Monday, November 23, 2015

Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards at La Residence, Franschhoek

This glittering affair was held at La Residence in Franschhoek on Saturday night where the Winemaker of the year Award went to Johann Fourie of KWV for the Mentors Pinotage. The Young Winemaker of the year was Phillip Viljoen of Bon Courage for his NLH. It was a chance to put on one’s best bib and tucker and enjoy the good wines entered into the competition with dinner
Very welcoming staff ...
...with glasses of Graham Beck Brut MCC
Lots of canapés were served
and film crews and photographers mingled with the Black Tie guests on the terrace. John confused them by being both in Black tie and a photographer
Nederburg's Razvan Macici with journalist Norman McFarlane
Emma Borg of Painted Wolf Wines with Lynne and Carrie Adams, who had flown down from Johannesburg to attend
Judges Carrie Adams, Colin Frith and Dave Hughes with Bartinney winemaker and Colin Frith's partner Ronell Wiid
Interesting choice of socks by Dave Hughes, better known for not wearing them. Must say, good polish on those carefully looked after shoes!
We take our seats at the long tables
And get to know each other. There was a good mix of sponsors, Diners Club, Standard Bank, winemakers and media
Bartho Eksteen of the Wijnskool Project with Willie du Plessis, Head: Business Banking Western Cape at Standard Bank Group. Willie knows the wine industry very well, as his previous position was Head of Agribusiness
Bartho with his wife Suné
MC for the evening was glamorous TV presenter Jeannie D.
CEO of Diners Club in SA , Ebrahim Matthews making the opening speech
He was followed by Chris Sweeney, Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking, International at Standard Bank, who made a most amusing speech
Two of the nominees Johann Fourie of KWV with his wife and Margaux Nel of Boplaas with her winemaker partner Leon Coetzee
Chris Sweeney and last year's winner of the Young Wine Maker of the year, JD Pretorius, about to present the award
JD told us how much the award has enhanced his career and how much he enjoyed the trip to USA wine areas which comes with the award. It is sponsored by Delta Airlines
Finalist Murray Barlow, Rustenberg cellarmaster, and his fiancée
And the winner is: Phillip Viljoen of Bon Courage for his NLH
The valiant and courageous speech by Philip Viljoen, who admitted that his slight stutter does impede him somewhat, as it is an effort to speak
He was so charming
The menu
The starter was served with Philip Viljoen's Bon Courage Noble Late Harvest.
It was an unusual, but well-matched, pairing of a rather unyielding slice of camembert with a fresh apricot and some fruit brioche, pickled onions and vegetables and micro herbs. The wine was superb
Winemaker of the year award being presented to Johann Fourie of KWV for his Mentors Pinotage 2013 by CEO of Diners Club in SA , Ebrahim Matthews
Johann, generously, said that he would share the award with the entire Mentors team at KWV, who helped to make the wine
The winning wine was served with our main course and is a classic Cape Pinotage. It needs time, but you can see and taste the potential
Our neighbours across the table, Christa and André Jonker of the Standard Bank, were enjoying it too
Main course was a meltingly tender seared fillet of beef on a parsnip purée and was complemented by a wonderful rich and sticky sour cherry and dark chocolate jus. It came with rainbow carrots, fine beans and beetroot crisps. It was a very good food pairing with the Pinotage
Dessert looked very pretty, was very sweet and was served with a glass of Bon Courage's Jacques Bruére MCC Brut. It was a good mulberry macaron, a rather thin avocado sorbet (perhaps ice cream would have been a better texture?) and a rather thick slice of coconut panna cotta with a whiff of lemongrass
One of our favourite Radio presenters from KFM/Cape Talk and journalist on the Sunday Times Redi and her husband Dr Brian Thlabi had flown down for the event. Photographs do not show Redi's vibrant beauty
The band got the dancers going especially with their rendition of HAPPY!
And then after a great evening, it was time for the shuttle back to our hotel and “Time for bed”, said Zebedee
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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