Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Veritas public tasting at the CTICC

The Public tasting of Veritas Gold and Double Gold winners was held at the CTICC. There will be a tasting in Johannesburg on Tuesday 23rd October, followed by tastings in other centres. Details of these and other events are in MENU, Dates for your Diary. A full list of the Double Gold, Gold and Silver medal winners can be seen at
Mariette van Huyssteen of Saronsberg was showing their MCC, Provenance Rooi
and 2016 Full Circle Red Blend, all Gold Medal winners 
Simonsig winemaker Michael Malan with their Simonsig Tiara 2015 which received a Gold medal
Spier winemaker Jacques Erasmus pouring for visitors. Spier received 11 Gold medals and two Double Golds
De Wetshof marketing men Johann de Wet and Bennie Stipp checking the results of the Winemag Chardonnay Report which were announced that afternoon. De Wetshof received Gold medals for three Chardonnays and their Pinot noir
Villiera winemaker Nathan Valentine shows their Gold medal winning Munro Brut
Buitenverwachting cellarmaster Brad Paton with Cederberg's naughty Pieter du Toit
Buitenverwachting's 1769 Noble Late Harvest won a Gold Medal
Cederberg Shiraz 2016 was awarded Double Gold
Blaauwklippen winemaker Narina Cloete and Farm Manager Fanie Fourie
Blaauwklippen Zinfandel 2017 won a Gold medal
Tom Mills shows the Ernie Els Proprietor's Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 which won Double Gold 
Bennie Howard and Elsabe Ferreira, organisers of the Veritas Competition and events
Newly weds Bronwen and Guy McDonald
Bennie Howard calls "Time" and the Cape Town show ends
Details of the Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Knysna tastings can be found in the Dates for Your Diary section in MENU

Friday, October 12, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Blaauwklippen Blending Competition, Yonder Hill, Cuccina di Giovanni, Veritas Awards, Vanilla Panna Cotta, Constantia Royale Sauvignon

Evening in the Devon Valley, Stellenbosch. From the terrace at Landtscap

Most of our weeks are busy. This was busier than most. In addition to our usual round of activities, John has been filming a TV commercial, the first time he will appear in any advertising made for the SA market. The product is secret and cannot be revealed until it airs, so please don’t ask. Summer is making its appearance, heralded by the South-Easter and some lovely warm weather, but weather in the Cape is always a bit of a lottery and the true nature of the season is not usually known until the end of November, so don’t put away your winter woollies or your umbrella, you may still need them

Time for the awards, now in its 35th year. Every year Blaauwklippen holds a blending competition for wine clubs. Clubs who enter from all over South Africa, are sent four varietals and asked to make a certain type of blend. This year it was to be a playful but chic blend to enjoy anytime with friends & family, but with enough backbone to be savoured at a special occasion; from Shiraz 2017, Malbec 2017, Petit Verdot 2017 and Merlot 2017. We were welcomed by good snacks…

We visited Yonder Hill in the Helderberg ward of Stellenbosch on Saturday with our wine club. The Cellarmaster here is Abé Beukes. They made room for our large party in their tasting room and we had a wonderful time tasting the wines. They also had laid on a lovely cheese platter for us and we were given gifts of their olive oil from the farm owner Mr Naude has recently sold Olyfberg, always a great oil. A lovely warm welcome…

which is the longest running and most prestigious wine and brandy competition in South Africa, dating back to 1991, and is said by Bennie Howard CWM, who is the MC of the evening, to be the "Oscars of the South African Wine World". It is indeed always a very glamorous, formal black tie affair. The Awards Ceremony this year was held in the Ballroom of the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town. There is a formal dinner, served with winning wines and, this year, we were very excited to hear that the dishes would be by some of our top chefs. The Gold and Double Gold Medals are presented during dinner and afterwards there is coffee and a selection of winning brandy entries. This year’s awards can be viewed on the Veritas website Our story here...

Fresh berries are coming in and we are loving the quality of the strawberries this year. We had a bad Panna Cotta recently and thought we would give you our easy recipe which never seems to fail. See the whole recipe…

This is from Nova Zonnestraal, a Constantia vineyard which is believed to be one of the oldest in the Cape, but which has only been producing its own wines in the last five years. It is made from the farm’s own Sauvignon blanc, with an addition of 15% Semillon which is bought in, as their own Semillon vines are too young to be harvested. Herbaceous passion fruit and a very light pyrazine hint on the nose and the palate, with crisp varietal acidity, good mineral structure and a long finish. Read on…

12th October 2018

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2018
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Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list

On the MENU this week. Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis

Fresh berries are coming in and we are loving the quality of the strawberries this year. We had a bad Panna Cotta recently and thought we would give you our easy recipe which never seems to fail
500ml cream – 1t Vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean – 25g sugar – 3 sheets of leaf gelatine – 250 g fresh strawberries. Hulled
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft – 5 minutes. If you are using a vanilla bean, cut it open down one side, scrape out the seeds and put them and the whole pod into the cream. Put the cream, sugar and vanilla into a pan and slowly bring up to scalding point while stirring (just before boiling starts). It must NOT boil. Remove from the heat and add the soaked gelatine, stirring till it has dissolved completely. Take out the vanilla bean. Pour into six ramekins and refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Blend 200g of the strawberries and push through a fine sieve to get rid of some of the pips and serve with the panna cotta which you have turned out onto a small plate. Top each with a strawberry. If you are scared to turn them out, you can make them in pretty glasses, then flood the top with the coulis and a couple of small strawberries, hulled of course

