Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

Fairview’s new range of La Capra wines has its own story to tell…

Way back when, as the legend goes, the hospitable Back Family of the Fairview wine estate took in a weary traveller by the name of Attila Balebos and offered him a room in their home.

Attila politely declined and instead chose to spend his nights on a woven mat amongst the goats in one of the sheds. Charles Back, just a young man at the time, quickly struck up a friendship with the stranger. They bonded through their mutual love of fine food, wine and beautiful music, sharing many a night of stargazing and story telling.

Alas, one morning Charles went to find Attila and he had vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. Some have questioned if Charles had dreamt up this mysterious visitor, or if he was in fact envisioned during a severe bout of harvest-time sunstroke. Whatever the case, this tale was the inspiration behind the estate’s La Capra selection.

La Capra – Italian for goat – is named after Fairview’s famous herd of goats that roam the estate and provide the milk for some of the Cape’s finest cheeses. This lifestyle range of fruit-forward wines, embodies Attila’s intriguing personality and zest for life, which celebrates the many surprises along life’s journey.

The La Capra collection includes popular cultivars such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage and is available in leading super markets and retailers across South Africa.

Never judge a wine by its cover, but here is La Capra’s charming label explained:

The Goat: alluding to the estate’s cheese-making traditions and the wine’s name.

Wine Barrels: acknowledging the importance of quality winemaking heritage.

Globe: referring to the international appeal of the brand as well as drawing inspiration from cultures around the world.

Violin: representing music, enjoyment and celebration.

Farmer: emphasising the agricultural history of Fairview and the importance of the work that is done to prepare the vineyard and harvest the grapes.

Fork: highlighting the delicious food and wine on offer at the Fairview farm.

Cheese: representing Fairview as one of South Africa’s leading artisanal cheese producers.

The Band: celebrating the importance of collaboration in producing memorable wine.

The Nicest Touch: The colour of the farmer’s jacket changes with each cultivar.



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It’s been a good week. I had the opportunity to taste delicious olive oil, fantastic wine, and tasty food made by Marlene van der Westhuizen (of Delectable & Sumptuous cookbook fame) and Giorgio Nava (of restaurants 95 Keerom and Carne). Jealous?

First off was lunch at Marlene’s Food Studio in Green Point, where we had a tasting of Allee Bleue olive oils and balsamic vinegar. Mopping up loaves of bread with plenty of olive oil got our stomach ready for an olive oil-inspired lunch. Marlene did a very good job and her Olive and Leek Tarts were too die for, as was the Pistachio Cake — the recipe is in her cookbook Sumptuous and I may just have to make it for the family this weekend!

Next was a Morgenster wine tasting. We tasted both the Morgenster 2006 (nice spice and juicy fruit) and the Lourens River Valley 2006 (voluptuous with elegant tannins). Absolutely delicious. It’s such a pity I have to leave them on the wine rack for a couple more years. The LRV 2006 can be found at a reasonable R140 (cellar door), but you’ll have to save up for the Morgenster 2006, it’s selling at around R320.

The wine tasting was followed by lunch prepared by Giorgio. As usual the food was outstanding, I could have eaten at least three servings of the Lamb Ravioli with Sage Butter. And I almost stole a second dessert–of Fruit Salad with Mascarpone Ice Cream–from the setting across from me, while the journalist was in the bathroom.

After such a great week of indulgence, I fear the weekend can only hold disappointment on the tasting front. Unless of course that Pistachio cake is a hit. Hold thumbs.


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My husband, like most men, likes gadgets. And with Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad coming onto the market there has been lots of talk in our house about how great it would be to use this gadget rather than ‘traditional’ books.

Now I totally disagree. I can see all the advantages to these gadgets, but it’s still not the same. I love a good old paperback. If I drop it in the bath, I can dry it out. I can page through quickly when I’m scared and want to make sure there’s a happy ending. I even like the smell of the pages. And sure it’s easier to travel with this gadget rather than packing a couple of heavy books. But a little computer screen doesn’t appeal to me at all. It’ll hurt my eyes. It just doesn’t seem personal.

Then Alex pulled the ‘green’ card, “Imagine how many trees you could save.” That shut me up quickly. The trees. I guess I could do it to for the trees. But how bare and sad my bookshelves will look.

And now they are asking me to do the same with wine bottles. I’m not sure how much of this I can take. I’m starting to feel like Walter Mathau in Grumpy Old Men.

Will SA Wine Estates Turn to Plastic Bottles?

The SA winelands is doing a lot for the environment. And this is winning us recognition overseas—with awards to boot. And now not only do we have the options for light-weight bottles—a mere 300g instead of 500g—but Mondi’s  come up with a design for plastic wine bottles. They look exactly like wine bottles, weigh only 50g, only need one double-sided label and transport (and therefore a carbon footprint) is even further reduced due to the light load. Sure there are also some negatives to using this kind of packaging for wine, but a lot of people think the positives outweigh the negatives.

It’s definitely innovative, and hey, we’re happy drinking our Coke or Powerade in plastic bottles. Why should this be a problem for our wine? But then again we still get readers writing into Good Taste about their dislike for screwcaps and how they take away the ‘romance’ of opening a bottle of wine. I can’t imagine they will jump on board with this idea.

