While it is easy to be seduced by Adelaide, the €100 a bottle 2009 field blend from Vallado, the real power of this Douro Boy lies in his entry level 2009 blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Souzao. 2,400 vs. 230,000 bottles and at €7, one of the best Douro deals outside of Pingo Doce, the 50%-off specialists.
“Will I see you at the Titanic dinner next month?” enquired Richard Astor, partner with Mark Solms in the most progressive winery in Franschhoek, if not the entire SA, yesterday. The occasion was their annual oesfees, which brings the kief , kool and kleurvol to a former fruit farm of Cecil John Rhodes in the shadow of the Drakenstein Mountain. We were sheltering from the pitiless sun under a spreading oak on Solms-Delta farm while Richard and Mark were looking for something to eat. A time consuming task as the lunch queues were of British dimensions – many and long.
There are two questions on everyone’s lips re. the Saturday auction of Quoin Rock. Where did Bobby Jordan get that photo? It looks like Wendy is giving Shoprite Whitey the evil eye. The one with Clare Mack at Wendy’s last auction, the Nederburg Auction (below) celebrating the bottle stickers for Clare’s 100 Women 100 Wines competition, an edgy feminist initiative right up Wendy’s weg, is far better.
It certainly looks like it, as the Top Four in Abi’s national Top Ten eateries are all built environment: greenHOUSE, testKITCHEN, tastingROOM and roundHOUSE. She may come over all Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and claim that 2011 is the year of the egg and the wild sorrel, but bricks and mortar are a better call. And she’s not the only one.
The Fleur du Cap Top Ten Cape Town dining destinations of little Irish devil Clare Mack includes the foodBARN and hemelHUIJS, confirming that Clare is with the foodie architectural zeitgeist. Real Belly of an Architect stuff by Peter Greenaway which explains why Abi’s #1 eatery is the greenHOUSE! No surprise she chose TABLE@demeye as the best country style kombuis, either.
The inaugural edition of the Fleur du Cap Top 100 Places to Eat in Cape Town 2011 has blown the lid off the pressure cooker of SA food awards. Receiving his scroll for Top Ten Place to Eat in Cape Town and the Peninsular, the Cape’s first celebrity chef Franck Dangereux, from the Food Barn in Noordhoek, declared himself well pleased that more voices had been added to the Cape’s chorus of restaurant critics, to enthusiastic applause from some of the Cape’s most famous chefs. Here are three of them: Giorgio Nava, Harald Bresselschmidt and Franck.Read More…
It’s been an amazing week of women taking ownership of wine. It kicked off with 100 women choosing 100 wines in Cape Town with Clare Mack and then I met Libby Pietersen at the Soweto Wine Festival last night. As it says on her banner “as a black South African WOMAN I offer… Elegance, Style and a Truly Unique Taste.” Coming a week after SA wine farmers were tarred and feathered by Human Rights Watch and labeled as slave drivers, as MD of her own company, Libby is the contradiction that’s worth 1000 press releases from wine industry quangos. As was Chris Barron’s evisceration of the HRW report in the Sunday Times. The man is an expert in writing obituaries, which he did for the HRW report.Read More…
The news that the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group [SBIG] has secured sponsorship from First National Bank for a continuation of the controversial Sauvigon Blanc Challenge from defunct WINE magazine, confirms that wine marketing abhors a vacuum. But has the market moved on? Consumers buy wine for occasions: a Sunday braai, wedding anniversary, book club and not by varietal. Most punters think that rosé is a cultivar.
This is the seminal idea behind Clare Mack’s revolutionary 100 Women, 100 Wines event that went down at the V&A hotel at the Waterfront yesterday. And rather than pointy headed “professional” pundits from Pinelands, Clare brought ordinary women together from Pretoria, Porterville and Putsonderwater to choose them, courtesy of 1Time Airlines. Ladies were selected by a competition run in Destiny magazine, the most popular competition Destiny has ever run.Read More…
On Friday, the eight judges of the ABSA Top Ten Pinotage Competition were faced with 29 wines being the best rated of the wines tasted the previous two days. Our task was to choose a Top Ten – or top dozen actually, as the wines were to be sent to a lab to test for bacterial faults and the possible presence of coffee beans. Of course, choosing a Top Ten is not the same as ranking the wines from “best” to “worst” and then cutting and pasting a personal top ten – the whole point of a Top Ten is to showcase the diversity of styles available. After all, wasn’t the most sensible thing WOSA every said “variety is in our nature?”
And anyway, how do you compare a soft Pinot Noir style to a tight tannic terroir-driven titan to a Bordeaux-style berry blaster? It depends on the dish, the desire and the wallet. This point was most eloquently made by Malcolm Gladwell in What the Dog Saw (Little, Brown, 2010). Considering the ketchup conundrum (how come mustard is offered in dozens of varieties but ketchup has but a single style) he interviews “a lineal descendent of the legendary 18th century Hassidic rabbi known as the Seer of Lublin” Howard Moskowitz. Not to spoil Howard’s punch line, suffice to say that when it comes to food and drink, there are no universals. The Platonic ideal does not exist.
If there is no single Pepsi, how can there be a best Pinotage? There is not even an ideal spaghetti sauce – there are 36 varieties of Ragú in six classes: Old World, Chunky Garden, Robusto, Light, Cheese and Rich & Meaty. As Malcolm concludes “there is very nearly an optimal spaghetti sauce for every man, woman and child in America.” And using the same reasoning, at least as many “best Pinotages” as there are consumers to buy the brands.
Which gives producers a way forward – let consumers choose the wines they’d buy. Which is precisely what lifestyle blogger Clare Mack will do in August when she invites 100 women down to the luxury V&A Hotel at the Cape Town Waterfront for the weekend to do exactly that – choose 100 wines. (Note to anoraks, the V and A in V&A is not Volatile Acidity!) Never mind the Seer of Lublin, Clare is the Seer of Dublin! Instead of asking nebulous questions like “should Merlot have mint?”, Clare asks which wines would you serve if the boss was coming to dinner? Which wine to kiss and make up after a contretemps? Which wine for the monthly book club? She might be on to something, as women buy 80% of wine sold in SA.Read More…
You might suppose that the succulent Spill food and wine blog is consistently one of the highest rated sites on SASS (the SA social scene) because of a) all the scoops (Jardine restaurant closing down in the inner city of Cape Town being the most recent although Reuben Riffel joining the One&Only made the largest waves); b) telling it like it is (brickbats and bouquets for Rust & Vrede being the latest in that department); c) divulging vital victual information (like where to buy fresh fish in Cape Town); d) punchy interviews with chefs and winemakers or e) all of the above.