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Posted by on in News

 

 

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Wine of Malgas is the phrase under the Sijnn name on the contemporary labels. A name long connected with holiday homes, great angling and a venerable ferry, but now also a wine ward with a single cellar producing singular, exceptional and delicious wines.

The black and white photograph below graphically illustrates the stony path – well, a road of sorts – to the low cellar with its curved roof .

A trio of recent releases took me right back to the memorable evening when the cellar, nearly but not quite complete, opened its doors to visitors for a celebration –

 

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Founder and co-owner David Trafford took us through the young vineyards where bush vines had settled as part of the indigenous landscape, among two distinct soils which vie for sheer quantities of stone they carry . They did not deter vines from not only surviving, but thriving in this apparently inhospitable climate with its low rainfall and constant wind.

The Breede river made a  blue and placid contrast as, far below, it snaked around hills and through dales on its last 25km to the Indian Ocean.

During that evening I sampled the maiden vintage of Sijnn White, and became a fan for life. As I have said before, more than once, white blends, especially when chenin-based are perhaps the Cape’s finest achievement . The Sijnn example is not only as fine as any other but offers unique characteristics that can be attributed to both terroir and minimalist handling.

 

 

 

 

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The team has now released the Sijnn white 2017 and, unsurprisingly, this is what I opened first, knowing well that I was going to savour every sip.

Comprising 84% chenin, 13% viognier with roussanne making the remaining 3% , this is the 10th vintage , from vines now 12 and seven years old. A good year for the vintage. grapes were picked early, some bunch- pressed the balance basket- pressed. The wine was fermented in French oak, of which 11% was new, for 10 months before being lightly fined and bottled, unfiltered, in December 2017.

The wine is golden straw-coloured, with a nose presenting wafts of fruit sparked with wild fennel. On the palate, layers of complex flavour to relish, some peach  and a little lemon, overlaid with dusty spices which don't  mask the essential  freshness. I did not detect as much fruit as the tasting notes suggest, but came across a subtle wildness – herbs and minerals – with hints of maritime brine. Irresistible .

Their tasting notes suggest that its ideal on its own or with fish and seafood. Agreed. But it’s also a white that can enhance several Cape Malay classics, -including bobotie, especially when made with fish, chicken curry and chicken breyani. R280 at the cellar.

Sijnn Reds 2011 and 2015

 

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The 2015 vintage is acknowledged as one of the Cape’s finest, and equally so for Sijnn, where the wine was made in the stone cellar for the first time, avoiding the long journey to Stellenbosch. It was also winemaker Charla Haasbroek’s maiden vintage as she produced the 2015 Red using 47% syrah, 19% touriga nacional, 19% trincadeira, finished with nearly equal quantities of mourvèdre and cabernet. The vines, now 10 and 11 years old reaching maturity and – with the weather playing its part – the harvest was picked and sorted early, fermented in small open tanks and oak vats. Natural fermentation preceded a basket pressing and malolactic fermentation in 225 litre French oak for the first year. Bottled by hand in December 2016, unfined and unfiltered.

Already hugely enjoyable, but worth squirreling away as well, the freshness is there, no cultivar dominating; on the palate concentrated fruit and a little fennel well balanced by tannic structure. Spicy, rich and with a long finish, it features . alcohol levels of  just over 14%, This wine  calls for red meat given gourmet treatment, but will also complement rich dishes based on black mushroom. R350 from the cellar.

Because it took a while to open up and show its charms, the 2011 Sijnn Red has been released only now. The year saw a dry windy summer and the vines were irrigated during the growing and again during the ripening process, but otherwise left to themselves. Back in Stellenbosch the grapes were crushed into open tanks and oak vats. Spontaneous natural fermentation followed with maturation  in barrel for two years before bottling in January 2013. The nose says Malgas, the palate is rich with firm tannins and its easy to see this is a wine that will go on offering enjoyment for several years to come. The wildness of venison and game birds will be enhanced by this blend – with syrah comprising over half along with 19% touriga nacional, 17% each of trincadeira and mourvèdre,  finished with 6% each trincadeira and cab. It sells for R250 at the cellar door.

Finally, a word of appreciation to the team who compiled the information: well-written, concise and accurate, comprising everything a reviewer would like to know. If all the spec sheets and releases that come my way were as smart as these, my emails would be reduced by half.

For more info see www.sijnn.co.za

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Before we get to the bottle, the carton warrants a word or two – so cleverly designed it doubles as a display unit, opening on both sides to reveal the custom-made regal bottle, embossed with the initials JR, perched on a raised platform.

Salmon pink in hue, the wine adds to the patrician air with its simple front label, with little more than title and its 2017 vintage visible, although if you have very sharp eyes you will find more info on the producer – Anthonij Rupert Wyne and its Franschhoek setting in minute print along the bottom.

The wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Shiraz, is made in the Provençal style – as homage to the founder of L’Ormarins, home to Anthonij Rupert Wyne. Jean Roi, one of the French Huguenots who settled in 1694 in the wilds of what was to develop into Franschhoek, was born in the southern French village of Lourmarin.

Fresh and zippy, aromas of summer seasonal fruit precede the fruit on the palate which finishes with a touch of citrus. Alcohol levels are held at a modest R13%, and the whole effect is celebratory and festive, perfect for the time of the year.

It makes the ideal partner to glamorous menus, enjoyed on shady terraces, with the sound of water as background music.

This limited release sells at R290, which is steep for a pink – but for Christmas, or New Year or any other summer celebration, many will fork out to highlight the holiday or to greet 2019 in fine style. It is also available in a 1,5 litre bottle for R600.

One word puzzles me – why is it called Cap Provincial Rosé instead of Provençal? The rest of the title is French, why the English insert, which has nothing to do with the region, but simply means “of the province” and often is less than complimentary when attributed to its inhabitants.

 

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 For more information, visit www.rupertwines.co

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Bouchard Finlayson describes their estate as treasured terroir, an apt description

 

of the fine soils, pampered vines and ideal climate that combine to allow talented

 

winemaker Chris Albrecht to produce white wines that cannot be resisted. The

 

 

most refreshing of these are the unwooded chardonnay and the best-selling

 

 

sauvignon blanc, a pair that enhances al fresco gatherings and festive feasts over

 

high summer days

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The cellar may be more famous for its full-bodied wooded chards, but those

 

require serious attention and matching to gourmet menus, neither of which many

 

are willing to give or pursue over Christmas family and New Year celebrations.

