A nice contrast here: the label of the Vriesenhof Unwooded Chardonnay 2017 is as traditional as can be, simple wording above and below a black and white drawing of a venerable Cape farmstead backed by the Stellenbosch mountain. But - it arrived in a cardboard carton labelled MILK, then, in smaller font “This is not...” . On one side, a description of the wine, while on another we are given a little of the owner’s winemaking philosophy. When you discover that this farm and wine brand is owned by Jan Boland Coetzee, the delicious mix of trad and zany trend is right in tune with those of its renowned and relaxed cellarmaster.
I make no secret of the fact that I usually enjoy chards that are not wooded more than some of their posher, richer and more complex cousins. I savour their natural freshness, uncomplicated elegance and fruit, often backed by flint that adds character. This wine fits that description almost exactly, with some citrus and stone fruit flavours and more than a hint of minerality lending it substance. Moderate alcohol levels, a back label advising consumers to chill and drink soon, it’s simply a delicious summer aperitif without pretensions. It sells for R100 at both large liquor outlets and at Wine Concepts and, of course at the cellar door and online from the farm. The milk carton pack is only obtainable from the farm.
In the past Jan Boland Coetzee was a traditionalist, only making wines classically austere, dry and with no upfront fruit. This wine, made by long-standing winemaker Nicky Claasens, presents a departure from that style, one that is sure to be more popular with the majority of consumers.
Vriesenhof is running a digital competition with this product: Punting it as the perfect accompaniment to be ‘cool by the pool this summer’,entrants that buy a bottle need to tag @VriesenhofWines in a post being cool by the pool this summer to stand a chance to win a case of this charming chard!
For more info email her at Kirsten@kirstenhopwood.co.za .
“Come and taste the sea with Fryer’s Cove vineyards” suggested the invitation. In the end my wine samples were tasted inland, here in McGregor, and my first sip of the Doring Bay 2017 sauvignon blanc did indeed offer more than a lick of the icy Atlantic which crashes onto the rocky shore of Doringbaai, some 300km north of Cape Town.
I closed my eyes and imagined the scene at this tiny hardy settlement, a fishing community where the inhabitants are as hardy as the coastline is rugged. The vineyards of Fryer’s Cove are just 500 metres from the shoreline, so it's hardly surprising that the wines produced from these harvests have a distinct maritime flavour.
The Fryer’s Cove booklet relates how the winery was established on a part of the Laubscher brothers’ farm, and the cellar was set up in the former crayfish factory – not many others can point to ocean waves lapping their cellar walls as their wines mature in tanks.
Before getting down to the sauvignons produced from their vines, I’d like to share some of the background of this coastal winery which makes a great story - typical of the tough conditions and equally tough weskus entrepreneurs who make things happen, no matter how adverse their surroundings.
Back in 1985 Elsenburg student Wynand Hamman was on holiday in the Strandfontein area and this aspirant winemaker shared his vinous dream with Jan and Ponk van Zyl , who later became his in-laws. It took 14 years before Fryer’s Cove cellar was born and early years proved hard going: The area was drought-prone and existing groundwater had too high a salt content and desalination was too expensive to contemplate. The only solution was a pipeline to bring water from Vredendal, nearly 30km away, which also had to cross three farms en route. The farmers agreed, so Jan built the pipeline as the 20th century drew to a close. The neighbours received water for their co-operation and the Laubscher brothers got shares for allowing a buffer dam to be built and for 10ha of their land which is where the first vines were planted.
There are some good reasons to counter the difficulties: The ocean deposits salt flakes on the vine leaves, whifh helps repel disease, as well as imparting a distinctive minerality to the wine. Indigenous plants between the vines act as a natural ground cover , while seashells and limestone in the soil add flinty character. Fryer’s Cove Wines belong to the Jan Ponk Trust, H Laubscher family trust and cellarmaster Wynand Hamman. They are part of Bamboes Bay, the smallest wine ward in South Africa.
The Jetty restaurant is a community venture, part of the local development trust, 70% community owned and run, where you will relish snoekkoekies, pickled fish, calamari and local linefish as well as more conventional burgers and steak. I look forward to a visit in 2019.
To the wine; Doring Bay sauvignon blanc 2017 is already showing off an array of four gold medals from some of the smaller competitions. It makes the ideal aperitif to open on a sizzling day, offering - along with tangy and ocean aromas - a crisp zestiness well balanced by a combo of grassy and tropical fruit flavours. Quite high alcohol levels at 14,4% are not obvious. This is an easy-to-love wine selling at R95.
The Bamboes Bay 2017 is a much posher cousin, a limited edition in a heavier bottle, also unoaked but presenting a far more complex meld of herbaceous, seaweed and granadilla notes on the nose, followed by an array of fruit and lemongrass on the palate. It manages to be crisp and steely yet offers a richer experience than its Doring Bay cousin and is priced at R260 ex-cellar.
Winemaker Derick Koegelenberg made both these wines.
I prefer the cheaper one for most summer days, but the Bamboes Bay is the one to choose when serving a seafood extravaganza. Also, its potential is impressive – not many sauvignons taste better the next day after being open for 24 hours, but this one did. (Of course it could also be that my palate was more receptive, but – either way – Doring Bay for most warm days and Bamboes Bay for special occasions.) There is a third sauvignon blanc that is a patrician cousin, limited edition and numbered, aged 18 months in bottle. It’s called Hollebaksstrandfontein Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, but, having not tried it, I cannot comment. It sells for R295.
SHAKEN: Drinking with James Bond & Ian Fleming, published by the Octopus Publishing Group, 2018.
The stylish black and gold covers of this hardback tell readers that this is 007 The Official Cocktail Book. They also reveal that extracts from Ian Fleming’s books accompany the stories behind the James Bond drinks – ranging from 10 classic cocktails to new creations that pay tribute to the people, places and plots of the 007 series.
