Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Lomond Sauvignon Blanc

The 2012 vintage of Lomond Sauvignon Blanc was awarded a gold medal at the recent Concours Mondial du Sauvignon, held annually in France. Winemaker Kobus Gerber describes the wine as “fresh and medium-bodied with a delicate minerality and brimming with green and tropical fruit flavours”.

Available in South Africa at a very reasonably R60 a bottle, it showed it did not have to take a back seat to its single-vineyard “brothers”: the Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc and Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc.  The latter two wines are regular award-winners on both local and international competitions.

Lomond is one of only a handful of wine farms that carry the Cape Agulhas appellation of origin. Its vineyards are cooled by south-westerly and south-easterly winds during summer. Due to the cool weather, the grapes ripen several weeks later than in the Stellenbosch area, with the first grapes harvested only towards March.

From the outset, there has been a very strong focus on sustainable farming and on preserving its abundant biodiversity at Lomond. The large storage dam on the farm also supplies water to surrounding communities. Organic interventions are used almost exclusively in the vineyards, and farming is done in a way that gives maximum expression to the diversity of soil types and elevations while protecting the indigenous habitat.


black bottle

Black Bottle, the iconic and distinctive whisky, has lived up to its bold, inability to be ignored reputation by taking double gold for the second consecutive year at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Capturing the very essence of Islay, Black Bottle is the only blended Scotch whisky to include all the renowned single malts from the Isle of Islay, the world-famous whisky producing island, balanced by the finest Highland, Lowland and Speyside malt and grain whiskies.  With its bold taste Black Bottle is one of the most unique whiskies around as there are very few, if any, that come close in terms of style and taste profile. The whisky holds a fresh and fruity nose with a hint of peat that leads to a full yet slight sweet palate and a delightful smoky flavour. The finish is warm and long with the unmistakable smoky, Islay character.

Black Bottle’s unique taste owes its character and heart to the innovation and skill of Gordon Graham, its original master blender. Graham was a tea merchant by profession and he used his tea blending knowledge to blend whiskies in the late 19th century. This particular blend, which he marketed in opaque black bottles imported from Germany, in time became the whisky of choice of the locals of Aberdeen.

The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 forced the company to source new bottles and since that date Black Bottle has been packaged in a green glass bottle, retaining the distinctive pot-still shape.

Black Bottle is available, with or without a gift tube, from leading liquor outlets at around R220 per bottle.

Mother’s Day 5-course extravaganza at Simonsig’s Cuvée restaurant

Cuvee new look

Sunday, 12 May 2013
Dedicate a five-course extravaganza to your mom this Mother’s Day at Simonsig Estate’s ever popular Cuvée restaurant on Sunday, 12 May 2013.

Head Chef Lucas Carstens has cooked up an assortment of indulgences for Cuvee’s Mother’s Day menu for the whole family to tuck into. Potato and leek soup with bacon toast will be served as starters followed by a rich mussel risotto with a Chardonnay and saffron cream. A delicious beetroot sorbet with buttermilk and orange will clean the palate before a juicy beef sirloin with wild spinach, sweet onion and tomato relish arrives at the table. To end the afternoon classic apple pie will be served with delicious vanilla bean ice-cream.

The Mother’s Day lunch at Cuvée restaurant costs R295 per person and includes wine for three of the courses. Bookings are essential. As a special treat, Moms will receive a 10% off voucher for a pamper session of their choice at Linda van Niekerk Skin Care Clinic. For reservations or more information  contact Cuvée restaurant on Tel: (021) 888 4932 or send an email to

Cuvée is open from Tuesday to Thursday, 12h00 - 15h00, Friday to Saturday, 12h00 - 15h00 and 19h00 - 22h00 and Sundays for lunch. Private evening functions and parties can be reserved in Simonsig’s stylish Van Niekerk Room.

Simonsig Wine Estate is located outside Stellenbosch, on the Kromme Rhee road between the R44 and R304. For more information on Simonsig Estate visit

Pongrácz and dinner theatre at Grand Café on Mother’s Day weekend

Pongracz Brut Rose

10-12 May, 19h00, Grand Café and Beach, Granger Bay

Treat your mom to an unforgettable evening of Pongrácz and dinner theatre with Mom and Me at the Grand Café and Beach in Granger Bay, featuring celebrated singer Judy Page and daughter Kim Kallie, from 10 to 12 May 2013.

Guests will be welcomed with flutes of the blushing Pongrácz Rosé, followed by dinner with the scenic coastline as backdrop while enjoying a memorable production. A tailormade dessert paired perfectly with the singularly noble Pongrácz will be a luxurious indulgence for Mom and her entourage.

With musical accompaniment by Johan Laas, Mom and Me celebrates the special bond between mothers and daughters with jazz, popular music and theatre. Both Judy and Kim have earned high acclaim for their respective music careers and their new show is sure to delight music lovers over Mother’s Day weekend.

Tickets for the Mom and Me performances from 10 to 12 May at 19h00, including dinner, cost R450 per person and are available at

For more on Pongrácz, visit, Facebook or follow @Pongracz on Twitter.
Pongracz Brut Rose

KWV The Mentors Darling Sauvignon Blanc 2012 93+ Points

The Mentors range is kind of the boutique, pampered offering by KWV, not that the rest of the range and brands are not pampered, what differentiate The Mentors is more about site specificity and expression of some of South Africa's best suited terroir to a specific grape variety, think of their world class Grenache Blanc from Paarl, the equally impressive Cabernet Franc from Banhoek, Stellenbosch or their Semillon from Lutzville and the mind blowing mineral Chardonnay from Elgin, here I guess gifted viticulturist Marco Ventrella is simply giving the very best possible fruit to cellarmaster Richard Rowe, winemaker Johann Fourie and team to craft, world class drops.

This Sauvignon Blanc from Darling district, has without a doubt set a new benchmark level for this West Coast area and I would confidently go as far as saying this 2012 The Mentors is even better than benchmark and established Sauvignon from Groenekloof, a ward within Darling, this is indeed #nextlevelshit.

Pale white, with light green reflections towards the rim.
Clean, impressive purity with high Sauvignon intensity, textbook, perfect ripeness, showcasing gooseberries, fleshy kiwi, crushed black currant leaves, screaming of granite minerality here, delicate white pepper spices.

Dry, juicy elegant with moderate plus acidity, has cut, citric freshness, crunchy, zesty green lime, focus, textured with moderate alcohol of 13% abv, elegant, table friendly, persistent lenght, now until 2016+


Bunnahabhain, pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and which is produced on the world-famous whisky producing island, Isle of Islay, took double gold for the second consecutive year for its 25-year old single malt at the annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 12-year-old and 18-year-old both took gold. The whiskies were amongst 1407 spirits from 63 countries tasted by 34 judges representing the best palates in the industry.  The 25-year-old added another prestigious award to its repertoire with a trophy for the Best Islay Single Malt in the “21 years and over” category at Whisky Magazines’ 2013 World Whisky Awards held only weeks before.

The three whiskies in the Bunnahabhain range are all finished using the un-chillfiltered process which according to master distiller, Ian MacMillan, represents a return to the traditional way of whisky-making.

