Tuesday 25 June 2019

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Standard Bank Celebrates 100 Years In Franschhoek!

The original Standard Bank Building that once stood on the site of the current one.

The Standard Bank of South Africa’s opening a branch in Franschhoek on 13 November 1918 was the result of a misunderstanding and the first few decades may have been difficult, but on the centenary of the opening clients and staff were glad that it all worked out well in the end.

Franschhoek Theatre Open for Business

On the evening of 6 November guests gathered at the new Franschhoek Theatre in the Franschhoek High School grounds. The team in charge of the project had invited donors to the project for a celebration. Also in attendance were the principal of the school, Mr Cilliers, and the school’s governing body.

After more than two years of planning, authorisations, design, building and renovation, the Centenary Library building was ready for its new life. The guests who had come to celebrate were enchanted by the grey and blue interior, the re-laid old parquet floor and new carpeted seating tiers, the spruced up shutters and the brand new amenities. The project team thanked the donors who had so generously supported the fund-raising initiatives which enabled them to realise a Franschhoek community dream. Mr Denver Adonis, the chairman of the school governing body also thanked everyone involved and pointed out that the school did not have the means to renovate and save the building. He added that the benefit to the school, both financially and culturally would be most valuable.

Turn Your Black Friday Blue At Allée Bleue This Year!

De Wet Hugo, who is in charge of the “blue Friday” at Allée Bleue on 23 November.

“Every wine producer has a few hundred boxes of wine of various price points and styles lying around in the cellar, and when an opportunity like Black Friday comes around it’s the perfect chance to clear out some of the old stock to get the cellar ready for the 2019 harvest or just sell out on overruns of certain wines, in one go,” says De Wet Hugo, GM of wine at Franschhoek Estate Allée Bleue.

Friday, 23 November, from 10h00-16h00 will be a hive of activity at this family-owned farm as keen wine buyers will be directed to the Black Friday sales area to order, pay and collect their purchases there and then.

The wines selected include Methode Cap Classique’s, whites, reds, blends and even some multi-award winning wines with discounts of 50% and more per bottle.  “This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on quality wines for the summer and we look forward to sharing more than 10 000 bottles with the public at once-in-a-lifetime prices,” comments de Wet.

Wines are only available in 6-bottle boxes and payments have to be made on the day.  No tastings will be offered as the wine has been kept in optimum conditions in the cellar throughout.  Cash and credit cards only.

“It’s definitely first-come first-served and obviously only whilst stocks last, so it’s best to arrive early!  Make a day of it and book a picnic afterwards or have breakfast in the Bistro from 08h00 before you hit the sale,” suggests de Wet.

Atkin Plaudits For La Bri Trio

International wine writer and British Master of Wine (MW) Tim Atkin’s 2018 SA Special Report made happy reading for the team at La Bri. Three of their wines cracked the 90 out of 100 points mark. Illustrating the versatility of the team the acclaimed wines include a white, a red and a Méthode Cap Classique.

La Bri’s MCC, Sauvage La Bri 2012, was awarded 91 points by Atkin. This follows on last year when their maiden bubbly, the Sauvage La Bri 2011, was also awarded 91 points by Atkin and cements La Bri as a producer of fine MCCs.

Leeu Estates Named SA’s Leading Wine Country Hotel by World Travel Awards

Leeu Estates is located between the Franschhoek River and Dassenberg.

For the second year running, World Travel Awards has named Leeu Estates, the Leeu Collection’s flagship property in Franschhoek, as South Africa’s Leading Wine Country Hotel. The award was announced at the lack-tie gala that celebrated all the African winners in Durban, on 6 October 2018.

Coffee man

Coffee roaster Jommo Nkunika shows off another finely roasted batch.

