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Posted by on in Events

 

POP-UP SUNDAY LUNCH AT HARTENBERG

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Finish the merry month of May in delectable style at Hartenberg estate on Sunday May 28. Chef George Jardine is set to titillate palates with traditional cuisine at the Bottelary Hills Pop-up lunch, paired of course with the estates fine wines.

Tickets cost R550 per person and include a wine tasting followed by a delectable three-course feast as well as wines paired with each course. Each person will also get a bottle of Hartenberg wine to take home. Pre-booking is essential as seating is limited. For bookings and more information visit www.wineroute.co.za or phone 021 886 8275.

 

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Diarise Friday June 2 for the sevenths annual Chardonnay & Pinot Noir celebration hostebed by Wine Concepts and held at the Vineyard hotel in Newlands. More than 40 top Cape producers will show their best bottles of these two varietals. Delicious snacks will accompany them. All wines showcase will be for sale at special prices at the event.

The show takes place from 17h00 to 20h00. Tickets cost R200 a head and include glass, tastings and snacks. Special rates apply for those wanting to stay over at the hotel. Get your tickets through www.webtickets.co.za or at Wine Concepts branches or at the door, subject to availability. Email admin@wineconcepts.co.za for info and bookings.

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 ITS WWW TIME!

 

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As many fans already know, its time to head to Robertson Wine valley for the annual Wacky Wine Weekend taking place from June 1 – 4. This year there are several tutored tastings, cellar tours and other informative events to diarise, along with the fund of live music, sports, arts and crafts, country fare and family fun. It’s essential that visitors look at the full programme online a wackywineweekend.com, to decide what they wish to attend and book for. More than 40 wine producers are taking part from all the towns in the Robertson valley.  All ages and tastes will be well catered for.

 

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TOP WINE TASTINGS IN CAPE TOWN AND JOHANNESBURG 

 

Every wine lover who wants to sample some of South Africa’s top wines should make a date for the 2017 Old Mutual Tropy Wine Show tastings, either in Cape Town or in Jo’burg. The winners of the competition’s top achievers in several categories will be pouring their best, adding up to ore than 150 topry, gold and silver medal winners of every kind.

The winning wines will be on sale online and can be collected at the nearest Makro pick-up lockers.

The 2017 winners will go live immediately after final results are announced on May 30.

.Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting Cape Town

Date:               Thursday, 8 June 2017

Venue:             CTICC (Ballroom, Level 1), Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town

Time:               17h00 to 21h00

Parking:           Secure underground parking available in CTICC parkade

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting – Johannesburg

Date:               Friday, 9June 2017

Venue:             Bill Gallagher Room (Level 2), Sandton Convention Centre, Maude Street, Sandton

Time:              17h00 to 21h00

Parking:          Secure underground parking available at the convention centre and neighbouring shopping malls.

  • Bookings: Ticket sales via
  • Ticket price:  R175 Early Bird for bookings by 2 June; R190 thereafter.  Buy online or at the door, subject to availability. No under 18s, babies nor prams. 
  • Refreshments:  Light meals are for sale at the tastings.
  • Enquiries:  (011) 482 5936. ;.

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Experience Fungi-Fever at Delheim’s Mushroom Forages

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It’s mushroom time again! Soon, foragers will head into the forests in search of these delicious delicacies that  pop out for a short time in the year.

Delheim Estate’s popular Mushroom Forages takes place on  15, 16, 30 June and 1 July . Only 40 guests a day are accepted, and hunts are led by Delheim’s Noral Sperling-Thiel and Gary Goldman, a mushroom fundi.

The day begins with mushroom identification in the farm’s vat cellar, followed by a walk to the mushroom hunt in Delheim’s lush pine forest. Foragers then enjoy at three-course lunch showcasing the funghi, paired with Delheim wines. The day costs R695 a head. Those attending should wear walking shows, a warm jacket, bring a pocket knife and baskets. Book through Computicket. For more information visit www.delheim.com

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Just 12 days left to be in with a chance of winning in this unique competition, presented by the giant winery that shares its name with the hospitable town and valley named Robertson.

  And, if you are a winner, you will also make 10 good friends and/or family members very happy as well!

In a clever contest with a strong message, Robertson Winery invites consumers to buy one (or more) bottles of the 11 wines in their Oval range before the end of May. This purchase automatically entitles them entry into their More to Share competition that not only awards the winner no less than 10 cases of Robertson wine of his or her choice, but also entitles the winner to give a further 10 cases to 10 lucky friends!

The huge Robertson cellars make a wide choice of wine, and the Oval range offers the following choices: sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, chardonnay, viognier, beaukett, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, ruby cabernet, pinotage and a cabernet/shiraz blend. The winery has more products available than any other South African brand of wine, so their selling point of “More to Share” is apt indeed.

The motto is also one that the company applies to community and workforce: Their wine, they point out, is not just about grapes, but involves the people who tend the vines, harvest the grapes, watch over their fermentation, bottle the wine and pack the cartons, adding up to work of many hands, work that involves dedication, craft and passion.

 

The work of many hands has been symbolised in a painting that is gracing bottles, displays, billboards and adverts for Robertson Winery: Consumers who would like to see the artwork being produced can do so by accessing  https://www.youtube.com/embed/vAj-mYn03V8.

 

Robertson Winery has been presenting consumers affordable quality and vinous enjoyment for 76 years, and is offering even more to share during May month.   b2ap3_thumbnail_Robertson-Winery-Sauvignon-Blanc-with-necktag.jpg

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This round-up is listed chronologically.

DELHEIM GOES CAPE MALAY

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On Sat May 13,20 and 27 Delheim invites guests to a Cape Malay lunch when Chef Bruce von Pressentin will celebrate our favourite Cape cuisine with samoosas, pickled yellowtail, butter chicken, sambals and more. Green bean bredie and denningvleis are also on the menu, with finaltes of Kosuster and boeber. This is in addition to the a la carte winter menu.

The Cape Malay set menu is available at  R300 and booking is essential. Please note that the menu is only available for entire tables.To reserve your table, contact the restaurant at email restaurant@delheim.com or Tel: 021 8884607. Also visit www.delheim.com or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/delheim/)

 

CHARDONNAY AND PINOT NOIR FESTIVAL

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Calling Gauteng winelovers! Taste more than 80 of South Africa’s best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs as well as examples  from France, Chile and Argentina.
 
