Saturday, December 20, 2014

Miguel Chan exclusive interview on MasterChefSA Season 3 about wine pairings

No rules to #Wine pairings, watch my #Exclusive interview on MasterChefSA Season 3 as a guest judge #MiguelChan

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Issued by Marlene Truter Communications on behalf of Veritas Awards

2014 Veritas Young Wine Writer announced: l to r Bennie Howard CWM (Veritas), Daisy Knowles (runner-up), Sandile Mkhwanazi (winner), Christo Pienaar (Veritas)
Photographer: Lionel Besterfield

Sandile Mkhwanazi, a young enthusiastic agricultural scientist who studied Viticulture and Oenology at the Stellenbosch University, was crowned as an exciting new voice in the wine industry and winner of the 2014 Veritas Young Wine Writers Competition today. The South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) started this competition last year.

For Sandile, who loves an exciting angle to every story, the fun part of wine is as important as the academic side of it. Keen to bring a vibrant and dynamic dialogue on all matters wine-related, Sandile said, “I’ve always liked to reflect wine as a fun part of life, not an academic study.”

Sandile’s two articles, The South African Wine Industry after 20 years of Democracy: An Overview of What Happened and with Special Reference to how we can Kick Start the Stagnant Local Market, as well as the more fun outlook with The Best Value Wine That I have tasted in 2014, have impressed the panel of judges with its wit, insight and enthusiasm.

Sandile is currently working at Elsenburg Agricultural College as assistant winemaker and acting viticulturist. He has a BSc. Viticulture and Oenology degree from the Stellenbosch University.
Runner-up in the competition, Daisy Knowles, a personal assistant to a Private Investor/co-Director of a private investment company, has an extensive knowledge and appreciation for wine. She has done various wine courses at the University of Stellenbosch, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and the Cape Wine Academy. Daisy’s views in her blog on The Best Value Wines was entertaining, well-informed and persuasive.
According to the panel of distinguished South African wine writers – Dave Hughes, David Biggs, Samarie Smith, Neil Pendock, Cathryn Henderson, Danie Keet and Edo Heyns – the standard for this year’s competition was extremely high.
“There was a clear distinction between those writers who presented grown up, well-balanced work and those putting the emphasis on poetic descriptions. An important requirement in our world today is the ability to understand the more serious, realistic business side of the wine industry and to clearly communicate that without neglecting the romantic side of it. This balance clearly distinguishes between the good and the bad.”

“We would like to congratulate Sandile and Daisy for their creative contribution and hope this will help to cultivate a culture of wine interest and knowledge in a new generation of readers and consumers and motivate more young people to become wine writers,” says Charles Hopkins, Chairman of SANWSA.

The Veritas Young Wine Writers Competition, presented by the SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), aims to identify exciting new individuals within and outside the wine industry who can clearly communicate the wine message innovatively thereby generating increased public interest in all aspects of responsible wine enjoyment.

As the winner of the Veritas Young Wine Writers Competition, Sandile receives a cash prize of R15 000. Runner-up Daisy Knowles receives R7 500.

For more information, contact or tel 021 863 1599.

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J.C. Le Roux adds Cap Classique sparkle to cream cheese icing cupcakes

Issued by:GC Communications on behalf of: The House of J.C. Le Roux

Transform an everyday recipe into a Méthode Cap Classique indulgence with melt-in-your-mouth J.C. Le Roux La Vallée cream cheese icing cupcakes.

Made in the time-honoured French tradition of secondary bottle fermentation whereby the delicate bubbles are created and captured in the bottle, the palate pleasing demi-sec, La Vallée, adds a luxurious finishing touch to the decadent sugar syrup that crowns this delicious cupcake treat.

Be sure to have extra, well-chilled bottles and flutes on hand to share with your friends and loved ones when tucking into these home baked gems.

