Huge thanks to Andre Morgenthal of Wines of South Africa, one of the initiators of The Best of Wine Tourism Tours, for the invitation to join tour operators, bloggers and media representatives on one of the tours. Also to Belinda Lamprecht, Cape Town co-ordinator for the Great Wine Capitals in Cape Town who capably pulled everything together.
The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is a network of nine major global cities in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres which share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions. One of the cornerstones of the Networks’ mission is the development of wine tourism across the Network. To promote wine tourism and reward excellence the Network established an international tourism awards program in which wineries can be judged in different categories. These are: Accommodation; Wine Tourism Restaurants; Architects and Landscapes; Art and Culture; Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences; Wine Tourism Services and Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices.
The motivation to offer the Best of Wine Tours (or farm trips) to Best of Wine Tourism Awards entrants was twofold: firstly, to reach a different audience as opposed to traditional media in order to create awareness of the Best of Wine Tourism Awards and Great Wine Capitals.
Secondly, to alert wineries to the existence of this initiative, and to the value and promotional opportunities it offers, not only through possibly winning a category, but also the extended exposure via social media. These WOSA tours are unique to South Africa in the Network context and were met with applause by Cape Town’s counterparts at the CWCGN AGM last year.
Lynne and The Green Cab
The Green Cab Company was the tour transporter, an eco-innovation company which provides South Africa’s first cost-effective, aggressively green transport solution. They do this by utilising Liquified Petroleum Gas and BioDiesel.
Our first visit was to Waterkloof Wines, where the restaurant, tasting lounge and cellar are perched dizzily on the slopes of the Schaapenberg overlooking False Bay. The quality of wines here set an impossibly high standard to copy and were loved by each of us in the tour group. This farm has so much going for it not the least the fact that farming operations are bio-dynamic. I can’t wait to return to Waterkloof.
Panoramic views from Waterkloof restaurant
Hard at work - Jan Langenhoven, Di Procter, Kitty Snyman, Glenda van Blerk and Carla van der Merwe
Vergelegen Estate, Somerset West, welcomed us next in the form of wine host, Arnoux who outshone the other wine presenters of the day by far. He was passionate, engaging, knowledgeable and never in a rush to go and pour wine at the next table. Quite the opposite. He remained our host for our whole visit. Vergelegen offers innovative wine experiences and the “Camellia Inspired Tasting” was presented to us where four wines were thoughtfully paired with four Camellia blossoms. Vergelegen Estate has much to offer the visitor apart from award-winning wines. Things like garden tours, restaurants, picnics, barrel tastings, environmental walks and full moon vineyard walks.
Vergelegen Camellia Tasting
National Monument Camphor Trees
Our next wine tasting was at Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch. What stands out about their wines is that they must have huge appeal for the wine collector who is purchasing wines to lay them down as they clearly need much time in the bottle to reach their full potential. Our wine presenter certainly knew her lines but seemed to lack interest and personal charisma.
Rust en Vrede
When I learned that tour lunch stop would be at Spier’s new organic food restaurant Eight, I was curious and excited. Our group was not disappointed – each dish ordered was delicious and of the highest quality plus Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc was loved by all. Sitting close to the Eerste River in the beautiful Winter sunshine was such a treat. To get a feel for the light, airy feel of the setting, visit Eight’s Facebook page here. Spier offers many different attractions for visitors of all ages and backgrounds and deserves a place in the GWCGN hall of fame.
Eight at Spier
The open kitchen at Eight
Gershwin serving our table
The “dessert” stop was at The House of J C Le Roux for a sparkling wine, marshmallow and meringue pairing featuring five sparkling wines. Certainly innovative in their approach, the tasting room setting and products will be popular with trendy, Generation Y wine lovers.
The Threesome is a non-vintage, sensual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
This low alcohol, easy drinking tipple gets away from the fruit forward style. Instead it has acidity as its backbone yet is beautifully balanced. Nosing it we found spearmint fragrances and on the palate restrained fruit. We happily drink this as an aperitif sitting on the jetty watching the sun go down.