The show takes place at Killarney Country Club’s Crystal Room on Thursday, May 18, from 18h00. A limited number of tickets is available and cost R250 per person. The price includes a tasting glass as well as light snacks chosen to complement the styles of wine.
 Organiser Corlien Morris of Wine Menu has invited cellars that make the best chards and pinot noirs, as in previous years. These include Ataraxia, B Vintners, Creation, Charmonix, De Grendel, Eikendal, Ghost Corner, Glenelly, Groot Constantia, Hartenberg, Highlands Road, Jordan, Kloovenburg, La Brune, Longavi, Oak Valley, Paradyskloof, Paul Cluver, Paul Wallace, Sutherland, The Drift, Thelema and Vriesenhof.
 Specialist fine wine importers Great Domaines, LAPD and the Reciprocal Wine Trading Company will also be showing some of their finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.
 Wines – some of which are no longer available on the general marketplace – will be for sale at a 10 percent discount on retail prices.
 
Only 300 tickets are available for the Festival so booking is essential.They are available from Webtickets; from Wine Menu in the BluBird Shopping Centre, Illovo or - if still available - at the door on the night.
 For tickets go to:
https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1469046128
 Go to:
Website:
www.winemenu.co.za

A CARNIVAL OF CABERNET FRANC TO RELISH AT AVONTUUR

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Fans of this less common and charming varietal will get the chance to celebrate their favourite grape on Saturday, 20 May 2017 from 11h00-17h00 at the family-owned wine estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.

In addition to the tastings and purchasing of wines visitors can book for one of three tutored tastings of the Top 6 wines in the 2017 Cab Franc Challenge, presented by head of the judging panel and Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman.  Tickets costs R75 pp extra and only three sessions of 20 persons each can be accommodated at 11h30, 13h30 and 15h00.

“This is the only chance to taste the Top 6 together as many of these wines are extremely rare and were kept aside especially for the tutored tastings,” says organiser Cobie van Oort from CVO Marketing.

The very popular public “vote” to choose the favourite wine of the day,will once again take place which will give an interesting perspective on the differences between expert and amateur palates.

Participating wineries are:   Avontuur Estate, CK Wines, Doolhof  Wine Estate, Edgebaston,  Hannay Wines, Hermanuspietersfontein, Knorhoek Wine Farm, Lynx Wines, My Wyn, Nelson Wine Estate, Oldenburg Vineyards, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbow’s End Wine Estate, The Garajeest,  Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards, Vrede en Lust, Warwick Estate, Whalehaven, Zorgvliet Wines.

Tickets are R200pp which includes the tastings, a R50 discount coupon to spend on food, and a tasting glass. Tickets from www.plankton.mobi or www.computicket.co.za  as well as at Computicket branches. Follow us on Facebook at Cabernet Franc Carnival or on Twitter at @Cabfrancarnival .  More information on www.cvomarketing.co.za

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Lanzerac’s Winter Tastings

This stunning venue is the place to enjoy after-work winter tastings from end of May until August. Fireside temptations include Lanzeracs new releases and old favourites, then guests can savour a bowl of hearty soup and home-baked breads.Tastings start at 5,30pm, the first is on May 31, followed by June 29, July 26 and August 31. Booking is essential, and the cost is R95 which includes a welcome drink, tastings and the  supper.

Contact Zelda Furstenburg at Lanzerac Wine Estate on 021 886 5641 or winesales@lanzerac.co.za for queries or to book your seat.

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LA PETITE FERME PRESENTS INTERNATIONAL WINE AND FOOD EXPERIENCES

Note the following dates : June 8th, July 6th and August 3rd, which is when this Franschhoek venue invites diners to join them for a series of dinners where winemaker Wikus Pretorius will focus on a particular cultivar and pour samples from the Cape and overseas. Viognier makes the first choice, followed by chardonnay in Jue and cabernet sauvignon in July. The final event will see Cape and red blends under the spotlight. Tastings will precede three-course dinners paired with the farm’s wines.

The events start at 18h30 and cost R750. Booking is essential. To reserve a table email

pr@lapetiteferme.co.za or contact Ruan Olivier at Tel: +27 (0)21 876 3016.

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L’Ormarins MCC and nougat – a pairing of the senses

Tickle your tastebuds and pep up your palate with bubbly and nougat! Breaking with tradition, the estate’s three L’Ormarins Methodé Cap Classiques (MCC) have each been paired with hand-crafted nougat, which perfectly complement the wines as well as showcasing their versatility as a partner to confectionery. Each nougat has been designed to bring out a certain characteristic found in its MCC partner.

L’Ormarins Brut NV has been paired with a delicious morsel of Cassata nougat, which is fashioned on the traditional Italian-inspired dessert. The candied fruit, vanilla and almond perfectly partner the fruity and toasty notes of the Brut. The beautiful blush pink Brut Rosé has been paired with a cherry, cranberry and rose nougat, which amplifies similar flavours in the Rosé. Completing the trio is the stately Blanc de Blancs and it’s a match made in heaven with the toasted pecan, orange and fleur de sel (salt) nougat. Presented in a relaxed atmosphere in the comfort of the luxurious Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room the pairing is available at R60 per person.

 For more information contact the estate on 021 874 9041 or tasting@rupertwines.com.

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Taste the Helderberg epicurean fest

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It’s not too early to diarise Thursday June 15 when the 2017 Taste the Helderberg fest will be held in Somerset West.  It’s a one-night affair when wine farms and restaurants in the Helderberg region showcase their  fine local products. Guests are invited to shed the winter blues by donning something red – the theme colour that makes an eye-catching statement.

Taste the Helderberg’s smorgasbord will once again be served up from 17h00 to 21h00 at the landmark NH The Lord Charles Hotel – an arrangement that’s proven ideal for many visitors who traditionally make a weekend of it in the light of the public holiday the following day, Friday June 16.

Wine-lovers will be get an early-bird sampling of the region’s latest wines. Many of these show-stopper wines will be on sale at special rates that are also applicable on delivery through logistics and transport solutions company Aramex, proud partner of Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Also on offer will be foodie pop-ups by the Helderberg’s well-known eateries. .

Master classes on grape varieties have been laid on to emphasize the climatic and geographic reasons behind the quality that hails from this coastal area.

Tickets to the event are R100pp and should be booked online at www.wineroute.co.za. If any tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door.

For more information on Taste the Helderberg 2017 visit www.wineroute.co.za or call 021 886 8275.

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Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues

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Held every year for over a decade, this lingering lunchtime event’s cosy delights offer the perfect remedy to cold and rainy winter blues.

The Jazz and Cheese Fondues take place from 25 June to 27 August this year, returning to Delheim’s intimate underground wine cellar.