Herewith the recipe, courtesy of

J.C. Le Roux La Vallée cupcakes with cream cheese icing
Makes 16 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
4 extra large eggs
310 ml castor sugar
500 ml cake flour
15 ml baking powder
2,5 ml salt
250 ml milk
100 g butter
5 ml vanilla extract

Sugar syrup:
60 ml J.C. Le Roux La Vallée
75 g sugar

For the cream cheese icing:
720 g (3 tubs) cream cheese
240 g icing sugar

1.         For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180°C. Fill 16 muffin holes with paper cupcake cases.  
2.         Cream the eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and gently fold it into the egg mixture.
3.         Gently heat the milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat, do not boil. Stir the warm milk mixture and vanilla essence into the batter. Pour into the prepared cases and bake for 25-30 minutes.
4.         For the sugar syrup, combine the J.C. Le Roux La Vallée and the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook slowly until the sugar has evaporated and then turn up the heat. Cook until the mixture is slightly syrupy.
5.         For the cream cheese icing, combine the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl, and mix through.
6.         Remove the cupcakes from the oven and drizzle with the J.C. Le Roux La Vallée syrup. 
7.         Place the cupcakes in decorative cupcake moulds and pipe the icing onto each cupcake. Sprinkle with edible gold glitter.

• Stay up to date with all the latest news from The House of J.C. Le Roux by visiting, and join the conversation on Twitter @JCLeRoux.

*Recipe and image courtesy of*

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stellenbosch Wine Routes opens Wine Tourism Visitor Centre

Issued by: Random Hat Communications on behalf of Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes

The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes celebrates the start of the bustling festive season with the opening of a Wine Tourism Visitor Centre in the heart of the City of Oaks. It offers locals and visitors an engaging ‘hotspot’ to get up close and personal with South Africa’s granddaddy of wine routes and get an insider-scoop on what’s hot and happening in this popular wine tourism region.

47 Church Street is your one stop destination for a slice of the vibrant Stellenbosch lifestyle, where free wifi, comprehensive information and wine tourism guidance, good quality coffee, friendly staff and casual wine tastings come standard, seven days a week.

“We invite everyone to swing by our new ‘home’ for an insightful peep into what makes our wine route one of the best in the world and to get connected with a myriad of attractions on our doorstep. We offer so much more than just wine and we now have a beautiful space in which we can share our multi-dimensional culture and charm with enthusiasts. It is the best spot to come and chill with a glass of local wine, whilst soaking up the daily hustle and bustle of our forever young town,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of Stellenbosch Wine Routes. 

As the oldest wine route in the country, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes might be considered a golden oldie with its winemaking legacy spanning over more than four decades, but with all its innovative wine tourism initiatives going strong, this dynamic Winelands darling still manages to fuel all the senses.

“Today we are celebrated as a leader in South African wine tourism and we offer the Full Monty. We have the best chefs, exceptional wines, a multi-faceted playground of activities for young and old. Long gone are the days when tourists just valued us as day trip destination to taste quality wines,” adds Bolton.

Earlier this year the Stellenbosch Wine Routes clinched the title as Best Promotional Body at the Wine Tourism Awards 2014 of the authoritative Drinks International magazine – one of the most trusted and respected global drinks journals. More recently it excelled at the 2015 Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best Of Wine Tourism Awards held in Mendoza, Argentina, where numerous local producers raked in awards.
The Stellenbosch Winelands also consolidated its role as the country’s Gourmet and Wine Capital, claiming seven of the top twenty nominations in the 2014 Eat Out Restaurant Awards – South Africa’s annual restaurant Oscars – of which four shines amongst the current Top Ten eateries in the country.

This awesome Top Ten foursome includes Jordan (rated #5), Overture (#6), Rust en Vrede (#7) and Terroir (#10), whilst Makaron at Majeka House, Tokara and The Restaurant at Waterkloof were again among the top twenty nominees.

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is also proud to have the Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year 2014 as well as the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2014 in its midst.

Jerome Thomas, general manager at Kanonkop Wine Estate, walked away with the coveted Farm Worker of the Year 2014 title – an annual competition hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Shoprite which saw a record number of more than 1000 entries from 15 different regions this year.

“This has been a dream of mine for the past six years and I finally won through hard work and perseverance,” shares an elated Thomas who received a prize package of R100 000, which includes cash; study bursaries, and an overseas study tour related to market access.

Jacques Erasmus from Spier Estate, who has been making wine since he was just 12 years old, took the prestigious Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title for his Spier Creative Block 2 2014 dry white wine blend – a stellar sip for festive celebrations. This annual contest contributes towards raising the standards of the wines produced in South Africa and each year the best winemaker is crowned from an illustrious pool of internationally recognised estates as well as smaller, yet equally competitive , wine farms. Erasmus had two wines in the finals which proofs that his winemaking skills are consistent and worthy of this award.

