Entries tagged with “MCC”.


Tracy van Maaren Tracy Whale Cottage PortfolioLast night I attended the first Tracy van Maaren Wines Trade Tasting, representing a handful of select fine boutique wine estates, held at Auslese. Each of the wine estate’s wines offered for tasting was personally paired with a canapé designed by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine.

Tracy started her wine career by working as PA to Dana Buys at Vrede en Lust.  She then moved into the clothing industry, but regretted this move.  She returned to the wine industry, working at Jordan.  Almost nine years ago she started her company, her first wine clients being Vriesenhof, Raats, and Catherine Marshall.   She represents her clients’ wines in the ‘mid to top restaurants’ and independent retailers (e.g. Caroline’s, Wine Concepts, and Vino Pronto) in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with Paarl and Franschhoek.

Auslese is a renovated house, available to rent for functions, about two blocks from Aubergine.  It has a smallish kitchen, and the space was cleverly used to set up tasting tables for nine brands, with Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite champagne) represented in the entrance hall by Great Domaines’ Derek Kilpin andTracy van Maaren Pol Roger Whale Cottage Portfolio their brand new French import Morgan Delacloche.

Arriving at about 18h30, there was no crush, and one could get to easily taste the wines and food pairings, chat to the wine representatives, and to the invited guests, which included John Maytham of Cape Talk, Mark Bland of Expresso, Mandi Jarman of Aquila, Chef Vanessa Marx and her colleague  Rumby of Dear Me, Catharina’s Manager Ronel Smidt, sommelier and consultant Jörg Pfützner, John and Lynne Ford, and Mike Duggan of Wine Concepts. (more…)

Thelema Banner and candle Whale Cottage PortfolioThelema hosted a tasting of its Thelema and Sutherland brand wines for hotel and restaurant staff as well as writers at Dear Me in the city centre yesterday.  At the tasting it was announced that a Thelema MCC will be launched later this year.

We were welcomed with a glass of 1994 MCC, a once-off production, which had been made for a family wedding.  It was disgorged three years ago. Thelema was bought by Gyles Webb in 1983, then a 157 ha fruit farm. It is one of the highest and coolest wine estates in the area.  The first wines were produced in 1988. The Thelema Family Trust bought the 100 ha Sutherland farmThelema MCC Whale Cottage Portfolio in Elgin in 2002, and half of the apple orchards were replaced with vines.  The Sutherland wines are slower to ripen, being grown in the cooler climate Elgin, have more minerality, are more approachable, and can be drunk sooner. They are made at Thelema’s cellar in Stellenbosch.  Rudi Schultz has been the winemaker since 2000, with Webb the Cellarmaster. Thelema is particularly well-known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Cape Town International Jazz Festival blows its first notes from 17h00 tomorrow, with a free community concert on Greenmarket Square.  Shakatak is the biggest name group, while Tasha’s World and Good Hope FM DJ Luwayne Wonder will also be seen on the stage.  Burg and Longmarket Streets near Greenmarket Square will be closed all of tomorrow and part of Thursday. (received via media release from espAfrika)

*   Durban’s ‘crime and grime’ deters tourism to the city, and could be the reason why the number of tourists to KwaZulu-Natal has declined for three years running, according to the province’s tour operators.  The poor economic climate, the crime rate, the lack of unique tourist attractions, and the lack of cleanliness all put tourists off visiting.  Durban’s head of tourism, Philip Sithole, disagrees, saying that the city’s tourism numbers are increasing, compared to the provincial decline!  Passenger numbers at King Shaka International as well as road traffic arrivals have declined, but the tourist spend has increased.  Tourists are said to fear walking on the Durban beachfront at night.