Any ideas about food pairing? Let us know what your experience is.
Tucked away in the beautifully restored 18th century town houses of Heritage Square is Signal Hill Winery, bringing South African wine making back into the city of Cape Town where it began so long ago.
Jean Vincent Ridon and Kyle Anthony Zulch
Jean Vincent Ridon, winemaker of renown and famous for growing vines in Clos Montmartre, the unique Paris vineyard, was inspired to replant vines in the Cape Town city center and so Clos d’Oranje at the foot of Table Mountain was established with ungrafted Syrah vines. Other tiny suburban vineyards are in Camps Bay and Kalk Bay and the Mourvedre, Syrah and Cabernet Franc from these vines are crafted into classy wines in Heritage Square.
The oldest producing vine in the Southern Hemisphere is thriving in the Heritage Square courtyard thanks to the loving care of Kyle Zulch, winemaker and co-owner. Almost destroyed by powdery mildew, this beautiful old Crouchen Blanc vine can produce about 20 liters of wine. The 2008 vintage made 4 magnums and twelve 750ml bottles which were auctioned off to raise money for the Zip Zap Circus. Probably planted in 1771, the first landlord of the townhouses wrote in his 1785 journal about, “Drinking wine under the grape tree”.
Also part of the winemaking team since 2001 is Laurence Buthelezi . Originally from Kwazulu Natal, Laurence followed his brother to the Cape Winelands to work with him. Trained in Burgundy, Laurence relates how he first became aware of wine during church communion services and today finds learning exciting.
Laurence Buthelezi in the tiny winery
Signal Hill Winery can well be called Cape Town’s Winery with a niche market and close connection to the consumer. Any kind of wine event can be arranged in partnership with the restaurants of Heritage Square such as Caveau, Africa Café or Simply Asia.
The extensive range of wines are made with a sensitive approach to the environment by using only recycled glass bottles as well as recycled paper labels. This has even resulted in a reduction in the price of wines .
One of my favourites is the Grenache Blanc 2008 , the only in South Africa, made in an elegant old-world style. Sexy Threesome of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot is easy drinking and very French.
Follow Signal Hill Winery on Facebook or book a special tasting on 021-422 5206.
An upgraded RMB Winex Cape Town 2010 opens on 19 August for two nights at the Cape Town International Convention Center.
The difference in this year’s show is explained by international wine judge and show founder, Michael Fridjhon.
The reason for hosting a show of this kind – and the reason that Rand Merchant Bank has been its headline sponsor since its inception – is to put the country’s finest producers and the region’s true wine enthusiasts into the same space. By reducing the number of evenings at which the winemakers are required be in attendance we make it possible for them to be present for the entire show. This in turn means that we’ve narrowed the focus by creating an environment in which wine consumers can actually engage with the people who make the wines. Obviously this means we’ve had to restrict the number of exhibitors as well as the number of visitors – all in order to ensure that the wine enthusiasts get quality time with quality producers.
Shop@Show will still be available so that visitors can stock up on exhibitor wines at competitive prices.
Dates: 19th and 20th August 2010
Venue: CTICC – Cape Town International Convention Centre
Time: 5pm to 9 pm daily
Tickets and bookings: Early Bird price R90.00 for all tickets booked by Sunday 15th August.
Thereafter and at the door Thursday night R100.00 and Friday night R120.00. This includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastings.
Perhaps not many people know that Bastille Day commemorates the 14th July 1789 storming of the medieval fortress in Paris. The fall of this jail became a flash point of the French Revolution.
Alexandra Galindo & Andres Correa tasting Topiary wines
But that did not stop thousand of Cape Townians and tourists alike from revelling in the Franschhoek sunshine at the Franschhoek Bastille Festival 2010, the 16th celebration of this event.
