Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

New Le Quartier Français Winelist

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The new Le Quartier Français winelist is set for release on the 1st of December 2009.

At Le Quartier Français our goal – regarding the new winelist – was to create a winelist experience as phenomenal as our other experiences.

We’ve worked at changing our approach to wine selection and I’ve started to place a greater emphasis on terroir, and it’s effect on the various wines I’ve selected for the new Le Quartier Français winelist. If you have a look, through the new winelist, you’ll find a really spectacular selection of great terroir-reflecting wines.

What’s more our new wine list also offers  an even more extensive range of wines-by-the-glass than before.

Picture courtesy of Rennett Stowe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/2616557989/)

Picture courtesy of Rennett Stowe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/2616557989/)

Eben Sadie

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Margot and I recently took part in an invitation only tasting with Eben Sadie. He only does four a year – at the family farm so – it’s not the type of invite any wine lover says no to!

Eben Sadie is a man overflowing with amazing oenological philosophies and remarkable commitment to producing exceptional wines that are both honest and pure. In fact, in this regard, Eben Sadie’s wines take after him.

During the tasting – overlooking the Swartland and Paardeberg – we learned about soils and terroir, both of which are the not-so-secret ingredients of Eben’s magic.

To illustrate the importance of terrior Eben had us taste three Shirazs. All three were farmed using the same methods, same vines and same oak. The only difference was the soil.

The three Shiraz’s were all totally different – everything from their colour to their flavour and texture was unique to that particular wine. This was the first time that I’ve really experienced the differentiating effects terroir can have on a wine.

Another first – for me – were Eben’s concrete egg tanks which he imported exlusively for fementing his award-winning Palladuis.  These egg tanks apparently maintain the minerality and the concrete – being natural – keeps the purity in the wine.

Eben, I soon discovered, does not believe in spreadsheets, he dislikes producing “oak soup” and his wines never see a machine. He believes in “capturing a place and locking up time” – which is what he does with his wine.

We got to sample this time capsule wine and my new favourite is the Columella 2006. Here each berry is hand-selected then basket pressed. The beautiful colour, a gorgeous purple hue, and the layers of texture and flavours created a smooth and oh so subtle wine. Phenomenal!

Bellingham Bernard Series Wines

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Bellingham have just released their The Bernard Series and I was lucky enough to be led through a full tasting by, none other than, Niël. What an honour!

I tried the whole range and every one is unique and, for lack of more formal terminology, very yummy. The Bernard Series is real food wine; which is such a pleasure and something I hope more wine farms start working into their offerings.

Obviously I had to have a favourite, and my favourite is their Oaked Sauvignon Blanc – Two Thousand & Seven. They actually write out the vintage and I think that this just adds to the label’s overall class. I unfortunately couldn’t find a picture of my favourite so I’ve used the Bernard Series Viognier bottleshot instead. This should give you an idea what to expect from a packaging point of view.

The Bernard Series Sauvignon Blanc grapes are all from one of the oldest single bush vine vineyard blocks, which is situated in Darling.

The first whiff – of the Bernard Series Oaked Sauvignon Blanc – made me go back for a second and third. I really could not get enough of the nose! All grilled asparagus, just like Margot prepares on the braai for us to enjoy our days off. Delicious!

The Bernard Series Oaked Sauvignon Blanc has been in the barrel for a year and the bottle for an additional year. So – hopefully – you can imagine the intense mouth feel, with layer upon layer of fruit and just a subtle touch of vanilla.

Le Quartier Français in October

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Today I head off to the USA where I will be visiting Le Quartier Français friends and contacts; I’ll also be investigating new and emerging trends in the hotel and restaurant world. It promises to be a very exciting trip and I’m going to try keep everyone updated, through this blog, throughout my travels.

On the home front, the weekend of the 10th and 11th of October sees the valley play host to the third annual Franschhoek Uncorked festival. The majority of Franschhoek wine farms use this event to showcase their latest vintages; often choosing to release these vintages at Uncorked. This tradition makes for a tasty weekend!

At Môreson and Bread & Wine Neil Jewell, head chef and South African Charcuterie King, is going to be whipping up a food market of note; and I can guarantee that his famous mussels will definitely be on offer. On the wine front Môreson will be officially introducing their new range Miss Molly wines to the South African public.

Neil enjoying an after work beer.

Neil enjoying an after work beer.

Then – come mid-October – Linda Coltart, Margot Janse, Annemarie Steenkamp (the Culinary Concierge) and Neil Jewell are going to be visiting Italy. They will be taking part in the TTG INCONRTI PADIGLIONE B1. So you can expect some lovely updates and perhaps (cross your fingers) a few video clips showcasing their adventures.

October 2009, in the Le Quartier Français family, really looks like it’s set to be a delicious month!

Wine Watch: Barista Coffee Pinotage

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I love wine. I love sniffing it, I love drinking it, I love putting together my own tasting notes … as I said: I love wine!

In fact, five years ago, I made some of my own wine. Two barrels of a Petit Verdot called Solo; but that’s another exciting story for another exceptional day.

Today I’m going to talk about Winex, which I recently visited.

It’s usually on the top of the industry to-do list (because that’s what we, in the industry, do – we go to shows and taste) but – when the time comes to actually go – I can think of at least a hundred excuses not to. These include but aren’t limited to: it’s too far do drive, it’s too big a show, it’s too busy a show, it’s too much for one night of tasting etc. This year, however, Winex was a last minute decision – one I couldn’t avoid because I had someone to go with which meant I didn’t have to drive – my best excuses were useless!

This year one wine, Barista, really got the better of my curiosity. Barista is Bertus Fourie’s new Pinotage offering and definitely spiked some interest. Bertus (also known as Starbucks) really made his name with the famous Chocolate and Coffee Diemersfontein Pinotage; and it’s great to see him still adding sexiness to this previously maligned cultivar.

I found the Barista offering intriguing – even before I’d tasted it. Both the name and the label effectively align this Pinotage with the concept of a Barista (someone who has an exceptional level of skill when it comes to espresso-based coffee drinks).

Then there is Barista’s aroma and palate. Barista was packed full of those coffee, mocha, espresso aromas and – possibly – a little too much wood for me, but still delicious. The flavours were ripe mulberry, plum and most noticeably coffee.

This is not one of those jammy-type Pinotages. It doesn’t have to be chilled to enjoy and while I was tasting it I kept thinking how delicious it would be with a warthog dish or a souvide lamb neck. For lack of a better word, YUM!

Image courtesy of www.baristawine.co.za

Image courtesy of www.baristawine.co.za