 

 

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The 2017 San Barrique chardonnay is everything that a summer chard should

 

be – light- bodied, crisp, pure with wafts of melon and apple and sub-tropical fruit

 

titillating the palate all backed by a pleasing hint of minerality. Berries from the

 

renowned Elandskloof vines contribute to the rounded success of this

 

wine. 

 

No doubt this could age well, but it’s unlikely to get the chance to do that! Perfect

 

both as an aperitif and partner to fishy feasts and classic and innovative chicken

 

salads. It sells for around R150.

 

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The 2018 Bouchard Finlayson Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc needs little

 

 

introduction to winelovers who stay with this cultivar and this label whether trends

 

wax or wane.

 

 

And with good reason: it is consistently worthy of its fine reputation, presenting

 

fragrant aromas of characteristic guava and granadilla followed by similar flavours

 

on the palate – it is crisp, with moderate alcohol levels, a balanced structure, and

 

always the Bouchard Finlayson elegance that is so attractive. Whether making the

 

choice for brunch, lunch or moonlight meals, it will rise to the occasion, enhancing

 

any fishy feast and vegetarian main courses Expect to pay around R125.

 

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THE LAST HURRAH by Graham Viney published by Jonathan Ball Publishers, Cape Town, 2018.

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A whopping 386-page softback that embraces not just three extraordinary months in 1947, but an overview of South African politics at that time. It is a very readable work of history, in which the reader can follow the progress of the White Train as the British Royal family travelled 11 172km across the country and also absorb enjoy the social life and febrile politics of the day, which Viney weaves skilfully into the royal stops.

Just how far, long and deep Viney travelled to dig into sources on three continents can be gleaned from the list on pages 364-372. Also worth reading are the pages of acknowledgements: it cheered me to see the list of libraries and archives in this country that have not fallen foul of any ‘must fall’ protests, and continue their precious roles of keeping safe our written and photographic records of the past centuries. And then there are all the senior citizens, from Cape Town to Pretoria who shared their memories of the royal visit with the author.

The black and white photographs add much to the reader’s enjoyment – many gleaned from libraries such as Transnet Heritage, others from newsreels and there’s an inset of colour shots in the book’s centre. Some have not been published before, others bring back memories of those seen in South African newspapers and cinemas.

Viney opens with an introduction on his tale “of long ago”, featuring a crowd of players that have mostly left the stage with the exception of Queen Elizabeth II. The South Africa in which the scene is set has also gone, but this book attempts, the author tells us, to place the royal tour in its post-war context of the history of South Africa and the Commonwealth.

The southeast gale  blew itself out on the evening of February 16, 1947, much to the relief of Cape Town organisers, whether at the docks, the Westbrooke garden party, the mountain floodlighting and fireworks – so that the HMS Vanguard sailed into a calm Table Bay to the newly completed Duncan Dock, its bugles sounding out across the water. Thus does the author set the scene for an account of an exhaustive and exhausting journey, during which the crowds, white, brown and black, flowed like a great tide to the events, to the roadside, to the railway line, in cities, villages, and deep rural regions, to catch a glimpse of the royal family.

(This was despite National party politicians playing down the importance of the tour, and Indian and black activists also advising against their followers joining the throngs to welcome the visitors)

The chapter headings lead readers north from Cape Town, across the Karoo to Bloemfotnein, on to Durban, then to the old Transvaal, with time in Pretoria and a shorter, but packed programme in Johannesburg. Special chapters are given to two teatime gatherings – one with Ouma Smuts in Irene and the other at Vergelegen at Somerset West which is worth chuckling over... Princess Elizabeth’s coming of age and speech to the Commonwealth reminds readers of the promise of dedication to service that she has so diligently lived up to.

As Rian Malan expresses succinctly “Viney’s South Africa is a country most of us will barely recognise, teetering on the brink of convulsive change and yet almost united, at least for a moment, by love for a king and queen who wen’t really ours.” It certainly managed to unearth memories of a small child, in butcher blue Rustenburg school uniform, standing on the edge of De Waal drive in scorching February sun, waiting for the royal Daimler to pass. Some of my kindergarten fellow pupils fainted in the heat, I just got redder and hotter but remember that at last the open car drove past, allowing a glimpse of the Queen’s hat and her wave...

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BEYOND ORGANIC – BIODYNAMIC PRACTICES ENVELOP MODERN AND ANCIENT WINEMAKING AT AVONDALE

 

 

Many moons have waxed and waned since I last visited Avondale, a farm steeped in more than three centuries of history, sprawling acrpss the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein mountains. So an invitation from brand manager Madeleine Laarman to wine and dine at their new restaurant FABER was more than tempting. I have yet to sample the farm-to-fork seasonal fare, but meanwhile was sent the current vintages from Avondale’s unique cellar where owner Johnathan Grieve and long-established winemaker Corné Marais craft an inspiring range of wines that have been certified as organic by international inspectors.

 

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Having sat through one of these inspections at another organic cellar I know just what heavy demands are made on vini- and viticulturist before they are satisfied. At Avondale the team goes a step further, employing biodynamic principles that make good use of rhythms of both earth and cosmos, using astronomical information and indications of optimal times for sowing, transplanting, cultivating and harvesting, in efforts to produce sustainable soils for healthy vineyards. Ducks replace vineyard pesticides, wasps and ladybirds deal with mealybugs and leaf-roll virus. Organic compost and cover crops increase carbon content in the soil and biodynamic preparations ensure there is no need for synthetic fertilisers.

 

In the cellar natural yeasts work their magic, while some of each harvest is matured in traditional clay amphorae, cast on the farm from its own clay.

 

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In March this year Avondale was the first South African winery to use clay qvevri for the 2018 harvest – egg-shaped earthenware vessels used for fermenting and ageing wine whose roots are found in Georgia, widely regarded as the cradle of modern viticulture. With a tradition that goes back more than 8 000 years, qvevri masters, until recently, were in danger of becoming obsolete. Now the man who made Avondale’s vessels has a waiting list for his creations. Each vessel, says winemaker Marais hold between 800 and 1 000 litres, each is unique. They are lined with beeswax and are buried in soil during use for stability. The effect on the wines of the new vintages is awaited with mounting anticipation.

 

 

 

Avondale’s six wines arrived in a simple but stylish environmentally-friendly cardboard carton, worthy of the quality of the contents.

