Monthly Archives: May 2012
Performances by leading local and international musicians will once again be celebrated at the annual Nederburg Concert Series. Audiences will be entertained at the monthly concerts taking place from May through to December.
Liesl Stoltz, one of South Africa’s premier flautists, was the featured artist at the first concert that took place on Sunday, May 27. Stoltz, together with a handpicked ensemble, Albie van Schalkwyk (piano), Magda de Vries (percussion) and Brydon Walton (double bass), played the French composer Claude Bolling’s Jazz Suite for Flute & Piano Trio and a few other favourites.
Two national music competition winners will share the stage on June 24. Avigail Bushakevitz, the 2010 Unisa National String Competition winner will be joined by a previous SABC Music Prize winner, John Theodore, in a programme of virtuoso music for violin and piano. Avigail, who currently studies the violin at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, will perform violin sonatas by Bartok, Richard Strauss and Schubert.
Mark Nixon’s recital on July 29 includes Debussy’s exquisite Images, as well as transcriptions for the piano by Franz Liszt. SA-born Nixon is based in London and has received many prestigious awards during his career, including first prize in the Nederburg-UNISA National Piano Competition in 1998 and the accompanist’s prize in the English Singers and Speakers Union Song Competition in London in 1999.
The recital on August 26 will feature leading South African classical guitarist James Grace, and to mark Women’s Month his repertoire will be dedicated to the celebration of women. Grace is a sought-after concert artist and has appeared with many of the country’s orchestras.
For the second year in a row the September recital will feature some of South Africa’s leading young classical musicians. This year’s winner of the ATKV-Musiqanto Song Competition will be joined on 30 September by other up-and coming young professionals.
The recital on October 28 will feature two of the country’s most celebrated classical artists, the scintillating soprano Zanne Stapelberg and distinguished pianist, Francois du Toit. Accompanied by Du Toit, Stapelberg will serenade the audience with sultry French chansons and fiery Spanish songs. Music by Debussy, Ravel and Weil will be interspersed with popular classics by de Falla and Montsalvage, as well as the passionate Milonga from Astor Piazolla’s tango opera, Maria de Buenos Aires.
The traditional sunset picnic concert held on Saturday, 24 November will feature one of the country’s hottest fusion bands, Coda, together with performances from the winner of SABC2’s reality show, SA’s Got Talent, the brilliant tenor James Bhemgee, and leading cabaret artist Niël Rademan and a selected bans ensemble. These vocalists will entertain audiences with renditions of popular songs such as Besame Mucho and Gira con me, as well as opera arias, including, O sole Mio and Nessun Dorma. Fronted by dynamic vocalist, Zami Mdingi, Coda will deliver their trademark dance music that combines electric strings and Afro-jazz sax with infectious beats.
A New Year’s Eve picnic concert on 31 December is presented by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and will be a special treat for audiences. It starts at 19:30 and will end with a sensational finale just after midnight.
All classical recitals are hosted in the Nederburg Manor House and take place on Sundays at 17:00. Tickets are R170 per person and include drinks on arrival and during interval, as well as delicious light supper snacks served with fine Nederburg wines after the concert.
The festive sunset picnic concert in November takes place at 17h00 on the luscious lawns in front of the Manor House and the gates open at 15h00 to allow patrons to organise their picnic spots. Concert tickets are R80 for adults, while entry is free for children under 12 years. Delectable picnic platters can be ordered ahead of time and collected before the performance.
“Wine tourism is better developed in South Africa than any country we know,” writes The International Wine Review in its latest report on South African wine, part of which it devoted to its wine tourism.
The editor, Don Winkler, and publisher, Mike Potashnik, both from the US, visited the Winelands in December last year to evaluate the country’s top premium and ultra-premium wines and at the same time evaluated its wine tourism. The web-based International Wine Review is widely rated as one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine.
Winkler and Potashnik write that “while the country is located far from most foreign wine lovers, it offers huge rewards to those who visit its wine country. Most wineries have excellent tasting facilities and many have superb restaurants with spectacular mountain vineyard views…”
André Morgenthal, spokesperson for the Cape Town and Cape Winelands chapter of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC), which annually organises an international Best Of Wine Tourism competition, said: “That is high praise indeed, coming as it does on top of the US Weather Channel recently placing the Cape Winelands second after Andalucia in Spain on its annual list the world’s top ten wine trails.”
The GWC is a network of the world’s leading wine-producing cities and regions dedicated to advancing the standards of wine tourism. Its members, in addition to Cape Town-Cape Winelands, include Mainz-Rheinhessen (Germany), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa Valley (United States) and New Zealand’s Christchurch on South Island.
The municipalities of both Cape Town and Cape Winelands contribute to the running costs of the local competition.
The annual competition, which last year saw the La Motte estate near Franschhoek become the South African overall winner, has grown enormously in stature in the local wine industry as the importance of wine tourism in the Western Cape’s economy increases. It is estimated that wine tourism now generates annual income in excess of R5bn while also being a major job creator.
The attractions of the wine industry are seen as a major factor in the growth of Cape Town’s tourism which has maintained its impetus despite the global economic slump.