For more information on what is hot and happening in and around Stellenbosch and its sub-routes this season, visit, or visit their new Wine Tourism Visitor Centre at 47 Church Street. Also contact them on Tel: 021 886 4310, email and visit

KWV Launches World’s First ‘Natural’ Pinotage Using Patented Technology

Preserved by Nature, with ‘no sulphites or preservatives added’ 

Tin Can PR - Kisha van Vuuren – Strategist on behalf of KWV Wines

Cape Town – 17th November, 2014 – KWV has launched the world’s first ‘natural’ Pinotage wine. Earth’s Essence has ‘no sulphites or preservatives added’, made possible by utilising world first technology, following KWV’s joint acquisition of the patent for a revolutionary process using  indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush wood during various stages in the winemaking process.

Earth’s Essence is the result of a patented process, which marries two completely natural, uniquely South African winemaking ingredients two of which are renowned for their anti-oxidant properties, to create an entirely new wooded wine category.

Using this innovative, authentic, natural and sustainable process negates the use of added sulphites or preservatives. 

“The use of non-traditional woods in the winemaking process makes it completely new and exciting,” says Louwritz Louw, Earth’s Essence Winemaker. “It is a beautiful example of innovative winemaking in a modern era.”

He points out that indigenous fynbos wood contains high levels of antioxidants, and low tannin levels, making it ideal for use in wine making.

“By using Rooibos and Honeybush wood during various stages in the winemaking process their powerful anti-oxidants protect the wine naturally,” he adds. “This is a major advantage for people who suffer from sulphur intolerance.”

Rooibos grows naturally in the Cederberg area in the Western Cape, while Honeybush is found only in the coastal districts and mountainous areas of the Western and Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Louw says that Earth’s Essence is an unconventional, high-quality, super-premium, natural wine, preserved by nature. Originating from the Malmesbury Swartland area in the Western Cape, it is made from the Pinotage grape varietal, making it a truly South African product. 

“Only the healthiest grapes are used in the wine to ensure that the wine stays protected throughout the winemaking process,” he explains.“The grapes are harvested at optimal ripeness after which they are de-stemmed and crushed into the fermentation tanks.”

The Fermentation, with Rooibos and Honeybush wood, is done on skins. The wine is removed from the skins and pressed earlier than usual to prevent the extraction of hard tannins. In order to keep the wine sulphur free, it is also matured with wood from the indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush. After maturation the wine is fined, filtered and bottled.

Tasting Notes:
Louw explains that Earth’s Essence is an easy-drinking wine with a distinct flavour and by replacing traditional oak in red-wine with Honeybush and Rooibos woods the wine has a distinctive aroma and structure.

“The Pinotage shows upfront fruit sweetness with prominent cranberries, Turkish delight and dark chocolate aromas,” says Louw. “Nuances of nuts, Rooibos, Honeybush and sweet basil are complimented by the grippy tannin structure and the intense, lingering finish.”

He says that true to its name, Earth’s Essence unlocks a whole new world of wine by unearthing the natural beauty and taste through a world-class quality winemaking process.

”There is global trend of consumers searching for products that are more natural, that contain less preservatives,” says Tania Theron-Joubert, Global Brand Manager for KWV. “Up to now there is a limited selection of wines available to them, this new innovative process will increase their options to choose from.”

Retailing for R89 per bottle Earth’s Essence is available nationwide at selected Makro and Checkers stores.

For more information visit: or join the conversation on Twitter @EarthsEszence 

As partner of Red Dawn IP Holdings, KWV holds 50% of the world-wide patent, meaning that no other entity can use the indigenous plants, or their derivatives for alcoholic beverage production unless done under licence from Red Dawn.

About KWV

KWV is one of the leading wine and spirit producers in South Africa. Its head office is located in Paarl, in the Western Cape - a top wine producing region. The company sources wines and grapes from the best and most sought-after viticultural regions in South Africa. KWV is known internationally for brands such as Roodeberg, KWV Wines, Laborie, Golden Kaan, Cathedral Cellar, Cafe Culture, Wild Africa Cream and the KWV 3,5,10,12,15 and 20 Year Old brandies. KWV is challenging convention with its two 2014 innovations, namely its KWV Heritage XO Cognac and Nexus, the world’s first commercially available 30 year Old potstill brandy.KWV is a founder member of the Industry Association for Responsible Use of Alcohol (ARA).