Walking towards the entrance of the Big Dog Café the same thought always pops into my head: I wish that aroma could be bottled! The aroma in question varies a bit; sometimes it’s a bit fruitier and sometimes more chocolatey, but it’s always enticing. Regulars will know that the source of the aroma is the Terbodore Coffee Roastery that one passes on the way to the café. The roastery is the domain of head roaster Jommo Nkunika. The Tatler paid him a visit to find out a little about what he does.

Jommo, who seems to wear a permanent smile, has been with Terbodore Coffee Roasters for five years.  He started in the production team doing things like loading and offloading and packaging. Like cream, he rose to the top and was soon training as a roaster, before eventually becoming head roaster. It is clearly a role he relishes.

Terbodore hand roasts all their coffee; nothing is automated. This means Jommo has to keep a sharp eye on what’s happening to the beans in the roaster and keep meticulous records to maintain consistency between batches and ‘vintages’. As a wino, I was struck by the similarities between blending coffees and wine. Like grapes, coffee beans vary based on the varietal, their origin and the particular harvest’s growing conditions.  All these factors and even the ambient temperature and humidity in the roastery have to be considered to ensure that any particular blend tastes the same from one year to the next.

Like winemaking, coffee roasting is part science and part art. It is clear from watching Jommo control the roaster that he has successfully mastered both parts.  There is no time for slacking.  Between feeding the hot belly of the roaster with a fresh batch of beans; controlling the temperature; visually inspecting the roasting beans; listening to and interpreting the crackling of the beans; emptying the roaster; cooling the beans and writing down every detail in a log book there is barely time for, well, even a coffee!

The coffee-drinking public will be happy to know that they can share in Jommo’s coffee wisdom by making a booking for Terbodore’s “Cupping Experience” on Friday afternoons at 15h00. (Reservations essential, max 8 pax)

Jommo may have been raised on a Malawian tea plantation, but today he’s truly a coffee man.

Text & Image: Editor

Old vines a special feature of the South African wine industry

Basil Landau’s Semillon block, planted in 1905, is one of SA’s oldest vineyards.

“An increased focus on South Africa’s old vines has elicited world-wide interest in the country’s wine heritage and the industry itself, with wines made from fruit sourced from these heritage vines proving their mettle,” says André Morgenthal of the Old Vine Project (OVP).

He says that membership of the OVP has grown from 10 members late last year, to over 40 now, including a number of cooperative producers, with over 80% of old-vine wines represented within these systems.  The rising interest in the OVP has also been seen at tastings in London and Canada, supported and organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), as well as locally at Klein Karoo Klassique and the US Woordfees.

Unwind with a country picnic

Settle down to a country picnic at Grande Provence this summer.

Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate is tempting visitors with scrumptious country-style picnics until April 2019.

Packed to the brim with delicious artisanal foods, the Grande Country Picnic baskets include free range chicken, estate-made hummus, local cheeses and preserves, heirloom garden salad, smoked snoek pâté, olives, charcuterie and crusty farm-baked bread. The decadent rocky road Valrhona chocolate bar will satisfy any sweet tooth. The picnic basket comes with a bottle of Grande Provence’s popular Angels Tears wine of your choice as well as still or sparkling water. Vegetarian baskets are available on request.

The Grande Country Picnic is available at R650 for two people sharing or R325 for a single basket. Baskets have to be booked a day in advance and a limited number are available daily.

restaurant@grandeprovence.co.za | 021 876 8600

Text: Editorial Desk | Image: Grande Provence

2018 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge

When the results of the 2018 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge were announced Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards were delighted to learn that their Culinaria Chenin Blanc made the Top 10 for the third year in a row.

“Chenin has come of age,” said chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, Ken Forrester. “No longer just a niche grape loved by of the wine fraternity, it is acquiring a mainstream following.  More and more people are believing in it, buying it, drinking it and talking about it,” he said referring to the record number of entries in this year’s challenge, the growth in sales of Chenin Blanc this year, and the global reach of a recent social media campaign.