 

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To start, the baby of the range, CAMISSA 2018 is a vibrant meld of just over half Grenache with 30% Mourvèdre and a splash or two of Muscat de Frontignan. All the vines are over 30 years in age, certified organic (naturally!) and presenting low but intensely flavoured yields. This is as fresh and moreish as the place of sweet water which the Khoisan herders named Camissa -  Table Mountain water( that today is returning to its previous significance in centuries long past.)

Camissa is an exhiliarating blanc de noir, from its onion skin hue,   scented nose and berried flavours with citrus zest leading to a long and dry finish. Alcohol levels of 13% are moderate, but the wine offers more body than most of its siblings perhaps partly because the Mourvedre and Grenache were fermented in second fill French oak and left on the lees for 12 months before being blended with the Muscat and bottled. Can be cellared until 2022 suggests their specs which sounds ambitious, but I am not going to argue... A great choice to accompany your classy New Year picnic.

 

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I remember raving about CYCLUS when I first tasted an early vintage at Avondale several years ago, so opened the 2014 vintage with great expectations. These were fulfilled and even passed:: This is an exceptional white blend, already golden in hue, made up of five cultivars: – Roussanne (30%), Viognier (20%), Chenin Blanc (20%), and finished with Semillon and Chardonnay each at 15%. Vines range in age from 10 to 26 years, yielding between four to eight tons.

Whole bunch pressed, 80% naturally fermented in 500 -litre oak, the rest whole bunch-fermented in amphorae. Left on the lees for a year with regular batonage before bottling, the result is a rich, full-bodied blend,  floral aromas preceding a refined fruit salad of stone fruit and citrus backed by some flint, the Semillon adding a touch of cream . Just 13,5% alcohol levels add to the appeal, and it makes a superb summer aperitif, but an even better partner to elegant fare: Certain Moroccan classics and  perfumed, sophisticated creations from Turkey and former Persia come to mind... Avondale named this special blend Cyclus, Latin for cycle, referring to the power of the vortex, because of the “way that Avondale’s unique life energy swirls through its invigorating layers.”

 

Avondale’s other white wine is a Chenin Blanc, 2015 vintage, named Anima, meaning vital lifeforce or soul, referring to the minerals of the farm’s soils which lend spirited character to the wine. The grapes used range in age from 10 to 34 years, and most were whole bunch- pressed, then fermented in 500-litre French oak, while a small percentage went to amphorae, which have added a distinctive body to the wine. This is an intense, wine, golden in hue, golden in character, more than a hint of honey accenting the wafts of melon, peach and pineapple, and all balanced by the minerality whichi is prominent but not assertive. Moderate alcohol levels, and this wine can be squirrelled away until 2023 the cellar suggests – I find it oxidative, concentrated and dense and wonder if it has not already reached its peak -  it lacks the freshness I expect from quality chenin. Time will tell...

 

And so to the two reds:

 

 

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LA LUNA 2012 is a fine Bordeaux-style blend comprising of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, the remaining percentage supplied by Cabernet Franc and and Malbec. First to third-fill oak barrels were used for malolactic fermentation and maturation for more than a year. The result is impressive, purity and freshness allied to smooth tannins, the dark hue indicative of restrained berry flavours,  all backed by minerality that is nicely integrated. It’s a wine that deserves to be sipped again and again, hourly, to appreciate the changes, and, while it already offers elegant enjoyment after six years, should go on delighting those who open it in future years.

Alcohol levels are unobtrusive at 14%, and its name, which reflects the biodynamic practices of Avondale  adds a nice touch of celestial romance.

 

SAMSARA SYRAH 2009

This Shiraz presents impressive proof of the regional quality of the cultivar for which Paarl is renowned, here with additional refinement that reflects both Avondale’s unique soils and handling. Freshness is there after nine years, along with characteristics typical of the varietal: berry flavours spiced with white pepper, a little cinnamon and hints of violet.

As Samsara seems unlikely to improve further in bottle, it should be enjoyed soon, especially if paired with well-cooked and spiced red meat dishes.

 

ARMILLA BLANC DE BLANC CAP CLASSIQUE  2011

Delicious and impressive, a bubbly that will heighten the joy of any celebration. It is also home to the only mistake I spotted on any Avondale label - "classic" replacing the correct "classique." This all-chardonnay Brut ,with  just 11,5% alcohol levels, produced from vines ranging in ages from 10 to 22 years, is lively, with traits one would expect – toast and green apple, restrained fruit, and a long finish. Here it marks the finale of this review, but it really deserves to be at the beginning to set a sparkling pace of wine and viniculture that are both kind to the environment and our planet.

 

 

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A nice contrast here: the label of the Vriesenhof Unwooded Chardonnay 2017 is as traditional as can be, simple wording above and below a black and white drawing of a venerable Cape farmstead backed by the Stellenbosch mountain. But - it arrived in a cardboard carton labelled MILK, then, in smaller font “This is not...” . On one side, a description of the wine, while on another we are given a little of the owner’s winemaking philosophy. When you discover that this farm and wine brand is owned by Jan Boland Coetzee, the delicious mix of trad and zany trend is right in tune with those of its renowned and relaxed cellarmaster.

I make no secret of the fact that I usually enjoy chards that are not wooded more than some of their posher, richer and more complex cousins. I savour their natural freshness, uncomplicated elegance and fruit, often backed by flint that adds character. This wine fits that description almost exactly, with some citrus and stone fruit flavours and more than a hint of minerality lending it substance. Moderate alcohol levels, a back label advising consumers to chill and drink soon, it’s simply a delicious summer aperitif without pretensions. It sells for R100 at both large liquor outlets and at Wine Concepts and, of course at the cellar door and online from the farm. The milk carton pack is only obtainable from the farm.

In the past Jan Boland Coetzee was a traditionalist, only making wines classically austere, dry and with no upfront fruit. This wine, made by long-standing winemaker Nicky Claasens, presents a departure from that style, one that is sure to be more popular with the majority of consumers.

Vriesenhof is running a digital competition with this product: Punting it as the perfect accompaniment to be ‘cool by the pool this summer’,entrants that buy a bottle need to  tag @VriesenhofWines in a post being cool by the pool this summer to stand  a chance to win a case of this charming chard!

For more info email her at Kirsten@kirstenhopwood.co.za .