Morgenthal, who is also communications manager of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), said not only had the number of participating wineries in the competition escalated since Cape Town was inducted into the network in 2001, but the standard of entries had also greatly improved.
“I believe it is because participants have benefited substantially from benchmarking themselves against international best practice. The quality of facilities and services offered has improved greatly. Where choosing the winners was a fairly straightforward exercise in the early years it now requires hours of deliberation as virtually all the entries are of such a high standard that very little separates the ultimate winner from its closest competitors.”
Morgenthal encouraged local wineries to enter now for the 2013 competition. “We are awaiting entries in the seven categories in which awards are made and which include accommodation, architecture and landscapes, winery restaurants, innovative wine tourism experiences, art and culture and wine tourism services.” Entries should reach the organisers no later than 29 June. Entry forms can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/Ksqy5o.
The category finalists will be announced in the spring and the name of the overall winner at a gala event in Florence on 8 November.
As the saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and dads are no exception. Make this Father’s Day a memorable occasion and gather family and friends for a feast fit for a king at The Eatery at Durbanville Hills Wines.
There’s much to look forward to. Ease into a buffet-lunch with a delicious glass of Durbanville Hills Bastion on arrival, matched with a biltong and blue cheese soup or tomato, olive and basil tart. For the main course choose from hearty garlic and rosemary leg of lamb, short ribs braised in red wine and chicken roasted with red onions and thyme. Side dishes include creamy spinach and feta potato bake, Spanish wild rice and roasted seasonal vegetables. End the afternoon on a sinful note by indulging in brandy tart or crème brûlée.
Durbanville Hills’ wines will be on sale.
Date: Sunday, 17 June
Place: The Eatery at Durbanville Hills, Tygerberg Road (M13)
Time: 12.00 to 15.00
Cost: R169 per person (includes a glass of the 2010 Durbanville Hills Bastion on arrival, lunch and a gift for dad). Kids under 12 pay R89 for lunch.
Booking is essential and can be made by phoning 021 558 1337 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Avondale Wine Estate, in conjunction with Platter’s South African Wine Guide, held the fourth and final tasting of its Luna Taste Test project last Thursday 24th May at Dear Me in Cape Town.
The project, which tested the validity of the biodynamic calendar developed in the 1950’s by Maria Thun, was attended by a panel of Cape Town’s top wine aficionados. The experiment aimed to identify whether there was any truth in the theory that the taste of wine will vary depending on which time of the month it is consumed. According to the lunar calendar, there are four specific cycles; namely fruit, root, flower and leaf- with the fruit and flower cycles generally being regarded as the more favourable days for wine tasting. The panellists were to taste Avondale’s range of nature-friendly wines in four separate tastings and across four tasting cycles to ascertain whether there was any merit to this concept.
The panellists were kept in the dark as to which cycle they were experiencing for the duration of the project. After the fourth and final tasting, Avondale Proprietor Johnathan Grieve enlightened the team as to the order of the test cycles, the first being the Fruit (14th May), the second the Leaf (16th May), the third the Root (22nd May) and the final tasting being held in the Flower cycle (24th May).
What was interesting to note was the unanimous agreement on the differing characteristics of the wines in each respective cycle. The panel’s feedback was as follows:
Fruit tasting: The fruit notes were described by panellists as “almost overpowering”, with the wines appearing full-bodied and rich in character. Avondale’s Camissa was a firm favourite, with Wine Extra magazine’s Maryna Strachan remarking: “Camissa rosé blend is absolutely unique. Very distinct Turkish Delight and rose petal flavour on both nose and palate.”
Leaf tasting: The general consensus was that the wines tasted less sweet, with a dominant minerality. Wine writer and blogger Jonathan Snashall commented: “Day two stunned the panel because the wines were so different. Gone was Monday’s primary fruit exuberance to be replaced with more developed or tertiary aromas on the whites and more savoury notes on the reds. The wines could not have developed that much in 48 hours.”
Root tasting: The panel felt that the wines were “subdued” and tasted as if they had “gone to sleep”. “This 3rd tasting has convinced me this #lunatastetest has some merit, wines tasting different yet again,” Tweeted Maggie Mostert of Batonage blog.
Flower tasting: The panel collectively agreed that the flower day was the best tasting day overall for the wines. The wines were described as “expressive”, “elegant” and “more structured with a fresh, fuller-bodied character.” Cathy Marston, wine educator and journalist, felt that it was the best day for the Avondale red wines, in particular. “The wines are showing very beautifully tonight with a little less fruit and a little more elegance than day one.”
Grieve believes the variations experienced in Avondale’s wines in accordance with the cosmic cycles to be a good thing. “If there weren’t such marked differences, I would be disappointed that our BioLOGIC® approach to wine-faming was not reaping dividends!” he says.
“We would like to thank our fantastic team of panellists for being part of this experiment. The Luna Taste Test has convinced us that there is merit to the theory that the moon and planetary cycles influence the way we enjoy wine. The conclusion drawn has been that, with the exception of perhaps the Root cycle, there are no “good” and “bad” days for tasting- it would ultimately depend on the palate and preferences of the individual,” concludes Grieve.