Football fans, Alexandra Galindo from Chile and Andres Correa from Columbia, stayed on after the 2010 FIFA World Cup to discover the Western Cape and to improve their English. They had read about the Franschhoek festival on a local website and we met them while sipping Topiary wines in the Food and Wine Marquee. Alexandra had only good things to say about the Shiraz 2006 and the Rose that were on offer for tasting.
Topiary Wines, not surprisingly, is named for viticulturist, Malcolm Pemberton’s sculpted garden on the property in Franschhoek. This new boutique winery produces a Methode cap classique and a Rose wine, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc varietal wines.
Protea wines stand
For me a super discovery in the Food and Wine Marquee was the new second label of Antonij Rupert Wines, The Protea Range, consisting of Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Chenin Blanc 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and Merlot 2007. What is remarkable about this range is that they are made to the same high standard as the L’Ormarins and Anthonij Rupert wines but retail at under R50.00 per bottle. They are available locally at Ultra Liquor Stores, Vaughn Johnson’s Wine Shop, Wine Concepts and at Picardi Liquor Stores.
The barrel rolling race drew us out into the sunshine again. South Africa had promised to roll out the barrel for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but you haven’t seen anything quite like this Franschhoek Wine Route competition where 16 wine farms compete for the trophy. Although the challenge is thrown out each year to the other wine routes to compete, none take up the challenge. An investigation by our specialist team led to an embarrassing reason for this – the maturation containers of Stellenbosch Wine Route farms are square. Come on guys – prove us wrong on this one and take up the challenge in 2011!
Reigning champ, Glenwood, fell in the quarter finals and Franschhoek Cellars took the trophy.
With or without a festival, Franschhoek has everything to offer as a mini-break destination or a day out. Enter the valley and you could be a world away.
This beautiful wine is selling for only R59.95 per bottle at Woolworths Blue Route right now.
Allan Mullins does it again.
Chateau Les Traverses 2006
As a Cape Wine Master and the wine selector for the major South African retailer, Woolworths, he is able to offer a range of wines across all pricing points, from the easy-drinking to the complex and sophisticated special wines. Apart from the local wines available, Allan has procured international wines like Barolo classic Piedmont reds, Lambrusco Rosso Perle Wine, and Vignavecchia Chianti Classico from Tuscany, Cotes Du Rhone Red Wine, several from Bordeaux and wines from Portugal and Spain.
We were thrilled to pick up Chateau Les Traverses 2006 from the Medoc, Bordeaux for the extraordinary price of only R100.00 ($13) Most of the international wines in the range cost less than R100.00.
On the nose this wine did not make me think that it is old world in style at all and reminded me of some of the premium South African wines that we enjoy. Is this an indication of the high standard of Cape Town wines? There are leather and blackberry notes. On the palate the wine is dry to begin with but tastes of ripe plum after a bit. We found it be elegant and smooth.
If you are a lover of French wine but only have a South African budget, bust the bank and stock up while you can.
Here’s the chance for Cape Town and Joberg wine aficionados to sample informally, the best that South Africa can offer as well as chat to the winemakers themselves.
The CWG consists of only 41 South African winemakers who have to craft two wines a year which are peer reviewed and qualified to be sold on the CWG Auction. The guild funds from this auction, social development investment for school children in the wineland areas and further education through the Protege Programme.
The events also offer a chance to bid on a silent auction of rare signed bottles of CWG wines from previous auctions.
The details are here:
Cape Town Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase
The auction itself takes place on Saturday, 02 October at 09h00 at Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands and is open to the public. To purchase your tickets to the Auction Showcases or to find out how you can obtain these rare and exclusive wines visit: www.capewinemakersguild.com, email email@example.com or call Tel: +27 +21 852 0408.
Cape Town blogger, Muzi Mohale of Travel Wires, reported on an excellent achievement by Cape Sommelier, Bongi Sodladla.