Blaauwklippen Blending Competition 2018 prize presentation lunch

Time for the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition (BBC) awards, now in its 35th year. Every year Blaauwklippen holds a blending competition for wine clubs. Clubs who enter from all over South Africa, are sent four varietals and asked to make a certain type of blend. This year it was to be a a playful but chic blend to enjoy anytime with friends & family, but with enough backbone to be savoured at a special occasion; from Shiraz 2017, Malbec 2017, Petit Verdot 2017 and Merlot 2017
We were welcomed by good snacks, too large to call them canapés, but delicious
The four teams who were finalists were there and just a few media; many are down with flu
We stood out on the terrace, getting to know each other and drinking some Zinfandel bubbly
The trophies, the main one hidden, before the announcement was made
Lunch was at the long table
The menu
Three different butters
And some very good olive bread
Our starter was titled The Smoking Battlefield and was hidden under a glass dome filled with smoke
Removed by the waiting staff, it released a puff of rooibos smoke
and was an interesting dish of excellent gravadlax in beetroot and orange, with naked pickled squid rounds, refreshing segments of lemon, orange and grapefruit, slices of raw beetroot, a morsel of sweet beetroot cheesecake (hmm, jury out on that), raspberries and a sesame crisp. Couldn't find the promised licorice pearls? Overall a good dish. Served with a glass of the 2018 white Zinfandel
The winning blend was served with our main course, but the winner was still unidentified. We sat with many of the contestants and it is fun to see who recognises their own blend. Not many do! This is probably the best blend we have tasted in many a year; it fulfilled its brief so well: playful and also chic, it is rich, soft and enjoyable and, yes, one to drink with family and friends. The winning blend has 36% Shiraz, 23% Malbec, 17% Petite Verdot & 14% Merlot. It is savoury first on the nose, then violets from the Petite Verdot, spice from the Shiraz and lots of dark red fruit. On the palate, soft and sweet with liquorice and rich red fruit, a kick of spice. Alcohol and fruit acid mean it might keep well for a year or three. And salty on the end

The main course was a large portion of tender and flavourful braised beef short rib in a rich and shiny mushroom demi-glace sauce, with a butternut and sage risotto, unusually topped with lots of crisp panko crumbs and small light butternut fritters. A good match for the wine. The best thing on the dish (and this does not take away from the good cooking of the rest of it) was also the simplest: the wonderful fresh broad beans. It is such a treat to have this wonderful (nicely cooked) vegetable served, it is so rare in South Africa. We all said we could have had a bowl of this as a course all on its own!
PRO Emile Joubert with the announcement of the winners
Nanette De Hart, who is the Hospitality Manager
and is the sister of Narina Cloete, the winemaker, who told us that the competition had been started 35 years ago by Walter Finlayson. This year there were 74 entries. The four finalist wine clubs were Business Time (Western Cape), Digital Blenders (Western Cape), Hartbeespoort Vélo et Vin (North West) and the Lydenburg Wynproewersgilde (Mpumalanga). All four of these cultivars, Shiraz, Malbec, Petite Verdot and Merlot had to be used in the final blend and each of the wines, which are marked for use in the Blaauwklippen range, received a variation of oak regimes. Each of the wine components was limited to a minimum of 5% of the blend and no more than 50% of the total blend. Judges for this year’s competition were Narina Cloete (winemaker at Blaauwklippen), Clive Torr (Cape Master of Wines), Spencer Fondaumiere (Sommelier at Warwick)
Christo Hamman, Farm manager and Viticulturist at Blaauwklippen
Each of the finalist teams had a chance to introduce itself
Paul Ackerman, the spokesman for Business Time (Western Cape)
Ananda Abreu of Digital Blenders (Western Cape),
Niel van Deventer spoke for Hartbeespoort Vélo et Vin (North West)
and dentist Jakkie Swanepoel of Lydenburg Wynproewersgilde (Mpumalanga)
Head Judge Clive Torr CWM told us that all four finalists made completely different but good blends. The judges were impressed. In the past several clubs have come up with the same blend, this year there were 3, but none were winners
The first award was for the Newcomer of the Year, Hartbeespoort Vélo et Vin 
getting a hug from the Winemaker
and the BBC winner is... Yes, it’s Hartebeespoort Vélo et Vin (North West) ...
... all looking very happy indeed
In the sunshine with their wine
The Trophy

AND ... another newcomer is soon on the way! Niel van Deventer (on the right) who is a film producer, and his wife have just moved to Cape Town from Gauteng
Time for The Flaming Cannonball. Lynne had to restrain her neighbours, who were planning to drop one ball on another from a height to break them,
as she had a inkling of what was going to happen next
Flaming brandy was poured over the chocolate ball
and it slowly melted, revealing the delicious, decadent contents: a rich dark chocolate delice with hazelnut and brandy cake, a trio of raspberries and hints of Turkish delight. One of the best and certainly the most theatrical desserts we have had this year. Applause! not just to this but for an excellent meal
Great service too by the staff, so well trained and pleasant
and here they all are with talented chef Louise Veldhuisen
Can’t wait to see who and what wins next year