The biodynamic lunar calendar can be found on Johnathan Grieve’s blog- click here.
Holden Manz, the magnificent boutique Franschhoek wine estate nestled between two rivers with majestic mountain views, boasts a prize-winning Bordeaux-style flagship, Big G 2009. With the same bold character as its formidable namesake, Holden Manz co-owner Gerard Holden, a former chemical engineer and mining financier, the Big G enjoys international acclaim with a Decanter Gold medal awarded in London last year.
This prized blend of Cabernet Franc (50%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) is a great food wine and a winning combination with Executive Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s Pacific Rim inspired pork belly at the Franschhoek Kitchen, the signature Holden Manz restaurant situated above the cellar.
For Holden Manz winemaker Schalk Opperman, the Big G is a staple with his favourite succulent steak on the coals or a traditional braai of fall-off-the-bone tender lamb chops.
Schalk describes the wine as an explosion of berry fruits and soft ripe tannins, creating a wonderfully balanced blend. “The Cabernet Franc, with its rich intensity of black fruit flavour and acid, along with the balanced tannins and depth of fruit in the Cabernet Sauvignon results in a deeply complex and unique wine. The finish lingers – the hallmark of a fine wine. When cellared correctly, this wine will be an exciting drinking experience for the next 10 years.”
The Holden Manz Big G 2009 is available at boutique wine shops and restaurants and sells for R145 at the cellar door.
The Holden Manz tasting room is open daily from 10h00 to 17h00. The Franschhoek Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays and Sundays for lunch, but will be closed in June. Call 021-8762729 or e-mail email@example.com for bookings.
Visit Holden Manz on Facebook or www.holdenmanz.com. To reach Holden Manz, turn right at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and follow the signs for two kilometres.
GPS coordinates: Latitude: 33° 56’ 7” S; Longitude: 19° 6’ 54” E.
Innovation, benchmarking and the sharing of knowledge spanning three decades of winemaking excellence, is the proud accomplishment of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
The Guild, an association of some of the finest winemakers recognised for their high standards of craftsmanship, has evolved over the past 30 years into a body of 45 members who jointly represent the pinnacle of South African wine achievement. All experts in their respective fields, Guild members have played a significant role in the development of the South African wine industry. From the introduction of small oak barrels, the making of champion port-style wines, the establishment of Méthode Cap Classique and the creation of Bordeaux-style and above all, Cape blends, to the opening up of new, cooler wine regions, improvements in plant material and the introduction of sustainable farming and environmentally responsible wines, Guild members have always been at the forefront of innovation.
It all began on 24 August 1982 when eight enthusiastic winemakers with a singular vision got together in the home of the Guild’s founding chairman, Billy Hofmeyr, at Welgemeend in Paarl to establish the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild. A ground-breaking association of independent winemakers, the Guild had one objective in mind – to pool their resources and knowledge in order to craft great South African wines that would stand out amongst the best in the world. Five of the founding members, Kevin Arnold, Jan Boland Coetzee, Etienne le Riche, Peter Finlayson and Braam van Velden remain active members of the Guild today, the others being Billy Hofmeyr, Walter Finlayson and Achim von Arnim. Professor Joel van Wyk, who attended the first meeting as an invited guest, became the Guild’s first honorary life member. From the onset, knowledge sharing and benchmarking was the major focus of the Guild and members would taste wines from around the world and compare them to their own wines.
At the time of the Guild’s establishment, the wine industry was dominated by the large conglomerates, KWV, Stellenbosch Farmers Winery and Gilbeys and South Africa was immersed in a period of isolation and sanctions. Kevin Arnold, appointed secretary at the Guild’s first formal meeting, recalls that during that time, few wines were exported and South African wines did not enjoy international acclaim. Imported wines were also hard to come by and only a select few had the privilege of owning a private wine collection.
The establishment of the Guild gave independent winemakers a collective voice and opportunity to change the status quo. As a result stringent membership criteria were adopted restricting membership to independent winemakers who were wholly involved in the vineyards, winemaking and bottling as well as marketing their own wines themselves.
Keen to encourage exports and fill their empty containers, Safmarine became the Guild’s first sponsor, helping members to ship their wines to the United Kingdom through the London based marketing company, Southern Hemisphere Wines. Guild wines were even showcased at the London Trade Fair during the early years. At the 1990 International Wine and Spirit Competition, eight Guild wines were awarded gold medals, the highest number attained by any one South African organisation participating in this prestigious competition at the time. In addition, the Guild brought home the Packaging Trophy for its Auction wine label.
Cape Winemakers Guild Auction
The first Guild Auction took place in September 1985 in Rosebank, Johannesburg, in association with Sotheby’s with seasoned wine auctioneer David Molyneux-Berry who would preside over the first seven Guild Auctions all held in Johannesburg, tasked with selling the wines. Walter Finlayson, who was manager of the Guild’s first six auctions, recalls the nervous anticipation leading up to that first auction and describes the bidding process as “very exciting”. Renowned auctioneer, Stephan Welz teamed up with Sotheby’s to host the auction in 1988. Nedbank American Express sponsored the last two Johannesburg auctions in 1990 and 1991.