Bongi-Sodladla and Cape Wine Academy's, Marilyn Cooper
Bongi Sodladla, South African Airways’ Senior Food and Beverage Manager, recently graduated as a Cape Sommelier through the Cape Wine Academy. Sodladla’s position at SAA requires her to specialise in menu design, food presentations, wine selection, food and wine pairing, food safety auditing, quality control, and conducting trials of new products.
Says Sodladla: “The Sommelier qualification gives immense credibility to our onboard wine lists. It also reflects the growing power of women and wine. My job is to select meals and beverages including wines to be consumed at 33,000 feet. I have to assess the ability of the food and the wine to fly against the harm done by pressurized cabins, which dull our taste buds by anything up to 30%. I also draw up menus and wine lists for our flights. “
Sodladla was employed by SAA in 2000 as a Food and Beverage Specialist. In 2006 she completed both the Certificate of Wines and Wines of the World Courses at the Cape Wine Academy and began as SAA’s Global Food and Beverage Manager. More recently, she completed a course in Food and Wine Pairing in 2009 and on the 18th of March 2010 Sodladla was awarded the highly acclaimed Cape Sommelier qualification.
SAA has realised the importance of highly trained and knowledgeable staff in managing the thousands of tourists who will descend upon South Africa, from different corners of the world, all with different tastes and needs.
The Cape Sommelier programme, implemented in South Africa through the Cape Wine Academy, was introduced as a response to a huge demand and support from the hospitality industry for a suitable professional qualification.
Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master and Managing Director of the Cape Wine Academy, says “We are very proud of Bongi and her achievement in gaining Cape Sommelier status. It is recognised worldwide and certainly puts a new dimension to SAA dining in First Class, Business Class and Economy.”
A Sommelier is known to be a highly trained and knowledgeable wine professional, working in fine restaurants, specialising in all aspects of wine service.
Sodladla is the fifth graduate of the renowned Cape Sommelier qualification. Previous graduates of the Cape Sommelier qualification include Nicci Pain, based in Kenya, Kerry Guibert at the Raj in Cape Town, Milton Makhaza at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa Hotel in Magaliesburg, and Mike Buthelezi at Auberge Michel in Sandton.
There are great expectations in the local wine industry for the new generation of wine servers and we wish them every success.
We often assume that South Africa’s bulk wine producers such as those owned by the Distell group, do not very often craft wines that come up to the same standard as some of the boutique wineries.
Razvan Macici, Nederburg Cellar Master
This week we had a wake-up call spent in the company of the charming Romanian, Nederburg cellar master since 2001, Razvan Macici. We were privileged to taste (and consume) some of Nederburg’s most exclusive wines which, in our opinion are right up there with South Africa’s best.
The evening’s Wine and Food Pairing was hosted by Andrea Foulkes’ Sidedish restaurant in Rose Street, Cape Town.
To mention a few recent achievements, Nederburg was the most successful producer at the Trophy Wine Show 2009 for two succesive years. And also achieved the highest score in the 2009 Syrah du Monde for the 2006 vintage of the Private Bin R121 Shiraz, sold exclusively for the Nederburg Auction. The wine was one of only two from South Africa on the top ten list, dominated by the French. Shiraz has won for Nederburg the 2008 Lexus WINE Challenge. The Manor House Collection maiden Shiraz 2005 took the IWSC Rosemount Trophy in 2007 for the World’s Best Shiraz.
Since 1975 the annual Nederburg Auction presents some of Cape Town’s finest wines from a host of various producers. Renowned are the Private Bin wines made especially for this event. It was a real thrill for us to enjoy two of the yet to be auctioned Private Bin creations in the tasting line Up.
Razvan grew up in the vineyards of Dealu Mare, about 70 kms from Bucharest where his father, Mihai, made his award-winning noble late harvest wines on the famous Pietroasa Estate in the area. This all made sense when we sipped the Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2009 which has to be the finest desert wine that I personally have enjoyed.