 
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“Come and taste the sea with Fryer’s Cove vineyards” suggested the invitation. In the end my wine samples were tasted inland, here in McGregor, and my first sip of the Doring Bay 2017 sauvignon blanc did indeed offer more than a lick of the icy Atlantic which crashes onto the rocky shore of Doringbaai, some 300km north of Cape Town.

I closed my eyes and imagined the scene at this tiny hardy settlement, a fishing community where the inhabitants are as hardy as the coastline is rugged. The vineyards of Fryer’s Cove are just 500 metres from the shoreline, so it's hardly surprising that the wines produced from these harvests have a distinct maritime flavour.

The Fryer’s Cove booklet relates how the winery was established on a part of the Laubscher brothers’ farm, and the cellar was set up in the former crayfish factory – not many others can point to ocean waves lapping their cellar walls as their wines mature in tanks.

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Before getting down to the sauvignons produced from their vines, I’d like to share some of the background of this coastal winery which makes a great story - typical of the tough conditions and equally tough weskus entrepreneurs who make things happen, no matter how adverse their surroundings.

Back in 1985 Elsenburg student Wynand Hamman was on holiday in the Strandfontein area and this aspirant winemaker shared his vinous dream with Jan and Ponk van Zyl , who later became his in-laws. It took 14 years before Fryer’s Cove cellar was born and early years proved hard going: The area was drought-prone and existing groundwater had too high a salt content and desalination was too expensive to contemplate. The only solution was a pipeline to bring water from Vredendal, nearly 30km away, which also had to cross three farms en route. The farmers agreed, so Jan built the pipeline as the 20th century drew to a close. The neighbours received water for their co-operation and the Laubscher brothers got shares for allowing a buffer dam to be built and for 10ha of their land which is where the first vines were planted.

There are some good reasons to counter the difficulties: The ocean deposits salt flakes on the vine leaves, whifh helps repel disease, as well as imparting a distinctive minerality to the wine. Indigenous plants between the vines act as a natural ground cover , while seashells and limestone in the soil add flinty character.  Fryer’s Cove Wines belong to the Jan Ponk Trust, H Laubscher family trust and cellarmaster Wynand Hamman. They are part of  Bamboes Bay, the smallest wine ward in South Africa.

 

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The Jetty restaurant is a community venture, part of the local development trust, 70% community owned and run, where you will relish snoekkoekies, pickled fish, calamari and local linefish as well as more conventional burgers and steak. I look forward to a visit in 2019.

 

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To the wine; Doring Bay sauvignon blanc 2017 is already showing off an array of four gold medals from some of the smaller competitions. It makes the ideal aperitif to open on a sizzling day, offering - along with tangy and ocean aromas - a crisp zestiness well balanced by a combo of grassy and tropical fruit flavours. Quite high alcohol levels at 14,4% are not obvious. This is an easy-to-love wine selling at R95.

The Bamboes Bay 2017 is a much posher cousin, a limited edition in a heavier bottle, also unoaked but presenting a far more complex meld of herbaceous, seaweed and granadilla notes on the nose, followed by an array of fruit and lemongrass on the palate. It manages to be crisp and steely yet offers a richer experience than its Doring Bay cousin and is priced at R260 ex-cellar.

 

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Winemaker Derick Koegelenberg made both these wines.

I prefer the cheaper one for most summer days, but the Bamboes Bay is the one to choose when serving a seafood extravaganza. Also, its potential is impressive – not many sauvignons taste better the next day after being open for 24 hours, but this one did. (Of course it could also be that my palate was more receptive, but – either way – Doring Bay for most warm days and Bamboes Bay for special occasions.) There is a third sauvignon blanc that is a patrician cousin, limited edition and numbered, aged 18 months in bottle. It’s called Hollebaksstrandfontein Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, but, having not tried it, I cannot comment. It sells for R295.

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SHAKEN: Drinking with James Bond & Ian Fleming, published by the  Octopus Publishing Group, 2018.

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The  stylish black and gold covers of this hardback tell readers that this is 007 The Official Cocktail Book. They also reveal that extracts from Ian Fleming’s books accompany the stories behind the James Bond drinks – ranging from 10 classic cocktails to new creations that pay tribute to the people, places and plots of the 007 series.

The concept is clever and it’s well executed: Fleming wove legends around items from cars to clothes, from travel and particularly to drink, be it vodka or brandy, gin or vermouth, champagne or whisky.

Two years ago Edmund Weil, who is related to Ian Fleming, and his wife Rosie teamed up with talented mixologists Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson to open Bar Swift in Soho.  The Weils, who are renowned in the London hospitality industry and their partners have seen their venture fizz into a Soho hot spot , winning several awards.

Every cocktail has a story to tell, reflecting Fleming’s vivid imagination: these are reproduced here following each. The drinks are grouped into the following categories: Straight Up, On the Rocks, Tall, Fizzy, Exotic.

After a brief practical guide to bar essentials, including recipes for syrups and sherbets, we turn the page to Bond’s dry martini. The recipe is followed by extracts from Bond novels dealing with this classic.  Next up is Pussy Galore, a cocktail with roots in Manhattan and enough ingredients to make your head whirl: Bourbon, red vermouth, white  maraschino, Angostura bitters and crème de menthe are stirred and garnished with edible snowflakes. The Refresher, suggested as a replacement for dessert, combines dark rum and fresh coffee with coffee liqueur and hazelnut orgeat.

Fast cars, especially the Aston Martin, inspired the Supercharger, a sleek twist of a cocktail made from vodka, cold-brewed coffee, vanilla  and ginger liqueurs, finished with double cream. And to add a note of romance, A Whisper of Love pays tribute to the poignancy of love and loss which “marked the lives of both Fleming and his hero.” Premium cognac is stirred with campari, crème de mure (blackberry liqueur) and parfait amour which add floral and berry notes. The addition of red vermouth and the campari add astringency, turning the drink deep red.

Not all the drinks are lethal – with the trend toward Oriental fare blooming, Tiger Tanaka makes a warming brew imbued with the delicate flavours of Japan: Japanese whisky and sake are stirred with coconut palm sugar syrup and boiling water infused with a flowering jasmine tea ball. The drink is garnished with makrut lime leaves.

Clear colour photographs of each cocktail add much to the attraction of the recipes.