Back then already the preceding auction week created a great sense of excitement, with a “family-like” atmosphere as families played golf and attended the Stephan Welz dinner, drawing great interest from winemakers and local residents. Today still, the preceding auction week creates a hive of activity with the Guild Sports Day where the public can join members for a game of golf or boules or attend dinners with the winemakers at winery restaurants.
In 1992, the Guild Auction moved to Cape Town under the management of Robin Grier, late father of longstanding Guild member, Jeff Grier, with well-known South African wine personality, Dave Hughes, conducting the auction. For the next five years, the Michael James Organisation took charge of the auction before handing over the gavel to the Guild’s current auctioneer, Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills in 1998.
1996 saw the start of a 17 year association with Nedbank, who became the official sponsor of the Cape Winemakers Guild and its Auction. It was not until 2000 that the Guild changed its name, under the chairmanship of Carl Schultz, from the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild to Cape Winemakers Guild. This opened the door to prominent winemakers employed by the larger organisations to become members of the Guild. Carl recalls how the lifting of sanctions in the post-democracy years brought about a new buoyancy in the market and the word “independent” began to lose its value as trading opened up.
In the 1990’s, which heralded major transformation and the end of sanctions against South Africa, international buyers began showing an interest in the Guild Auction and by 1999, 50% of all the auction purchases came from overseas buyers. Today the interest from local buyers exceeds the international contingent with 70% of the total auction sales of over R5-million going to local buyers in 2011.
Despite the huge success of these auctions, Etienne le Riche states that it was not intended for the Guild to have any commercial function and that the auction was incidental, and secondary, to those primary objectives of the Guild, namely to elevate the quality standards of South African winemaking and to gain international recognition.
All wines that go under the hammer at the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction are made exclusively for the auction by members of the Guild. Until 2010 wines were selected meticulously by a tasting panel but under the Chairmanship of Louis Strydom, new selection criteria were adopted the following year in an effort to boost creativity and achieve greater diversity of wine styles. In terms of the new criteria members themselves can now decide whether or not to submit a wine for the auction provided it is free of any technical defects and the highest standards of wine health measurement are met.
Membership of the Cape Winemakers Guild
The new millennium saw the Cape Winemakers Guild evolve into an association with newfound energy, fervour and business acumen to raise the bar in South African winemaking. The name change and new admission criteria heralded a new generation of young winemakers into the Guild bringing new expertise and perspectives into the organisation. During the first decade of the newly constituted Cape Winemakers Guild, the membership grew by an astounding 80%. The Guild Auction also grew in stature from a niche event to the country’s definitive public wine action with annual Showcases launched in in Cape Town in 2001 followed by Johannesburg in 2002 to enable the public to taste the Auction wines. The new Guild logo, the iconic key, gave the Guild wines a unique brand identity and the appointment of a business advisor in 2004 created a solid business platform for the Guild.
While the Guild has defined clear business objectives with its annual Auction, the sharing of knowledge is as important today as it was 30 years ago and monthly technical tastings of local and international wines remain a major priority for the members.
Today, the 45 top winemakers who make up the Cape Winemakers Guild continue to raise wine standards higher than ever before, single-mindedly striving to extract the full potential from the unique South African terroir and to set new world-class benchmarks for South African winemaking. Membership of the Guild is by invitation only and is extended to winemakers who have been responsible for the production of outstanding wines for a minimum of five years.
Over the past three decades some of the original stalwarts have reached a stage in their careers, where they are no longer at the coalface in the wineries but continue to make a crucial contribution as respected authorities to the industry as a whole. To ensure that this valuable expertise and knowledge is safeguarded within the Guild, provision was made at the end of 2011 for an additional membership category of Technical Member. This enables members who no longer fulfil the requirements of the Producing Membership category to remain active members of the Guild even though they will no longer submit wines to the annual Guild Auction.
Acknowledging its trailblazers is enshrined in the very fabric of the Guild, whose list of Honorary Members includes Francois Naude, Norma Ratcliffe, Johann Krige, Walter Finlayson and Lynne Sherriff.
Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust and Protégé Programme
In 1999 in association with Nedbank, the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust was established to support social development through education in wineland communities. Over the years the Development Trust has supported numerous learners at schools such as the Landbouskool Boland and Jan Kriel School amongst others.
In 2006 under the chairmanship of Philip Costandius, the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a first for the wine industry, was launched with the goal of bringing about transformation by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence. The mentorship programme gives Viticulture and Oenology graduates the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Guild members. To date eight Protégés have participated in the programme, including Howard Booysen and Praisy Dlamini who have both graduated from the programme. The Guild currently has six protégés completing the three year internship programme.
In addition to the internships, the Protégé Programme also offers bursaries to final year Viticulture and Oenology students at Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg Agricultural College.
The 28th annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction takes place on Saturday, 6 October 2012 at 09h00 at Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands.