The wines in the line-up were:
A change in format will see 50 different wine farms hosting festival events with visitors having the option of leaving their cars at any of 6 Park and Ride stops in Stellenbosch and travelling via a shuttle service to farms. This is included in the price of the ticket. Socceroos will also have the chance to hop on board a shuttle in Cape Town for a ride to Stellenbosch. Or spoil yourself and take the Stellenbosch Wine Festival Heli-Hopper Extravaganza to visit Blaauwklippen, Skilpadvlei & Zorgvliet for tastings.
A host of fun and wine activities will be offered such as potjiekos at Middlevlei; a de-gorging and landrover 4 x 4 experience at Simonsig; a game drive at Villeria and even 5 a side football kick around in the vineyards at Idiom.
Children will be entertained at Bellevue Wine Estate, Middelvlei and Delvera with pantomime productions; cart rides; feeding farmyard animals; horse rides and lots more.
Tickets for the Stellenbosch Wine Festival are available on-line at R150 per person per day which includes free shuttle service and five vouchers to exchange for special activities at the wine farms.
The Golden Pass, R500 is valid for the entire duration of the festival and includes free shuttle service and twenty vouchers.
Kids under the age of 18 go free accompanied by an adult. For more information on the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, contact 021 886 4310.
The Park and Ride site and shuttle stops are open from 0900 to 17h00 daily.
Shuttle Transfer from Cape Town- On each of the festival days there will be a shuttle transfer departing from and returning to the V & A Waterfront, Clock Tower Center, (where the tour buses make their stops). The departure times are 09h30 and 11h30 and the return times from Doornbosch, in the center of Stellenbosch are 15h00 and 17h00. The shuttle ticket costs R300.00 per person which includes your festival pass for that day. To book you need to contactNorman Stevens on 082 5698299.
The Lookout Village, situated above the Breakwater Parking Garage at the V&A Waterfront, is a rooftop-marquee venue with panoramic views of the Cape Town Stadium and Table Mountain. It is set to become the Mother City’s most sought-after venue for discerning fans of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Lookout Village features three distinct venues: Eagle’s Nest, Lion’s Den and Nina’s Wine Bar. Nina’s Wine Bar, sponsored by Kumala, is where visitors can sample, sip and savour some of the country’s premium wines along with sushi and oysters. Flagstone Winery will have a tasting counter at Nina’s Wine Bar, where guests can sample wines and place orders for their favourite vintages.
Scheduled to perform at Nina’s Wine Bar is TJ Johnson, widely considered to be one of the UK’s finest jazz and blues singers. Sharing the stage with TJ is Jennie Sawdon, a trained opera singer and an excellent pianist. She performs throughout the UK with her 6-piece soul-based cover band, the Rough Hill Band, and together they create a performance which is diverse and entertaining to audiences throughout the world.
The Lookout Village is open daily from 11am to 2am. Tickets can be bought at the door at R150 per person per day and entitles you to entry to the venue only. For more information, visit www.thelookoutvillage.com.
Alluvia Specialist Winery in the Banghoek area of Stellenbosch, South Africa, has every reason to celebrate after winning an award as well as receiving commendations from the judges at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Ilka Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
The Decanter World Wine Awards is the world’s biggest wine competition and it is thrilling to see Cape Town wines holding their own against fierce competition from traditional old world wine producers and emerging countries alike.
Alluvia’s ilka Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 brought home a prestigious medal for the second year in a row. Named after co-owner Delarey Brugman’s twin daughters, Ilse and Karla, this wine scored 18.4/20 – very good to excellent. Andrew Harris, Alluvia’s Wine Business Manager, comments:
All of us at Alluvia are very proud of this achievement. The ilka Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is an award winning wine with its richness of flavours and velvety elegance. Smart wine buyers and top restaurants will be pleased to know there are still a few cases available before we move on to the next vintage!
Hard to obtain, you may have to take a First or Business Class flight on China Eastern Airlines to sample this winning cab.
Sandy Straw Wine 2009, paying homage to Delarey’s wife, and Ilke Sauvignon Blanc 2009 were commended by the judges.