It’s the Sperling heritage and hospitality from which the idea for a farm-style fondue arose. There’s nothing fast and furious about Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues. Picture pots of Gruyère and Emmentaler for ladling, dipping and smearing with a selection of delicious bites and exceptional Delheim wines. This is festive food-sharing at its best- an occasion best enjoyed with a group of loved ones.

Says Delheim’s chef Bruce von Pressentin. “Ultimately, it’s about having a good time and this is what lies at the heart of our Jazz and Cheese Fondues.”

These good times are what Delheim has become famous for. In addition to renowned wines and the Garden Restaurant, Delheim is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the many mountain bike and trail-running routes.

Book now for the Jazz and Cheese Fondues. Each reservation includes a shared cheese fondue, live music and a glass of traditional heart-warming glühwein for only R230 per person. Starters and desserts are available for purchase from the a la carte menu and will be charged accordingly. To reserve your seat at Delheim’s Jazz and Cheese Fondues, email restaurant@delheim.com  or phone 021 888 4607.

Booking details:

Price: R230 per person

Dates: 25 June | 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 July | 6, 9, 13, 20 and 27 August.

Time: 12:30 - 15:30

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The time is ripe for championing chardonnay. The time is always right for chardonnay, I hear some say. Well yes, but autumn bounty means mellow days and cool nights, risottos,  rich seafood pastas and paella,  bouillabaisse and citrussy chicken ,  duck with gingered apples, roasted gourds and much more. This is the perfect season for pairing full-bodied elegant chards with rich seasonal fare that has taken more than a few minutes to stir together.

 

 

On Friday May 26, gourmets and winelovers will celebrate World Chardonnay Day,  another great excuse to indulge in an appetising unwooded chard to start proceedings at sunset, and follow with a choice of complex chardonnays that offer citrus and cream against a structured core of oak and minerality to enhance a menu chosen for the wine and finishing with gourmet cheeses.

 

Three fine chards  sampled recently which more than  lived up to my expectations:

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Glenelly estate makes two chardonnays, with the oaked version being better known and more highly rated in Platter. But I love cellarmaster Luke Cuinneagain's  unwooded chardonnay, a junior sister that displays typical hallmarks of elegance in a fresh but sophisticated wine . Delicious aromas of citrus and honey precede a mouthful of well-balanced fruit and rounded structure, followed a long finish. Alcohol levels at 13% are in keeping .

 

The Cape of Good Hope is a distinguished range of terroir-specific wines, many of which are also produced from venerable vines. Part of Anthonij Ruperts portfolio, the Serruria chardonnay 2015 is another gem, sourced from a vineyard in the Elandskloof, high above Villiersdorp, on the farm Atltima. From a reserved start of wafts of  orange blossom aromas, the wine opens up to  reveal a harmonious combo of oak and citrus flavours and satisfying freshness. Winemaker Mark van Buuren is the talented creator of this range. This wine will enhance a wide range of seafood and poultry fare, along with South-east Asian specialities.

 

Hartenbergs Grande Dame, the Eleanor 2015 is a chardonnay to approach with keen  anticipation. One of the estates Super Premium wines, previous vintages have been rated four and a half and five stars. The 2015 vintage, which has produced superb chards from various corners of Stellenbosch region and from others, is no exception.

Eleanor Finlayson and husband Maurice owned the farm Montagne, as Hartenberg used to be known, from the late 1940s to 1977. She was an exceptional matriarch, multi-tasking as she brought up her sons and dispensed warm hospitality to visitors.  This chardonnay is another fitting tribute, a classic that can compete with any other in South Africa and many from across the globe. Rich, yet fresh, presenting nutty and vanilla flavours along with some citrus, well-balanced complexity and delightful mouthfeel. Cellarmaster Carl Schultz moves from award-winning shiraz to champion chards with equally prestigious results.

 

 

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Glenelly’s  Lady May range consists of just one wine – Lady May 201 is  a beautiful cab  finished with 10% of petit verdot and a splash of cab franc. It’s an elegant wine in the best Gallic tradition:  cellarmaster Luke O’Cuinneagain expresses his talent in understated creations that many connoisseurs relish.

 

 The wine is a tribute to estate owner May de Lencquesaing who  - along with running Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux -  invested in Stellenbosch 14 years ago, buying an old fruit farm and transforming it into a distinctive and beautiful wine estate.

Should any woman think she is too old to take on a venture like this, Lady May could be the inspiration  needed: she is in her 90's, and is still very active in running both her French and Cape estates, supported by her two grandsons.  At the launch last year of the renovated cellar and opening of a new tasting room and The Vine  Bistro, her young grandson introduced some of the wines, casually mentioning that he was in charge of marketing the estate across the USA, Europe and Asia.

Glenelly offers visitors a world-class destination, with May de Lencquesaing’s extensive private glass museum as an added attraction .

 

There are more than 300 items on display, antique and contemporary, dating from Roman pieces through glass from the 18th and 19th centuries, Art  Nouveau and Art Deco pieces, creations gy Salvador Dali and the Italian glassblower master, Lindo Tagliapietra, to contemporary South African works.

 One need not be a mother to savour a day in such beautiful surroundings, but for children looking for an unique venue for mothers who appreciate fine wine and relaxed seasonal  bistro fare, it would be hard to beat a day at Glenelly with its  spectacular views. Or just schedule a visit to see what hard work and vision can be achieved by a nonagenarian who takes little heed of passing years.

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Hard to believe it's more than  four years since I went to the launch of The Game Reserve wines, an impressive new range created by cellarmaster Erika Obermeyer and destined to raise substantial funds for the Wilderness Foundation.

At that time Erika was making the still wine for Graham Beck Wines and getting numerous awards for her fine efforts. She started the conservation-focussed range with her cabernet sauvignon and chenin blanc, both of which were very  successful and continue to be  top-rated wines of this pleasing line-up today. Front labels illustrate the chosen game reserve animal, back labels offer information on its habitat, along with tasting notes. The trio of whites, a  chardonnay, sauvignon blanc  and chenin blanc , all 2015 vintage, salute the fish eagle, Cape Eagle Owl and highly endangered Riverine rabbit, while the four reds, all 2014 vintage, sees the bat-eared fox on the pinotage label,while  the Cape clawless otter (now thriving in the restored Vink river system, thanks to Rooiberg farmers) graces the merlot bottles. Appropriately the magnificent Cape leopard and Africa’s largest antelope, the eland, are depicted on the cab and shiraz respectively.