Tel: +27 +21 852 0408.
Perdeberg Winery, home to Paarl, launches their 2012 vintage of Chenin Blanc at the Good Food & Wine Show, Cape Town. Fergill Fortuin, Brand Manager at Perdeberg says, “Consumers and Trade are always looking for the most crisp and freshest white and this show offers the perfect platform for utter indulgence in our 2012 Chenin. This very aromatic Chenin Blanc will fill their glasses with exciting and voluptuous flavors right to the brim.”
The grapes were harvested in the early morning hours at optimum ripeness; free run juice was drained promptly and quickly and chilled to 12˚C. The juice was left overnight to settle and racked off the lees the following morning. The juice was inoculated with selected wine yeast and fermented under controlled conditions over a period of 10 days at 12-14˚C. After alcoholic fermentation was 100% completed the wine was left on the lees for some time to gain extra flavor and texture. Carla Herbst, winemaker and fifth harvest at Perdeberg says, “The 2012 Chenin shows great character and is truly a stunning wine!”
A fusion of fruitiness and finesse, the wine enters the palate with freshness and a well balanced acidity that support the everlasting flavors of citrus, lime and kiwifruit leaving a long and tantalizing aftertaste to linger for quit some time. This refreshing and food- friendly white is recommended to be enjoyed with cold canapés, salads or with any meal your heart desires.
The 2012 Chenin Blanc will be included in the Perdeberg collection as a continuation of the ever so popular wine. It is expected to retail around R32.99 and will be available at selected Checkers, SPAR, PnP and wholesale outlets.
This winter make sure you bring the Du Toitskloof Red Muscadel not only to your fireside as an after-dinner treat but also to your kitchen. Make it part of your cooking and you’ll be amazed at just how versatile this flavourful dessert wine is.
Add it to lamb shanks as it slowly simmers until tender or to a plum sauce to accompany roast duck; use it to poach pears to bring out their rich flavours or simply pour a chilled glass of Muscadel to enjoy with nuts, cured meats and cheeses in front of the fire.
The grapes for this Muscadel came from a single vineyard of 10-year-old Muscat de Frontignan bush vines which yielded only six tons per hectare. By harvesting when the berries had already become raisiny, a wonderful mélange of raisins, tea-leaf, honey, roses, luscious litchi and mango flavours were achieved in the wine.
The Du Toitskloof Red Muscadel is available from leading liquor outlets and the cellar and retails for about R45 per bottle.
Emile Fortuin adds adventurous taste to traditional Cape cuisine
Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel, a gourmet gem of the Breede River Valley which takes pride in lending culinary bliss to this 5-star boutique hotel in the eponymous town of Robertson, sizzles with a newly appointed Executive Chef, Emile Fortuin.
Protégé of one of South Africa’s best-known culinary success stories, Reuben Riffel, Emile stays true to his mentor’s simple food philosophy and gives traditional Cape cuisine a new lease on life by adding an adventurous spin to the home-grown tastes and produce he experienced while growing up.
“Born and bred in Franschhoek, I loved spending time in my godmother’s kitchen especially when the whole family had to roll up their sleeves in preparation for the big church bazaar. My job was to prepare the makataan or as we call it, kafferwaatlemoen, for the jam as well as the tripe for the curry brawn terrine. With Aunt Niesie’s biryani, Grandma’s coconut doughnuts, Godmother’s spicy tomato noodle salad and Mom’s chocolate and strawberry lamingtons we casually cooked up a sumptuous feast in no time,” shares Emile.
Without any formal training and culinary qualifications under his belt, this young chef came a long way in a very short period of time. After his matriculation in 2006, Emile was discovered during a brief working stint at the Bread and Wine Restaurant at the Moreson Estate in Franschhoek by none other than Susan Huxter, the owner of this establishment along with the world-renowned Le Quartier Francais luxury hotel.
“I was peeping through a wooden fence to see what the charcuterie chef, Neil Jewell, was doing and Susan saw me and offered me an in-house training job at her 5-star hotel on the spot. During that period I met the likes of world-renowned culinary genius, Margot Janse, Executive Chef of Le Quartier Français and Chef Chris Erasmus of Pierneef á La Motte and this is then when my passion for cooking really ignited,” shares an enthused chef.
In search of an adventurous culinary career, Emile landed a job at Reuben’s Restaurant in Franschhoek in 2008 where he worked his way up from barman to an assistant chef before filling the shoes of Executive Chef at Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel.
“I still remember the day when I asked Reuben if I could join his kitchen team. He handed me a chef’s jacket and a 10 kg bag of potatoes and he told me that I have ten minutes to peel all the potatoes and seven days to prove myself worthy in his kitchen. I’m forever grateful for the life-changing opportunity he gave me,” adds Emile.
Today, with the guidance of Reuben as concept chef, Emile is ready to set his own course at the luxurious ten-suite The Robertson Small Hotel. Constantly on the hunt, he sources and utilizes exciting local produce to conjure up seasonal contemporary classics that are honest and without frills yet showcase vibrancy in taste, colour and texture.