*   The House of JC le Roux is pairing its three MCCs with home-made chocolate Easter eggs from 14 April onwards.  Their Pinot Noir Rosé  2009 will be paired with a milk chocolate egg with a rose infused truffle filling;  the La Vallée NV is paired with Belgian (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has announced that CapeWine 2015 will be held from 15 – 17 September 2015. (via Twitter)

*   Franschhoek resident Nolan Hoffman has won the 2014 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour. (Via Twitter)

*   While online accommodation evaluations are much more responsibly handled, about half of travellers feel that a substantial part of accommodation reviews have been ‘manipulated, a Tourism professor told the travel industry at ITB, the international travel  expo which ended in Berlin this weekend.

*   The most child-friendly airports in the world, according to Travel News Weekly,  are Heathrow (number one on the list, and offers children play areas, a quiet room, and a game zone), Zürich (with child minders), Frankfurt (with boarding passes for teddies too!), Munich (with touch screen terminals to explain how an airport works, and German TV series shown), Singapore (with a Butterfly Garden, arcade games, a four storey slide, and internet terminals), and Chicago (with an interactive educational play area).

*   The flagship MCC Villiera Monro Brut 2008 won one of 20 Bacchus Trophies at the 16th Annual Taj Classic Wine Trophy (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Mango is tightening up its credit card procedures, to prevent fraud, by demanding that tickets bought by credit card are verified with the actual card.  If the card is not with the passenger, he/she may not board.

*   ESKOM started load-shedding around the country today, without prior warning, the rain in Johannesburg allegedly wetting the coal and therefore affecting its supply!  The Cape has not been spared, with electricity cuts in Somerset West, Claremont, Durbanville, Tokai, Kenilworth, Parow, Elsies River, Wellington, and Hout Bay this morning, followed by Sea Point, Camps Bay, and many other Cape Town suburbs later in the day.  Our international visitors (other than those from other African countries) are shocked! (via Twitter)

*   Chef Chris Erasmus will leave Pierneef à La Motte in June, to open his own restaurant with his wife in Franschhoek in September.

*   The Bols Bartending World Champion Rusty Cerven chose Cape Town as one of his four world cities to visit, with Sydney, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro, as part of his prize when he beat 3000 bartenders from 66 countries.  In Cape Town he demonstrated (more…)

WDC 2014 logo Whale Cottage PortfolioThis is one of the hardest blogposts I have written, with a moral dilemma of being an invited guest at what one expected to be a social highlight for the year. The Gala Dinner for Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 turned out to be an embarrassment in poor organisation and food!   We trust that Cape Town Design NPC, the company operating the year-long design accolade, will forgive its frankness.

The Gala Dinner was the first substantial function organised for World Design Capital 2014,  the New Year’s Eve concert having been an event shared with the City of Cape Town, and was intended to be for all the people of Cape Town.  Only 270 guests were invited to the Gala Dinner, and included Cape Town Mayor de Lille and Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego; Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom; sponsor company representatives such as Media24 Chairman Ton Vosloo; members of the diplomatic corps; top designers; members of the Board of Cape Town Design NPC; and a large media contingent, both local and international.  Given the calibre of the guests, the fact that almost everything was wrong with the evening was an embarrassing disaster!  The dress code was formal with a touch of yellow, given the World Design Capital 2014 colour for the year.  The men seemed better in adding the yellow touches via gold or yellow ties and bow ties, while the ladies struggled to find something yellow in their wardrobes, including Cape Town Design NPC CEO Alayne Reesberg.  SurprisingWDC2014 Gala Dinner Alayne Reesberg was how many guests wore jeans and open shirts, despite the dress code specification.