“The versatility of Chenin, its diversity of wine styles and its great food-friendliness, all point towards its rising acceptance among local consumers.  This is in line with the growing international interest in the grape, increasingly seen abroad as South Africa’s calling card.”

The challenge drew 113 wooded and 46 unwooded entries, all tasted blind by the five-member panel, with 27 wines shortlisted for the final top ten line-up.

Cathy van Zyl MW, the chairman of the judges, said that the winning wines were largely sourced from older vineyards. “While one of the winners comes from 12-year old vines, the others come from vines that are older than 27 years. Indeed, the oldest vineyard in the line-up is 65-years old.”

Fruit for the winning wines was sourced from as far afield as the Cederberg, Stellenbosch including Bottelary and Faure, Darling, Elgin, Durbanville, the Swartland, specifically Voor-Paardeberg, Perdeberg, Malmesbury, Tygerberg, Slanghoek, Wellington and Bot River.

UK wine consultant Simon Field MW, a specialist on wines from the Loire in France, where Chenin originates and the only foreign judge on the panel, was impressed with the line-up of what he called very polished, palatable and professional wines and their multiplicity of expression.  “A definitively South African Chenin style was apparent to me – riper, more fruit-forward and floral, with qualities of nectarine and other yellow fruit, some beeswax and honey. The whole experience gave me a fascinating new perspective on Chenin.”

Pointing to the availability of Chenin excellence at accessible prices, Willie du Plessis, Standard Bank SA’s executive head of business banking for the Western Cape, noted that the average price of the top 10 wines was R200. “These world-class wines offer outstanding value, with winners retailing at R70, R90, R120 before rising to the highest price of R375.”

He confirmed a prize of R25 000 for each of the winning wines. The money would need “to reinforce economic and social benefits in the workplace”, in accordance with the conditions of the challenge.  “We believe the honour of making it onto the Top Ten list should extend to the workers as well as the brand owners.”

The winning wines (listed alphabetically) are: Cederberg Private Cellar Five Generations Chenin Blanc 2016, DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017, Jean Daneel Wines Signature Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut), Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc 2016, Mulderbosch Vineyards Chenin Blanc Steen op Hout 2017 (debut), Slanghoek Wynkelder Legends Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut), Spier Wines 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenrust ‘53’ Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2017, Wellington Wines La Cave Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut) and Wildekrans Barrel Select Chenin Blanc Reserve 2017 (debut).

Test: Editorial Desk | Image: Supplied

www.leopardsleap.co.za | 021 876 8002

Your name on a wall for a good cause

Superfluous parquet floor tiles like the one in the photo are being ‘sold’ at R500 each to bring the Franschhoek Theatre project to completion.

If you haven’t yet bought a wooden parquet tile in support of the Franschhoek Theatre Project at Franschhoek High School your time could be running out. The project team says that sales are brisk and an ever-decreasing number remain to be sold.

As part of the final fundraising push a limited number of teak parquet tiles are being sold. The tiles, original to the historic building, are superfluous to the theatre’s flooring needs as some previously parqueted areas are being carpeted. Some of these superfluous parquet tiles are being ‘sold’ at R500 each to finance the final touches to the theatre.

Everyone who ‘buys’ a parquet tile will have their name, or that of someone they nominate, inscribed on the tile which will then be installed on a feature wall in the theatre as an everlasting sign of gratitude. (Please note that inscriptions are limited to 32 characters, including spaces.

Payment details are as follows:

Full Swing Trading 598 t/a Rose Cottages

Standard Bank, Franschhoek 051001

Account No 200880012

As reference, please use F Theatre, your initial and surname.

To ease administration, the funds will be collected and ring-fenced in this account before being paid into the school account.

Send your name, the number of tiles you wish to ‘buy’ and the name(s) you wish to have inscribed on the tile(s) to Ronelle who is administering the project. Her email is admin@lascaris.co.za.

Text & Image: Editorial Desk

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