“The process of un-chillfiltering results in whisky in its purest form and it’s quite astounding how much depth of flavour, aroma, colour and character this traditional process imparts to the whisky.

“Bunnahabhain has always been famous for its gentle taste profile and superior quality but with the un-chillfiltered range it seems that the true nature of these whiskies is really coming to the fore,” MacMillan said.

Un-chillfiltering is the way whisky was made before chillfiltration was introduced in the 1970s primarily for cosmetic reasons. During chillfiltration the temperature of the whisky is dropped to 0°C before forcing it through filters which removes the fatty esters. This produces a “polished” whisky that offers consistency of colour and when bottled at 43% alcohol by volume does not become slightly hazy when chilled. But the trade-off is the loss of some of the flavour and character in the final whisky.

In the case of Bunnahabhain’s un-chillfiltered range, the whisky’s temperature is not reduced zero and the precious esters are allowed to pass undisturbed through the filters. This results in a full depth of flavour, aroma, colour and character. Although the higher alcohol strength at 46,3% keeps the whisky stable it does become slightly hazy when mixed with water or ice, a distinctive trait of un-chillfiltered whiskies.

Unlike most single malts from Islay, Bunnahabhain is crafted from unpeated malted barley and pure spring water untainted by the peaty moorlands. It is best to enjoy this warm and welcoming single malt neat or with a dash of water to really savour its wonderful combination of flavours. The 25-year-old holds sweet caramel dessert aromas with subtle oak and polished leather on the nose leading to sweet berries, cream and spiced-oak on the palate. The whisky has been matured in predominantly ex-bourbon casks with a small percentage of ex-sherry casks used. Due to the close proximity of the warehouses to the sea where the casks were stored during the 25 year maturation process, a noticeable sea influence is evident in the finish.

The whisky is available at most fine liquor outlets and retails for about R2 390.

La Bascula Turret Fields Jumilla DO Monastrell Syrah 2011 91 Points

Ruby red with garnet rim. Ripe, dark red fruits, juicy with some residual sugar, plush, moderate acidity, low tannins, elegant, spicy peppery profile, earthy, lots of personality, full bodied with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv

Available at Wine Cellar

Chefs who share – the ART of giving

Jackie Cameron

Margot Janse

New food, wine & art extravaganza for underprivileged children

Cape Town City Hall, Thursday, 5 September 2013

A unique star studded gala evening destined to become the black tie event of the year, featuring 14 acclaimed South African chefs, seven adept sommeliers and seven celebrated artists all under one roof in aid of youth development, will be held in the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday, 5 September 2013.

Presented by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, ‘Chefs who share – the ART of giving’ will treat guests to an evening of glamour, culinary artistry and fine art – all for a worthy cause. All the monies from the ticket sales and the proceeds of an art auction will go towards two youth development charities: Make a Difference Foundation (MAD) and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

“We are delighted to be in a position to host this inaugural ‘Chefs who share’ event in Cape Town. Together with our partners we hope to take this concept even further with similar events overseas in support of our chosen South African charities,” says event organiser Barbara Lenhard who has worked tirelessly to make her dream of creating this unforgettable evening of sharing a reality.

The chefs are from all over South Africa and will be divided into pairs to share their culinary genius and individual menus with limited groups of guests. Each chef duo will be joined by a highly respected sommelier who will ensure that every dish is paired to perfection with a top South African wine. The evening will culminate with an auction of original works of art donated by participating artists.

The chefs and sommeliers, all acclaimed masters of their craft, have been paired as follows:
·         Margot Janse (The Tasting Room, Franschhoek) & David Higgs (Five Hundred at the Saxon, Johannesburg) with sommelier Francis Krone of the Saxon

·         Bertus Basson (Overture Restaurant, Stellenbosch) &  Peter Tempelhoff (Greenhouse at the Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town) with sommelier at large, Higgo Jacobs

·         Rudi Liebenberg (Planet Restaurant, Cape Town) & Christiaan Campbell (Delaire, Stellenbosch) with sommelier Carl Habel of the Mount Nelson

·         Jackie Cameron (Hartford House, Mooi River, Kwazulu-Natal) & Reuben Riffel (Reuben’s, Franschhoek) with Chairman of the SA Sommelier Association, Neil Grant          

·         Darren Badenhorst (Grande Provence, Franschhoek) & Chris Erasmus (Pierneef at La Motte, Franschhoek) with sommelier Pierre Theron of Pierneef at La Motte

·         Harald Bresselschmidt (Aubergine, Cape Town) & Chantel Dartnall (Mosaic at The Orient, Pretoria) with sommelier Germain Lehodey of Mosaic        

·         Marthinus Ferreira (DW Eleven-13, Johannesburg) & George Jardine (Jordan Restaurant, Stellenbosch) with sommelier Isabella Immenkamp of Jordan Restaurant

The beneficiaries of this singular event, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, both share a proud record of running successful youth development programmes that have made a difference to the lives of young South Africans from less fortunate backgrounds. Spearheaded by Francois Pienaar in 2003, MAD identifies and nurtures talented youths to become role models through a mentorship programme. Literacy and environmental awareness is promoted through a broad based educational programme.
With a singular mission of using the power of sport as a tool for social change, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation helps children to overcome the limitations of challenging social issues from poverty, homelessness and violence to drug abuse and AIDS. Founded over 10 years ago under the patronage of Nelson Mandela, the foundation is part of a worldwide programme of sports related community projects.

‘Chefs who share’ is destined to become one of the most prestigious events on the Cape Town social calendar. The event enables guests to get up close and personal with South Africa’s finest chefs, sommeliers and artists and offers companies the opportunity to treat clients to a very special evening whilst supporting a worthy cause.

Tickets to this rare culinary showcase are available at R3 000 per person. Early booking for individual tickets or entire tables is recommended to secure your preferred chefs for the evening.

For more information visit, follow #ChefsWhoShare on Twitter, email or call Tel: 021-433 1699.

Sierra Cantabria Crianza Rioja 2008 89 Points

100% Tempranillo. Ruby red with garnet rim.
Ripe, showy, plums, blackberry, cacao and mocha note, juicy with moderate acidity, plush, feels much riper on texture than the high alcohol of 14% abv might suggest, now until 2018

Available at Wine Cellar



Nederburg has a firmly focused line-up of top-level wines featured on the 2013 Nederburg Auction, and has welcomed the organisers' revised and tauter selection approach this year.

The auction has always been a showcase for excellence. Now this year, the super quality criterion has once again been coupled with singularity, amplifying the collectability status of the special cuvées available, while staying true to the original ethos of the annual event, now in its 39th year.

Commenting on the Nederburg wines chosen by the selection panel, cellar master Razvan Macici said: "This is a healthy development in the evolution of the auction. With the wider availability of exceptional quality wines globally through a variety of channels, it becomes essential to present auction bidders with options deemed truly original or unique, and we are proud to be amongst those having such limited-edition wines to offer.

"This is clear, concise line-up of our best rare wines offered in a range of lot sizes to cater to a variety of retail and on-trade bidders.