The concept is clever and it’s well executed: Fleming wove legends around items from cars to clothes, from travel and particularly to drink, be it vodka or brandy, gin or vermouth, champagne or whisky.
Two years ago Edmund Weil, who is related to Ian Fleming, and his wife Rosie teamed up with talented mixologists Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson to open Bar Swift in Soho. The Weils, who are renowned in the London hospitality industry and their partners have seen their venture fizz into a Soho hot spot , winning several awards.
Every cocktail has a story to tell, reflecting Fleming’s vivid imagination: these are reproduced here following each. The drinks are grouped into the following categories: Straight Up, On the Rocks, Tall, Fizzy, Exotic.
After a brief practical guide to bar essentials, including recipes for syrups and sherbets, we turn the page to Bond’s dry martini. The recipe is followed by extracts from Bond novels dealing with this classic. Next up is Pussy Galore, a cocktail with roots in Manhattan and enough ingredients to make your head whirl: Bourbon, red vermouth, white maraschino, Angostura bitters and crème de menthe are stirred and garnished with edible snowflakes. The Refresher, suggested as a replacement for dessert, combines dark rum and fresh coffee with coffee liqueur and hazelnut orgeat.
Fast cars, especially the Aston Martin, inspired the Supercharger, a sleek twist of a cocktail made from vodka, cold-brewed coffee, vanilla and ginger liqueurs, finished with double cream. And to add a note of romance, A Whisper of Love pays tribute to the poignancy of love and loss which “marked the lives of both Fleming and his hero.” Premium cognac is stirred with campari, crème de mure (blackberry liqueur) and parfait amour which add floral and berry notes. The addition of red vermouth and the campari add astringency, turning the drink deep red.
Not all the drinks are lethal – with the trend toward Oriental fare blooming, Tiger Tanaka makes a warming brew imbued with the delicate flavours of Japan: Japanese whisky and sake are stirred with coconut palm sugar syrup and boiling water infused with a flowering jasmine tea ball. The drink is garnished with makrut lime leaves.
Clear colour photographs of each cocktail add much to the attraction of the recipes.
Fleming and his fictional counterpart James Bond have become synonymous with style, glamour and thrilling tales. This collection of cocktail recipes and 007 stories will make a popular gift for both Bond fans and contemporary and trad cocktail enthusiasts
The Van Loveren team never cease to amaze by coming up with yet another first: This time its their Almost Zero alcohol Wonderful White. Produced by de-alcoholising sauvignon blanc, the wine is listed as containing less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, and is sure to find a receptive response among those who enjoy the company of wine and wine drinkers but prefer to avoid any possibililty of after-effects.
The foldout info tucked into the package lists three good reasons why consumers should choose this product: that its perfect for non-drinkers and those keeping to an alcohol-free January, perfect for weight watchers as 100ml of this contains just 71 kilojoules and that, with fruity flavours of apples, cirtrus and tropical fruit, it makes a good companion to salads and seafood. Banting devotees can also sip this without any guilt.
Brewers have proved there is a market for alcohol-free beers, so why not wine? Easy-drinking, fruity and crisp, this pale green-tinged drink comes in a screwcapped bottle, and begs to be chilled before opening
The Wonderful White joins the Van Loveren stable of four non-alcoholic sparklers . It is selling for R65, can be bought from the farm or online through firstname.lastname@example.org and should be in your nearest retailer by now.
How does a starter of chicken liver paté and hummus with home-baked bread and crackers, followed by slow-cooked beef brisket in rich tomato sauce tickle your tastebuds? Vegetarians will find a chickpea, turmeric and egg curry, with green salad, while Banting devotees can enjoy steamed broccoli or cauliflower puree with their beef. Local cheeses make the finale but – those who indulge in sweet treats - can tuck into non-Banting chocolate brownies, carrot cupcakes and peanut cookies. Make as many return trips to the pop-up buffet as you wish and finish with tea or coffee. Bring your own wine to the occasion and relish the friendly ambience where no more than eight guests will gather at one time.
Make a delectable date for an informal weekend seaside lunch with Brian Berkman in his airy Pringle Bay home. Deciding to join the trend of pop-up kitchen experiences, this well-known public relations consultant and travel writer is presenting a series of long, slow buffet-style lunches next month. The dates to diarise are December 15 and 16 and December 22 and 23.
Brian will be on hand to chat about the dishes and make sure that those avoiding carbs and sugar choose the acceptable fare.
The cost is R500 a head and bookings should be made via Quicket or by following the link at BrianBerkman.com.
The elegance is apparent long before you open the bottle. A simple cream label, minimal wording that tells you what you need to know: “Lady May, 2012, Glenelly, Stellenbosch”. The only illustration - a small gold outline of a lady in a long flowing gown, standing among what looks like tall reeds.
Apparently the picture reflects May de Lencquesing’s return to her roots at Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtess de Lalande In Bordeaux.
There can be few winelovers who do not know the story of the magnificent Glenelly estate, its remarkable owner, its exceptional wines and its Gallic bistro – all situated just outside Stellenbosch. And, of course, its fine glass exhibits.
This Grande Dame – May de Lencquesing –– bought the former fruit farm in 2003 when a youthful 78 and set about transforming it into a top destination and beautiful setting for producing her vision – “to craft the finest Cabernet Sauvignon blend outside of France...”