Bon Courage Wine Estate - Jacques Bruére Cap Classique range

Distributed by Yolandi de Wet PR On behalf of Bon Courage Estate

Bon Courage Cap Classique – a festive trio
Bon Courage Cap Classique – everyday is a celebration

Bon Courage Wine Estate, situated in the Breede River Valley, celebrates their French heritage with the Jacques Bruére Cap Classique range. This range is named for the Bruwer family’s French Huguenot ancestors who hailed from the Loire Valley in central France.  With typical French flair, these wines are a 100% hand made according to theméthode traditionnelle.

Each of the three bottle fermented wines in the range has a unique flavour and refreshing pallet, ideal for any Christmas, New Year or Valentine’s celebration.

Cap Classique Jacques Bruére Blanc de Blanc 2009
This 100% Chardonnay is a Brut with a faint lemony scent complimented by a subtle yeastiness and hints of fresh lime and citrus. The palate shows great finesse on the finish with a crisp, rich and creamy complexity.

This beautifully crafted wine was recently announced as National Winner at the SA Terroir Wine Awards and contributed to Bon Courage Estate being named one of the Top 5 Wine Estates.

The Blanc de Blanc 2009 is best served as an aperitif or with oysters and the ideal partner to a seafood platter, sushi or lime-flavoured Thai dishes.  It has is available nationally at selected retailers at R140 per bottle.

Cap Classique Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2009
This Cap Classique is a 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay Brut with a creamy aroma of peach and hints of citrus. The palate expresses both intensity and delicacy with toasted nutty characters, infused with stone fruits and complimented by rich, creamy biscuit flavours. It has a lingering finish with a lively mousse.

Celebrate each day; serve the Brut Reserve 2009 with oysters, sushi, poached salmon or any other seafood dish at a mere R140.00 a bottle at selected retailers.

Cap Classique Jacques Bruére Cuveé Rosé Brut 2008
The Cap Classique Jacques Bruére Cuveé Rosé Brut 2008 is crafted from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and has a faint lemon and raspberry scent. The silky richness of the pallet is filled with red berries and balanced with subtle mineral undertones.

Serve this wine with seafood canapés, oysters, salmon, tuna, sushi, Asian dishes, rich cheese or red berry desserts. The Cuveé Rosé Brut is available at R145.00 per bottle at selected retailers nationwide.

The Estate
Bon Courage Estate lies at the heart of the picturesque Robertson valley - often referred to as the valley of wine and roses - and home to some of South Africa’s finest wines.  Bon Courage’s laurels not only lie in it’s locally and internationally acclaimed selection of fine wines, but also in the continued premium quality and consistency of it’s wide range brought on by the diverse terroir that characterises the estate. The Estate’s success has also been a major contributing factor in establishing the Robertson Wine Valley as one of the top wine routes in South Africa.

A family affair
The stately Cape Dutch homestead dates back to 1818. The estate has enjoyed the attention and dedication of three generations of the Bruwer family since 1927.  It is this team consisting of father, André and his sons, Jacques and Pieter, their family values, dedication and passion that have remained the secret to Bon Courage’s success.

For more information contact Bon Courage at 023 626 4178 or
Twitter: @BonCourageWines


Released for Ayama Wines by Cobie van Oort at 083-556-3740
 Michela Dalpiaz, Augusto Fabbro and Attilio Dalpiaz at the dinner.

A group of around sixty friends, clients, colleagues and media joined Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz, the Italian owners of Ayama Wines for a “Festa” on 13 November 2014 to celebrate their first  decade in South Africa.  On the same day everyone participated in a planting ceremony of the first-ever Vermentino grapes in South Africa.

This winery, situated in the up-and-coming Voor Perdeberg region of Paarl, is leading the way with this grape and has other exotic varietals to be planted in the pipeline as well.

“We decided on a clone from Sardinia after lots of deliberation with one of Italy’s best-known viticulturalists, Augusto Fabbro, who was present on the day to see his brainchild being reborn in a new country and led a formal tasting of some of Sardinia’s best examples of this varietal” explained Ayama winemaker Michela Dalpiaz.

“Vermentino  is a perfect match for our terroir, which is hot and windy and features mostly clay soils with sandy areas from disintegrated granite.  The berries and bunches are large and the grapes are late ripening, all of which fit in perfectly with the existing varietals on the farm and the harvesting schedule.  I also know and love the varietal as it produces aromatic, white wines which can handle wood and gives you a beautifully powerful wine,” she says.

Attilio and Michela Dalpiaz with Giorgio Dalla Cia. 