"Buyers will notice, for example that this year, we have only the 1980 and 2005 vintages of Edelkeur and the 1988 and 2007 vintages of Eminence on offer."

Both the wines from the 1980s were made by Günter Brözel, who developed a legendary reputation for Nederburg sweet wines. Macici, who was first exposed to wines in this style by his father, Mihai (who enjoyed similarly iconic status in his native Romania), won the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title last year for his sweet wines.

"This year we have an ideal opportunity to demonstrate our versatility with three very different expressions of Sauvignon blanc that will come under the hammer in September.

"Ranging from four to six years old, these are all age-worthy wines, showing the benefit of their cooler climate provenance but each sourced from differing areas. There's the once-off, 2009  II Centuries Sauvignon Blanc, made from fruit picked from individually selected vines in Cape Agulhas and Darling and left on the fermentation lees for 12 months before racking and blending.  The wine was judged the best wooded Sauvignon blanc at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. It's very fresh but layered with crisp fruit and herb notes.

"Darling fruit features again in the 2009 Private Bin D234, where we have grapes from a single vineyard in Groenekloof area but here the wine shows fig, grass and tropical characters. Then we have the 2007 Private Bin D215 that at six years' old is showing absolutely remarkable vitality. Made from Durbanville grapes, it literally sings with flavours of pineapple, gooseberry and green apple and has a lively, very appealing acidity that enhances its overall balance."

The 2009 Private Bin D253 is a blend of Darling Sauvignon blanc and Durbanville Chardonnay and a Platter five-star wine, while the 2009 D270 Chardonnay, from a really exceptional vintage for the varietal, is a creamy, fully oak-fermented wine that spent 13 months in French wood.

Macici said he was especially delighted that three 2001 reds, made in his maiden year at Nederburg, were amongst those chosen by the local and international selection panel. They include the Private Bins R181 Merlot, the R104 Petit Verdot and the R109 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. "They have all matured into elegant, soft-textured and nuanced wines with plenty of life and layering in them yet."

Other Nederburg reds on offer include the 2005 vintage of the velvety rich Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from Darling and Philadelphia grapes, a best-in-class gold medallist at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and also a Veritas double gold winner; the 2006 vintage of the same wine that won gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards, as well as the 2007 R181 Merlot, another Veritas double gold medallist.

The Nederburg Auction takes place on Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7, 2013.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Domaine de Chevalier L'esprit de Chevalier Pessac Leognan 2009 90 Points

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, showing a ruby red, leaning towards a garnet hue with brown rim.
Ripe and seductive, recognizable as a Pessac Leognan, cassis, mulberries, earthy  minerals, graphite, spicy oak, persistent lenght, dangerously drinkable, now until 2019

Available at Wine Cellar

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Domaine Drouhin Vaudon Chablis 2011 91+ Points

Bright, pale straw, clean, moderate intensity, citrus medley, mineral, cheesecake, nutty note, hints of honey.

Dry with high acidity, citric freshness, lime note follows through, mineral thread, textured, long and persistent. Now until 2018

Available at Wine Cellar

Saturday, April 27, 2013

La Bascula Catalan Eagle Terra Alta DO Garnacha Blanca Viognier 2011 89+ Points

Riper side of Grenache Blanc, delicately pure with citrus note, floral, beeswax complexity, saline mineral, moderate acidity, lemony freshness follows through, textured, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, juicy, nutty complexity, lots of personality, long.
Available at Wine Cellar

Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone 2011 85 Points

Blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc, showing pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, pure, lemon, brush of floral complexity, camomille, some phenolic richness on palate, moderate plus acidity, fresh, perfect lunch time wine with grilled pork sausage, drink now until 2014+
Available at Wine Cellar

Mullineux Family Wines Swartland White 2012 93 Points

A blend of 76% Chenin Blanc, 16 % Clairette Blanc and 8% Viognier, showing a pale straw with gold hue reflections.

Clean, opulent and seductive, ripe stone fruits, red apples, delicate white flowers, mineral, delicate oaking.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh and lively, textured, mid palate richness, mineral follows through, concentrated, persistent lenght, now until 2021+

Available at Wine Cellar

Drappier Champagne Carte D'Or Brut NV 90 Points

Slight oxydative note, bright citrus, saline mineral, properly Brut with high acidity, citric bite, showing maturity on texture, honeyed mid palate, perfect alcohol of 12% abv, long.
Available at Wine Cellar

Le Mesnil Champagne Rose Sublime Brut Grand Cru NV 92+ Points

Bright pale salmon, delicate red berries, layers of complexity, high acidity, precise, subtly structured, persistent, gorgeous now as an aperitifs or with salmon or trout base dish, impressive value like the Blanc de Blancs.
Available at Wine Cellar

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso DOC 2011 93 Points

Referred to as the Burgundy of the Mediterranean, from biologic vines of between 6 to 50 years old, grown on Mount Etna, a blend of Nerello Mascalese (roughly 95%); Nerello Cappuccio (roughly 5%)

Clear, bright, ruby red, orange hue somewhere between Burgundy and Barolo, garnet towards the rim.
Clean, ripe, expressive and seductive, cherries,  animal and gamey, but not bretty!, (kind of Mourvedre / Bandol like in aromatics) floral complexity, subtle oaking.

Dry, bright and juicy, almondy sterness, high acidity, focus, savory, peppery spices with moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, purity follows through, grippy high tannin, ripe, need red meat protein to tame it, best served lightly chilled with prior aeration, now until 2025, highly intellectual wine

Available at Wine Cellar

Mullineux Family Wines Swartland Straw Wine 2012 95 Points

Bright gold in color, aromatics leaning towards a cross of Tokaji and Sauternes, delicately ripe, apricot, touch of neutral oak, layered complexity.

Juicy, bright with a residual sugar of between 250 - 300 g, lifted by high natural acidity, around 10 g/TA, has cut, so much energy here, fresh, onctuous and full, perfect low alcohol of 10% abv long and persistent, around 4500 bt produced, irresistible now yet have stamina for up to 2038+
100% Chenin Blanc
Available at Wine Cellar

Le Mesnil Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV 92 Points

This has to be one of the best value Blanc de Blancs available in South Africa.
Ripe, lemony, citrus layers, roasted barley, high acidity, focus with rich texture, mature note, persistent lenght, perfect alcohol of 12% abv, super table friendly, now until 2020+
Available through wine cellar.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Simonsig Mr Borio's Stellenbosch Shiraz 2011 90 Points

Ruby red with purple rim, clean, expressive with heady aromatics, perfume, ripe blackberries, dark cherries, good purity of fruit, focus, earthy stony elements, with rosemary, lavender blossom, subtle oaking, lending spicy cedar and vanilla note.

Dry with dash residual sugar, sweet, fruited, Darjeeling tea leaf complexity, fleshy plush texture, moderate tannins, juicy, full bodied with high alcohol of 14% abv, savory black olives, moderate plus acidity, fresh and lively, charming, full of personality, perfect for this coming winter with rich ostrich stews or black lentils soup with smoked pork belly.