Today, after 15 years, she regards this patrician blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot, finished with a splash of cab franc as her legacy. The grapes were carefully chosen, hand-sorted , naturally fermented in tanks for a few weeks before being transferred to oak barrels where malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then left to age for 24 months in fine French oak, producing an intense, dark and complex blend. On the nose, wafts of a range of berries, on the palate the dark berry flavour melds with meaty notes and classic cedar balanced by fine tannins. Alcohol levels of 14,5% are not obvious., but it’s easy to know that this is a blend with great ageing potential, worth putting away for a few years to increase enjoyment. Whereas one’s first gourmet choice for a great pairing would be beef, chef Christophe DeHosse of The Vine Bistro also suggests his fillet of lamb with roasted root veggies and Parisienne gnocchi and thyme jus. The recommended retail price is R490.
In the mean time, celebrate summer with cellarmaster Luke O’Cuinneagain’s delightful 2016 Glenelly’s Reserve Chardonnay – or try the 2017 which has recently been released.
These are stylish, restrained rich, complex wines, the 2016 with citrus both on the nose and in the long finish. It has attracted high scores and gold medals from three current competitions – Decanter World Wine Awards, Old Mutual Trophy wine show and the Six Nations Challenge . Pair now with gourmet fish or poultry creations, see below.
The 2017 offers aromas of vanilla and butterscotch, moves on to citrus on the palate. Moderate 13% alcohol levels, lightly oaked, it was aged for 10 months in 500 litre French oak barrels. Like its predecessor, it’s beautifully crafted, finely balanced, fresh and delicious now but will keep and mature further for a decade – if you are strong-minded enough to do so. Pair it with rich seafood or poultry creations or try the classic salmon trout recipe from Chef Dehosse which combines a rich beurre blanc with locally farmed salmon trout.To book forthe Bistro or for more information, tel: 021 809 6444 or email email@example.com
FRESH SALMON TROUT S WITH GLENELLY ESTATE RESERVE CHARDONNAY
4x 150g pieces of salmon trout fillet
salt and pepper
1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
50ml red wine vinegar
50ml dry white wine
3-4 black peppercorns
1 large carrot, pared
1 leel well washed
1 stick celery washed
A few hours before, season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan, add the butter. When the butter starts foaming, sear the fish skin side-up for about 3 minutes. Remove when browned and set aside.
To make the vegetable julienne, slice the carrot, leek and celery into very fine, long strips. Gently cook the vegetables in a little butter starting with the leeks and celery, then add the carrots. When soft, remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the sauce, combine the chopped onion, wine, vinegar and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to boil and allow to reduce until almost no liquid is left .Add the cream and bring to boil again and pass through a fine strainer .Pour back into the saucepan. When almost ready to serve, return sauce to the heat, bring to the boil and whisk in the butter bit by bit.
Meanwhile, finish cooking the fish in an oven preheated to 180°C for 8-10 minutes.
Reheat the vegetable julienne in a pan and transfer it to a hot serving dish or individual plates, top with the fish and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” International Sparkling Wine & Champagne Affair
The hosts are celebrating the 17th year of this popular event with the theme of “The Magic of Bubbles” on Friday 23rd November 2018 at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, from 18h00 to 21h00.
Cuvees for tasting from premium and boutique Champagne Houses of France,and a selection of sparkling wines from Spain, Italy and the UK will be presented. Light snacks will be servedaccompanied by livemusic and entertainment.
The bubblies will be on sale at a special discounted price. Ticket-holders will win prizes from lucky-draws. The Vineyard Hotel is offering a special stay over package for the night.
Tickets cost R500.00 from Wine Concepts stores, online on www.webtickets.co.za or at the door on the evening.
DON’T MISS GROOTE POST’S NOVEMBER COUNTRY MARKET
Head out to Groote Post on Sunday 25th November for a day of family fun and relaxation at their idyllic Country Market where 60 stalls will be showcasing beautiful and delectable country offerings: various arts, crafts, homeware and décor; gourmet eats galore; craft beer and cider; and not to forget Groote Post’s popular wines.
After browsing through the market, relax on the lawns under the trees tucking into delicious eats and enjoying the music and entertainment provided by Chris Rain, an accomplished musician, with a large repertoire.
The little ones will be busy with a variety of kiddies’ activities: tractor trips, guided horse rides and, of course, the popular playground.
The Three Market Lucky Draws will take place at 12h30, 13h30 and 14h30, the winners each receiving a hamper with products from the market and Groote Post wine, but you must be present at the draw to win.
Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but please note that booking is essential.
Although pets are welcome – all dogs must be on a leash at all times.
Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge.
Groote Post Country Market opening hours 10h00 to 15h00
For further information Contact I Love Yzer: 022 451 2202 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’
Social calendar highlight, the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’, presented by Sanlam Private Wealth, takes place on 1 and 2 December.postcountrymarket.co.za
The iconic Huguenot Monument serves as the backdrop for the weekend’s festivities, where a wide range of local MCC’s and select French champagnes will be on offer. The grand marquee – the place to be seen – will be oozing style, elegance and sophistication, along with a selection of delectable delights from some of Franschhoek’s world-class eateries. The theme is Black and White, with a prize awarded to the Best Dressed Couple on each day.
Tickets cost R395 per person and include access to the festival, which is open daily between 12pm and 5pm, a complimentary tasting glass and MCC tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry to the festival.
FOURTH EASTERN CAPE WINE SHOW IN PORT ELIZABETH
Around 40 exhibitors will pour 200 wines for Eastern Cape winelovers on 30 November and 1 December at The Boardwalk in Summerstrand from 17h00 to 21h00.
Celebrate with scintillating bubbles from Krone, Valdo Prosecco, Pongracz and JC Le Roux. Sip and swirl award-winning whites from Steenberg Vineyards, Spier, Oldenburg and Fleur du Cap. Savour robust reds from Boekenhoutskloof, Raka, Wildekrans and Cape Chamonix.
Introducing Mari’s Handmade Fudge and Brittle and exhibitor Just Biltong will provide delicious wine-complementing fare to snack on..