The reality is that our environment is under extreme pressure. And it’s because of us. Sure, plastic bottles aren’t as stylish or elegant—but maybe I can decant the wine into a beautiful crystal decanter and put that on the table with dinner, rather than adding to the pressure the enviroment is under. I’m up to it, if you are.

Send us your comments on what you think about wineries turning to plastic bottles.


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Picnicking is relaxing. Sitting outside on a nice day, with a couple of friends and some good food and wine. What could be better?

Well we (my father-in-law, brother & sister-in-law, Alex and I) recently had a chance to one-up the usual picnicking experience. You know the one, where you pack some biscuits and some good cheese and head to your local park or to the beach. Someone always forgets to pack a good knife or the bottle opener. Well, we went to Warwick Wine Estate for their Gourmet Picnic where no such problems cropped up.

Being out in the winelands is always great. It’s usually quiet, scenic, hot and overflowing with good wine. I had been looking forward to tasting top chef Bruce Robertson’s picnic menu for quite some time now. And we weren’t let down. The picnics were delivered, with a copy of The Warwick Times newspaper and many beautifully packaged, tasty treats.

The winner of the day was: Bruce’s Lekker Biltong and Brandy Pate—we couldn’t get enough of it. Others that topped the list were: Poached Chicken Breast with Truffle Mayo, Frikkadella with Tomato Bredie and the Creamy Wholegrain Mustard Baby Potato Salad. 

And of course the Warwick Chardonnay made the whole lot taste that much better.

We ended the picnic with a friendly game of boules which quickly turned into tough competition between brothers as the rest of us left the game, one by one. Then we grabbed the pillows down at the dam to lazily enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Next time we’re staying for the Big 5 Wine Safari!

(And all you greenies will be happy to know that Warwick supports Green Home’s biodegradable products. All the catering products are made from cellulose and plant waster material and are completely biodegradable.)


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Yesterday I attended a Wine & Indian Cuisine Pairing at Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town – with Nederburg wines.

The food and the wines were delicious. So often I find food and wine pairings don’t really work, and after tasting the food I can’t always go back and enjoy my wine. Maybe I just have a fussy palate. But these pairings had me sipping after each of the many courses. The wines seemed to complement the spicy Indian food – and often I had to go back for more sips to rescue my tongue from the curry!

My favourite pairing of the day was the Roasted Yellow Corn Soup and Turmeric Poporn served with the Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Rhine Riesling 2009.

Well done to the Executive Chef  Shyam Sunder Longani and to Cellarmaster, Razvan Macici.

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I went to a tasting of Spier’s new Creative Block wines at the Spier Arts Academy at Union House in Cape Town last night. Very tasty.

Spier’s Creative Block 2: White Bordeaux style – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon. Aromas of gooseberries, kiwi fruit and crushed nettle. Tropical fruit and fresh green characters on the palate.

Spier’s Creative Block 3: Rhone Blend – Shiraz/ Mourvedre/ Viognier. Aromas of violets, mulberry, sweet fruits, spice and toast. On the palate – mulberry with subtle vanilla and chocolate and a lingering aftertaste.

Spier’s Creative Block 5: Bordeaux Blend – Merlot/ Malbec/ Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot. Juicy plum, spicy black olives and black cherries on the nose. Ripe cherries and plum on the palate. Subtle, flavours of cinnamon and cloves.

Tamsin Reily

Tamsin Reily


The Spier Creative Block wines are named after a Spier art project which is designed to stimulate and support the South African art community. Creative Block invites artists – both established and emerging – to create an artwork on a block measuring 18x18cm. The artists are given free reign to create a work in any style or medium that they choose. Collectors can select a combination of pieces, becoming a part of the creative process by building a greater, more personal artwork. Blocks are only R950 each. Now that’s affordable art! Visit www.creativeblock.co.za for more information.

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rudiEarlier this month I was invited to a chef’s table lunch at the Mount Nelson. Chef Rudi Liebenberg looks right at home in the 110-year-old Cape Colony kitchen. And no, that’s not to say that he looks old—far from it. The winemaker of Durbanville Hills, Martin Moore, was on hand to do the wine and food pairing bit.

Little did I know that the chef’s table was exactly that—a table in the kitchen. In an alcove off the restored colonial kitchen is a big wooden table set on twenties-style parquet flooring. 

The menu, in Martin’s opinion, was designed to drive winemakers mad.  Just try matching a wine to thyme-cured beef with pickled carrot or every winemaker’s worst nightmare the dreaded, but delicious, tomato.

Unfortunately for Martin the tomato is Rudi’s best-loved fruit, ingredient and source of inspiration. This is evident in the Tomato Philadelphia Terrine, which makes me suddenly stop feeling sorry for vegetarians.

True gourmet is in the details, as Rudi proves with this simple dish. The tomato has been used every way here—most notably though in the form of white foam. To the taste, it’s pure spring—acidic tomato freshness. I’m baffled; surely it should be red or at least pink-y? Rudi lets me on to his secret, if you boil anything for long enough the substance will eventually rise to the surface leaving the water behind, and it’s the water that holds all the flavour. It’s similar to making a consommé. To this water Rudi adds leaf gelatin and whips it up the old fashioned way—with a hand blender.

To counter the acidity of the tomato, Martin pairs it with the Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Reserve Merlot. An odd choice, but the softness of the Merlot works.

Next time I come to the Nellie, I’ll be sure to bring along my parasol and white gloves and try out the high tea.


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