Tuesday, October 13, 2015

151014 This week's MENU - The High Road. Argentina at Savoy Cabbage, CWG Auction, Da Capo tasting, Thokozani Ovation launch. Le Lude MCC, Chart Farm, Veritas Awards, Plant vegan restaurant

The view across False Bay from Strandfontein
Another jam packed week with so many different events it made our heads spin.
As we requested in the last few issues, please try to get into the habit of checking our blog site, not only because of problems like those we had recently, but because our activities sometimes take us away from our base. This will happen again at the end of this week, when we will journey into the Karoo for a week and will only be able to post MENU on our return. We will post the stories as we finish them so you’ll be able to follow them  as we travel. In case you worry, our niece will be house and cat sitting.  We will, of course post the links on Twitter. Please follow us there.
We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit. To get the whole story with photographs, please click onRead on.....” at the end of each paragraph, which will lead you to the related blog, with pictures and more words. At the end of each blog, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to the blog version of MENU.
My Road or ...     Our week started at Societi Bistro in Cape Town, with a tasting of The High Road wines. Owners Les Sweidan and Mike Church, who used to be in the Insurance world, are Negotiants, which means they do not own any vineyards, but buy in the grapes each year to make the wine and blend them to their satisfaction before marketing them. The winemaker is Mark Carmichael Green and the viticulturist is Paul Wallace. Their cellar is in Stellenbosch in the Bosman's Crossing complex.
They make a classic Cabernet Sauvignon and two classy Bordeaux blends. The sources of their grapes might change every year, so they don’t aim to make the same wines, but they promise to make the best the grapes can produce, to keep them elegant and of high quality. The current releases are a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon at R100, The Directors Reserve 2012 at R275 and the High Road Classique 2012 at R140. Les says they are aiming for the top level and world class. See the photographs
Sipping Nativo Wines at the Savoy Cabbage to Argentine Tango     Another well conceived function this week. Billy Hughes, born in Argentina, moved to South Africa when he was a young man and he now owns a farm in Malmesbury, where he makes Nativo wines. We were invited to taste these wines, paired with Argentine inspired food, prepared by chef Peter Pankhurst at the Savoy Cabbage and the meal was accompanied by tango played by Tango Jazz Quartet (from Buenos Aires, Argentina)  Continue....

Superb wines get great prices at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction     We did have a paddle again this year, but didn't manage to get any wines as the prices achieved were way above what anyone expected. The auction made R11 815 800 this year, slightly less than last year's total of R11.9 million, but with a smaller volume as there were 264 fewer cases this year. This means that the average price per case has increased by 10%, a phenomenal result. It was a great event and it was quite exciting at times, with records broken on both the white and red wine prices
CWG Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2012 fetched the highest price ever paid for a red wine at the auction with a top bid of R12 200 for a six bottle case. AA Badenhorst Family Wines Graniet-Berg 2013 set a new auction record for a white wine with R7 000 for a case of six. More, with photographs....