Tickets can be bought via Computicket.com and at the door. No entry to under 18s, babies and prams. Light meals will be sale and wines purchases facilitated at the Shop@Show stand by local wine retailer Prestons.
Tickets cost R190 at Early Bird prices, valid for sales until 18 November R160.00. The Early Bird option of R200 buys you an entrance ticket and a tapas meal voucher to the value of R60. Visit www.easterncapewineshow.co.za for more information and for list of exhibitors and wines.
Fizz & Fudge at Stellenbosch Hills
A new taste pairing , buttery handcrafted fudge with Polkadraai Sparkling Pinot Noir rosé is on the menu, along with their Polkadraai Sauvignon Blanc Brut, matched to chocolate malt fudge for R40 a head. This festive event is available from now until February, but pre-booking is essential. Call 021 881 3828/9 for reservations or
Fruit picking and leisurely lunches at De Krans
FromNovember through to February De Krans invites visitors to join in a farm favourite of picking seasonal fruit. From 24 November to 1 December the Bulida apricots will be available to pick at R7.50 per kg. If you prefer peaches best you diarise 15 to 27 December when the Oom Sarel cling peaches will be ready for pickings at R8.00 per kg. Kickstart 2019 with picking super sweet Hanepoot grapes at R8.50 per kg. All dates are weather dependent, and may change slightly at short notice. it is advisable to contact the farm prior to your visit, to confirm the picking dates. De Krans will be open seven days a week from 9am until 4pm for the picking of these fruits, with the exception of Christmas Day.
The De Krans Deli and Bistro at the farm, is home to delicious country cuisine. All the dishes have been paired with wines from the De Krans range, creating the perfect food and wine pairing
The deli offers visitors a wide selection of only the finest products sourced in and around Calitzdorp and the Klein Karoo. Visitors sit indoors or outside in the shade of the trellised Hanepoot vineyard. There is also a playground for children, making De Krans a place for the whole family.
Among the great wines to be tasted and bought is the flagship Tritonia red blend, just recently awarded gold at Six Nations in Australia,
For more information contact the farm on 044 213 3314, or email at email@example.com.
Summer is for Stellenbosch Street Soirees
These take place fromNovember 2018 till March 2019 in the city of oaks presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes. The first event is on November 28, presenting cool tunes, sizzling street food and superb wines. Thereafter once a month of a Wednesday in Drostdy Street, each street party will pour different wines and present different fare. Entry costs R100 a head, which includes glass and 12 tasting tokens. The parties takes place from 18h00 – 20h00. The other dates are
12 December 2018*
16 & 30 January
13 & 27 February
13 & 27 March 2019*
For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za
Salt of the Earth – the phrase brings to mind a person (or group of people) whose qualities present a model for the rest of us.
That Groote Post decided to use this phrase as the name of their special blend of shiraz (66%) and Cinsaut (34%) is both interesting and apposite. Produced from the outstanding 2015 harvest, the grapes were sourced from venerable vines in the Darling Hills – 17-year-old shiraz, and 42-year-old dryland bushvine cinsaut.
The wine spent 16 months in French oak, and the result is intriguing, where the shiraz characteristics dominate, - the flavours of red plum, white pepper are there backed by cedarwood - lent benefits by fresh berry notes from the cinsaut. The result is quite intriguing, well balanced with an earthy backbone and 14% alcohol levels.
The special label, designed by Anthony Lane’s consultancy is different from Groote Post’s usual designs, drawing attention to the bottle as consumers have to hunt for the source of the wine.
Already sporting its 91% score from Tim Atkins’ Best of South Africa 2017 report, this wine was released by Groote Post in early spring to the delight of those many winelovers who are seeing more old cinsaut vines coming back into their own, adding their welcome characteristics to more delicious red blends. It sells for R240 from the Groote Post cellar.
WHOLE – Bowl Food for Balance by Melissa Delport. Published by Struik Lifestyle, 2018.
It’s a whole new way of eating – for Occidentals, that is, while in the East Buddhists (and many others) combine diverse ingredients in bowls to make balanced meals as a matter of course.
Melissa Delport is a Cape Town-based food photographer and blogger. Having learnt to cook at an early age Melissa moved on and after a period of fad dieting discovered her path to health and well- being . Mindful consumption became an integral part of her food philosophy . Wanting to share her culinary knowledge and way of eating with others which formed the germ of this book, her first .
The title stems from Buddha bowls which contain nourishment in the form of grains, vegetables, a healthy fat, a protein and a bunch of greens.
In her introduction Delport discusses her philosophy which can be summed up as 'Eat real food, mostly plants, but not too much'. She aims at reaching umami, or yummy fare using many ingredients, but focussing on the importance of grains, beans and pulses as base food. She urges readers to shop at farmers’ markets, avoid GMO foods and items that are not free-range.
Starting with breakfast fare, there are recipes for bowls ranging from smoothies to oats, from chia seeds to Turkish poached eggs on quinoa with yoghurt and avo, baby spinach, goats cheese and more… Her avo hash has a long list of ingredients, is sustaining enough to take one through to supper
Salad bowls present some appetising combos – fig and goats cheese, salmon and edamame beans, courgettes and salmon, tomato and lentil. Many other ingredients also make the cut, adding spice, flavour, texture, crunch and dressings. Soups present an interesting selection: even in the popular classics like roasted tomato and red pepper she adds her own touch, Good use is made of coconut milk along with vegetable stock.
Bowing to the present trend of resurrecting ancient grains, a colourful collection of salads, poultry and meat one-dish creations feature quinoa, barley, millet, spelt, freekah, brown rice as well as a host of veggies and pulses.