Fleming and his fictional counterpart James Bond have become synonymous with style, glamour and thrilling tales. This collection of cocktail recipes and 007 stories will make a popular gift for both Bond fans and contemporary and trad cocktail enthusiasts

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The Van Loveren team never cease to amaze by coming up with yet another first: This time its their Almost Zero alcohol Wonderful White. Produced by de-alcoholising sauvignon blanc, the wine is listed as containing less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, and is sure to find a receptive response among those who enjoy the company of wine and wine drinkers but prefer to avoid any possibililty of after-effects.

 

The foldout info tucked into the package lists three good reasons why consumers should choose this product: that its perfect for non-drinkers and those keeping to an alcohol-free January, perfect for weight watchers as 100ml of this contains just 71 kilojoules and that, with fruity flavours of apples, cirtrus and tropical fruit, it makes a good companion to salads and seafood. Banting devotees can also sip this without any guilt.

 

Brewers have proved there is a market for alcohol-free beers, so why not wine? Easy-drinking, fruity and crisp, this pale green-tinged drink comes in a screwcapped bottle, and begs to be chilled before opening

.

The Wonderful White joins the Van Loveren stable of four non-alcoholic sparklers . It is selling for R65, can be bought from the farm or online through winehub@vanloveren.co.za and should be in your nearest retailer by now.

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How does a starter of chicken liver paté and hummus with home-baked bread and crackers, followed by slow-cooked beef brisket in rich tomato sauce tickle your tastebuds? Vegetarians will find a chickpea, turmeric and egg curry, with green salad, while Banting devotees can enjoy steamed broccoli or cauliflower puree with their beef. Local cheeses make the finale but – those who indulge in sweet treats - can tuck into non-Banting chocolate brownies, carrot cupcakes and peanut cookies. Make as many return trips to the pop-up buffet as you wish and finish with tea or coffee. Bring your own wine to the occasion and relish the friendly ambience where no more than eight guests will gather at one time.

Make a delectable date for an informal weekend seaside lunch with Brian Berkman in his airy  Pringle Bay home. Deciding to join the trend of pop-up kitchen  experiences, this well-known public relations consultant and travel writer is presenting a series of long, slow buffet-style lunches next month. The dates to diarise are December 15 and 16 and December 22 and 23.

Brian will be on hand to chat about the dishes and make sure that those avoiding carbs and sugar choose the acceptable fare.

The cost is R500 a head and bookings should be made via Quicket or by following the link at BrianBerkman.com.

Bon appétit!

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The elegance is apparent long before you open the bottle. A simple cream label, minimal wording that tells you what you need to know: “Lady May, 2012, Glenelly, Stellenbosch”. The only illustration - a small gold outline of a lady in a long flowing gown, standing among what looks like tall reeds.

 

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Apparently the picture reflects May de Lencquesing’s return to her roots at Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtess de Lalande In Bordeaux.

There can be few winelovers who do not know the story of the magnificent Glenelly estate, its remarkable owner, its exceptional wines and its Gallic bistro – all situated just outside Stellenbosch. And, of course, its fine glass exhibits.

This Grande Dame – May de Lencquesing –– bought the former fruit farm in 2003 when a youthful 78 and set about transforming it into a top destination and beautiful setting for producing her vision – “to craft the finest Cabernet Sauvignon blend outside of France...”

Today, after 15 years, she regards this patrician blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot, finished with a splash of cab franc as her legacy. The grapes were carefully chosen, hand-sorted , naturally fermented in tanks for a few weeks before being transferred to oak barrels where malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then left to age for 24 months in fine French oak, producing an intense, dark and complex blend. On the nose, wafts of a range of berries, on the palate the dark berry flavour melds with meaty notes and classic cedar balanced by fine tannins. Alcohol levels of 14,5% are not obvious., but it’s easy to know that this is a blend with great ageing potential, worth putting away for a few years to increase enjoyment. Whereas one’s first gourmet choice for a great pairing would be beef, chef Christophe DeHosse of The Vine Bistro also suggests his fillet of lamb with roasted root veggies and Parisienne gnocchi and thyme jus. The recommended retail price is R490.

 

In the mean time, celebrate summer with cellarmaster Luke O’Cuinneagain’s delightful 2016 Glenelly’s Reserve Chardonnay – or try the 2017 which has recently been released.

 

 

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These are stylish, restrained rich, complex wines, the 2016 with citrus both on the nose and in the long finish. It has attracted high scores and gold medals from three current competitions – Decanter World Wine Awards, Old Mutual Trophy wine show and the Six Nations Challenge . Pair now with gourmet fish or poultry creations, see below.

The 2017 offers aromas of vanilla and butterscotch, moves on to citrus on the palate. Moderate 13% alcohol levels, lightly oaked, it was aged for 10 months in 500 litre French oak barrels. Like its predecessor, it’s beautifully crafted, finely balanced, fresh and delicious now but will keep and mature further for a decade – if you are strong-minded enough to do so. Pair it with rich seafood or poultry creations or try the classic salmon trout recipe from Chef Dehosse which combines a rich beurre blanc with locally farmed salmon trout.To book forthe Bistro or for more information, tel: 021 809 6444 or email bistro@glenelly.co.za

 

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FRESH SALMON TROUT S WITH GLENELLY ESTATE RESERVE CHARDONNAY

4x 150g pieces of salmon trout fillet

20g butter

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 small onion peeled and finely chopped

50ml red wine vinegar

50ml dry white wine

3-4 black peppercorns

150ml cream

150g butter

Vegetable julienne:

1 large carrot, pared

1 leel well washed

1 stick celery washed

butter

A few hours before, season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan, add the butter. When the butter starts foaming, sear the fish skin side-up for about 3 minutes. Remove when browned and set aside.

To make the vegetable julienne, slice the carrot, leek and celery into very fine, long strips. Gently cook the vegetables in a little butter starting with the leeks and celery, then add the carrots. When soft, remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the sauce, combine the chopped onion, wine, vinegar and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to boil and allow to reduce until almost no liquid is left .Add the cream and bring to boil again and pass through a fine strainer .Pour back into the saucepan. When almost ready to serve, return sauce to the heat, bring to the boil and whisk in the butter bit by bit.

Meanwhile, finish cooking the fish in an oven preheated to 180°C for 8-10 minutes.

Reheat the vegetable julienne in a pan and transfer it to a hot serving dish or individual plates, top with the fish and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” International Sparkling Wine & Champagne Affair

 

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The hosts are celebrating the 17th year of this popular event with the theme of “The Magic of Bubbles” on Friday 23rd November 2018 at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, from 18h00 to 21h00.