The wines tasted  were Cala Reale – Sella & Mosca 2013(Vermentino Di Sardegna DOC), Canayli – Cantine di Gallura 2013 (Vermentino di Gallura DOCG SUPERIORE), Monteoro – Sella & Mosca 2013 (Vermintino Di Gallura DOCG Superiore) and Genesi – Cantine di Gallura 2013 (Vermentino Di Gallura DOG Superiore).

The consensus after the tasting was that this grape would perform well in South Africa, and well-known guest and winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia summed it up by saying that once the vineyards have reached maturity, we could expect to see quality like the best from Sardinia.   The styles ranged from easy-drinking, light and crisp with typical spiciness to more serious food wines which would handle ageing and offers enough  complexity to titillate the taste buds.

The day ended off with dinner featuring a mix of the best of Italian and South African cuisine, live music and lively conversation and a selection of Ayama’s wines. 

A vintage year for Steenberg’s Merlot as JD Pretorius wins Young Winemaker of the Year.

Issued on behalf of Steenberg Wines by Spill Communications.

JD Pretorius, 29, from Steenberg Farm, has won the Diners Young Winemaker of the Year award for his Steenberg Merlot 2012.

The Steenberg Merlot 2011 and 2012 as well as the Steenberg Echo 2012 red blend qualified for the Young Winemaker of the Year award.

Commenting on his win he said, Its an honour. This is the last year that I can enter this competition and I am delighted with the win. It ends off the first chapter in my winemaking career on a high note, and hopefully springboards the start of the next one. I must also credit the cellar and vineyard teams as this recognition belongs to us all

Speaking about his wines he says, The Merlots are very unique, we have quite a number of eucalyptus trees on the property and they lend a minty note to our Merlots. It works incredibly well with roast lamb, especially with a little hint of rosemary.

Steenberg Merlot 2012 is a multi-layered wine with black berries, spearmint and hints of dark chocolate on the nose. Its a complex, yet soft and smooth wine, a classic Merlot.

Food and wine are inextricably linked for JD. I grew up in a house that loves wine and food. Most of my family is involved in agriculture in some way, and I always wanted to do something with farming. When I realised that you can farm wine, I was sold., he says.

He added, Merlot is quite a tricky variety, especially in South Africa. It can make wonderful wines, but it needs the right handling and climate to succeed. Steenberg has always had a very good track record for Merlot and it is great to see the wines succeed so well.

JD graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Oenology.  A brief period as the Cellar Hand at Beyerskloof Wine farm was followed by an appointment as Harvest Supervisor at Graham Beck Wines.

He was appointed Winemaker at Steenberg in 2009, and has been Cellarmaster since 2012.

Steenberg also took home the honours in 2014 by winning the Trophy for Best White Blend at Old Mutual Trophy Show for the Magna Carta 2011. The Black Swan 2012 secured a placing in the Top 100 Wines rankings. H.M.S. Echo Red Blend 2011 featured in the Classic Wine Magazine Top 6 and Magna Carta 2011 scored 5 stars in the RisCura White Hot Wine Awards.

About Steenberg.

Steenberg holds the distinction of being the oldest farm in the picturesque Constantia Valley, which is generally considered to be South Africas premier wine growing region. With its cool, sea-facing slopes and majestic granite ridges, this vineyard has developed a worldwide reputation for producing excellent Cape wines. The estate boasts a state of the art modern winery, producing some of the countrys finest wines.

Champagne Bureau USA


As the holiday season quickly approaches, remember that the Champagne Bureau, USA is your resource for all information about Champagne – the unique sparkling wine that is produced in the French region of the same name.

Located 90 miles northeast of Paris, the region covers less than 80,000 acres. Its characteristics — geographic location, harsh climate, chalky sub-soil, erratic sunshine, and limited harvest — come together to create a one-of-a-kind terroir. Although there are many great sparkling wines around the world, including the United States, only those produced in France should be called Champagne.

As the official U.S. representative of the grape growers and houses of the Champagne region, the Bureau can provide you with a number of Champagne materials – including maps, brochures, and booklets containing a wealth of information about the Champagne region and this unique sparkling wine.

If you are interested in obtaining any of these materials, please contact us at or (202) 777-3541. You can also reach us on Twitter (@ChampagneBureau) and on Facebook (

Please note in your request the number of materials you are requesting and an address to ship them to.

Additional information can be found at and


Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne
1850 M Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20036