs, and had prepared the salmon in various styles: Salmon and soy lollypops, Salmon California rolls with ginger and wasabi, Salmon marbles with rooibos and liquorice, Beetroot fermented salmon with mustard croissant, Salmon croquettes, Salmon pastrami on rye, Blackened salmon with “bloody orange” and vanilla mayo, and Sugar cured salmon and pain de épice sandwich.

The launch of the Franschhoek Cap Classique Route is a clever way of repackaging the Franschhoek wine estates, and will be an attraction to locals and tourists visiting what is now the most exciting wine region in South Africa, given that it is the home of the Platter Winery of the Year 2012 (Boekenhoutskloof) and 2013 (Cape Chamonix). MCC lovers can enjoy the Franschhoek MCCs, as well as those from other regions, at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival from 30 November – 2 December.

MCC (with Chardonnay) consumption is expected to increase, with a greater focus on natural and eco-friendly wines, Woolworths’ Allan Mullins was told when he asked a question about wine trends at our lunch table, making the Franschhoek Cap Classique Route on trend!  It was unanimous at our table that the Colmant Brut Reserve was the best MCC tasted.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of MCC of our choice from the selection still available, ours being the La Motte MCC, with our media pack.

Franschhoek Cap Classique Route, Franschhoek Wine Valley.  Tel (021) 876-2861. www.franschhoek.org.za

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