Fully aware of the latest gastronomic trends, he aims to create a feast of unpretentious dishes with a sustainable conscience by using the finest indigenous and heritage ingredients – and transforming them into contemporary sensations that saturate the senses.
“Today, sustainability is created and supported by having your own vegetable and herb garden or even breeding your own fish, and then serving it in your restaurant. It is the way to go. I explore with new meat cuts and reduce our carbon footprint by relying heavily on local produce,” adds Emile.
Guests dining at the relaxed, bistro-style Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel where Emile shares his culinary flair with onlookers from his open-plan kitchen, can look forward to a myriad of hearty temptations on his ever-changing Winter Menu.
Think rustic Groenboontjie (green bean) Stew; Warm Beef Tongue Salad with black pudding or an earthy Mushroom Consommé. Carnivores will love his Braised Oxtail with Mascarpone soft polenta and crispy beacon while his signature Pork Belly aims to please palates all season long.
His Potato Spinach Cakes served with a traditional Cape-style tomato smoortjie (a thick smothering-styled sauce) highlights a comforting vegetarian lineup. His mood-uplifting desserts include a Grand Marnier Orange soufflé enriched with Klipdrift gold chocolate foam and a warm Jan Ellis pudding with spiced custard and Bulgarian yoghurt ice cream.
He absolutely loves the challenge when it comes to innovative cooking, using mainly in-season ingredients, particularly in winter when the choice is limited. The anticipation, the waiting for the classics such as beetroot, turnip, parsnip, naartjies, oranges and persimmon to arrive and then to enjoy them during their time, is what makes him tick and fuels his creative culinary spirit.
Not your typical fiery chef, Emile is laidback and very likeable – and when he speaks he sounds just like Reuben! His love of food comes from his heart and as a result he has mastered a broad range of cuisines.
“The Breede River Valley has a lifestyle second to none. We have access to beautiful ingredients, great local talent and an endless supply of award-winning wines. What more could one want,” shares a man who values butter as the ultimate ingredient.
Emile’s innovative cuisine infused with South African influences enhances the overall Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel dining experience by offering an elegant yet country-style affair with a touch of local flare.
During the winter months, Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel will be open daily for breakfast and dinner whilst private lunch and dinner parties and group bookings can also be reserved. Bookings are essential. To reserve your table contact the restaurant at Tel: (+27)23 626 7200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on The Robertson Small Hotel
Chic sophistication meets old-world charm at The Robertson Small Hotel, a luxurious 5-star country retreat in the heart of the scenic Breede River Valley – a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town – which has been carved out of a gracious 1909 Victorian manor house.
With 10 spacious luxury en-suite bedrooms, a gourmet signature restaurant – Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel, a wellness room, tranquil gardens and shimmering pools, combined with offering unsurpassed attention to detail and country hospitality at its most refined, the understated elegance of this boutique hotel is refreshingly unique.
Each of the air-conditioned rooms is cocooned with its own unique celebration of modern design and fusion of eclectic yet comfortable furnishings whilst reflecting an appreciation for space. These deluxe suites not only provide solace for the soul, but are also fitted with the latest technology to cater for the needs of the trendy traveler and businessman.
The Robertson Small Hotel was voted Best Country Luxury Hotel in South Africa at the 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
For more information on the hotel and its winter accommodation packages visit www.therobertsonsmallhotel.com or contact Tel: (+27)23 626 7200.
The Robertson Small Hotel is located at 58 Van Reenen Street, Robertson, Western Cape.
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 has been crowned best South African Red Bordeaux Varietal over £10 in London after winning the Regional Trophy at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards.
A worthy successor to the award winning 2009 vintage, which clinched a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards last year, the Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 is crafted at Die Bergkelder by winemaker Justin Corrans and cellarmaster Andrea Freeborough.
Made in the classic, full-bodied Bordeaux style from three prized Stellenbosch vineyard blocks nurtured by viticulturist Bennie Liebenberg, this Cabernet Sauvignon is Andrea’s favourite of the Fleur du Cap Unfiltered wines. It is complex, with eloquent hints of fruit cake, subtle nuances of mocha and spicy oak aromas. Concentrated plum and blackberry fruit follow through on the palate complemented by balanced, integrated oak flavours. With its firm and grippy tannins, giving a velvety texture that lingers on the finish, the longevity of this wine is ensured.
The results of the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards were announced at the London Trade Fair. Already in its 9th year, the Decanter judges tasted a total of 14 119 wines making 2012 the largest ever for this prestigious competition.
The award winning Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 will be released later this year. For more information visit www.fleurducap.co.za, fleurducap.tumblr.com or join the Fleur du Cap Facebook community.
As Africa Day dawned on Friday morning, Gugulethu preened her magnificent feathers for the second annual Tops Spar Gugulethu Wine Festival – and, may I say, a sight to behold, for many centuries to come.
Wine labels – perhaps scarce in its first year – clamored this time around for an opportunity to be part of the Western Cape wine affair of 2012, and no less than 50 valued brands made the cut (more than doubling the number of exhibitors in its first year).