Home bowls are comfort food , robust, several one-pot wonders while others require more time and attention, Oodles of Noodles is self-explanatory, the recipes in this chapter occasionally use wheat noodles, many more are made from other flours and grains. In the chapter on Table Bowls entertaining is the objective, sharing bowls that are made up of side dishes, dips, starters, and snacks. These dinner parties could start with tuna ceviche or guacamole or baba ganoush all served with corn chips. Among the mains you will find pasta and pesto variations, followed by a vegan honey mustard carrot bowl. Drinks are not neglected, and the sparkling lime and pomegranate looks inviting for a summery party.There are a few desserts - think dates with salted caramel truffle and popcorn or apple and pear coconut crumble with coconut ice cream, a vegan finale.
While neither solely vegan nor a vegetarian collection, many of the close to 90 recipes are sans meat, chicken or fish. All are nourishing, offering healthy and balanced meals in a bowl, several contain a large number of ingredients, and a few will take a fair amount of time. But what Delport has done is to take the guesswork out of bowl food, having spent much time creating dishes that are tasty.
She goes further to promote healing one’s relationship with food, treating your body with respect and nourishing it with fresh food that will leave you energised. All part, she says of finding happiness with food.
Every recipe is illustrated and a detailed index concludes the text.
Two recently released chenin blancs proved both to be enjoyable, and both fair value for money: one an easy-drinking, unwooded wine priced at R60, the other a more patrician chenin that has benefitted from eight months in oak, and sells for R125, about double the price. Both, I think, reflect not only the delicious diversity of chenin, but the wide range of prices that chenin commands.
DELHEIM WILD FERMENT CHENIN BLANC 2017
As the back label tells us, this delicious chenin was produced from venerable dryland vines which accounts for added flavour from small, intense berries. Two vineyard blocks yielded the grapes, Bobbejaan at 15 years old and Ou Jong Steen, at 30 years.
On the nose a mix of stone fruit aromas leads to the palate where citrus flavours are discernible.
The wine was matured in oak for some eight months which has added backbone that is well balanced by typical Stellenbosch freshness. Moderate 13,5% alcohol levels are pleasing.
This is a wine that will happily take on Asian-style creations, south-east Asian spicy curries, along with western fare like risottos and complex chicken salads. Get yours from the cellar or leading retailers for R125.
DE KRANS FREE-RUN CHENIN BLANC 2018
A moreish, unpretentious wine that is well-balanced , slips down easily and is bound to draw more consumers to the joys of chenin as a summer tipple.
Already sporting two gold stickers from current contests, it’s a wine that will suit a range of tastes, sells fot R60 and will make a lunchtime appetiser as well as a good partner to chicken braais.
As De Krans increases its range of table wines alongside its award-winning ports and fortified products, consumers have a fine choice to contemplate, from red blends that sometimes contain port varietals to classic wines that Louis van der Riet produces with flair.
THE ECHO OF A NOISE: a Memoir of Then and Now by Pieter-Dirk Uys. Published by Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2018.
Is it perhaps because he has reached 70, that his writing – while still witty and pithy – has softened, sharing more of his persona? It took only a couple of chapters before I felt I really knew the little boy living in Pinelands, going to school, desperate to join the others wearing long pants, constantly in a state of skirmish with his unbending father.
The role of Sannie Abader, the Cape Malay housekeeper who ruled the Uys kitchen and doubled as a mother and friend to Pieter-Dirk, a situation replicated in so many South African domestic households during the middle of the 20th century.
For someone a few years older, who also grew up in southern suburban Cape Town with live-in maids, politically aware parents who were anti- Nat but fairly conservative followers of De Villiers Graaff, the world was white indeed.
This very human slice of his childhood and early career, his first trip to Europe and to Sophia Loren’s house makes enchanting reading. His student years at UCT Drama school and antics outside of it , another trip to Europe then back in Cape Town to work at the Space theatre and spend time annoying the inspectors of the Publications Control Board follows . In 1981 he performed the first of his one-man shows. As he remarks, 35 years later he is still writing, presenting and performing them...
Decades after the death of his parents, he regrets having not asked them more questions, particularly about his mother’s background. Scenarios like this that resonate with so many of us. Today P-D still churns out so many words using, of course, Windows 10. But always, next to his laptop sits his mother’s portable Underwood typewriter in its battered box, which she brought to South Africa in 1937.
As the back cover of this softback tells us “This is Pieter-Dirk Uys unpowdered. No props, no false eyelashes, no high heels...” Indeed. His first two memoirs, Elections and Erections published in 2002 and Between the Devil and the Deep in 2005 were great reads, but in this title I felt I really got to know something of the complex, talented person that he is, perhaps underlined with vivid memories of a matinee at Evita se Perron one spring weekend last year, where he was as brilliant as ever but looking, I thought, tired.
Does he ever get tired? The text finishes with a short biography followed by a list of his plays, revues, novels, memoirs, cookbooks and documentaries, feature films and television specials. Looking at that impressive list, one concludes that he cannot ever find time to be tired.
Illustrated with a fascinating collection of black and white photographs, ranging from babyhood to the present, a diverse family album that greatly enhances his prose.
PRACTICAL, PROMISING AND FREE – PICK N PAY’S WINE CLUB’S A WINNER!
“Good wine for real people” is the slogan they are using. Well yes, but it seems there could be several other advantages for consumers who have joined, - or are contemplating joining – the new Pick n Pay Wine Club.
For those who enjoy wine, buy regularly, but have limited funds to spend, membership could offer several benefits. If you are interested in broadening your taste and finding new favourites, this could be a painless way to do so.