In total, 9 South African wineries were awarded Regional Trophies and 13 achieved Gold Medals.
For all of the results visit Decanter , select See results here, then Search by location – South Africa.
Cape Town winery, Nederburg, recently released this press release announcing it’s agreement with FIFA to produce and market FIFA endorsed wines.
Nederburg and FIFA have signed an agreement entitling the famous Paarl winery to make and market a range of South African wines for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Cellarmaster Razvan Macici has developed a special edition collection of three South Africa wines for the tournament which are sold locally and internationally. The three limited-edition wines are a Cabernet Sauvignon, a dry rose and a Sauvignon Blanc.
Capitalising on the pre-tournament excitement, the wines have been released worldwide, according to Nederburg marketing manager Rudolph Du Toit. “We have prioritised those markets where there is a strong interest in football but it is possible that distribution could be extended to meet demand.”
The wines are now locally available from selected stockists nationally, as well as from Nederburg itself.
Sold in bottles made from partially recycled glass, they are being marketed until December 2010 and span the 2007 to 2010 vintages. The white and rose are sold under screwcap.
The three wines were selected for their broad appeal, says Macici, but are being made in smaller quantities than the winery’s popular Winemaster’s Reserve Range, as grapes have been sourced from very specific vineyards for this purpose.
“The three wines bearing the 2010 FIFA World Cup emblem carry Nederburg’s hallmark blend of fruit intensity and finesse. They are intense but graceful and are clearly South African in that they have a very clear expression of fruit, but restrained classical styling, making them fresh, approachable and food-friendly. Given our association with such an important sporting initiative, we want them to serve as ambassadors for South African excellence.”
Each of the 2010 FIFA World Cup wines will feature a special facility on the back label that will enable consumers to instantly access information on Nederburg by clicking on an unique QR code with their cellphone cameras. The information will then appear on their cellphone screens.
Visitors in town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ could well find themselves in Cape Town’s luxury restaurants served by recently trained wine waiters who, just weeks ago, were unemployed.
Wine waiters being trained
Thanks to an initiative undertaken by generic wine marketing body Wines of South Africa (WOSA) to train wine waiting staff nationwide in time for the games, people who might otherwise have found themselves struggling to find work, are not only employed for the soccer season but have been equipped with SETA-accredited certification to begin a career in the hospitality industry.
WOSA CEO Su Birch said: “We wanted to find a way of improving wine service levels at a time when the spotlight would be on South Africa and many visitors would be exposed to local wines for the first time. By introducing visitors to our wines via knowledgeable and efficient wine waiters, we are creating ambassadors for the country. We also hope that newly trained wine waiters develop an appreciation for wine they can extend to the people in their communities.”
The mostly on-the-job training was made available at no cost to candidates who were first screened for suitability. The programme was helping to fill a shortage of much-needed skills in the hospitality industry, she added. Birch explained that the service training initiative was being funded mainly through the domestic and international sale of specialist red wines labelled Fundi, the isiZulu word for learner. “Developed for this purpose, the wines are labelled with a bright sunflower, as a symbol of hope. Each bottle carries a beaded neck tag, produced by informal roadside beaders. We have also received substantial contributions from the Cape Winelands District Municipality in support of the project, while several leading German wine writers have adopted the Fundi cause and are driving sales to consumers through a highly effective social media campaign. Public and private generosity like this will allow us to extend the training initiative till the end of the year.”
In March 150 people were recruited for training in the Cape Town CBD, she said. They underwent a five-week training course to equip them to sell South African wine at on-consumption establishments. Of this group alone, over 90% have already been employed by some of the city’s top establishments, including fine dining restaurants The Roundhouse, Salt, Moyo at the V&A Waterfront and several hotels.
“When you consider that according to Statistics SA, 64% of the country’s 4,3 million unemployed have been out of work for a year, this is a remarkable uptake.”
Similar training projects were being run in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and the Winelands.