In fact, the only number outshining the exhibitors was the visitors! More than doubling the footfall to this year’s festival, the Gugulethu Wine Festival has become the wine fest to be at and to be seen at.
Flung into the who’s who, not only by exhibitors, but also by its visitors, the Gugulethu Wine Festival, firmly – and within an extremely short lifespan – has crafted an irreversible niche to the delight of Gug’s residents and that of founder member, Mzoli Ngcawuzele, who started the initiative in memory of his late son, Mandisi.
“As the first person from Gugulethu to ever bottle wine, I took onto myself the duty to introduce people from the region to learn more, and respect the culture of drinking wine,” Ngcawuzele, of Mzoli’s Wines, said.
His pride in the project apparent in the way he yearns to expose his people to the real culture of enjoying wine. “We need to teach people the right way to enjoy wine, and what better place to do so than at Mzoli’s Square?”
He said, apart from the unique opportunity to teach people in the area about wine and how to enjoy it, they were also creating a lot of job opportunities through this project.
Marilyn Cooper of the Cape Wine Academy, who shares Ngcawuzele’s passion for wine education, said, unlike the traditionally ‘white’ wine drinking crowd, the festival-goers in Gugulethu demand answers about the process of making wine and why they should actually be drinking it.
“Traditionally, white consumers of wine are very reserved with their comment. At a festival like the one in Gugulethu, winemakers are challenged as to WHY people should drink or enjoy their wines.” She said the wine makers on exhibit find this train of thought invigorating and insightful and enjoy explaining the process of delivering what the end user get to enjoy.
One of the exhibitors, Pieter Hanekom of Akkerdal, reiterated this by saying visitors to his stand were really interested in the process it took to make the wine. “It is important to tell people that there is a designated time to enjoy different drinks – as much as there are different wines that go with different dishes, there are different drinks that go with different occasions.”
Entertainment was at the core of the festival and the hugely popular Unathi Msengana entertained the crowds along with the Gugulethu Tenors to the absolute delight of visitors.
Prominent Swartland grape farmer’s first wines under own label
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards, owned by Willie Dreyer and situated in the Swartland, has launched the Leeuwenkuil range of four fine wines into the South African retail wine market following a successful launch in the USA, under the name Lion’s Lair.
As one of the Swartland’s leading grape growers, Leeuwenkuil has played an under-the-radar role in the so-called Swartland Revolution, supplying grapes to most of its revolutionaries. Led by Eben Sadie, and later joined by other notable winemakers such as Chris and Andrea Mullineux, Adi Badenhorst, Marc Kent, and others, most of them set up shop in the shadows of the Paardeberg and Kasteelberg, near the towns of Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek West. These intrepid winemakers sourced their grapes from “… low yielding, appropriate to locations, often bushvine, mainly dryland, largely unfashionable old vineyards with limited commercial viability to mainstream producers,” as so eloquently described by Michael Fridjhon, when opening the first Swartland Revolution Weekend in November 2010.
From these emerged top quality Chenin blanc and Shiraz, and interesting Rhône-style blends, which have attracted the attention of international and national media as the up and coming wine area in the Cape Winelands. The four Leeuwenkuil wines are made with this vinously intrepid spirit in mind, and use the two Revolution flag bearers of Chenin blanc and Shiraz, each as a single varietal wine and each as the major cultivar in a blend.
Leeuwenkuil, the historic farm in the Paardeberg area of the Swartland, has been chosen as the name for this exciting new range of wines because it symbolises the pioneering spirit of the Dreyer family, whose forefathers protected their cattle from the Cape Lion. Willie and Emma Dreyer and their five children live on the farm, in the immaculately restored manor house surrounded by the original werf.
The classical and elegant white Leeuwenkuil label (as shown above) has a gold logo that craftily blends a lion’s head into a vine leaf. All the wines are bottled with screwcap closures.
The Leeuwenkuil wine range comprises:
Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc 2011
The wine is refined and racy. It is redolent of green apple, granadilla and guava. Good minerality leads to a fresh finish. In the vineyards: 28-Year old goblets (type of ancient dryland vine training system) consistently produce these superior quality grapes. In the cellar: The grapes were picked at varying degrees of ripeness. The wine spent six months on the lees prior to bottling. Food pairing suggestions: Enjoy by the glass, or pair with light fare such as fish, shellfish, white meats and salads. It’s ready to drink right now – on the patio.
Approximate retail price is R40.
Alc 12.5% TA 6.3g/ℓ pH 3.35 RS 1.5g/ℓ
Detailed fact sheet: http://www.leeuwenkuilfv.co.za/Wines.htm
Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2011
This lightly oaked wine is made in a lighter, fresher and fruit-forward style. The wine has opulent, bright fruit and has a beautifully elegant palate with round tannins, layered with clove spice, ripe cherries and violets. In the vineyards: The predominant soil-type found in these Shiraz vineyards has sandy-loam topsoil with well-structured subsoil formed on weathered rock. This soil has good water holding capacity, providing the much needed water during the hot summers in this dry-land vineyard. In the cellar: Fermented in stainless steel tanks on skins and aged on oak staves. Food pairing suggestions: Pair with feast-worthy foods such as roast duck, grilled meats or spicy tomato pasta. Drink now and over the next couple of years.