Cuvees for tasting from premium and boutique Champagne Houses of France,and a selection of sparkling wines from Spain, Italy and the UK will be presented. Light snacks will be servedaccompanied by livemusic and entertainment.

The bubblies will be on sale at a special discounted price. Ticket-holders will win prizes from lucky-draws. The Vineyard Hotel is offering a special stay over package for the night.

Tickets cost R500.00 from Wine Concepts stores, online on www.webtickets.co.za or at the door on the evening.

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DON’T MISS GROOTE POST’S NOVEMBER COUNTRY MARKET

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Head out to Groote Post on Sunday 25th November for a day of family fun and relaxation at their idyllic Country Market where 60 stalls will be showcasing beautiful and delectable country offerings: various arts, crafts, homeware and décor; gourmet eats galore; craft beer and cider; and not to forget Groote Post’s popular wines.

 

After browsing through the market, relax on the lawns under the trees tucking into delicious eats  and enjoying the music and entertainment provided by Chris Rain, an accomplished musician, with a large repertoire. 

 

The little ones will be busy with a  variety of kiddies’ activities: tractor trips, guided horse rides and, of course, the popular playground.

 

The Three Market Lucky Draws will take place at 12h30, 13h30 and 14h30, the winners each receiving a hamper with products from the market and Groote Post wine, but you must be present at the draw to win.

 

Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but please note that booking is essential.

 

Although pets are welcome – all dogs must be on a leash at all times.  

 

Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge.

 

Groote Post Country Market opening hours 10h00 to 15h00

 

For further information Contact I Love Yzer: 022 451 2202 or info@iloveyzer.co.za

 

 

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The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’

 

 

Social calendar highlight, the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’, presented by Sanlam Private Wealth, takes place on  1 and 2 December.postcountrymarket.co.za

The iconic Huguenot Monument serves as the  backdrop for the weekend’s festivities, where a wide range of local MCC’s and select French champagnes will be on offer. The grand marquee – the place to be seen – will be oozing style, elegance and sophistication, along with a selection of delectable delights from some of Franschhoek’s world-class eateries. The theme is Black and White, with a prize awarded to the Best Dressed Couple on each day.

 Tickets cost R395 per person and include access to the festival, which is open daily between 12pm and 5pm, a complimentary tasting glass and MCC tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry to the festival.

 Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za, but hurry, as tickets are limited. For more information and regular updates visit www.franschhoekmcc.co.za.

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FOURTH EASTERN CAPE WINE SHOW IN PORT ELIZABETH

 

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Around 40 exhibitors will pour 200 wines for Eastern Cape winelovers on 30 November and 1 December at The Boardwalk in Summerstrand from 17h00 to 21h00.

Celebrate with scintillating bubbles from Krone, Valdo Prosecco, Pongracz and JC Le Roux.  Sip and swirl award-winning whites from Steenberg Vineyards, Spier, Oldenburg and Fleur du Cap.  Savour  robust reds from Boekenhoutskloof, Raka, Wildekrans and Cape Chamonix.

Introducing Mari’s Handmade Fudge and Brittle and exhibitor Just Biltong will provide delicious wine-complementing fare to snack on..  

Tickets can be bought via Computicket.com and at the door. No entry to under 18s, babies and prams.  Light meals will be sale and wines purchases  facilitated at the Shop@Show stand by local wine retailer Prestons.

Tickets cost R190 at Early Bird prices, valid for sales until 18 November R160.00. The Early Bird option of R200 buys you an entrance ticket and a tapas meal voucher to the value of R60. Visit www.easterncapewineshow.co.za for more information and for list  of exhibitors and wines.

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Fizz & Fudge at Stellenbosch Hills

 

A new taste pairing , buttery handcrafted  fudge with Polkadraai Sparkling Pinot Noir rosé is on the menu, along with their Polkadraai Sauvignon Blanc Brut, matched to chocolate malt fudge for R40 a head. This festive event is available from now until February, but pre-booking is essential. Call 021 881 3828/9 for reservations or

email  info@stellenbosch-hills.co.za

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Fruit picking and leisurely lunches at De Krans

 

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FromNovember through to February De Krans invites visitors to join in a farm favourite of picking seasonal fruit. From 24 November to 1 December the Bulida apricots will be available to pick at R7.50 per kg. If you prefer peaches best you diarise 15 to 27 December when the Oom Sarel cling peaches will be ready for pickings at R8.00 per kg. Kickstart 2019 with picking  super sweet Hanepoot grapes at R8.50 per kg. All dates are weather dependent, and may change slightly at short notice.  it is advisable to contact the farm prior to your visit, to confirm the picking dates.  De Krans will be open seven days a week from 9am until 4pm for the picking of these fruits, with the exception of Christmas Day.

The De Krans Deli and Bistro at the farm, is home to delicious country cuisine. All the dishes have been paired with wines from the De Krans range, creating the perfect food and wine pairing 

The deli offers visitors a wide selection of only the finest products sourced in and around Calitzdorp and the Klein Karoo. Visitors sit indoors or outside in the shade of the trellised Hanepoot vineyard. There is also a playground for children, making De Krans a place for the whole family.

Among the great wines to be tasted and bought is the flagship Tritonia red blend, just recently awarded gold at Six Nations in Australia,

For more information contact the farm on 044 213 3314, or email at dekrans@mweb.co.za.

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Summer is for Stellenbosch Street Soirees

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These take place fromNovember 2018 till March 2019 in the city of oaks presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes. The first event is on November 28, presenting cool tunes, sizzling street food and superb wines. Thereafter once a month of a Wednesday in Drostdy Street, each street party will pour different wines and present different fare. Entry costs R100 a head, which includes glass and 12 tasting tokens. The parties takes place from 18h00 – 20h00.  The other dates are

12 December 2018*

16 & 30 January

13 & 27 February

13 & 27 March 2019*

*weather permitting

For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za

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Salt of the Earth – the phrase brings to mind a person (or group of people) whose qualities present a model for the rest of us.

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That Groote Post decided to use this phrase as the name of their special blend of shiraz (66%) and Cinsaut (34%) is both interesting and apposite. Produced from the outstanding 2015 harvest, the grapes were sourced from venerable vines in the Darling Hills – 17-year-old shiraz, and 42-year-old dryland bushvine cinsaut.