Bargain at 70 per bottle, cellar door
Now until 2019

Rosendal Limited Reserve Hilltop Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2012 72 Points

Pale straw with clean note of grassy character, green peas, on the greener unripe side of Sauvignon, asparagus note suggesting advance development.

Dry, fairly thin, unripe raw texture, moderate plus acidity, more dry white wine than Sauvignon, moderate alcohol of 13 % abv, drink now.


Oysters have long been regarded as one of the world’s best aphrodisiacs and have been prized by cultures around the world. Romans even placed them in salt water pools and fattened them up by feeding them wine and pastries!

The award-winning Restaurant Mosaic @ The Orient will be bringing the taste of the sea to the Crocodile river Valley when it hosts its first oyster festival on Saturday, May 4, starting at 10.30am.
The event will be hosted by Mosaic’s sommelier Germain Lehodey who will be presenting a variety of oysters from around the globe.

“The flavour of oysters varieties are widely dependent on their growing environment and is influenced by things such as diet, the mineral content of the water and water temperature,” he says.

Seven varieties of oysters will be sampled at a special tasting before a lunch prepared by Chef Chantel Dartnall and her brigade featuring these same oysters.

Some of the highlights to look out for are Belon and De Claire oysters from France; Pacific Portuguese oysters as well as South African wild oysters and those from Knysna and Saldanha.

Belons must be grown in the Brittany region of France and are renowned for their meaty texture and seaweed and mineral flavours. Pousses De Claire, which are prized by gourmets, grow for at least four months and double in weight while Portuguese Pacific are cultured in the United States and have a fruity flavour.

Both wild and cultivated South African oysters are on the SASSI green list. Most of SA’s wild picked oysters come from Mossel Bay and Knysna while cultivated oysters are mostly from Saldanha (where they are grown attached to ropes).

Lehodey will also be pairing some special South African wines with the oysters.

The cost R1250 per person. To book call 012 371-2902 or email Space is limited.

Hartenberg Estate Stellenbosch Merlot 2009 91 Points

Hartenberg Estate has consistently produced one of South Africa's best expression of Merlot, a variety that is in firm demand amongst consumers, Merlot is brand here before being a grape variety, yet the overall quality across the wine lands are pretty unspiring!

Even more rewarding is  Hartenberg price,always over deliver and shows a Merlot does not need to cost twice or three times as much!

The 2011 shows a bright ruby red with garnet reflections towards the rim.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, perfectly ripe red fruits, plums, mulberries, hints of cassis with none of the tell tale bell pepper and herbaceous edge of so many Cape Merlot, subtle oaking lends a perfect touch of spicy complexity and erathy depth.

Dry, juicy and broad texture with moderate tannin structure, plush in a sense, savory with moderate plus acidity, crunchy and fresh, full bodied carries it's high alcohol of 14% abv very well, integrated, best served aerated for at least 90 minute, and served at around 15 degrees celsius, for now until 2018+


Steenberg Magna Carta 2010

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011 

(Saturday 18 MAY 2013)

On Saturday 18 May, Steenberg will celebrate its signature cultivar - Sauvignon Blanc - with an annual event that will be known as the Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Odyssey. Renowned as one of the top white wine cellars in South Africa, Steenberg is best known for this varietal, which first put the celebrated winery on the map. Sauvignon Blanc thrives in the cool Constantia climate where the South-Easter brings Atlantic sea breezes to the fragrant Cape Floral Kingdom set against the Stone Mountain, to create a unique terroir that lends great structure, and a strong sense of place to Steenberg’s Sauvignon Blancs.

The Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Odyssey on Saturday 18 May will be an integrated sensory occasion for media, trade partners and consumers. Starting at 12.30, the focus of this culinary and tasting voyage will be a tutored Sauvignon Blanc Tasting with five different flights, featuring the different styles of Sauvignon Blanc on the local and international front – including a flight featuring Steenberg’s different styles, to showcase its versatility and longevity.  This is intertwined with a sumptuous 5-Course Sauvignon Blanc and Food Pairing luncheon at Catharina’s, the farm’s modern fine-dining Restaurant.          

After a glass of Steenberg’s legendary Methode Cap Classique on arrival, the journey will commence immediately.   Eager to showcase his favourite cultivar, Pretorius says: ‘There is so much more to Sauvignon Blanc than the racy, fresh and crisp white wine we enjoy fresh off the harvest. It surfaces in many different styles, and makes a fantastic blending partner, and in the case of Constantia Sauvignon Blancs, has amazing ageing potential when it develops weight and serious complexity’.

Within its portfolio, Steenberg offers no less than four different styles of Sauvignon Blanc and a blend thereof. The cultivar therefore dominates its total vineyard plantings and is an integral part of Steenberg’s icon wine, Magna Carta, where Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon meet to create a complex, elegant wine with enticingly perfumed aromas of orange blossom, tangerine and green figs.

Steenberg’s Sauvignon Blanc Reserve too is a multi-award winning wine that is a true expression of Steenberg’s terroir, with its delicate freshness on the palate and beautiful creamy lingering aftertaste. The classic, signature Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc consistently shows mineral and great complexity, with Steenberg H.M.S. Rattlesnake Sauvignon Blanc positioned as the farm’s barrel fermented option. The lighter, more tropical style of the Klein Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc completes Steenberg’s hand-crafted range of Sauvignon Blancs.    

During the Sauvignon Blanc Odyssey workshop Loubser and Pretorius will be characterising, differentiating and mystifying Sauvignon Blanc, with emphasis on its value as a blending partner and its phenomenal longevity.  Entwined with the various flights will be a selection of dishes prepared by Executive Chef Garth Almazan, challenging Sauvignon Blanc to the extreme with the likes of Steak Tartare, Risotto, Veal Picatta to name but a few.

The Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Odyssey presents a rare and enjoyable occasion for wine enthusiasts to kindle an appreciation for Sauvignon Blanc, and to leave with a much better understanding of this versatile cultivar. Tickets to this top quality food and wine event are R600 per person and pre-booking is essential. Reservations: Jackie Quail on, or 071 248 5373.

Restaurants become StreetSmart in Pretoria to help street kids

Ciara M'Crystal, Zadia Venter, Robert Kruis, Dino Fagas, Forti, Rod Walker, Marica van Rensburg and Dave Usendorff all from the first StreetSmart SA Pretoria restaurants

Sarah Eccles, Hettie de Wet, Michelle McLean and Mcel-Jean de Wet

Ilse Mazzone, Sarah Eccles and Michelle McLean

StreetSmart SA, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the social integration and upliftment of street children has launched in Pretoria and is rallying restaurants to become involved in helping to rebuild the lives of children at risk in the city.

“Education, skills training and family reunification of street children are the major objectives of StreetSmart and our committee in Pretoria believe that our local community can benefit immensely from this project. We as volunteers and restaurateurs can join hands and make a difference ,” said Hettie de Wet, chairman of the Pretoria Committee of StreetSmartSA at the launch at Ritrovo Ristorante in Waterkloof Heights.

Funds are raised by adding a voluntary R5 donation to each table's bill at participating restaurants. Since its inception in Cape Town in 2005 under the patronage of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, StreetSmart has raised a total of over R6,3 million.