Let’s have a quick run-through the way it works: First up, membership is free and it’s easy to join. As a member you will be notified about a monthly selection of wines offered at 20% discount off shelf price for 30 days. The selection is wide, the range seems to include red, white, rosé, bubbly and one bag-in-a-box occasionally. The choice also offers easy-drinking entry-level labels for beginners, along with at least one or two comparatively upmarket products from well-known and popular Cape cellars. During the month, members can buy just one or two of the discounted wines, or more. They can also buy more than once – as many times as they like – to get the discount before the end of the month.
So – if you try a new label or new varietal and it ticks your box you can order more while its discounted and build up your stock. All this can be done online, so its as easy as picking up your smartphone and sending through your order.
If you live in or near one of the major cities, and buy at least 6 wines of your choice, you will enjoy free delivery: the delivery finder at
will pinpoint which areas are served by this convenience. See
the list of cities and suburbs covered.
If, like myself, you live in the countryside, and delivery is not offered, you can collect your discounted wines at any Pick n Pay that stocks wine: the 20% discount will automatically be taken off the club wines at the till when swiping your Smart Shopper card.
There is plenty of info available on the website with regard to tasting notes, suggestions for pairing food and your wine, and occasionally there are competitions and events where members are treated to an evening out with great wines, launches, and good company.
Seems like nothing to lose and plenty to gain - and its simple enough to join. Visit www.pnp.co.za/wine-club or simply SMS your Smart Shopper card number to 36775.
With a long-established reputation for consistent quality, Stellenbosch Hills cellar continues to uphold this worthy reputation. While it is widely known for well-priced quality, its sauvignon blanc, in particular, has established a fine record for over-delivering on quality.
I am happy to report that the 2018 vintage, a single vineyard wine, upholds the reputation with panache. It’s all that most of us want from a sauvignon blanc – crisp freshness, not over-acidic, enough body to lend it character, a fine meld of green notes with melon, citrus and a little stone fruit coming through. Perfect for casual sunset and weekend get-togethers, on its own or with fish, salad, chicken, and vegetarian meals. Its moderate alcohol levels of R13% are pleasing and its priced at about R50.
The winery recently released a whole range of new vintages, the only other white being the chenin blanc 2018, along with several 2016 reds – pinotage, cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and their popular fortified Muscat de Hambourg. The reds sell for around R80.
We all know we shoud squirrel away good barrel-fermented whites along with our reds, but we seldom do. Most of don’t keep our fine chardonnays for long enough, just until the next occasion that sees a luxurious seafood feast or a special poultry creation grace the table.
So it's good to know that Whalehaven decided to cellar their Conservation Coast chardonnay for us - leaving the 2014 vintage maturing for more than two years before releasing it. This premium wine was produced from a vineyard of 14-year-old vines in the famed UpperHemel-en-Aarde region, where Whalehaven is the third-olest winery in the area.
Co-owner Silvana Bottega released the wine recently, and its gorgeous golden hue is the first sign of its maturity, followed by tempting wafts of butterscotch on the nose. This is a rich, full-bodied chardonnay, with a firm mineral backbone, offering lightly toasted crumbs along with citrus flavours. With moderate alcohol levels, it makes an impressive appetiser but comes into its own with celebration fare, either shellfish, rich duck liver paté or complex Middle Eastern chicken dishes.
Bearing stickers from Tim Atkin who scored it 92 and approval from the current Sommeliers Selections results, expect to pay around R360.
The Conservation Coast range also boasts a 2014 Pinot Noir whch I have not tasted.
To find out more about these wines, visit www.whalehaven.co.za
Marketing is all important when competing in the well-priced segment of South African wines. Overhex Wines International have always come up with interesting labels with a tale to tell and their new range is no exception.
The Mensa range is the first to offer an augmented reality app for smartphones which, when scanned in, brings the story behind the Mensa label to life.
Story-telling, the accompanying maxim – ‘Live a great story’ – and the label (which features everywoman relaxing in a library, its wall lined with books, a glass of wine at her feet) all contribute to appeal both to curious consumers and , I would guess, especially to the female winelover.
This is a range also designed to appeal to book clubs , both visually and price-wise, while the practical Helix cork closure eliminates the need for corkscrews.
The sauvignpn blanc is fruity and easy-drinking, with alcohol levels of just 12% while the cabernet sauvignon offers a considerably higher level at 14,5% but also slips down easily, its berry flavours backed by a full-bodied character. The trendy chardonnay/.pinot noir comes in at 13% and combines citrus notes with moderate alcohol levels. Whites cost R75 and the red R85 at the Overhex cellar door, are stocked by Checkers countrywide and can be bought online.
It would be difficult to find a better pair of wines with which to toast the forthcoming Heritage weekend. They tick the boxes for venerable vineyards (44-year-old chenin and cinsaut), are adorned with the Old Vine Project Heritage seal, and are nurtured on an 18th century Wellington farm titled “well-bestowed” whose current owners are nearing completing restoration and refurbishment of both vineyards, olive grove and a beautiful early 19th century farmstead.
But – best of all – is that Gavin and Kelly Brimacombe’s maiden releases, a 2017 chenin blanc and a 2015 Rhone-style red blend are noteworthy, both captivating examples of what the Wellington terroir can – and is - producing.
The old dryland chenin vines with low-yields of around 2,4 tons per ha, deliver berries with concentrated fruit that presents a sophisticated salad of citrus, summer stone fruit, pineapple and lingering citrus on the nose and palate. Yet it’s restrained and elegant with evident complexity: this was achieved, no doubt by part natural, part yeast-added fermentation, plus one third of the wine then barrel-fermented in French oak before final blending. Its moderate 12,5% alcohol levels will please many local and overseas customers while the bottle sports stickers that are testimony to pleasing scores from judges of the National Wine Challenge and Top 100 SA wines.