The wine spent 16 months in French oak, and the result is intriguing, where the shiraz characteristics dominate, - the flavours of red plum, white pepper are there backed by cedarwood - lent benefits by fresh berry notes from the cinsaut. The result is quite intriguing, well balanced with an earthy backbone and 14% alcohol levels.

The special label, designed by Anthony Lane’s consultancy is different from Groote Post’s usual designs, drawing attention to the bottle as consumers have to hunt for the source of the wine.

Already sporting its 91% score from Tim Atkins’ Best of South Africa 2017 report, this wine was released by Groote Post in early spring to the delight of those many winelovers who are seeing more old cinsaut vines coming back into their own, adding their welcome characteristics to more delicious red blends. It sells for R240 from the Groote Post cellar.

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WHOLE – Bowl Food for Balance by Melissa Delport. Published by Struik Lifestyle, 2018.

 

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It’s a whole new way of eating – for Occidentals, that is, while in the East Buddhists (and many others) combine diverse ingredients in bowls to make balanced meals as a matter of course.

Melissa Delport is a Cape Town-based food photographer and blogger. Having learnt to cook at an early age Melissa moved on and after a period of fad dieting discovered her path to health and well- being . Mindful consumption became an integral part of her food philosophy . Wanting to share her culinary knowledge and way of eating with others which formed the germ of this book, her first .

The title stems from Buddha bowls which contain nourishment in the form of grains, vegetables, a healthy fat, a protein and a bunch of greens.

In her introduction Delport discusses her philosophy which can be summed up as 'Eat real food, mostly plants, but not too much'. She aims at reaching umami, or yummy fare using many ingredients, but focussing on the importance of grains, beans and pulses as base food. She urges readers to shop at farmers’ markets, avoid GMO foods and items that are not free-range.

Starting with breakfast fare, there are recipes for bowls ranging from smoothies to oats, from chia seeds to Turkish poached eggs on quinoa with yoghurt and avo, baby spinach, goats cheese and more… Her avo hash has a long list of ingredients, is sustaining enough to take one through to supper

Salad bowls present some appetising combos – fig and goats cheese, salmon and edamame beans, courgettes and salmon, tomato and lentil. Many other ingredients also make the cut, adding spice, flavour, texture, crunch and dressings. Soups present an interesting selection: even in the popular classics like roasted tomato and red pepper she adds her own touch, Good use is made of coconut milk along with vegetable stock.

Bowing to the present trend of resurrecting ancient grains, a colourful collection of salads, poultry and meat one-dish creations feature quinoa, barley, millet, spelt, freekah, brown rice as well as a host of veggies and pulses.

Home bowls are comfort food , robust, several one-pot wonders while others require more time and attention, Oodles of Noodles is self-explanatory, the recipes in this chapter occasionally use wheat noodles, many more are made from other flours and grains. In the chapter on Table Bowls entertaining is the objective, sharing bowls that are made up of side dishes, dips, starters, and snacks. These dinner parties could start with tuna ceviche or guacamole or baba ganoush all served with corn chips. Among the mains you will find pasta and pesto variations, followed by a vegan honey mustard carrot bowl. Drinks are not neglected, and the sparkling lime and pomegranate looks inviting for a summery party.There are a few desserts - think dates with salted caramel truffle and popcorn or apple and pear coconut crumble with coconut ice cream, a vegan finale.

While neither solely vegan nor a vegetarian collection, many of the close to 90 recipes are sans meat, chicken or fish.  All are nourishing, offering healthy and balanced meals in a bowl, several contain a large number of ingredients, and a few will take a fair amount of time. But what Delport has done is to take the guesswork out of bowl food, having spent much time creating dishes that are tasty.

She goes further to promote healing one’s relationship with food, treating your body with respect and nourishing it with fresh food that will leave you energised. All part, she says of finding happiness with food.

Every recipe is illustrated and a detailed index concludes the text.

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Two recently released chenin blancs proved both to be enjoyable, and both fair value for money: one an easy-drinking, unwooded wine priced at R60, the other a more patrician  chenin that has benefitted from eight months in oak, and sells for R125, about double the price. Both, I think, reflect not only the delicious diversity of chenin, but the wide range of prices that chenin commands.

DELHEIM WILD FERMENT CHENIN BLANC 2017

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As the back label tells us, this delicious chenin was produced from venerable dryland vines which accounts for added flavour from small, intense berries. Two vineyard blocks yielded the grapes, Bobbejaan at 15 years old and Ou Jong Steen, at 30 years.

On the nose a mix of stone fruit  aromas leads to the palate where citrus flavours are  discernible.

The wine was matured in oak for some eight months which has added backbone that is well balanced by typical Stellenbosch freshness. Moderate 13,5% alcohol levels are pleasing.

This is a wine that will happily take on Asian-style creations, south-east Asian spicy curries, along with western fare like risottos and complex chicken salads. Get yours from the cellar or leading retailers for R125.

DE KRANS FREE-RUN CHENIN BLANC 2018

A moreish, unpretentious wine that is well-balanced , slips down easily and is bound to draw more consumers to the joys of chenin as a summer tipple.

Already sporting two gold stickers from current contests, it’s a wine that will suit a range of tastes, sells fot R60 and will make a lunchtime appetiser as well as a good partner to chicken braais.

As De Krans increases its range of table wines alongside its award-winning ports and fortified products, consumers have a fine choice to contemplate, from red blends that sometimes contain port varietals to classic wines that Louis van der Riet produces with flair.

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THE ECHO OF A NOISE: a Memoir of Then and Now by Pieter-Dirk Uys. Published by Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2018.

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Is it perhaps because he has reached 70, that his writing – while still witty and pithy – has softened, sharing more of his persona? It took only a couple of chapters before I felt I really knew the little boy living in Pinelands, going to school, desperate to join the others wearing long pants, constantly in a state of skirmish with his unbending father.

 

The role of Sannie Abader, the Cape Malay housekeeper who ruled the Uys kitchen and doubled as a mother and friend to Pieter-Dirk, a situation replicated in so many South African domestic households during the middle of the 20th century.

For someone a few years older, who also grew up in southern suburban Cape Town with live-in maids, politically aware parents who were anti- Nat but fairly conservative followers of De Villiers Graaff, the world was white indeed.

 

This very human slice of his childhood and early career, his first trip to Europe and to Sophia Loren’s house makes enchanting reading. His student years at UCT Drama school and antics outside of it , another trip to Europe then back in Cape Town to work at the Space theatre and spend time annoying the inspectors of the Publications Control Board follows . In 1981 he performed the first of his one-man shows. As he remarks, 35 years later he is still writing, presenting and performing them...