To elaborate on my two favourites, the chenin is a beguiling wine, with melon and citrus aromas giving way to a salad of tropical fruit , with pleasing freshness. Makes a great companion to a feast of summery fare and for spicy Asian creations and is an appealing tribute to the long-eared riverine rabbit which is surviving in the reserve.

The cab is a fine example of careful blending of grapes from three regions into a complex mix where berry, dark chocolate, plum and spicy flavours mingle, backed by firm tannins and presenting a long finish. The Cape leopard on its label has been discovered in several areas along the Langeberg mountains  including the Breede conservancy and on other leopard-friendly farms, which are all playing a vital role in maintaining its genetic diversity.

These wines are keenly priced, ranging from R53 to R71, and no less than R3 from the sale of every bottle sold flows to the Wilderness Foundation.  Rooiberg Wines have committed to continuing this arrangement for at least five years, already raising nearly R50 000 between July and October last year.  The funds have been shared  between the Cape Leopard Trust and Conservation @ Work, as well as other projects.

Visitors to the Robertson Wine valley during May can pause at the cellar with its giant red chair and sample the range along with Rooiberg’s other fine wines, before adding a case or two to their car boots. That goes for travellers who intend heading to this year’s Wacky Wine Weekend, as well. Do-good makes for feel-good, adding another layer of enjoyment to some terrific wines.

 

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The South African Milk Tart Collection by Callie Maritz & Mari-Louis Guy. Published by Human & Rousseau. 2017.

 

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 Long live the milk tart, long live! So ends the introduction to this delectable title, the sixth by sibling duo Callie and Mari-Louis. The couple is renowned for successful cookbooks, attractive styling and  cookery columns while Mari-Louis is also a judge on the popular Koekedoor television series on KykNET.

 

The very word melktert induces nostalgia for the best of Afrikaner cooking:,so much so  that few English speakers use the words ‘milk tart’. There is little else that can compete with this dessert in terms of comfort food, and right now it makes a welcome contrast to the non-stop flow of low-carb, high fat, no- sugar cookbooks that have flooded the market over the last few years. Here sugar, butter, milk, eggs and wheat flour are the basics required to  produce irresistible fare when treats are in order.

The authors open with a brief history of custard tarts, and offer a 16th century Dutch recipe which could claim to have inspired the tarts baked by the first European settlers at the Cape of Good Hope. The incomparable C. Louis Leipoldt features next with an updated version of his French-style milk tart, a deep  feuilletage crust filled with a custard flavoured with vanilla essence and a dash of brandy. Melksnysels, or milk soup, another traditional recipe – here sans sugar or egg –presents the dough on top – and the chapter includes recipes for both Voortrekker and Cape Colony pioneer melktert.

 

Classics star next, starting with “proper’ milk tart, characterised by a double frilled collar of pastry, followed by  a cardamom flavoured tart developed by the Cape Malays and the writers’ own best bake, a childhood memory where flaky leaf pastry encloses a soufflé filling. Reuben Riffel’s version combines cinnamon and nutmeg, a roux replaces the pastry in a Transvaal tarts and  peach leaves flavour one from Bloemfontein.

A chapter of tarts using a crumb base includes a coconut version with others moving away from the classic, favouring toppings such as  condensed milk meringue. Afrikaner adaptations using cans of condensed milk were developed by holiday makers in remote parts of the country. Individual milk tarts are perennial  favourite for teatime, tv time, coffee mornings and more.

The authors investigate egg custard tarts entrenched in the culinary repertoires of the UK,. USA, Europe and even  Far East, then turn to a chapter of desserts and cakes with milk tart flavour,s including vanilla cheesecake.There’s also one for Banting followers, using a coconut oil and Xylitol crust and coconut flour in the filling.

This is a very attractive hardback, with beautifully styled food photographs, as one expects these day,  finished with a comprehensive  index. A cookbook to cherish.

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Whether your fish is braaied, fried or pickled, its likely that traditionalists will feature sustainable fish on their Easter menus come Friday. Others may choose to indulge in seafood from shellfish to sushi  for more sophisticated fare over the long weekend. 

 

Enjoyment of any and all of these will be heightened with a glass of fine Cape sauvignon blanc to complement piscine flavours and textures. It would be hard to improve on either of these two elegant recent releases, which share several cool-climate characteristics.

 

Both La Motte’s sauvignon blanc from their Pierneef Collection and the Sanctuary Peak sauvignon blanc from Shannon vineyards are of the 2016 b2ap3_thumbnail_LA-MOTTE2016--Pierneef-Sauv-Blanc-_20170411-153753_1.jpgvintage, both have moderate 13% alcohol levels and both are enriched with 10% Semillon. La Motte sourced their sauvignon grapes from Elgin, Bot River and Napier, adding Bot River Semillon. Shannon  Vineyards supplied all the  grapes from their highland vineyards in Elgin Valley, where they are meticulously managed by James and Stuart Downes.

 

Both are patrician wines that deserve to be sampled slowly as layers of flavour unfold on the palate and winelovers should make a point of putting a case away for future enjoyment, as they should age beautifully.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Shannon-Vineyards-Sanctuary-Peak-Sauvignon-Blanc-2016.jpgAnd there are as many differences between the two: Let’s look at Sanctuary Peak from Shannon Vineyards more closely. The grapes are taken to Hemel-en-Aarde where Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson vinify the Downes family wines.  Given their fine reputation, it’s unsurprising that they continue to produce outstanding examples of site-specific wines, from this single vineyard. I find that the Semillon component – here having spent three months in new French oak -  adds so much in terms of richness, silkiness and of course, complexity. The fruit comes through as pear and citrus, a little herbiness followed by anticipated flint. It makes for a wonderful mouthfeel and offers distinctive companionship to fine fishy fare prepared with care.  Selling for about R120.

 

Great care is evident in the final blend of Elgin and South Coast grapes in the La Motte wine, exhibiting artistic levels that characterise the limited  premium products of the Pierneef range. The talent of that iconic South African artist is captured in the front label which feature one of a limited edition of his linocut prints, adding an indigenous feature to this complex wine. Beautifully balanced, initial friskiness is followed by layers of granadilla and citrus, plus a touch of herbaceousness before minerality becomes apparent in a long, elegant mouthfeel.

 

 I would love to sample this in three years' time. – it should be magnificent.

This is a wine that could start off proceedings at sunset, and continue to enhance a succulent seafood supper with South-east Asian leanings.

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Say farewell to April with a fun family day at the last Groote Post Country Market of the season. Taking place from 10am to 3pm on Sunday April 30, it also marks the final day of a spate of long weekends, so make the most of it!