The beneficiary selected for StreetSmart Pretoria is PEN-Streetwise, a project that reaches out to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Street children, and reconciles them where possible with their families.  Alternatively, children who do not have access to family, parents or caring adults, are offered care and support at the Leratong Child- and Youth care Center.          

“When I first joined StreetSmartSA founder Margi Biggs on the board way back in 2005 we kept talking about going national with this great concept. Thanks to her determination and dedication, and the money given to her for the Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year Award, this is now becoming a reality. I am very excited that this is happening and am grateful to the teams in Johannesburg and now also Pretoria for their passion to create a sustainable set up that will see many children benefit in the Gauteng province,” says Nils Heckscher, chairman of the StreetSmart SA Board.

At the time of the launch, eight Pretoria restaurants had already joined the StreetSmart initiative: Chapters Restaurant, Copperleaf Café, Hemingway’s Restaurant, Karoo Café, Karoo Cattle & Land-Irene, Liribisi Lodge, Mosaic at The Orient, Prosopa and Ritrovo.

There are currently 79 StreetSmart restaurants running this worthy initiative in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Somerset West and Swellendam.

All the money raised is distributed to various organisations working with street children within the communities of participating restaurants. During 2012 alone, the StreetSmart initiative funded four social workers, one family reconstruction worker, one panel beating instructor and two aftercare teachers directly benefiting over 1 108 children through various beneficiary organisations in the greater Cape Town and Winelands area.

StreetSmart SA is a registered Public Benefit as well as a Non Profit Organisation and ensures that every cent donated by diners goes towards social and educational upliftment projects for street children. StreetSmart's goal is to be part of the process of social normalisation and to encourage the public not to give money into the hands of a child as this keeps them on the streets. In essence, eating and donating at a StreetSmart restaurant is the responsible way to help a street child.

Restaurants wanting to participate can contact StreetSmart at Tel: 021 418 0621, email, visit or follow them on Twitter @StreetSmartSA.


Nederburg Baronne 70s styled shot with blue radio

Baronne, one of South Africa's most successful red blends and a name that for many is synonymous with red wine itself, celebrates its ruby anniversary this year. The ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend was the brainchild of Nederburg cellar master Günter Brözel, who went on to earn widespread recognition and the title of International Wine & Spirit Competition Winemaker of the Year.

Born in 1973, Baronne shares a birthday with a number of enduring favourites. Think of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon; glam rock artist David Bowie's movie of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; more mainstream movies like The Sting, The Exorcist, Last Tango in Paris (banned in South Africa at the time) and American Graffiti. At the time, people were reading Jaws by Peter Benchley, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

Even Roberta Flack's Killing me Softly with his Song, that you still hear played in malls and family diners after four decades is of the same vintage as the original Baronne.

Back in the day, when Baronne was first made, Vivienne Westwood was making a name for herself in fashion, while all over the world, less daring women were wearing platform shoes, wrap dresses, crop tops and frayed jeans.

It was also in 1973 that the world heard about the famous US cover-up, Watergate, spawning that strange suffix for every scandal from Monicagate to eTollgate.  Pablo Picasso died and nuclear magnetic resonance, the technology for the MRI scan, was developed.

Meanwhile, far away at Nederburg in Paarl, Brὃzel wanted South Africans to have the pleasure of an affordable, elegant, satisfyingly smooth red blend: quite simply an everyday wine that, as he put it, would add nobility to any occasion. “There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about the name but Baronne was settled on for its classical, French association,” he recalls without a moment’s hesitation, even though it was all those years ago. He still regularly enjoys a glass of its friendly, lively fruitiness with his meals.

Forty years on, Baronne has such a following that it is presented in its own right and is no longer a part of Nederburg's Winemaster's Reserve range. It is not uncommon for people to refer to the blend as "my Baronne", "my Baroness" or even "my Baronnista"!

Retailing for around R47, it is available in most bottle stores and supermarkets. It also appears in many restaurant menus from steakhouses to family bistros, in the city, outlying towns and at game lodges. It has become an integral part of the South African landscape and even with the accessibility lent by its styling, pricing and distribution, it still gets the nod from the critics.

Baronne is a former gold medalist at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards and has earned commendations from the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge.

Among generations of wine lovers, who may be divided by decades, culture, language or experience, it still appeals for its clever combination of succulent red fruit flavours (Cabernet) and slight peppery, smoky characters (Shiraz). It’s a very versatile wine that goes extremely well with burgers, ribs and hearty pastas. But it will never be out of place with Chateaubriand or Sunday roast. It can hold its own at Christmas, on birthdays, at graduations and other rites of passage.

Nederburg’s current cellar master, Razvan Macici says of Baronne: "It was one of the first wines I tasted arriving in South Africa in the 1990s.  It has such wonderful, nostalgic associations for me and I have always loved making this blend."

Wilhelm Pienaar, who makes the reds under Razvan's direction, calls it the ultimate get-together wine.

“It’s just the wine you want for bonding, whether you are with the family, watching sport with your mates or celebrating an occasion. It’s a fixture in our house and in so many others. I love that you find it in so many parts of the world. When you are far away from home and you encounter a bottle, it’s like bumping into an old friend.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boschendal Western Cape Chardonnay Pinot Noir MCC Brut NV 89 Points

New addition to Boschendal MCC range, a Non Vintage Chardonnay & Pinot Noir blend.
Pale straw with yellow reflections, consistent fine bubbles, persistent mousse.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, opulent style with ripe stone fruits such as white peaches, yellow lemon,  jasmine floral, seamless purity, brush of oak and leesy complexity,rich.

Properly Brut in style with probably high dosage closer to 10 RS? yet have a moderate plus acidity, broad texture, spicy, hints of salt, full bodied with moderate alcohol of 13% abv lending a certain fatness to the overall structure, well made and characterful though, now until 2018+


Durbanville Hills Wines, situated a mere 20 minutes from Cape Town’s city centre, has transformed its tasting room and dining areas to offer contemporary spaces where one can escape the hustle and bustle of city-life and added a new conference facility for meetings with a difference.

The relaxed indoor and outdoor areas of the cellar offer panoramic views of Table Mountain, Table Bay, the rolling hills and adjoining vineyards. The area under the olive trees is perfect for a stylish picnic, offered with custom-made throws, pillows, and wicker baskets for a lazy afternoon sharing a delicious selection of locally inspired foods. The comfortable lounge furniture is the perfect setting for sipping on a glass of crisp Sauvignon blanc and sharing a selection of artisan cheeses, breads and meats from the Tasting Room Menu whilst the kids are entertained in the new play-area.

The tasting room’s décor is chic, inviting wine lovers to linger in the new lounge area with its comfy, contemporary seating and taste the range of wines on their own or paired with either chocolate or biltong.

The tasting room opens on to a new outdoor seating area where nature lovers can savour their glass of Sauvignon Blanc overlooking the new renosterveld garden, the threatened indigenous fynbos which the cellar and its member farms protect.

The Eatery restaurant on the first floor is a light and contemporary space with a double volume ceiling, wood finishes, earthy tones and South African art. The menu is unpretentious and creative, offering both breakfast and lunch and for that special occasion the restaurant could be hired for private functions and weddings.