Decades after the death of his parents, he regrets having not asked them more questions, particularly about his mother’s background. Scenarios  like this that resonate with so many of us. Today P-D still churns out so many words using, of course, Windows 10. But always, next to his laptop sits his mother’s portable Underwood typewriter in its battered box, which she brought to South Africa in 1937.

As the back cover of this softback tells us “This is Pieter-Dirk Uys unpowdered. No props, no false eyelashes, no high heels...” Indeed. His first two memoirs, Elections and Erections published in 2002 and Between the Devil and the Deep in 2005 were great reads, but in this title I felt I really got to know something of the complex, talented person that he is, perhaps underlined with vivid memories of a matinee at Evita se Perron one spring weekend last year, where he was as brilliant as ever but looking, I thought, tired.

Does he ever get tired? The text finishes with a short biography followed by a list of his plays, revues, novels, memoirs, cookbooks and documentaries, feature films and television specials. Looking at that impressive list, one concludes that he cannot ever find time to be tired.

Illustrated with a fascinating collection of black and white photographs, ranging from babyhood to the present, a diverse family album that greatly enhances his prose.

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PRACTICAL, PROMISING AND FREE – PICK N PAY’S WINE CLUB’S A WINNER!

 

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“Good wine for real people” is the slogan they are using. Well yes, but it seems there could be several other advantages for consumers who have joined, - or are contemplating joining – the new Pick n Pay Wine Club.

For those who enjoy wine, buy regularly, but have limited funds to spend, membership could offer several benefits. If you are interested in broadening your taste and finding new favourites, this could be a painless way to do so.

Let’s have a quick run-through the way it works: First up, membership is free and it’s easy to join. As a member you will be notified about a monthly selection of wines offered at 20% discount off shelf price for 30 days. The selection is wide, the range seems to include red, white, rosé, bubbly and one bag-in-a-box occasionally. The choice also offers easy-drinking entry-level labels for beginners, along with at least one or two comparatively upmarket products from well-known and popular Cape cellars. During the month, members can buy just one or two of the discounted wines, or more. They can also buy more than once – as many times as they like – to get the discount before the end of the month.

So – if you try a new label or new varietal and it ticks your box you can order more while its discounted and build up your stock. All this can be done online, so its as easy as picking up your smartphone and sending through your order.

If you live in or near one of the major cities, and buy at least 6 wines of your choice, you will enjoy free delivery: the delivery finder at

https://www.pnp.co.za/pnpstorefront/pnp/en/

will pinpoint which areas are served by this convenience. See

the list of cities and suburbs covered.

If, like myself, you live in the countryside, and delivery is not offered, you can collect your discounted wines at any Pick n Pay that stocks wine: the 20% discount will automatically be taken off the club wines at the till when swiping your Smart Shopper card.

 

There is plenty of info available on the website with regard to tasting notes, suggestions for pairing food and your wine, and occasionally there are competitions and events where members are treated to an evening out with great wines, launches, and good company.

Seems like nothing to lose and plenty to gain - and its simple enough to join. Visit www.pnp.co.za/wine-club or simply SMS your Smart Shopper card number to 36775.  

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With a long-established reputation for consistent quality, Stellenbosch Hills cellar continues to uphold this worthy reputation. While it is widely known for well-priced quality, its sauvignon blanc, in particular, has established a fine record for over-delivering on quality.

I am happy to report that the 2018 vintage, a single vineyard wine, upholds the reputation with panache. It’s all that most of us want from a sauvignon blanc – crisp freshness, not over-acidic, enough body to lend it character, a fine meld of green notes with melon, citrus and a little stone fruit coming through. Perfect for casual sunset and weekend get-togethers, on its own or with fish, salad, chicken, and vegetarian meals. Its moderate alcohol levels of R13% are pleasing and its priced at about R50.

The winery recently released a whole range of new vintages, the only other white being the chenin blanc 2018, along with several 2016 reds – pinotage, cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and their popular fortified Muscat de Hambourg. The reds sell for around R80.

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We all know we shoud squirrel away good barrel-fermented whites along with our reds, but we seldom do. Most of don’t keep our fine chardonnays for long enough, just until the next occasion that sees a luxurious seafood feast or a special poultry creation grace the table.

So it's good to know that Whalehaven decided to cellar their Conservation Coast chardonnay for us - leaving the 2014 vintage maturing for more than two years before releasing it. This premium wine was produced from a vineyard of 14-year-old vines in the famed  UpperHemel-en-Aarde region, where Whalehaven is the third-olest winery in the area.

Co-owner Silvana Bottega released the wine recently, and its gorgeous golden hue is the first sign of its maturity, followed by tempting wafts of butterscotch on the nose. This is a rich, full-bodied chardonnay, with a firm mineral backbone, offering lightly toasted crumbs along with citrus flavours. With moderate alcohol levels, it makes an impressive appetiser but comes into its own with celebration fare, either shellfish, rich duck liver paté or complex Middle Eastern chicken dishes.

Bearing stickers from Tim Atkin who scored it 92 and approval from the current Sommeliers Selections results, expect to pay around R360.

The Conservation Coast range also boasts a 2014 Pinot Noir whch I have not tasted.

To find out more about these wines, visit www.whalehaven.co.za

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Marketing is all important when competing in the well-priced segment of South African wines. Overhex Wines International have always come up with interesting labels with a tale to tell and their new range is no exception.

The Mensa range is the first to offer an augmented reality app for smartphones which, when scanned in, brings the story behind the Mensa label to life.

Story-telling, the accompanying maxim – ‘Live a great story’ – and the label (which features everywoman relaxing in a library, its wall lined with books, a glass of wine at her feet) all contribute to appeal both to curious consumers and , I would guess, especially to the female winelover.

This is a range also designed to appeal to book clubs , both visually and price-wise, while the practical Helix cork closure eliminates the need for corkscrews.

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The sauvignpn blanc is fruity and easy-drinking, with alcohol levels of just 12% while the cabernet sauvignon offers a considerably higher level at 14,5% but also slips down easily, its berry flavours backed by a full-bodied character. The trendy chardonnay/.pinot noir comes in at 13% and combines citrus notes with moderate alcohol levels. Whites cost R75 and the red R85 at the Overhex cellar door, are stocked by Checkers countrywide and can be bought online.

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