As usual the local cooks and crafters, butchers and produce growers  will be out in force with country fare, from organic mushrooms to olive oil, pomegranate juice to handmade confectionery, west coast wors to artisanal beer. All ready to be savoured, of course, with Groote Post well-loved wines.

Children are well catered for, there’s live music and those who prefer a sit-down lunch should book for Hilda’s Kitchen. This is also one of the few markets where dogs are welcome, on a lead. The following market takes place at the end of August. For more info, contact Dave Coleshill on 076 834 8085 or email him on dave@iloveyzer.co.za

 

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Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival

 

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This annual autumn fest takes place over the weekend of April 29 – 30 from 10am to 5pm on both days. Winelovers are in for a treat of fine Overberg wines, delicious food, entertainment and many outdoor activities. Those taking part are Almenkerk Wine Estate, Arumdale, Belfield, Charles Fox Wines, Corder Family Wines, Elgin Ridge, Elgin Vintners, Hannay Wines, Highlands Road Wines, Iona, Oak Valley, Oneiric Wine Estate, Paul Cluver Wines, Paul Wallace Wines, Robin Hood Legendary Wines, Shannon Vineyards and South Hill Vineyards each offering their own attractions, which erange from live music to art exhibitions. Lunch menus will vary as well, including picnics, American smokehouse barbecues, food trucks and more. Tickets cost R140 pp from Webtickets.co.za and include tasting glass, programme, access, tasting of three wines from any estate. They need to be collected from Peregrine Farmstall before setting out to the farms. Children under the age of 18 go in free of charge with adults. Visit  www.winesofelgin.co.za for more info.

 

Shiraz & Charcuterie at Anthonij Rupert

 

 

Looking ahead to Saturday May 27 the annual Shiraz & Charcuterie celebration takes place at Anthonij Rupert Wyne at Franschhoek, starting at noon.Along with the hosts three shiraz, Rust en Vrede, Waterford, Mullineux and Leeu, Hartenberg, Simonsig and Thelema are taking part.The wines can be relished with hearty dishes, including French onion soup, homemade saucisson and cannelloni beans, while the olive bar has plenty to spark the tastebuds. Tickets cost R220 from webtickets.co.za and pre-booking is essential. For more email info@dnaevents.co.za

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 With the SA Cheese festival celebrating 16 successful years, cheese-lovers can hardly remember a time when they did not diarise the festival dates in April. It is firmly established as one of the country’s most popular andwell-organised celebrations of a food that most of us enjoy daily.

This year, visitors will find new attractions along with  the established favourites: As well as  the amazing range of artisan and classic cheeses, food that makes perfect partners, such as bread, wine, and sweet delights are also on the menu. New product launches are another regular feature while a large variety of delicious  fare will be presented in Gourmet Lane. Fancy yourself as an artist with a carving knife? Enter the Ladismith Cheese Carving competition and create a masterpiece.

 

Celebrity chefs will show off their talents in the Agri-Expo Cooking Pot, and they include Nataniel and Carmen Niehaus among others. Meet some of our top cheesemakers in the Cheesery and keep your entry ticket as its eligible as entry to a Win a Chevrolet UTE Bakkie competition.

Chefs from The  Private Hotel School will demonstrate recipes for using cheese, while cheese and wine and cheese and beer tastings will be presented in the Standard Bank Tasting Room.

Children will have hours of fun in the Kiddies Corner, while adults who prefer quiet to crowds can buy VIP tickets for the Connoisseurs’ Expeience which will give them exclusive cooking demos with Nataniel, a mozzarella and feta making demo, complimentary tastings, VIP parking, and entry an hour ahead of the crowds.

 

Buy tickets to the show at Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers stores, at R160 a day. Senior ciitzens pay R100 and children 13 years and under go in free of charge. The Festival starts at 10am daily and closes at 6pm. Visit www.cheesefestival.co.za for more info or email admin@agriexpo.co.za for more information. See also Latana Success Story: Perseverance and talents spotted.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Lanzerac-Wynand_20170327-134224_1.jpgCellarmaster  Wynand Lategan recently launcheb2ap3_thumbnail_LZ-Premium-Range-Chenin-Blanc-2016.jpgd a maiden chenin blanc from his Lanzerac cellar, followed by a syrah, the first in more than a decade. They make a fine pair for autumn sipping and for partnering the fuller, richer flavours of cool weather dishes.

Both wines were made from Jonkershoek valley grapes, a small but prestigious ward in the Stellenbosch region. The 2016  chenin blanc  offers the agreeable freshness that one expects from youthful wine from Stellenbosch vines, nicely balanced with stone fruit flavours. Just over 20% was matured in oak, which adds some creaminess to the mix. As well as making a good mate for chicken salads and rich chicken liver paté, this is a wine to open with  autumn risottos of pumpkin and al fresco lunches of soft creamy cheeses.

b2ap3_thumbnail_LZ-Premium-Range-Syrah-2015.jpgWhen it comes to casual Sunday fare of charcuterie or  lamb, on the braai or roasted to perfection, the Lanzerac syrah 2015 makes a fine choice, presenting a lighter style of winemaking, ideal for mellow days . The classic flavours of white pepper, dark berries and plums are there, along with hints of fynbos. Can be cellared for a few years, but probably will be enjoyed by most patrons over the next few months.

These new additions to  the estates Premium wines complete the range nicely, all offered at  realistic prices.The chenin costs R85  and the syrah R140 from the farms Tasting Room, while members of the Lanzerac wine club benefit through a 20% discount and free delivery of cases country-wide.

 

If wine lovers have difficulty finding it in their favourite store, send an e-mail to Zelda Furstenburg at winesales@lanzerac.co.za. If you are lucky enough to live in the Western Cape, then you have an excellent excuse for a day trip to five-star enjoyment at Lanzerac.

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At last! In leisurely fashion, autumn seems to be rolling into Cape lives, with early mists and darker mornings.  It’s better weather for vinous expeditions and for relishing gourmet meals, both of which are on the calendars for April and May.

April 6 (Van Riebeck’s Day when he hadn’t fallen off the PC perch) sees Nederburg Wines join forces with The Table Bay hotel for the first of a series of gourmet dinners created by executive chef Jocelyn Myers-Adams. The pairings will be led by Jean-Pierre Rossouw, publisher of Diners Club’s Platter’s Wine Guide which awarded Nederburg the Winery of the Year title in the current edition. The four-course dinner will be preceded with Nederburg  bubbly, followed by the Private Bin sauvignon blanc which will partner a fish carpaccio. The five-star cab will be served with beef fillet, the Brew Master 2014 with the duck and the NLH 2015 will accompany the dessert.