A new conference centre with seating for 50 guests is ideal for corporate meetings and team building. Wine tastings can be included and organisers can tailor-make their refreshment and lunch requirements.
For more information about visiting hours, tastings and the restaurant, visit or send an email to

Big Oak Red 2011 89+ Points

Winter is on our door step, probably even more so in Johannesburg over the last couple of days, nevertheless if you are looking for a juicy, full bodied red wine to warm up as an every day tipple without breaking your retirement savings, this is the one to go, a Western Cape blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Shiraz at less than R 35, it is an absolute bargain, in fact it way over delivers on it's price point, well done to the Bellingham team here!

Bright garnet red, giving the impression being "older" than a 2011, clean, ripe red fruits, plums, mulberries and cassis, good purity, dark chocolate note, subtle oaking and definitely not big on oak,  like the name though.

Juicy, full bodied, carries it's high alcohol of 14% abv very well, integrated, plush tannins, savory, black olivey note, fresh with moderate plus acidity, good bargain, drink now until 2016

Having reviewed the complete Tree Series of Bellingham wines, great range, fantastic value for money, way over delivers on price point, still convinced the Berry Bush Rose is the best, perfect anytime with or without food, the Pear Tree White, shows a different personality of Chenin Blanc with 20% Viognier, yet none of the extrovert character of this Rhone variety.


From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,”  says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

Give Mom the ultimate Mother’s Day experience at The House of J.C. Le Roux

Eton mess

Saturday, 11 May to Sunday, 12 May

Make Mom feel like a queen with a free mini-makeover, delicious lunch, tasting and prizes at The House of J.C. Le Roux in Stellenbosch on Mother’s Day weekend.

Stylish moms and daughters will be pampered by Makeover International in the La Fleurette Room on Saturday, 11 May and Sunday, 12 May – the perfect treat to enjoy Le Good Life with a glass of bubbly.

Mom can also flaunt her new look while enjoying a special lunch at the Le Venue restaurant. Scrumptious starters include creamy mushroom and roasted chicken soup, or calamari, rocket and bell pepper salad, while Mom can choose hearty monkfish and prawn Thai green curry or char grilled sirloin steak for mains.  As the pièce de résistance, dessert will be served on a buffet table with seductive choices such as white chocolate and raspberry cheese cake and nutty chocolate cake.

Adding even more glamour to the weekend, an Eton Mess meringue tasting experience, crafted especially to pair with the palate pleasing La Vallée Rosé, will be on offer at the tasting room. Visitors will also stand a chance to win a night at the Devon Valley Hotel for two with breakfast and a cellar experience, by simply buying their favourite J.C. Le Roux to the value of R200 or more.

The Mother’s Day weekend lunch costs R200 per person and will be served on Saturday, 11 May and Sunday, 12 May from 12h00 to 15h00. Booking is essential, phone 021-865 8200. The Eton Mess tasting experience will cost R30 per person. The free mini-makeovers on 11 and 12 May will take place from 10h00 to 14h00.

The House of J.C. Le Roux, situated in the Devon Valley in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands, is open seven days a week. Visit or follow @LeGoodLife on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pear Tree White 2012 89+ Points

Western Cape blend of Chenin Blanc & Viognier, showing a pale bright straw with yellow green reflections.

Clean with moderate plus intensity bursting with fresh lime, green pears indeed, paw paw, and melow, orange blosson adds interest, pebbly minerals, precise, very good purity.

Dry, crisp and zesty, love the high acid structure, bright and racy, revving style, freshly squeeze lime juice, citrussy texture, salty tang, grapefruit zest, impressive value at around R 35 retail, drink now until 2016+

A wine by Bellingham

Understanding Cabernet Sauvignon

Our ever popular Wine Dinners at Beverly Hills Hotel in Uhmlanga returns on the 21st and 22nd May for an exceptional 4 course dinner paired with 5 distinct Cabernet Sauvignon's presented by Cape Wine Master  Chris de Klerk.

The following Cabernet Sauvignon will be poured

More details to follow.


Wines of South Africa (WOSA) CEO Su Birch has been lauded by the international drinks fraternity for her role in promoting sustainability in the South African wine industry, winning the 2013 The Drinks Business Green Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Drinks Business is a UK-based publication with an international readership amongst drinks industry leaders. Its Lifetime Achievement Green Award is the highest annual honour it bestows in what it bills as "the world’s largest programme to raise awareness of green issues in the drinks trade and recognise and reward those who are leading the way in sustainability and environmental performance."

Birch, who has been WOSA CEO since 2000, emerged the winner at a London event yesterday (April 23, 2013) for having dedicated a significant part of her working life to "environmental and/or ethical causes" and was acknowledged for her significant role in both areas.

She is also a former winner of both The Drinks Business Woman of the Year and the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s Women in Wine Award, and last year was identified as one of the ten most influential personalities in the world of wine by UK market analysts Wine Intelligence.

Birch has played a key role in advancing South Africa's reputation as one of the most progressive amongst wine-producing nations in driving eco-sustainable wine production.  Under the banner “variety is in our nature” she has actively promoted the country’s competitive positioning in producing a rich variety of wine styles. She is also credited with spearheading South Africa’s far-reaching Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) that has seen producers set aside substantially more land for conservation than the equivalent of the national vineyard.

She has been one of the major advocates of the country’s Sustainability Seal, the first industry-wide initiative of its kind anywhere in the world, to promote production integrity from the vineyard to the consumer. This was followed by the introduction last year of an Ethical Seal, also the first of its kind, that confirms the implementation of fair labour practices by wine producers.

At an international level she has also been one of the key drivers for co-operation amongst normally competing New World wine-producing countries, playing an important part in bringing South Africa, New Zealand, the US, Chile and Argentina together at the annual international trade fair ProWein, where the countries annually present a collective showcase.

The Beautiful South is an extension of this approach in which Argentina, Chile and South Africa will present their first combined trade exhibition in the UK in September. She has been a prime mover in its conception and organisation.

Birch says the exhibition in London will be her WOSA swansong as she plans to leave the organisation soon after to pursue a personal project that, she says, she has been deferring for "too long". 

"The lifetime achievement is a high note on which to announce my plan to leave WOSA later this year. I shall be leaving the organisation with a sound international team in place at the same time that the country has evolved into a significant player in world wine markets, well on its way to capturing and building on new opportunities."

She said a search for a successor was to be conducted as a priority over the coming weeks. She will remain in her position till the end of September.  This is both to hand over to the new incumbent and to allow her to oversee The Beautiful South.

After a brief "sabbatical", Birch plans to focus on the development of cost-effective marketing solutions for a range of industries. "Rising costs and a volatile exchange rate are forcing South Africans to work smarter and with greater agility in order to be heard in an increasingly competitive environment, whether locally or internationally. Working to very tight budgets demands stringent discipline but also encourages creative problem-solving. This is where I believe I can play a meaningful role."

Soalheiro Moncao e Melgaco Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2011 92 Points

2011 was the first Alvarinho label in Melgaço, the northern point of Portugal.