Approximate retail price is R55.
Alc 13.5% TA 6.0g/ℓ pH 3.48 RS 2.5g/ℓ
Detailed fact sheet: http://www.leeuwenkuilfv.co.za/Wines.htm
Leeuwenkuil Family Reserve White 2011
This Chenin blanc dominated blend shows peach, citrus and melon aromas with delicate floral and vanilla notes. It shows length on the palate with a lingering, fruity aftertaste. The wine is a blend of 50% Chenin blanc, 20% Roussanne, 16% Grenache blanc, 10% Clairette blanche and 4% Verdelho. The latter four varietals add complexity and depth to the blend. In the vineyards: With the oldest vine being planted in 1977 and the youngest in 2005, a wide variety of vineyards were used in making this blend. Generally the crop was reduced to one bunch per shoot to enhance flavour concentration. When picked, grape sugar levels varied between 23⁰ and 25⁰ Balling. Each varietal was picked at its required ripeness and fermented individually. Fermentation took place in a combination of stainless steel tanks and barrels. The oak assemblage ranged, in capacity and age, from new 500ℓ to 4th-fill 225ℓ barrels, and 5000ℓ French-oak tronconic tanks. The barrelled wine was matured on its primary lees for 5 months, followed by blending and bottling. Food-pairing suggestions: This wine would be outstanding with anything with a spicy kick, or just as enjoyable on its own. The wine is drinking well now and will continue to do so for another four years.
Approximate retail price is R55.
Alc 13.5% TA 6.0g/ℓ pH 3.48 RS 2.5g/ℓ
Detailed fact sheet: http://www.leeuwenkuilfv.co.za/Wines.htm
Leeuwenkuil Family Reserve Red 2011
This is a dark-centred wine with wild berries, liquorice and red fruit on the nose. Firm tannins are complemented by hints of black pepper and spice that lead to a lasting finish. The wine is a blend of 85% Shiraz, 6% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache and 4% Cinsaut, all yielding less than 6 tons per hectare. In the vineyards: A combination of trellised vines and goblets, between the ages of 5 and 10 years, produced these high quality grapes. The ancient goblet method of vine training involves no wires or other system of support, and results in a goblet shaped growth. The method is often found in warm, long-established (nutrient-depleted) vineyards of France, such as the southern parts of Burgundy, the Rhône Valley, Provence and Languedoc. The vines are grown on Leeuwenkuil’s predominant soil type, which has sandy-loam topsoil and well-structured subsoil, formed on weathered rock. Being a low-rainfall area, supplementary irrigation is used. In the cellar: A combination of barrel matured and tank-made wines proved to be the winning recipe with this blend. The Shiraz was picked and fermented in 2-ton batches, using only open-fermenters. 2nd fill and older 500ℓ French oak barrels and 5000ℓ tronconic tanks were used for maturation, while other components went through natural fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Food pairing suggestions: Enjoy with red meat such as pot-roasted venison, lamb or game. Also complements rich flavoured cheeses and spicy food. The wine should mature well for a further five years.
Approximate retail price is R60.
Alc 14% TA 5.4g/ℓ pH 3.59 RS 2.8g/ℓ
Detailed fact sheet: http://www.leeuwenkuilfv.co.za/Wines.htm
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards has entered into a marketing joint venture with Vinimark The Wine Company, South Africa’s largest independent specialist wine wholesaling company. This will see Leeuwenkuil wines widely distributed nationally to liquor stores, supermarkets and restaurants. Vinimark will also oversee Leeuwenkuil’s export drive.
The wine business of Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyads
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards is a multi-faceted wine business. Historically it has grown grapes on its four farms, two in the Swartland and two in the Paarl district, one of which is in the Voor Paardeberg ward. The four Dreyer farms, collectively, are the largest single grape growers in the Coastal Region (Wine of Origin) harvesting over 1 100 hectares a year that yield 9 000 tons. 10% of their grapes are sold to such illustrious names as Fairview, Kleine Zalze and KWV, to a number of the Swartland Revolutionaries, and many others. After breaking away from Perdeberg Winery in 2008, Leeuwenkuil set up their own (leased) cellar on Bottelary Road, near Stellenbosch. Here, besides making the Leeuwenkuil range, they offer a grape crushing service, a custom winemaking service for other brands, and blending facilities.
Experienced and Stellenbosch Unversity-degreed wine men, Winemaker Pieter Carstens and Managing Director Kobus de Kock set up the business operations, which they now manage with pragmatism, insight and integrity. Their focus is on providing a professional service while building strong relationships with their clients.
The four farms have a wide variety of soil types, and viticulturist Koos van der Merwe and his vineyard team are very scientific in coaxing the best vines out of the soils of the Swartland, which is renowned for its Rhône-like climate and growing conditions.
Koos has been responsible for the development of many of the farms’ new vineyards. Whilst not certified organic, the vineyards are managed on sound sustainability principles.
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards is not yet open to the public for wine tasting.