Seats will be limited. Booking is essential at TableBayDining@suninternational.com or 021 406 5988. The cost per person is R650, this is inclusive of the four courses, each paired with wine.

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THE MAGIC OF CHENIN

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April 11. Celebrate the Cape’s most versatile white grape  under a full moon at the Grand Africa Café & Beach on Tuesday 11 April.  Hosted by the Chenin Blanc Association, more than 30 producers of this iconic white wine will be poured, a multi-faceted collection that will illustrate its diverse talents. Canapés will accompany your tastings, and jazz from the Blake Hellaby band will provide background entertainment.

Tickets cost R450, which are inclusive of tastings, snacks – and a magician’s show. The event starts at 18h00.

Uber will be on hand to drive visitors to and from the event safely, and a free first ride up to R50 is available.Sign up with this promotional code: DrinkChenin,. Download the application for iPhone, Android, Blackberry 7, Windows Phone, or visit the mobile site m.uber.com

Get your tickets from www.quicket.co.za

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THE TASTE OF DARLING

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April 29. Over the long weekend of April 29 Darling invites guests to join them for a feast of music, food, beer and wine, arts and crafts. Not only does the little west coast town have a large heart, but a bellyful of innovation, according to organiser Ida  Opperman. No charge for admission to the festivities, although some events, like live shows and musical performances will cost a fee.

Visitors should visit www.tasteofdarling.co.za for details but make time to wander the town on foot and relish platteland hospitality.

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Shiraz & Charcuterie at Anthonij Rupert

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May 27  Sample some of our finest shiraz wines at the 2017 Shiraz & Charcuterie in Franschhoek, starting at 12 noon. The host will pour Anthonij Rupert's three fine syrahs, while others taking part include Rust en Vrede, Waterford, Mullineux & Leeu, Hartenberg, Simonsig and Thelema.

Food choices include traditional French onion soup and homemade sausage with cannelloni beans along with artisanal charcuterie and a selection of cured olives. Booking is essential. Tickets cost R220 which includes all tastings. Book through www.webtickets.co.  For more ifo contact info@dnaevents.co.za..

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Jason’s Hill, like the neighbouring Slanghoek cellars, enjoys the benefit of occupying one of the Boland’s most beautiful sites, the secluded valley that produces great wine and fruit with little fanfare.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Jaons-Hill.jpg  Along with a hiking trail and a function facility, the farm offers a range of wines both affordable and enjoyable. Winemaker Ivy du Toit has headed the cellar for many years, and her latest release is in keeping with her individual style: its a new version of her Cape Blend, named Jason’s Creek, sporting a revamped label and two award stickers. The 2015 vintage is made up of half pinotage with 35% petit verdot and finished with 15% tannat. The wine spent 10 months in French oak and offers plenty to chew on, juicy with berry fruit, a touch of spice, tannins quite prominent. If kept these should soften and the results should be smooth and savoury, but its fine for autumn braais, potjies and casseroles right now. Well-priced at R70 from the farm, also available at various city outlets.  For more info, log onto their website at www.jasonshill.co.za  and a plan a trip to this enchanting valley..

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Last year the Griers decided that their venerable bush vine (unirrigated) sauvignon blanc vineyard, renowned for  berries that produce an unique, intense wine, was worthy of special treatment. Barrel maturation would allow the intensity to feature, while the trendy egg-shaped tank would be used for partial skin fermentation. French oak – half new wood, half old – was used to complete fermentation, and batonage occurred weekly. The wine was stabilised and bottled after three months.

The result – Villiera Bush vine Blanc Fumé 2016 - a delicious wine that b2ap3_thumbnail_Villiera-Bush-Vine-Blanc-Fume-2016.jpgfascinates while it impresses: Harking back to the era when blanc fumes were much in vogue, yet presenting a thoroughly modern version, where frisky freshness nicely complements the structure and figgy and green notes are mellowed by gentle oaking.  It is certain to age with grace and should partner a range of white meat dishes and autumnal vegetarian combos with panache, including various fungi.  Alcohol levels of 13% and residual sugar of 2,5g/l are, I  am sure, accompanied by a minimal use of sulphites as I experienced no problem in relishing it. It sells for R144 and is pithily described by Jeff Grier as “Grown on old bush vine vineyards. Hatched from an egg. Matured in a barrel.”

 

What other updates from this family farm that does much to conserve the environment without being certified organic? Most winelovers know that the cellar is solar-powered and that both the Owethu clinic and The Pebbles Project,  are  centred at  Villiera: these important facilities continue to progress, while the Early Childhood Development Centre has enjoyed a renovation.

 

New additions to the estate, both four- and two-legged include kudu, waterbuck and wildebeest, with game drives in demand at least twice daily in season.

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The two-legged newcomers are a pair of youthful winemakers, being Nathan Valentine, whose childhood in the Stellenbosch winelands led him to complete a BAgric degree at Elsenburg while spending vacations working in the Villiera tasting centre. He followed this with stints at DeMorgenzon and Chandon in California  before returning to Villiera. A vintage at Domaine Grier in southern France preceded his appointment at the home farm.

Nathan will be joined by another member of the Grier family, namely Xander, sonb2ap3_thumbnail_Villiera-Xander-and-Bianca---DG.jpg of David Grier, known to South Africans as an extraordinary adventurer for worthy causes. Xander has already notched up cellar and viticultural experience in Napa Valley, Australia, France, Tasmania and Elgin before returning to the Cape where he worked at Villiera and at la Vierge in the Hemel-en-Aarde.

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We wish them well with their careers at an estate where  visits and vision, value and versatility  feature as major attractions.

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MED FED

Thoughts of Tuscany are not out of place at this time of the year, as parts of the Cape winelands resemble those Med countries that have inspired some of our finest Cape cuisine.

One such area is the Overberg where olive groves, vines and wheat  fields combine to present rolling hills of contrasting colour to travellers on the N2.

Gabrielskloof goes a step further, tempting visitors to stop and savour one of their Med taster platters, comprising four of their wines and five snacks, with a grape-studded focaccia on the side. Think chorizo and calamari, mini-lamb kofta on tzatzaki, hummus with chickpeas and dolmades and a classic Caprese salad.