Turning to the Welgegund Providence – which also sports silver from Decanter and four stars from Platter, - this blend comprises 60% shiraz, 30% cinsaut with carignan making up the balance. All the vines are dryland, the vintage cinsaut complemented by mature shiraz and carignan, the harvest of eachwhich was separately fermented . The wine spent 16 months in mostly French oak with just 5% in American. The full-bodied result balances spice and dark berry flavours with freshness from the cinsaut, with smooth tannins and a hint of oak. Robust alcohol levels for current trends and on the pricy side at R320 excluding VAT. Only available from the cellar at present.
The winemaker is Friedrich Kuhne and Emy Mathews has joined the staff as Sales and Marketing Manager. She is the ideal person to promote the charms of farm and wine, and already her efforts on social media have alerted dozens to the renaissance of Welgegund. The farm is open for tastings by appointment only.
In conclusion, a toast to this maiden duo, and in anticipation of the Cinsaut and Grenache which have just been released and which I hope to sample soon .
Wellington always intrigues with its mix of beautiful old farms of renowned Afrikaner families and new and restored ones thanks to an influx of enthusiastic
British investors and producers. Were they perhaps influenced by the fact that this Boland town bears the name of their most successful Anglo-Irish military hero, former British statesman and 19th century prime minister? This intriguing intertwining of heritage adds another dimension to vinous journeys to the magnificent Valley of Wagonmakers.
For more information, visit www.welgegund.co.za
WILD KAROO by Mitch Reardon, published by Struik Nature, 2018.
The subtitle offers a good summing-up of this gem of a title: ‘A journey through history, change and revival in an ancient land’. While it hints at the enormous timespan that Reardon encompasses, it does not offer readers the wide range of subject matter that he includes as he travels though our dry heartland. He focuses on nature conservation, game - including birds, reptiles and invertebrates, the unique flora, landscape and geology and the history and lifestyle of the Karoo people. He also shares the plans to combine public and private protected land to create wildlife corridors between isolated parks, re-establishing old migration routes, and in this way helping to reverse some effects of human settlement.
Quite a task for this wildlife writer and photographer and former ranger to embrace, but he does it superbly well. It could be as dry as its parched subject, but Mitch Reardon writes so well that he takes us, his readers, as enthusiastic fellow travellers,aboard his vehicle as he sets out on a 4 000km journey through the high central plateau that constitutes the Karoo.
After a comprehensive introduction on the vast landmass of the Karoo and a brief history of the various regions he starts his travels at the Bontebok national park in the southern Cape , then moves on to the Langeberg and Little Karoo. As this is where I have lived for nearly two decades, I focussed on this chapter for starters and absorbed so much in the process. From the Grootvadersbosch nature reserve in the Langeberg foothills Reardon moved on through Barrydale to Sanbona Wildlife reserve, a private enterprise that has seen former sheep farms transformed into an ecosystem similar to that of a pristine landscape 300 years back. From the endangered riverine rabbit to the re-introduction of elephant and cheetah the reserve is a five-star experience all around. The little-known Anysberg reserve is next on his itinerary with some fascinating conservation projects and then he heads to the Karoo National park which stars in the following chapter.
Each chapter has added information on the reserves visited, with contact details.
There is a whole chapter on the plight of the springbok, before Reardon heads to the desolate Tankwa Karoo and on to the Cederberg, then north west to Namaqualand and the Great River area, ie the Orange river. He also describes his visit to the Camdeboo area, and the Mountain Zebra national park, The text ends with a bibliography and detailed index.
This is an average-size softback that will slip easily into pockets in cars where it is likely to live after being first digested at home. The colour photos are plentiful and varied, from caterpillars to elephants, from landscapes to close-ups of locals, with some drawings and paintings from early travellers adding to the historic interest. A fine addition to South African and Karoo literature.
The season is nearly upon us and the event calendar is crowding in . At time of writing the focus is on Cape Wine 2018 and I am rooting for Robertson Wine Tourism who are hosting more than 80 overseas visitors at a five-course dinner at The Castle. It will finish, I believe, with a tour of the historic fort, but their guests should be immune from any of the resident ghosts after several glasses of the valley’s fine bubbly, white, red and dessert wines.
In date order:
Wine & Fynbos Cupcake pairing
Taste the Cape floral kingdom for the next month or more in this new pairing from Delheim estate! The four cupcakes in the lineup are: Fynbbos honey paired with Delheim merlot, honeybush cupcake paired with Delheim chardonnay sur lie, buchu cupcake paired with the Gewurztraminer and a rooibos cupcake served with Delheim pinotage. The event costs R120 and bookings are preferred and essential for groups with more than nine. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org
GABRIËLSKLOOF PRESENTS A 'FIRE FOOD' CELEBRATION OF SA HERITAGE FARE
On Sunday, 23 September 2018 chef Frans Groenewald will light braai fires and serve traditional delicacies with a modern spin at Gabrielskloof farm in the Overberg to mark Heritage and national braai day.Tickets for the Overberg Braai @ Gabriëlskloof are R375pp. To book, call 028 284 9865 or email email@example.com
34th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction
The 2018 events marks the swansong for three founder members, Etienne le Riche, Jan Boland Coetzee and Kevin Arnold. Along with their wines a special collection of crafted wines – 31 reds, 14 whites, two Cap Classiques and one port make the lineup ofr the auction which takes place at the Spier Conference Centre on Saturday, September 29. .Registration for the auction and VIP lounge will close on Wednesday, 19 September. Telephonic and proxy bidding options are available to those who are unable to attend in person. To find out more, visit: www.capewinemakersguild.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tel: +27 (0)21 852 0408
CELEBRATE FARM LIFE AT THE “GROOT PLAASPROE”
Taking place from October 11 – 13 at Sandringham near Stellenbosch. More than 150 stalls offering a farm experience including 300 animals, farm food, and a world class agricultural showcase. Pair your boergoat meat with pinotage or beer, win prizes galore. Time; 8am to 6pm daily. Tickets can be booked through Computicket or buy at the gate. Adults: R100, pensioners R50 on Thursday and Friday and children under six enter free of charge. Contact Agri-Expo on 021 975 4440 or email@example.com for more info.