Birch said the training focused on introducing candidates to best-practice service skills in a dining environment, whether exclusive and formal or more casual and relaxed. To give candidates a basic understanding of wine, the course included a “bush logic wine course”, an analogy-driven way of teaching about the main wine grape varieties and their likeness to some African animals and birds. A Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, was likened to the impressive African elephant, a long-lived and majestic animal of great stature.
“In many cases, when trainees embark on the course, they don’t know much about wine. Using the characteristics and the personalities associated with certain examples of African wildlife to introduce them to similar qualities evident in specific wine varietals, makes the learning accessible, fun and easy to remember. Now, when waiters use these analogies while serving diners, they can offer novel and entertaining help to their customers in deciding what to order.”
The training initiative is being run as WOSA Laduma (isiZulu for goal), a section 21 company.
The industry was invited to submit wines for possible inclusion in the Fundi range in an open tender. Submissions were selected in a blind tasting by members of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild according to the same exacting standards applied when choosing wines for its annual auction. The wines of five producers were selected. They are identified on the back label of each wine.
In the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, Cape Town’s first winery to produce Viognier wines has walked away with Best Viognier and Best White Wine Overall Trophys.
Bruce Jack, Flagstone winemaker
Bruce Jack, cellar master of Flagstone Winery, crafted Word of Mouth Viognier 2008 from grapes grown in the cool ward of Elim and fermented 20% of the must in oak. The result is an elegant, creamy wine that could stand shoulder to shoulder with a Condrieu, as we experienced at a recent tasting at Steenberg Vineyards.
Bruce, philosopher and writer, was on the path to becoming an academic when he recognised his passion and already extensive knowledge of South African wines and their producers. Happily for us local wine aficionados, he then worked several vintages offshore and completed a degree in oenology at the University of Adelaide in Australia before starting Flagstone Wines.
The first vintage was in 1999 and in 2008, Flagstone was bought by Constellation Wines, the world’s largest wine business, producing, marketing and selling a broad portfolio of wines. Bruce is the winemaker for the Flagstone, Fishhoek and Kumala labels. Kumula on its own produces 31.5 million bottles per year and is the biggest selling of all South African brands overseas.
Two Roads Chardonnay 2002, The Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, CWG Flagstone Love Handles 2004
His parents are an architect and a music teacher and their imprint on his life reflects in the lyrical, poetic descriptions of his wines and the thoughtful names he has given them. There is a story behind each one. The name Flagstone reflects the first broad-base tax levied by the French government after the revolution – a turning point for society. Word of Mouth is the only way to sell wine as apposed to adverts and award stickers on bottles, not that Flagstone wines are short of these. This name underscores the power of social media marketing that more and more wine makers are embracing. A favourite of mine is Two Roads Chardonnay 2002 named for Robert Frost’s thought provoking poem, The Road Not Taken.
His father’s influence also shows in the present home of Flagstone Winery which is in the original dynamite factory in Strand, Western Cape. On the site is a house designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
One of only 41 South African winemakers to belong to the prestigious Cape Winemakers’ Guild, Bruce has to craft two wines a year which are peer reviewed and qualified to be sold on the CWG Auction. The guild funds from this auction, social development investment for school children in the wineland areas and further education through the Protege Programme.
For all of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show results click here.
What a superb neighbourhood this is to live in where our neighbour presents us with a magnificent bottle of wine to say thanks for helping with his boat. Why would we want to be anywhere else?
Zorgvliet Silver Myn Merlot Cabernet Franc 2006
Quaffing this wine as we watched the clouds change colour over the Constantiaberg Mountains we were immediately impressed with the smooth elegance and balance. For me the main flavours were a little spice, sour cherry and mulberry. It is hard to believe that this is a second tier wine of this premium Cape Town producer.
Named Silver Myn because of historical mining that took place in the Banghoek area of Stellenbosch, Zorgvliet aims with this range to pair usual cultivars with unusual ones in high quality blends. Sauvignon Blanc with Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec are two more examples.