The dinner was set up in a temporary structure for the Guild Fair, the decor exhibition which is running in conjunction with the Cape Town Art Fair at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront.  Tables seating 20 guests each were set up in long rows, with no WDC2014 Gala Dinner Yellow beaded animals Whale Cottage Portfoliodecor other than sets of three yellow/gold Monkeybiz beaded animals on the tables.  The last time I was in the neighbouring The Lookout venue was for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards in November, and the New Media Publishing team had done a fantastic job in decorating the massive venue. On Friday night there were no design features at all, and lighting was big industrial spotlights, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   While Africa has 15% of the world’s population, it only receives 3% of the world’s tourists, says a report of the inaugural African Tourism Monitor, prepared by the African Development Bank, Africa Travel Association, and Africa House at NYU.  The report found a weakness in transport infrastructure on the continent, requiring better airline connections and better roads and railways required, as well as open borders, and more marketing to adventure and eco travellers.

*   The District Six Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a year-long program, reports The Cape Towner, which includes the annual memorial walk.

*   Flights between OR Thambo, Cape Town, and Plettenberg Bay will take off from 28 March onwards, operated by CemAir and flying on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

*   Graham Beck is a proud MCC sponsor of Cape Town hosting the World Design Capital 2014, saying it will add ‘sparkle to the international design community and to Cape Town itself’.  Its sponsorship (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Public Enterprises, has instructed SAA to cancel its order for 23 wide-body long-haul aircraft, which the airline said that the fuel efficient aircraft would turn around its loss situation.

*   SAA is resuming its non-stop flights between OR Thambo and JF Kennedy airports from 9 March, ahead of schedule.  On its return flights SAA made a refueling stop at Dakar.

*  Simonsig has begun harvesting its Pinot Noir, a week later than normal due to higher summer rainfalls.  The grapes have higher levels of acidity than usual, and will go into the making of their Kaapse Vonkel MCC. (received via media release from GC Communications)

*   South African Cuisine and Culture are of greater interest than Wildlife to Indian tourists.  The role of Robben Island, and the incarceration of the late Nelson Mandela, is of great interest to them, and is being added to tour itineraries.

*   SA Tourism has hosted a pre-launch screening celebration for ‘Mandela: The Long walk to Freedom, in Sydney, ahead of the movie launch (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   From 1 February wine estates in the Cape Town municipal area, which applies to Somerset West too despite the wine estates there belonging to the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, may no longer sell ‘bottled wines’ on Sundays.  Wine farms may apply to sell bottled wines from 11h00 – 18h00 on Sundays.

*  Former American Vice-President and climate activist Al Gore is to visit South Africa in March, to spread the word for the Climate Reality Project about climate change and to train volunteer ‘climate leaders‘ to spread the word locally, reports The New Age. 

*   The IMF has forecast global economic growth at 3,7%, upping the rate from its October 2013 forecast.  South Africa’s growth rate is forecast to be 2,8% this year. Weaknesses in our economy are highlighted as labour issues, the disparity between employed and unemployed, and increasing government debt.

*   An Indian film ‘Chander Pahar‘, shot for 45 days exclusively in South Africa, is attracting huge interest in our country amongst West Bengal travellers.  Locations (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Graham Beck Wines has been appointed as the official MCC supplier to Cape Town’s hosting of World Design Capital 2014.

*   Wine writer Sherwin Lao from the Philippines, writing the column ‘Sip by Sip‘ for the Manila Standard Today, visited the Winelands of South Africa twice in 2013, and sings its praises, describing it as ‘a marvel to look at’, having visited Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Elgin.  He also wrote about its ‘surreal mountain views, quaint looking towns and unparalled God-given beauty’.   He was one of 14 international judges for the 2013 Michelangelo Wine Awards.

*   The Guardian writer John Brunton visited the Winelands as a guest of SA Tourism, and titled his article ‘South Africa’s Cape top 10 wine route, recommending Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, the Swartland, Tulbagh, and Wellington generally, and Chamonix, Glenwood, Nabygelegen, AA Badenhorst, and Tokara specifically.  He also recommended restaurants Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz (before they lost their Chef Maryna Frederiksen, whom he mentions) , Fyndraai at Solms-Delta, and Readers in Tulbagh.

*   The growing popularity of craft beers in South Africa is highlighted by Voice of America. The popularity of the artisanal (more…)