Available on Mondays and Wednesdays to Saturdays until the end of May, priced at R250 per couple. For more info contact 028 284 9865 or send an email to info@gabrielskloof.co.za

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CAB FRANC CHALLENGE WINNERS – TAKE YOUR PICK

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Avontuur estate hosted the winners’ function last week, where the second Cab Franc Challenge proved to be a popular contest, entries increasing from 32 to 50 this year with 11 entering the vintage class for older wines.

Cape producers favour diverse styles which complicates judging but the vintage class proved easier, with a single clear winner. The judging panel liked those offering dusty road characteristics and those with minerality, while typical cab francs featuring red berry on the palate and aromas of violets were also encountered.

Wines were tasted blind and independently audited by Moore Stephens

The Top Six, in alphabetical order, are Doolhof estate Single Vineyard Collection 2015, Kaapzicht 2014, My Wyn 2014, Nelson estate Lisah Nelson 2014, Rainbow’s End estate 2015 and Warwick 2013.

The Vintage winners is Holden Manz estate 2012.  For gold medal winners, visit www.cvomarketing.co.za

The Top Six can be bought from Wine-of-the-Month Club for R1890 and they will deliver to your door.

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Every winelover  should experience at least one weekend end-of-harvest fest. Eikendal's is celebrating its finish and farewell to sleepless nights and long days on Sunday March 5 with its popular Weintaufe carnival. The usual ingredients - fine wine, scrumptious street-style fare, live music and lucky draws are all on the menu, and this year the star of the show is Eikendal chardonnay, which will be crowned as the first wine of the new vintage. 

Visitors can sample this straight from the barrel after its baptism by cellarmaster Nico Grobler, while Italian specialities are top temptations in the restaurant. Stomping, golfing, and tractor rides can all be enjoyed and there's plenty to keep the small fry absorbed and amused.

Buy your ticket at the gate for R80 a head which includes glass, barrel tasting and entertainment. Under 18s go in free. Gates open at 10am. For more info, contact 021 8551422 or email info@eikendal.co.za

 

 

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DISTRICT SIX HUIS KOMBUIS: Food & Memory Cookbook. Published by Quivertree Publications , Cape Town, 2016.

 

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It is surely the ultimate District Six title, in terms of lifestyle, tradition, recollection and restoration.

From the feel of the linen-like cover, through endpapers filled with fragments of crockery -   willow-pattern plates and cups with no ears – to  Cloete Breytenbach’s heart-wrenching photographs of before and after demolition, this hardback has been designed not only to inspire memories but  to celebrate an indomitable spirit of survival while recording the vital role that the table played – and still plays – in family lives.  As Shaun Viljoen comments in his introduction, “...the rituals of making and eating food... did not die or disappear when people were forced to move to far-flung areas but instead took root in these new locations on the Cape Flats.”

Some 10 years ago the District Six Museum started the Huis Kombuis project: Memories and stories – centred around  taste, texture and aromas in the District - were collected to form the heart of this unique book. The museum had started its project with craft and textile design workshops which developed into an interdiscliplinary base for reflection, remembrance and innovation. Name-cloths that are inscribed with embroidered messages, recipes and signatures stimulated links between craft and culinary heritage , which in turn led to the concept of this book.

The rituals of cooking, eating, the place of the table in the kitchen, are all central to the collective memory of District Six, part of the spirit of place and sense of belonging.  Not always inside: “The excitement of camping out on the pavement with “salmon slaai and boiled eggs in anticipation of the klopse passing by” is a new year tradition, still  maintained by those who trek into the city from their windswept dormitories on the Flats .

A gallery of quite formal portraits of former residents introduces us to the contributors of  memories and recipes. Two foldout maps of the area help readers with a sense of place: The 1940 map indicates where each family lived, along with landmark schools and churches. The second street map marks the shops, produce  markets, cafes, butchers and bakers, herb and spice suppliers, with the Grand Parade just visible on the district edge.

The meat, as it were,  of the book follows, starting with Monday which saw Sunday leftovers or fresh fish on the table. It may have been bought on tick – to be paid for on Friday – but what a wealth of seafood was on offer –  snoek, stockfish [hake],  crayfish, harders, maasbankers, hottentot, red roman, white stumpnose, geelbek and kabeljou.

We meet Marion Abrahams-Welsh, Linda Fortune, Ruth Jeftha:  a contemporary photograph accompanies their stories of childhood in the district, and memories of Monday meals reveals traditions of cottage pie from Marion,  followed by sago pudding, while Linda’s family Monday favourites were  brawn and  her father’s crayfish curry, well spiced .  The recipes are easy to follow, the food photographs appetising.  Ruth’s family relished her mother’s fish cakes and fish smoortjies, made with canned pilchards for supper.

Her mother was one of the last to leave her home in Bloemhof flats, a landmark in District Six. She lived without electricity and water towards the end and died a few days after being moved to Mitchells Plain.

Subsequent chapters follow a similar pattern, with titles like ‘Stretching the pot’, ‘Niks het geflop nie’,’ We ate soup’, ‘Nothing went wasted’, ‘Friday the pans were screaming’...  Along with savoury suppers, which often featured  bredies, sweeter fare starred, proven with recipes for date and walnut loaf and tameletjie from a male baker.  The women set jelly outside to set, to be served with custard or baked melktert as Sunday lunch finales, then went to to rustle up scones with apricot jam for afternoon tea. This well-balanced treasury of  Kaapse kos sees substantial input from Cape Malay, Afrikaner, British and Jewish cuisines. Plus a soup¢on of Portuguese, and  foraging influence from the San and Khoe who criss-crossed the slopes and shores above and below in previous centuries. The illustrated  recipes take their place as an integral segment of an infamous period of Cape history, but are not its raison d’ȇtre.

 Other images add to the culinary nostalgia:  Black and white family photographs, plus streetscapes , people and markets,  double decker buses and handcarts. Buildings lining  Hanover street with balconies and washing lines and those  distinctive splayed corners. Below, Morris minors and Volksie beetles...

The painfully slow re-creation of District Six seems synonomous with the fact that traditional values are being replaced by a greedy capitalism, as the gap between the wealthy and destitute in the Mother City gets ever wider.

Last word goes to the late Vincent Kolbe, one of the Museum founders and a former colleague of mine at City Libraries . When he wasn’t telling stories, he was making music (which included a party trick of playing the piano with his back to the instrument and his arms stretched back  over his shoulders)  or encouraging small children to read and revere books. Of the Huis Kombuis project he said “We created an arena which enables us to reaffirm our identity, celebrate our heritage and confront the complexities of our history.”  A fitting tribute to an impressive example of teamwork.

 

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Hanover Street, heart of District Six.

