To the hideaway in Oranjezicht of jazz saxophonist and MasterChefSA heroine Jade de Waal (below, with kitten Miss Sam) last night for a masterclassTM on how to make dim sum presented by Yang Zhao of Beijing Opera who earlier in the month served 1000 to designers at the Design Indaba.
If pizza is the people’s food then Chenin Blanc is surely the people’s wine. So off to Burrata at the Old Biscuit Mill to pair Chenin and pizza for the Spier Secret Festival at the end of October. The aim is a simple one: to get Chenin into each pizzeria in SA. For heaven’s sake, let’s retire WOSA and use the R35 bar to get Chenin ‘fridges into each pizzeria in SA. Next year, use the cash to promote Bordeaux blends. And so forth and so on. Focus on food, not fickle fashion.
Speaking of which, pizza is a so much better vehicle for marketing wine than the braai idea (or braii as Andre Morgenthal hilariously punted it in Canada) that WOSA wasted millions on. As we discovered matching a truffle oil and prosciutto pizza with the rich 21 Gables Chenin 2010 from Spier at lunch today. With Jean Engelbrecht’s Donkiesbaai Steen 2011, a seafood pizza with or without chili aioli? shown below, with yellow aioli on one half and the other, naked.
The UCT Top 20 poll of SA wineries as reported in the Mail & Guardian today speaks way more to the competence and conflicts of interest of the judges than in does about SA wine quality. The poll was solicited on the digital equivalent of a UCT letter head: sent from an academic e-mail account with a UCT office telephone number by a member of the staff of that institution – that infamous barefoot agent provocateur Tim James. I refused to participate for various reasons. If bag had a sense of humour, I’d say today’s poll was Sunday’s list and the real one would be revealed later.
When will we see our first corporate Wine Ambassador, the face of a brand? Meerlust already has proprietor Hannes Myburgh and Rust en Vrede is blessed with Jean Engelbrecht. But what’s missing is the face of Two Oceans (someone with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on their CV) and Obikwa (the late Henry Cele who was such a great Shaka, would have been perfect) while that Farmer Brown chicken fancier would do great as the visage of Roodeberg. After all, ambassadors sell whisky, as the story below, rejected by a glossy lifestyle magazine in November, attempted to say. They’d commissioned a Q&A and wanted the formula neatly reproduced.
The annual Whisky Live Festival has more ambassadors than the United Nations. But then it is the largest whisky festival on the planet. Which may seem incredible, until you are told that South Africa is the 7th largest market for Scotch in the world by value, ahead of Germany and breathing down the neck of South Korea.
With more brands on bottle store facings from Scotland’s 100+ distilleries than member countries of the United Nations, it makes sense for producers to appoint ambassadors to market their product. Ewan Gunn has landed the job of every whisky wonk’s dream: brand ambassador for Diageo, the largest whisky producer of them all and the face of Johnnie Walker, the top-selling brand of blended whiskies.
The about turn by Tim Noakes, UCT Professor of Exercise, that meat is good for you and refined carbohydrates ain’t, comes as no surprise to Rust en Vrede seigneur Jean Engelbrecht. “We knew that 20 years ago” he said as he cut and braai’d a 12-man steak from “Rustenberg, Transvaal” last night.
Holden Caulfield is the protagonist of Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger’s coming of age novel from the fifties when America believed it itself and sub-prime was a grading of meat. Holden Manz estate in Franschhoek is a coming of age of sorts for the fashionable appellation surrounded by sub-Alpine mountains, one looking like a dozing elephant. Well the valley used to be full of them before the villagers borrowed a cannon from the Cape Town castle and shot them out. Lucky there were no rhinos.
Chemical engineer turned mining financier Gerard Holden (below, left) prefers to use a shotgun in the shires of his native England, something he will be doing this weekend, weather permitting (“the wind helps the birds fly” although the UK’s current 100mph gusts might be a tall order even for elephants). Architect partner Migo Manz is a gallerist with a sensitive touch who has curated the boutique hotel on the farm into an art gallery you can eat, sleep and chill out in. And the pair have more than a touch of Caulfield about them in their rejection of the phony.
The spittoon is foaming over the identity of the author of The SA Pinotage Guide “a new publication on Pinotage, its pioneers and history, intrinsics of the grape, the major producers and Pinotage personalities.” It’s not Peter May, author of PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine and since food is not mentioned in the title or blurb, its unlikely to be Guido Francque, the Belgian chef with a bee in his bonnet for the culitivar. Commissioned by the Pinotage Association, the book will be released in mid-January at Diemersfontein, an estate which changed the direction of Pinotage forever with its coffee/mocha variant. Peter will be in SA at the time, so let’s hope someone remembers to invite him!Read More…
Just as well Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (pet for short) is president of grande marque champagne house Taittinger or his “perfect weekend” interview in this Weekend FT’s outrageously inappropriate (in current economic climes) How to Spend it supplement may have got him into hot water. “In the early evening, I pour myself a whisky or make a Mauresque with a good Pastis, orgeat syrup and some ice. We might have some champagne with dinner, or old-fashioned claret such as Château Poujeaux. I don’t like the new-style Bordeaux – the wines are too ripe and lack a sense of place. I prefer subtle wines that speak of terroir.”Read More…
Culture is breaking out all over Stellenbosch. Last week at the launch of Jean Engelbrecht’s toothsome Stellenbosch Ridge 2009 Bordeaux-style blend at Stellenbosch (the restaurant) in Windhoek, the back label proclaimed “Stellenbosch is unique in that it is the centre of fine wine, academia and culture in South Africa” with the only controversial point the qualification of Africa by South. For after the announcement of the winner of the 2011 African Art Prize at Tokara in Stellenbosch last night, who can doubt that Oak City is not the cultural capital of the continent?Read More…
Hacks, being only human (well some of them, at least), can only stomach so many lamb shanks with Bisto gravy and potatoes dauphinoise and we’ve had them served from Agulhas to Augrabies. So when Jean Engelbrecht, Gobabis Gourmet turned Helderberg hedonist, wanted to launch his next level wine, he flew a six pack of SA wine writers to Swakopmund for a three day orgy of sea, shellfish and Steen. Wine launches will never be the same again, with the bar raised to the 29 foot long jump level set by Bob Beamon at the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968.Read More…