Textbook character with lifted aromatics, tropical, impressive purity, hints of flint minerals and nutty complexity on texture, elegant with racy moderate plus acidity and ideal alcohol of 12.5% abv, juicy, lots of energy here, plush and textured, persistent lenght. Paired with seafood platter

Soalheiro Allo VR Minho Alvarinho Loureiro 2011 89+ Points

An abbreviation of the 2 grapes used in the blend, it stands for Alvarinho and Loureiro, two key varieties of Alto Minho, grown on granitic soils in the valley of the river Minho and Lima valley.
Bright pale green with delicately ripe spicy citrus and greengage, subtle, with hints of minerality, perfectly dry with a fresh and focus profile, juicy, perfect low alcohol of 11% abv, ideal lunchtime wine discovered in Cascais at restaurant Mar do Inferno, Portugal, after a long flight from Johannesburg via Frankfurt, refreshing and full of personality.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Simonsig releases legendary Mr Borio’s 2011 Shiraz

Simonsig Mr Borio Shiraz

The legacy of Alessandro Borio lives on at Simonsig Estate with the release of the new Mr Borio’s Shiraz 2011 vintage. This richly layered wine pays homage to the intrepid Italian Prisoner of War, Alessandro Borio, who stayed on after World War II to make South Africa his home.

A master in ‘cemento’ Alessandro’s unparalleled masonry skills and eccentric, colourful personality found a true home at Simonsig, the family owned Stellenbosch wine estate renowned for its distinctive red wines. The Mr Borio’s Shiraz 2011 honours Alessandro as a remarkable friend of the Malan family.

“Starting every day by cooking breakfast on his spade, Mr Borio, built the first cement wine tanks on Simonsig. His tanks found in the oldest part of our cellar, are still used today to produce our widely enjoyed Shiraz,” says cellarmaster Johan Malan.

The Mr Borio’s Shiraz 2011 allures with a rich berry bouquet encrusted in black fruit with a hint of vanilla pod. The feast of flavours comes with a touch of sweet spice which melds with subtle yet remarkable oak notes whilst the tamed tannins aptly capture the character of Mr Borio with the promise of excellent ageing potential.

This full bodied red is a meat lover’s dream as it pairs beautifully with cottage or venison pie and is equally enjoyable during laidback gatherings with friends while preparing ribs on the grill. Tasty ham or bacon stuffed mushroom and monkey gland burgers also complement the wine exceptionally well.

Mr Borio’s Shiraz 2011 is available at selected wine outlets countrywide and sells for R70 at the cellar door.

For more information or wine orders contact Simonsig Estate at Tel: (+27)21 888 4915 or visit

OBIKWA Pinotage sticks its neck out in the cold

Kick winter to the curb with a glass of OBIKWA Pinotage 2012. This adventurous fruity red is perfect for tossing into your back pack amongst the winter woollies when you take on the great outdoors or just to chase away the chill when you unwind after work.

Brimming with blackberries, plums and strawberries, this medium bodied quaffer is the ideal partner for thrill seekers or for a relaxed evening at home. Always great value for money, OBIKWA Pinotage is a pocket friendly, medium bodied wine for an easy going, yet delicious match with comfort foods like lasagne or a meaty pizza.

OBiKWA is a down-to-earth range of easy drinking, quality cultivar wines expressing their true varietal character and rich, ethnic charm at an affordable price. Available at leading outlets countrywide, the OBiKWA Pinotage 2012 sells at around R28 per bottle - just be on the lookout for the bright yellow ostrich on the wine rack!

For more information on the wide range of OBiKWA wines, visit and join the OBiKWA tribe on Facebook for plenty of online ostrich fun.



Baking has made a comeback around the world and is one of the hottest food trends of 2013. Cake is now cool and biscuits are brilliant! Many top selling cookery books at present focus on home baking while shows such as The Great British Bake Off have been hits around the world including South Africa.

A new feature at the upcoming Good Food & Wine Show - which runs at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from May 23 to 26 - is the Brilliant Baking Theatre. Admission is free with the purchase of an entrance ticket to the Show and is on a first come, first served basis.

Heading the list of celebrity chefs in action at the Brilliant Baking Theatre will be master French pastry chef, Eric Lanlard, who has a new TV series out on BBC Lifestyle Baking Mad and a new book, Chocolat.

Also in action will be a host of local bakers and pastry experts including Lorraine Meany of the Cape Grace where all the international chefs will be staying; Vicky Gurovich of the Mount Nelson Hotel; Grace Stevens of SA Cake Decorators Guild; Franck Dangereux of The Foodbarn and pastry chefs Hannike and Elisiner De Waal of Hemelhuijs.

Even competent cooks are often wary of baking and there seems to be a misconception that you’re either good at it or not. This isn't the case as this interactive theatre will prove.

Lanlard will anchor the theatre which will feature baking workshops as well as recipe and technique demonstrations. There will be opportunities for visitors to ask the experts all the dos and don’ts of baking. These specialists will also explain why things go wrong and how flops can be rectified.


Ø Good Food & Wine Show Cape Town May 23 to 26 - Cape Town International Convention Centre
Ø Good Food & Wine Show Durban August 8 to 11- Durban Exhibition Centre
Ø Good Food & Wine Show Johannesburg September 21 to 24 - Coca Cola Dome



Tickets cost R110 for adults for R55 for children. This includes more free theatres than ever before. Visitors will also receive a coupon book that will allow for massive savings and specials.


Ø Tel: 021 702 2280
Ø Tel 0861foodie
Ø Web:
Ø Facebook: Good Food and Wine Show SA
Ø Twitter: #goodfoodSA

Salts from around the world meet Fleur du Cap wines in Pretoria

Unique salt and wine pairing dinner - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Come and enjoy the best of the Stellenbosch Winelands right on your doorstep when salt aficionado Chef Craig Cormack hosts a unique salt and Fleur du Cap wine pairing dinner in Pretoria on Wednesday, 15 May 2013.

Known for his exceptional winelands food and wine dinners with salts from around the world held in Die Bergkelder, the famous “cellar in the mountain” and home to Fleur du Cap wines in Stellenbosch, Craig is flying up specially to create an inspirational three course menu for this singular salt and wine pairing experience in association with the Department of Consumer Science at the University of Pretoria.

Currently chef patron at Sofia’s restaurant in Somerset West, Craig is passionate about sourcing and experimenting with different types of salt and boasts an impressive collection of rare salts from around the globe. He has been pairing wine and salt for more than five years.

“One of the challenges when pairing salt and wine is to create food that will enhance the wine without dominating it. The natural process of making Fleur du Cap Unfiltered wines works particularly well with unrefined, artisanal salts, reverting back to nature in both the food and the wine,” says Craig.

Inspired by nature, Fleur du Cap wines lend themselves ideally to Craig’s pairings. Salt, considered by alchemists as nature’s 5th element, is an ancient natural product and an essential ingredient in food.

Shaped by the generosity of the Cape Floral Kingdom where all the grapes for these wines are grown, Fleur du Cap are superbly balanced wines expressing their true varietal character.