Da Capo Wines trade tasting      Kyle Martin represents five wine farms: Vondeling, Oak Valley, Blackwater wine, Klein Optenhorst, and Keermont. This week he held his trade tasting at Dorrance cellar in the centre of Cape Town. It is in the Heritage Square building and is a working brewery as well as a winery. It will also soon house a restaurant run by Faisal Khakoo who owns La Bohème restaurant in Sea Point.  Pictures here
A Celebration and an Ovation Ten years ago. David & Sue Sonnenberg set up the Thokozani Trust for the Diemersfontein staff. This incredibly successful BEE initiative started with 35 shareholders, who had to buy their shares in the Trust. We were at the event held to hand over the initial share certificates and it was a very emotional occasion. Initially they had 30% share and now, with support, they have 80% ownership with 20% held by Diemersfontein. They run the 4 Star cottages, the Conference Centre and the wine brand. The Directors are nominated by the team. An inspiring story with pictures here
Tasting the stars with Le Lude     Six and a half years ago Nic Barrow, a former Attorney, and his wife Ferda, a High school teacher, cook and gardener bought this Franschhoek wine farm. It has taken a long time to get to this day, the launch of their Cap Classique MCC. Catch the story and the wines here
Roses are blooming at Chart Farm and so is the food     Our friend Sandra Engelen who, with her husband Philip, ran Greyton Lodge and now runs Brooklands House has taken over the restaurant at Chart Farm in Constantia. We were in the area on Saturday and popped in for a quick lunch. It was very good. We think you too should go and try it. The roses are not in bloom yet, but soon will be and the views are wonderful. See it here
A Real Champagne Experience     A reminder to those of you who love the magic of bubbles. Cape Town's only (real French) Champagne festival - Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” will be held on Friday 20th of November at the Vineyard Hotel - 6 to 9 pm. For the entrance price of R400 you can taste 30 cuvees of French Champagne. Houses like Taittinger, Ayala, Drappier, Laurent Perrier, Nicolas Feuilatte, Montaudon, Jacquart, Philipponat and many more.. Light snacks will be served throughout the evening accompanied by live music and entertainment! Fresh oysters and fine chocolates will be on sale for those who care to indulge. Vintage cars will be on show. The theme will be Fire & Ice and they encourage attendees to promote the theme by dressing up, and in so doing stand a chance to win a trip for two in a chauffeur driven classic Rolls Royce to a fabulous lunch at a prestigious wine estate for the Best Dressed Couple on the evening. Champagnes tasted on the evening will be offered at a special discounted price and purchasers will be eligible to win the grand prize of a weekend for two at a luxury lodge. There will also be Champagne prizes for lucky-draw ticket holders on the evening! Booking is essential and tickets can be bought from Wine Concepts stores or from www.webtickets.co.za We definitely plan to be there.
A Glittering Evening at the Veritas Awards     This huge wine award ceremony is held once a year and this year was again at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Several hundred guests pack the banqueting hall and Black tie formal wear gives us a chance to gussy up in our finery for a change. More....
Vegans may now celebrate. Plant is here      Vegans and vegetarians get very short shrift in South Africa. There are even some who regard chicken as a vegetable in this meat obsessed country. And selections for them in most restaurants are abysmal. A salad or a plate of steamed vegetables are all they are usually offered. Today we were invited to Plant restaurant and served a selection of totally vegan food, full of flavour, spice, texture and enjoyment.
Plant was opened in the BoKaap a year and a half ago by engineer Adien Aggenbach and her partner Jacqueline Lahoud. It was such a success that they have now moved to bigger more accessible premises at 8 Buiten Street, just off Long Street in central Cape Town. If you are seeking good vegan or vegetarian food this place will be an eye opener to you and your non vegan friends. Read and see more...

Coming Events:
Wednesday 14th October from 17h00 to 19h00  De Trafford will host an informal vertical tasting of Merlot at the cellar, going back to the maiden vintage. They plan to have a few bottles of selected vintages for sale so you may leave with something special in hand. There is no charge, but space is limited, so please confirm attendance by email to info@detrafford.co.za
Thursday, 15th October at 19h00 Top12Wines tastings series: Organic Whites at MOLO LOLO LODGE 27 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town www.molololo.com R220pp inclusive of meal & Cheeses from Ile de France The format is as usual, a blind tasting 12 of the best SA Wines in the category of the day, all winners of awards and top reviews, competing against the public! You will rank the wines in order of preference, with old friends and new friends alike. Expect amazing quality wines. Info: +27 81 799 3899 info@top12wines.com - www.top12wines.com
Thursday, 15th October at 19h00 Top12Wines tastings series: Riesling at MOLO LOLO LODGE 27 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town www.molololo.com R220pp inclusive of meal & Cheeses from Ile de France The format is as usual, a blind tasting 12 of the best SA Wines in the category of the day, all winners of awards and top reviews, competing against the public! You will rank the wines in order of preference, with old friends and new friends alike. Expect amazing quality wines. Info: +27 81 799 3899 info@top12wines.com - www.top12wines.com
Friday, 16th to Sunday, 18th October ROBERTSON WINE ON THE RIVER Head for the Banks of the Breede for some fun in the sun. During the weekend of 16 to 18 October 2015, the banks of the Breede River will come alive with the annual and ever-popular Robertson Wine on the River – this year celebrating its 10th anniversary. The festival will, once again, take place on the picturesque riverside farm, Goudmyn, situated on the R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale.