At R49.60 ($7) a bottle, this is astonishing good value for money.
Surfer’s Corner Muizenberg, on the False Bay coast is vibrant, trendy, scenically beautiful and the place where you want to hang out, wind or not, even if you don’t take to the waves on your long board.
This has been a hot surf break since the 1960′s and recently hosted the reunion for the Muizenberg diaspora for hundreds of surfer dudes from all over the planet. The record for the greatest number of surfers on a single wave was almost made here with 71 surfers but this was pipped by 84 surfers who rode on one wave the same day at Quebra Mar in Santos, Brazil.
Knead opened here in 2008 in a lovely, old art deco building facing the beach and is sister to Knead in Wembley Square, Cape Town. (Tel: 021-462 4183) Sit outside at a veranda table or on the counter chairs at the beach-facing window. On the left side is the fresh bread counter for walk-in sales and at the opposite end, the coffee station. Walk straight through to the surf shop on a higher level which sells surf boards, clothing and surfing paraphernalia.
The feel here is uber-casual – come barefoot in your beach towel if you like – welcoming & vibey. Dog -friendly and kiddie-friendly, you will meet them all here.
Brioche French toast, roasted field mushrooms, bacon with homemade tomato sauce and rocket
After being handed a menu the moment we sat down, we had to decide between the tantalizing choices on the breakfast menu. Treats like brioche french toast, roast field-mushrooms, with bacon, homemade tomato sauce and rocket or with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and herb sauce. Or Bircher meusli, soaked oats, orange, cinnamon grated apple, honey, berries and nuts. We had one of each. They were served quickly and were delicious. At other restaurants I have ordered meusli only to have it served to me in a soup tureen. Too much and impossible to eat. This serving of Bircher meusli is the right quantity and absolutely fresh.
Also on the menu are Bunny Chows which were invented in Durban on the east coast of South Africa. Traditionally they are servings of curried meat or vegetables served in half a loaf of bread which is hollowed out so that the crusts of the loaf form the “dish”. Knead offer buttered chicken curry or curried beef mince Bunny Chows.
Handmade slow-cooked beef, roasted onions, rosemary and red wine or roast chicken, mushroom, thyme and roasted onion pies are on offer together with salads and sandwiches.
A variety of quality, artisan breads and pastries are made right on the spot. One of my favourites is the date, cranberry and pecan nut loaf.
Ace drummer Ginger Baker who has a stud-farm in close-by Tulbagh and who performed at the Riebeek West Cricket Club open day two years ago, you will find if you are really lucky but beautiful wines; a plethera of olives and olive products; live music; olive tours; art; a kiddies’ playground and loads more simply by being in the Riebeek Valley this coming weekend.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town’s oldest working harbour and retail, leisure and hospitality venue will be hosting the V & A Waterfront Wine Affair from 17h00 on 4th May until 21h00 on 7th May 2010.
This well loved wine and food festival is the only event of its kind that takes place in this unique, utterly beautiful setting at the waters edge and will be hosted at the Waterfront Lookout above the Breakwater Parking Garage.
A new element to the show this year will be Wine@Sea food and wine pairing experiences on board the Sea Princess. These experiences will be available on Wednesday 5th May and Thursday 6th May at 15h300. Tickets cost R300.00 per person and include entry to the festival.
Cape Wine Academy will present a Tasting Theatre with two themed tastings per night. Be sure to book for these as seating is limited.
Annemie Liebenberg, the V & A Waterfront’s manager of Tourism, Communication and Customer Service says,
A supporter of all things local, the V & A Waterfront Wine Affair is an opportunity for cosmopolitan food enthusiasts and wine lovers to mingle with some of Cape Town’s most established wine makers and chefs right in the hub of the city bowl. This popular event ear-marks the beginning of must-go Autumn gatherings and celebrates South Africa’s heritage, and cuisine. This year there is even a traditional South African braai for visitors to enjoy fresh seafood in the heart of Cape Town’s iconic working harbour.