The 3-course Fleur du Cap Wine and Salt pairing dinner costs R200 per person including the salt tasting, food and wines and begins at 18h30 for 19h00 at Eat @ UP in the Old Agriculture Building at the University of Pretoria.

For bookings, contact Anastasiya Meyer on 072 786 3018 or email her at Alternatively, contact Jessica McKenzie on 076 720 2500 or e-mail her at

3-Course Menu:

Salted pork belly, pickled cucumber and pickled vegetables paired with Fleur du Cap Merlot

Roasted chicken baked in Khoisan salt – paired with Fleur du Cap Chardonnay

Pot ash cake, spicy syrup and vanilla ice cream paired with Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 92+ Points

This Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is another testament of the impressive value of South African wines.
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon has been consistent from day one, and at         +/- R 120 per bottle, retail, it is very hard to beat and this sits amongst South Africa’s finest.

The 2010 has now been released, it was crowned best South African red Bordeaux Varietal over 10 UK Pound and Regional Trophy winner at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards in London.

Ruby red with slight garnet hue towards the rim, still youthful.
Clean, moderate intensity, showing Cabernet austerity, bright purity of fruit with cassis, blueberry and blackcurrant, hints of black olives, delicate oaking with brush of cedar wood and vanilla, layered complexity.

Dry, juicy with moderate plus acidity, fresh and lively with crunchy ripe tannins, purity follows through, seamless, still embryonic, yet seductive and approachable now, full bodied with integrated high alcohol of 14% abv, will be more engaging and deliver more complexity from around 2018, yet have stamina up to 2023+

Enjoy now paired with braai lamb riblets marinated in fresh rosemary and sprinkle with flaked Khoisan sea salt.

Monday, April 22, 2013

KWV Wines 2013 Harvest Report from Marco Ventrella Chief Viticulturist

KWV Wines has seen significant changes over the last 6 years, their wines across the ranges are aligned with International trends and quality has never been higher since the wine making team, were joined and headed by Richard Rowe, however one "unsung" hero here is Chief Viticulturist, Marco Ventrella, one of South Africa's most astute guy in the fields has quietly and confidently deliver the right grapes to Richard and his team, the results are palpable, winning all the key competitions locally and Internationally, the wines shows incredible balance,purity and freshness.

We should see more exciting wines from KWV towards spring as the first white wines get released which will be followed by the reds.

Please read below Marco's 2013 Harvest Report

Marco Ventrella

Winter 2012 (May-August):
The winter preceding the 2013 vintage saw a much welcomed return of traditional Western Cape climatic conditions. We received more than enough winter cold units to ensure strong and even budding throughout the important periods for the various cultivars. We also had fantastic winter rains after two years of dry winters we received as much as 35% more rainfall than the long term averages.

This saw our season kick off with more than enough soil moisture, full dams and a good dormancy period.

Spring 2012 (Sep-Nov):
Late rains and cold spells saw most areas budding 10-14 days late. Bud break was however even and was followed by strong growth helped on by very favorable soil moisture conditions.

Weather conditions were mild to cold in most areas with some variability. The Cape Doctor (South-South East winds) was very much in evidence and blew for 6 weeks in the coastal regions while late varieties were flowering causing some fruit set issues (Hen & Chicken). Most varieties however experienced no harm from this constant wind. 

The effect was more a reduction of vigor and drying of soils which in most cases were favorable to quality.  Flowering dates for the most part mirrored the budding dates indicating a season 8-14 days late depending on region.

The lateness of the season together with labour industrial action on a provincial level had most farms scrambling to get the vineyard work done in 3 weeks less time.

Summer 2012/2013 pre harvest (Dec-Jan):
End November and early December saw a Black South Easter wind tear its way through the Cape causing a fair bit of damage in Coastal regions literally defoliating exposed vineyards. This period was also very dry with no significant rainfall. This also helped to slow growth and keep disease pressure down. Dry land vineyards faired very well due to the good winter and supplementary spring rains. 

Veraison (berry softening and coloring) was also 8-10 days late, however it was extraordinarily rapid with everything going through in 2 weeks in January (in retrospect our first clue of what vintage had to offer). Veraison was good and even with very little incidence of live green ovaries or hen and chicken except Petit Verdot which showed this from flowering. At this stage we felt this would be a good average yield in most areas with Coastal regions perhaps up a little.

Vintage (Feb-April):
Vintage kicked off end Jan early February with white cultivars approximately 7-10 days late. Dry warm conditions from mid-November with warm periods from 24th December through early January saw vineyards growth stop and ripening advance evenly with outstanding Analyses (Ph, TA, Brix). All indications for an ideal if somewhat late vintage seemed apparent. Early Red cultivars (Pinotage) were also 8-14 days late.
8-10th February brought an unseasonal rain to most areas of between 15-70mm depending on area. This was just on the cusp of Sauvignon Blanc harvesting and in the middle of Chardonnay. This rainfall event set up a great number of things this vintage.

1.     It replenished Dry Land farmed vineyards soils moistures and resulted in increased yields of up to 80% (compared to last 2 drought year’s poor yields). It also impacted supplementary areas yields upward beyond expectation by 5-10%. 

2.    It delayed early reds by another 8 days which would later prove to be instrumental to the season’s great characteristic.

3.    Necessitated a new plan for Sauvignon Blanc intake parameters to ensure quality, concentration and health.

Hereafter we received follow up rain events almost weekly (or at least it felt that way) and knew we were in a vintage that would require new plans and new management on an almost daily basis. 65% of our White Grapes were brought in in the 3 weeks 10th Feb-3rd March. 
Winemakers worked around the clock to get the fruit in and ensure our styles and quality standards would be met.

March came and reds that had had been slow to ripen till now seemed to ripen all at once over a weekend. Our red winemakers went from a standing start to receiving 600 tons per day overnight. We found ourselves harvesting Pinotage (Early variety) and Cabernet Sauvignon (Late variety) from the same farms at the same time. 

All the fruit was ripe at the same time. We brought in 72% of our red grapes in the 3 weeks 10th-24th March. Fermentation capacity, crush speed, bins, logistics were all challenges the wine team were faced with on a scale not seen in the Cape in decades. 

Elgin and Overberg whites were also coming in and the rain events kept occurring into April. We finally finished harvesting with Elgin Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre from Breedekloof on the 12th of April.

Now that the dust has settled so to speak I reflect with hindsight on a vintage that perhaps lifted a curtain of things to come with climate change but certainly a vintage that proved once more that there are no recipes in fine wine. 

We were challenged, growers and winemaking team alike to constantly adjust our thoughts and perceptions to meet the reality. 2013 vintage at times seemed both pernicious and inspiring, full of heartbreak and glory in equal measure.

Qualitatively it is my opinion the challenge has been met. The Sauvignon Blancs are outstanding with full fresh fruit and gorgeous structure. The Chenin is her full honeyed, tropical self in splendor. Cabernets are juicy and concentrated, Merlots are ripe and silky, Petit Verdot is inky and structured and Shiraz is a spiced fruit bomb.

As we settle into malolactic fermentation and barrel maturation I cannot shake the feeling that 2013 felt like 3 vintages in one. I am so looking forward to her in bottle.

Marco Ventrella