Entries tagged with “Val de Vie”.


imageOn Friday evening Prince Harry and a group of eight other guests had dinner at Reuben’s Franschhoek, on the eve of a charity Polo Cup match at Val de Vie, the main purpose of his visit to the Cape. It is the second visit by the Prince to the restaurant.

Restaurant Manager and sister of Reuben Riffel  (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…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Tourism Business Council of South Africa FNB Tourism Business Index reflects that the tourism industry is improving, with a score of 108 for the last quarter of 2014. A score of 100 is the norm.  The Accommodation sector did even better, with an Index of 113, despite the impact of Ebola, and the Immigration Regulation changes introduced late last year.  ‘Other Tourism‘ (e.g. transport, food and beverage) scored 104, lower than had been forecast for the quarter.  The exchange rate has played a role in the improving Index.  For the first quarter of this year an average Index of about 102 is expected.

*   The Cape Winelands is experiencing its earliest harvest in 49 years, having started very early in the new year, almost a month earlier than last year.  VinPro explains that three perfect winters with enough cold and sufficient rain, combined with an unusually warmer August, has led to the earlier harvest.  A smaller harvest is expected this year, but is expected to be of a good quality.  Winemakers are facing a challenge in their cellars in that many cultivars are ripening almost at the same time.

*   Cycling in Cape Town is one of the best ways to see our city, writes the Los Angeles Times, describing (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

 *  Cape Town’s hosting of World Design Capital 2014 has benefited only a few Capetonians, says mega-moaner ANC City Councillor Tony Ehrenreich, while Grant Haskin, African Christian Democratic Party caucus leader, agrees.  Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Garreth Bloor disputes this, many of the 450 design projects initiated this year having a longer-term legacy.  The City of Cape Town is spending R40 million on the project this year. 

*   Despite there being no cases of Ebola in South Africa, some tour groups from Asia have cancelled their trips to our country, for fear of the West Africa cases spreading to our country.

*   Artist Aleta Michaletos from Pretoria will exhibit 32 of her works at De Oude Drostdy, the home of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is encouraging its members to use IT to improve the customer experience, saying that airlines ‘fly people and cargo, not planes‘. Consistency of customer experience is not yet satisfactory for airlines, with little differentiation. Customers would like to use IT to check in online, tag luggage themselves, board themselves, and collect bags themselves, an IATA survey found last year.  IATA’s goal is that 80% of passengers have a ‘self-service suite based on industry standards‘ available to them by 2020.

*   PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is not known as a Tourism consultancy, so its prediction about our country’s tourism future is a surprise.  Its report presents growth of 4% in international tourists 2013, far lower than the 10% growth in 2012.  Growth is said to be solid and good, but ‘not fantastic growth‘.  Almost three quarters of international visitors to our country are from Africa, the report confirms.  Nigeria would become the leading source market for our country, the PwC study predicts.  The Guest House category is the fastest growing in respect of room availability.  South Africa’s strength is that it attracts leisure as well as business travelers.

*   France must be feeling the tourism pinch, having announced plans to become more welcoming to tourists, English speaking ones in particular.   The country hopes to increase tourist numbers to 100 million, (more…)

Cape Wine Auction collage of picturesThe AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction 2014 is an inaugural exclusive, almost elitist, charity event which aims to raise monies which are to be used for educational purposes in the Winelands.   It takes place at Delaire Graff Estate over lunch today, with 250 guests, half of whom are likely to travel from overseas to the Cape especially for the auction.

With an aura of a by-invitation-only attendance, Auction organiser Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Wines invited 30 Auction Ambassadors to assist him in spreading the word about the event, to assist in raising lots for the auction, and to invite guests as bidders to the event. Ambassadors include May de Lencquesaing of Glenelly, Wendy Appelbaum of De Morgenzon, Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte, Rose and Michael Jordaan of Bartinney, Delaire Graff, Charles Banks of Mulderbosch, Paul Cluver, Jeremy Ord and Kevin Arnold of Waterford, Chris and Andrea Mullieneux and their partner ‘Anlajit’ (sic) Singh, Zelma Long and Dr Phil Freese of Vilafonte, the Buys family of Vrede en Lust, Francois Pienaar, Eben Sadie, Ryk Neethling, Jean Engelbrecht, Ken Forrester, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Lanzerac Estate, Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell, and Giorgio and George Dalla Cia.  One wonders why so many of the country’s top winemakers have not been involved in the Auction, the list of Auction Ambassadors clearly concentrated in Stellenbosch. Missing from the list, one would think, is Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Boekenhoutskloof, and a winery or two from the Constantia, Paarl, Wellington, Robertson, Tulbagh, and Durbanville Wine (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…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headline

*   Tuk-tuks operating in Cape Town are doing so illegally, even if they are offering the service for free, and passengers travelling in them will not be covered by insurance as a result.  The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Councillor Brett Herron, confirmed that only one tuk-tuk operating in Cape Town has been licensed.

*   Interesting is the effect of the shut-down of the non-essential services by the American government on tourists as well as on American citizens.

*   The City of Cape Town is to erect warning signs about rip currents on its beaches.

*   Woolworths Chairman Simon Susman writes in its latest annual report that South Africa’s growth is lagging that of other emerging (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Perfect China has bought the cellar and wine farm of Val de Vie for use by Perfect Wines of South Africa, in which it has a 51% stake (with Leopard’s Leap), reports Bloomberg, the first purchase of a local wine estate by a Chinese company.  Close to 3 million bottles of the company’s L’Huguenot wine were exported to the Asian country in 2011 and 2012, representing about 25 percent of all South African wine exports to China.  The cellar and maturation capacity are to be increased.

*   More storms, including hail, have hit the wine regions of France, especially the Génissac region last week, in which 30 – 100% of the crops were destroyed, reports Wine Spectator.

*   USA wine blogger Joe Roberts, writing 1WineDude, will be the keynote speaker at the Nederburg Auction, an interesting reflection of the growing influence of wine bloggers!

*   Interesting news is that Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk has promulgated draft legislation to have one united set of legislation relating to tourism nationally, (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