 

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GROOTE POST’S COUNTRY MARKET

SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY 10am – 3pm

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As summer fades into an early autumn, the West Coast comes into its own. Less wind, more balmy days, and – at Groote Post – another of their monthly country markets. Not only a beautiful farm in the Darling  Hills, but one steeped in history and which  offers warm hospitality.

Making a Sunday of it is an enjoyable pastime – and the family dogs think so too, as they are welcome provided they are on a leash.

 

As usual, the market offers a wealth of artisanal fare, art and crafts, and the farm’s value- for -money wines. Try the rosé which is exclusive to market visitors, and an ideal picnic partner. Craft beer is also onthe menu, so, once you have picked up your lunch items, chosen your wine and/or beer, head to a shady spot to relax and dine well. Stock up on breads, cheeses, wors and olive oil to take home.  Diarise March 26 for the next one, if you cannot make it this weekend. As always, entrance is free. The last market of the summer season is scheduled for April 30.

And, if you follow the KLINK awards, you may wish to vote for Groote Post’s appetising country markets in the Events & Festivals category.

See www.winetourismsouthafrica.co.za for more info.  If you need more info on Groote Post or its market, email eldre@loveyzer.co.za or contact her on 082 877 667.

Find them on Facebook  www.facebook.com/GrootePostCountryMarket.

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 MARCH INTO APRIL

 

 

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The third Chenin Blanc and Pinotage Celebration, hosted by Wine concepts, takes place on March 24 at the Vineyard Hotel this year for the first time.

Hugely popular and justifiably so, this is a Local is Lekker fest where guests can sample about 40 of the Cape’s divese chenins and pinotages from the top producers. These include bubblies, roses and dessert wines produced from these grapes. This year both chenin-based and pinotage-based blends are included in the mix. All wines on show will be on sale at special prices for the evening.

Venue: The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands

Date: Friday 24th March 2017

Time: 17h00 – 20h00

Cost: R200.00 per person – includes wine glass, tastings and light snacks

Tickets can conveniently be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za,   or at any of the Wine Concepts branches

Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401

Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za

or at the door on the evening subject to availability

http://www.wineconcepts.co.za


   


FNB EASTERN CAPE WINE SHOW – EAST LONDON

The third FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show once again takes place at Hemingways in East London on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March.  Visitors can sample a wonderful selection of whites, reds, Cape ports and fine brandies. Along with many of the previous exhibitors, new names on show include Diemersfontein and Valdo Prosecco. The wines presented will be on sale at the shop@Show stand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Dates:        Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March 2017

Venue:       The Venue at corner Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, East London

Time:         17h00 to 21h00

Ticket Prices:  R170 per night (includes unlimited tastings, wine tasting glass and wine show guide). 

Refreshments: Light meals will be on sale.

Queries: 011 482 5936/5/4

Website: www.easterncapewineshow-el.co.za

Tickets: Ticket sales are open and can be purchased at one of the following options

  • Online www.computicket.com
  • Money Market counters in Shoprite Checkers stores
  • At the door (subject to availability)

The FNB regional wine show programme, directed by wine authority Michael Fridjhon and presented by OutSorceress Marketing, is continued with the eighth FNB Mpumalanga Wine Show in Nelspruit on 6 and 7 April, followed by the fifth FNB Free State Wine Show on 3 and 4 August and concluded with the third FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show – Port Elizabeth on 23 and 24 November. For more information for all these wine shows visit www.outsorceress.co.za.

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Bonhomie and Beards at Bot River

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The Barrels & Beards bash takes place on 22 April 2017, a harvest celebration in this lovelyrural valley, which houses exciting cellars.

 

The Barrels and Beards party includes a sumptuous dinner and tastings of the new vintages from barrel. The venue is the hilly grounds of Barton Vineyards and the event includes an auction of rare and special wines, proceeds of which benefit the children of the area.

Producers taking part are Anysbos, Barton, Beaumont Family Wines, Gabriëlskloof, Genevieve MCC, Goedvertrouw Wine Estate, Luddite Wines, Maremmana Estate, Momento Wines, Paardenkloof Estate, Rivendell Estate, Villion Family Wines and Wildekrans Boutique Wine Estate.

The beards develop as winemakers don’t have time to shave during harvest, and this hairy feature has developed into a tradition at Bot river  and a winner is chosen at the fest, judged to possess the Best Bot Beard.

The 2017 Bot River Barrels & Beards showcase takes place on  2017 at 5pm and tickets are availalbe at R450 per adult. Get your tickets at www.quicket.co.za For enquiries and pre-bookings contact Wilmari Geyer, email: info@bartonvineyards.co.za and mobile: 084 231 8930.

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Early harvesting seems to have contributed  favourably to the fresh brilliance of the 2015 chardonnays, in the Stellenbosch regions at any rate.  .... just one of many  factors in the makeup of a vintage of champion chards. Right now I confess to choosing them over chenin, a preference which  induces a pang of short-lived guilt...

 

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Over the festive season we savoured every drop of the Neil Ellis Whitehall chardonnay 2015, its Elgin label acknowledging the source of cool-climate grapes

 from a south-facing vineyard in that highland valley. This is a s single vineyard maiden release in the Terrain Specific range, one whose vines have provided Neil Ellis with distinctive chardonnay since the early 1990’s.

Great credit to winemaker-cum-viticulturist and son Warren Ellis for transforming them into a wine that presents a broad palette of  intense appeal: Freshness and elegance meld effortlessly to accompany wafts of citrus. Integral oaking harmonises with Elgin minerality, a hint of richness is restrained even as it’s evident.  Moderate alcohol levels of 13,5% complement this  very impressive Cape chardonnay with more than a nod to its native Burgundy. Make sure the meal is up to accompanying it (or following it, if sipped as a classy aperitif) .

 

As February heat subsided to bearable levels, chilled Eikendal chardonnay 2015 b2ap3_thumbnail_Eikendal-Chardonnay-2015-pack-shot-LR-2.jpgwas opened with care. From the Somerset West cellar whose predecessor, the 2014, was judged overall champion of the Prescient Chardonnay Report, the new release is set to equal or overtake with little difficulty.  Cellarmaster Nico Grobler harvested early in January, and that decision clearly contributes to the purity and freshness evident, while the combo of four clones, cultivated and then vinified in different ways, adds complexity to the wine, most of which matured in untoasted French oak. There’s citrus on the palate, some mineral backbone and the knowledge that this is going to get better over several years is another given. Alcohol levels held at 13% is another factor in its favour. At R155 from cellar door it offers superb value for money.

 

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