RMB WINEX 2018
takes place from October 24 – 26 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Regarded as the country’s must-attend event, this show of 19 years will again wow visitors with an exceptional lineup of premium wine brands. It is open from 17h00 to 21h00 and ticket prices range fror R180 to R295. Early Bird and Couples/ Packages from end September. Book through www.winex.co.za
Celebrate in Full Bloom at this year’s Protea Party
Contemporary design meets understated elegance at the fifth annual Protea Party, which takes place at Anthonij Rupert Estate in Franschhoek, on Saturday 27 October 2018. The theme for the 2018 celebration is “Contemporary Floral”, On arrival guests will be greeted with Protea cocktails. Dinner - a generous three-course, harvest style feast of seasonal winelands produce - will be served at long tables. The full range of Protea wines will be available.
Tickets cost R695 per guest, inclusive of all food, wine and entertainment. The Protea Party begins at 18h00 for 18h30. Pre-booking is essential. For bookings and/or enquiries, please contact Sumarie Elliot on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 874 9019.
Cool-climate wines, craft beer and a country fair: Explore the Elim Wine Festival
Once a year – for one day only – the cool-climate wines of the Elim Wine Ward and surrounds gather for the Elim Wine Festival – this year on Saturday November 10 at Black Oystercatcher wine farm. A dozen of the region’s top wineries will showcase their products; these are The Berrio, The Black Oystercatcher Wines, The Giant Periwinkle, Ghost Corner ,Land’s End, Strandveld Vineyards and Zoetendal from the Elim wine ward, wineries from just outside ElimareSijnn Wines from Malgas, Lomond from Cape Agulhas and The Drift, Skipskop Wines
There are few winelovers who do not enjoy a story or a snippet of history around the wine they are opening. It not only adds interest but brings the producers and their farms and cellars into the homes of consumers, to the benefit of both.
Excelsior estate in the Robertson Wine Valley has a history as colourful as many, and fifth generation owner Peter de Wet is happy to share the family story with visitors to his hospitable farm and with those in the 20-odd countries across the globe who stock his wines.
Two diverse animal species have helped the De Wet family to fame and fortune since 1859 when one Koos de Wet settled near Robertson and started farming at Excelsior. Kowie de Wet became a successful ostrich breeder, as well as a wine producer and the manor guest house is today attractive testimony to his affluence, when it was built and furnished in the Cape Revival style. When ostrich plumes went out of vogue, Kowie and his son Oscar turned to breeding racehorses and cultivating vines, thus saving this feather palace from insolvency.
Two 20th century racehorses owned by the Excelsior stud, both of whom helped bring fame and fortune to the De Wet family, are honoured with a pair of fine red wines. Back in 1913 Excelsior imported a champion Hackney sire, named Evanthius, from overseas who continued his winning streak in South Africa, winning many titles.
San Louis was a successful racehorse who fell ill in 1979 and was expected to die, but seven months later had recovered and went on to win the 1981 Guineas, one of South Africa’s most prestigious race.
Both the wines are from the Reserve range Their black bottles and gold banding and words on black labels lend sophistication but are moderately priced at R156.
Evanthius 2013 cabernet sauvignon was sourced from berries of 30-year-old vines. Full-bodied, with characteristic nose of dark berry and cedar, the smooth tannins are well-balanced by fruit. Enjoyable now, but should continue ageing well for some years. It’s four-star Platter status is enhanced with platinum from the 2017 Michelangelo contest. Alcohol levels of 14,5% are on the high side for current trends.
San Louis 2015 shiraz from a famous vintage year was chosen as a Platter “hidden gem’ in their 2016 edition. Expect to find the typical shiraz spiciness along with wafts of oak, cherry flavours and a hint of chocolate on the palate. AfFull-bodied wine that will take on rich casseroles of venison and gamebirds with panache.
A third wine from this range, Gondolier, a merlot, was not tasted. For more information, see www.excelsior.co.za
Many entrepreneurs were inspired to launch new products or projects at the dawn of the new millennium. Looking back 18 years on, that of the Retief cousins of Robertson’s Four Cousins range of easy-drinking, affordable wines stands out as one of the most successful in South Africa.
Today they can claim that their range is the country’s biggest selling bottled wine brand. Given their family background and compare that to some of the giants in the industry, one has to applaud this achievement with admiration. The cousins – two sets of brothers – launched not only the wines, but themselves as an intrepid foursome as they marketed their friendly affordable wines country-wide with skill and determination.
Today Phillip Retief, the marketing and finance member of the quartet notes that Four Cousins has been “embraced by South Africans” both in the Cape, in Soweto and Gauteng, in KwaZulu-Natal, by university students and in general the young consumer. They saw that the untapped market preferred sweeter wines, so that’s what Four Cousins gave them.
The group are marking their 18th birthday by revamping the packaging , putting all wines under screwcap, making their labels bigger and better.
The range consists of five still wines – dry red and white, sweet red and white and sweet rosé while there is a quartet of sparkling wines, rosé, blush, red, sauvignon blanc and white which they suggest will make a fine pairing with macaroons, the trendy sweet snack that is a must- have item at every occasion. As the younger consumer is targeted, its pleasing to note that these wines generally sport low alcohol levels, ranging between 8 and 12.5%
An awesome achievement Bussell, Phillip, Hennie and Neil - here’s to the next decade and continued success as the Four Cousins reach every corner of our country and find even more fans in the 62+ countries across the globe. Wow!