Taste in excess of 300 wines from more than 40 wineries, enjoy a plethora of gastronomic delights and soak up the sultry sounds of live jazz and blues melodies.  Browse and shop at our Robertson Farmers’ market, meander through the arts and crafts, take a leisurely cruise down the river and enjoy tutored tastings for which visitors are advised to pre-book in order to avoid disappointment.  For details on these tastings please refer to www.wineonriver.com Robertson Wine on the River offers a wide variety of children’s activities, making it a truly fabulous family festival.  Pensioner prices are available, with children under 18 years of age entering free of charge, and children’s activities working on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system.  This makes it convenient and affordable for the entire family to enjoy this festive affair on the banks of the Breede River and experience firsthand the hospitality that this valley is notorious for. Convenient designated parking areas will be clearly sign-posted en route. For visitors utilising parking areas further a-field, a shuttle-service will provide transport to and from the festivities. With wines being sold on site at cellar door prices, Robertson Wine on the River provides the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favourite Robertson wines, renowned for their great value, from easy-drinking to top-of-the-range. An exciting new addition to the festival is the first annual Duck Derby hosted by Sanlam Alternative Investments in conjunction with Karin’s on Main bed and breakfast in Bonnievale.  The proceeds from this initiative will go towards the Bonnie-People Project in Bonnievale which assists the inhabitants of the settlement in building and developing sustainable components within their community, focusing on the future of their children. This idyllic, open-air spring festival is not to be missed. So bring your friends and family along for an extravaganza of fine wine, delectable treats, great music and complete relaxation amidst a rural ambience of spectacular scenery and warm sunshine. Please refer to www.wineonriver.co.za for detailed offerings and more information on the festival. Ticket prices for the festival vary from R80 to R130 for the Saturday and Sunday, and R160 to R250 for a weekend pass.  For full details on the prices and early bird offers valid until 30 September 2015 please refer to www.webtickets.co.za
Sunday, 18th October BLAAUWKLIPPEN'S MARKET DOGGY WALK Another event that started with the market four years ago, is the Vineyard Doggy Walk. We would like to thank the Helderberg Animal Welfare Society for supporting us over the years. Bring your furry friend along on the 18th and join us for our monthly fundraiser. The walk starts at 10h00 and entry is R20 per person and dog. Newton Theron will be taking the stage on this day for another vibrant performance. Enquiries to +27 21 880 0133 www.blaauwklippen.com  Blaauwklippen is on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, opposite Techno Park Stellenbosch
Wednesday 21st October 17h00 until 21h00   Caroline’s White Wine & Cap Classique Review is one of the most important events on the South African wine calendar. It is a showcase of a maximum of 60 wineries that have consistently achieved the highest accolades in all the top competitive platforms. Each of the selected wineries is invited to show just one wine for tasting by the public. This must be their flagship wine, and it will be shown by the winemaker personally. One can engage with them and learn, in an organised yet informal atmosphere in the ballroom. The annual event is to be held on at The Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Time. Arrive anytime, and get your programme and crystal tasting glass at the entrance. Tickets @ R200 are available exclusively at Computicket online, or at their outlets in major centres. Numbers strictly  limited to 400 guests. Bookings open 22nd September 2015. See more at: http://www.carolineswine.com/annual-white-wine-review-2015#sthash.8ZPJENNP.dpuf
Thursday, 22nd October at 19h00 Top12Wines tastings series: Whites below R100 at MOLO LOLO LODGE 27 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town www.molololo.com R220pp inclusive of meal & Cheeses from Ile de France The format is as usual, a blind tasting 12 of the best SA Wines in the category of the day, all winners of awards and top reviews, competing against the public! You will rank the wines in order of preference, with old friends and new friends alike. Expect amazing quality wines. Info: +27 81 799 3899 info@top12wines.com - www.top12wines.com
Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th October Klein Optenhorst will be hosting its annual Spring Open Garden. Entrance costs R40 and includes tea and coffee, as well as our famous freshly made scones served with butter, home-made jam and fresh cream. Tickets are available at the gate. The new 2013 vintage of Klein Optenhorst Pinot Noir Méthode Cap Classique will be available for sale by the glass and by the bottle. The nursery, selling rare and unusual plants that can be seen growing

in the garden will be open on both days. For more information, contact Jenny Ferreira on 021 864 1210, or email, jenny.ferreira01@gmail.com. Directions to Klein Optenhorst available on www.kleinoptenhorst.com. Time: 9.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday and 9.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday
Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th October NITIDA BRINGS SCULPTURE TO SEASON OF SAUVIGNON. Season of Sauvignon sets off a scintillating start to spring with festivities echoing through the Durbanville Wine Valley. Nitida Wines, renowned for its multi-award winning Sauvignon Blanc, will be showcasing its debut Sauvignon and Sculpture Season, celebrating fine art accompanied by fine wine. Iconic contemporary bronze sculptures by renowned sculptor, Vincent Da Silva, will be on display. Stripping away the perception of the subject, Da Silva aims to echo the raw essence expressed in his subjects by portraying an abstract quality of their accentuated natural movement and inherent grace. The family friendly festivities will be taking place outside Tables@Nitida, with its natural outdoor amphitheatre and lush lawn, ideal for a day of relaxation, fine wine, good music, art and slow food; and a dedicated children’s play area that will keep the little ones well entertained. An array of artisanal eats will be on sale, including Table’s salad and wrap bar with a vast selection of fresh ingredients from the harvest, the legendary slow roast pork belly sandwich, gourmet burgers and, for the kids, anything from pancakes and lollies to burgers and hotdogs. Local rock-and-roll band, Back On Track, will add some jubilant ambience, entertaining guests with their contemporary, up-tempo tracks. Nitida wines and an exciting Sauvignon Blanc Sangria will be available for purchase at the festival. Wine tasting will take place exclusively at the tasting room.  Look out for Nitida’s elegant new labels debuting at this year’s Seasons. Cassia and Tables@Nitida will trade as normal for those who prefer a sit-down meal. Reservations are essential. Entrance to the festival is free. For more information, kindly contact 021 976 1467 or visit www.nitida.co.za. For reservations at Cassia contact 021 976 0640, and for reservations at Tables@Nitida contact 021 975 9357
Sunday, 25th October BLAAUWKLIPPEN'S MARKET OCTOBERFEST will be another special event, with all traders decorating their stalls and food traders including delicious German delicacies on their menus. The popular Flamkuchen Girls will be around with some traditional 'spritzer' drinks and music will be provided by the Cape's premium Oompah band, The Songscape Beerfest Band. So make sure to join us for an exciting Octoberfest with a Blaauwklippen twist! Enquiries to +27 21 880 0133 www.blaauwklippen.com  Blaauwklippen is on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, opposite Techno Park Stellenbosch
Learn about wine and cooking We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here
The Hurst Campus, an accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here
In addition to his Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here
Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here
Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia
Nicolette van Niekerk runs baking courses at La Petite Patisserie in Montague Gardens
George Jardine will be running a series of winter cooking courses and other activities at Jordan. Details here

14th October 2015
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