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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

Franschhoek Theatre: There is light in construction tunnel

Franschhoek High School head boy Luvo Gcuku ceremonially received a cheque towards the Franschhoek Theatre project from Uncorked band members (FLTR) Nick Davies, Rowan Smith and Reg Lascaris.

The Franschhoek Theatre at Franschhoek High School is steadily becoming a reality. Construction has practically been completed and interior fit-out is progressing at a pace. A very welcome R12 000 donation towards the project was received last month from local band Uncorked. It was their performance fee from the Bastille Festival and the generous band members passed it on to facilitate the completion of the project. They ceremonially handed a cheque to the school’s head boy, Luvo Gcuku, at the theatre on the school grounds.

In another theatre-related happening there was great excitement among the Grade 11 learners at Franschhoek High School when their tourism teacher, Miss Steynberg, took them for a look-see to the building site on the school grounds where their archive was being transformed into the Franschhoek Theatre.

They loved being so close to the construction action and strictly followed building site safety measures. Some of them had spent time in the building when it housed the library and others had been to the old Screening Room at Le Quartier Français. All of them were excited about the idea of movie screenings and other entertainment right there in this familiar, but repurposed building.

Rickety Bridge’s Foundation Stone Range

This experimental craft range, which winemaker Wynand Grobler particularly enjoys making, is adorned with a creative, eye-catching label reflecting Wynand’s innovative approach to the three wines. The blends are constantly evolving, being tweaked by Wynand every year. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the intricate label, designed by the talented Fanakalo team, may make you wonder at what’s within. Chances are that you’ll like what you find!

The Sunflower Fund Urges South Africans to Help Save Lives

Every year, millions of individuals around the world are diagnosed with cancer. In 2018, just fewer than 1.5 million new cases of blood cancer were recorded worldwide and according to a special report by Discovery Health released in 2018 cancer causes more deaths in South Africa than HIV/Aids, TB and malaria combined.  Even more staggering is the fact detailed in the same report that leukaemia tops the list of top five cancers by cost at R281 455 per case on average. Whilst it is good to shine the spotlight on these statistics to raise awareness, The Sunflower Fund want to use bone marrow stem cell donation and leukaemia awareness month to remind South Africans that they actually can do something to change these statistics.

The Sunflower Fund initiated its annual Sunflower Day campaign 16 years ago to get individuals involved in the fight against blood diseases.  The campaign, which is anchored by the sale of the Tube of Hope (TOPE), a multi-purpose accessory, is aimed at raising funds for the recruitment of blood stem cell donors to give the hope of cure to patients diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases like leukaemia who are in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.

Kusasa Stars return from Sweden to heroes’ welcome

The Kusasa Stars were proud ambassadors for both Franschhoek and South Africa.

Franschhoek’s Kusasa Stars returned home on 26 July from a life-changing trip to the Gothia Cup 2018 in Sweden.

Emotional family reunions were the order of the day, while the boys’ schools also celebrated their efforts in Sweden.

The following day the team paraded triumphantly through Franschhoek on BuildIt’s open-back lorry with a huge soccer ball and were celebrated by residents and visitors alike as they arrived at Sacred Ground for a celebratory lunch. The Kusasa Stars were truly treated as returning heroes!

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.

New Delight at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant

Farmed cob with steamed West Coast mussels, crispy cauliflower, toasted sunflowerseeds, dill and mussel liquor dressing

Expect a fresh interpretation to the acclaimed wine and food experience on Franschhoek-based La Motte Wine Estate. With an eye on global culinary trends and embracing the signature modern focus of newly appointed executive chef, Eric Bulpitt, Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant is shining a new light on heritage cuisine.

Since opening its doors in 2010, Pierneef à La Motte has been renowned for its exceptional cuisine, innovative wine experience and authentic Cape Winelands hospitality. “We are passionate about our heritage and in keeping with the international trend, the focus at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant will stay on heritage cuisine and an authentic food experience. It is, however, time for a fresh interpretation and Chef Eric’s creativity and bold authenticity will introduce traditional cuisine to guests in a brand new way”, says La Motte CEO, Hein Koegelenberg.

Lunch at Pierneef à La Motte treats guests to a sophisticated à la carte menu within the restaurant’s elegant ambience, beautifully embraced by tranquil gardens. Chef Bulpitt’s selection of starters, mains and desserts changes with the season and the menu represents seasonal and sustainable, locally-sourced artisan ingredients. All dishes come with wine suggestions from an award-winning wine list offering both current and older vintages of La Motte, an interesting selection of other South African and international wines as well as an exceptional representation of Franschhoek Méthode Cap Classique wines.

The à la carte lunch is served inside the restaurant and on the water deck, from Tuesday to Sunday, 11h30 – 15h00. Reservations are recommended.

Welcoming guests to its culture of sharing, the Garden Menu is a brand new addition to the Pierneef à La Motte offering. Guests are invited to enjoy this more relaxed dining experience under the estate’s majestic oak trees during warmer weather, from October to Easter. Relish the calm garden ambience, enjoy a glass of wine and choose from an ever-changing seasonal menu of delicious sharing options.

Despite its more informal feel, the Garden Menu echoes the à la carte menu’s theme of modern heritage cuisine. Expect unique South African tastes such as flavoursome Cape curries, mosbolletjies, biltong, curry lamb kebabs, cinnamon pancakes and all those interesting combinations of sweet, sour and savoury, presented with Chef Eric’s innovative touch. The menu offers guests a selection of smaller plates to enjoy with La Motte wines.

Commencing in October 2018, the Garden Menu is served in the garden or on the Pierneef à La Motte stoep from Tuesday to Sunday, 11h00 – 17h00. (Last orders at 16h30). No Reservations.

With the delightful confectionery of the Farm Shopalways a temptation, the La Motte gardens also offer a beautiful opportunity to sit down with a glass of the estate’s award-winning Méthode Cap Classique, coffee or tea and a choice of delectable bakes.

The La Motte Farm Shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 09h00 – 17h00.

The La Motte Wine and Food Tasting is one of the motivations behind the estate having been announced the winner an exceptional four times, in the Drinks International Wine Tourism Best Food and Wine Matching Experience. As part of the renewal in the restaurant, the menu for the La Motte Wine and Food Tasting has also seen a complete transformation.

The food pairings support the restaurant’s focus on modern heritage cuisine, curated with the input of Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche to complement the five La Motte wines in the tasting. The food tasters are delicately plated but still represent everyday flavours and tastes and will guide guests towards more reliable food-and-wine selections, with reference to weight and intensity, as well as the influence of the primary taste sensations. Presented by a well-informed Wine Ambassador, this Friday morning event is both educational and entertaining.

The La Motte Wine and Food Tasting takes place on Fridays at 10h00. R295 per person. Strictly by appointment only.

www.la-motte.com | 021 876 8000

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

Change-maker women celebrated at the Proteas of the Valley Event 2019

The Proteas of the Valley women for 2019. Adriana Francke, Anthea Williams, Nontuthuzelo Ginya, Vanessa Adams, Xoliswa Mjezu, Johanessa Viljoen, Corné van Heerden, Marliza Koen, Christalene Newing, Katie van Loggerenberg, Lilly Fortuin, Charlene Elliot, Veronica Gelant, Lizzette Baxter and Vanessa Whatney.

As a grand finale to Valcare’s annual women’s month campaign, a stylish high tea event was hosted at Kronenburg Estate on Tuesday 27 August 2019. The chosen 15 Proteas of the Valley ladies, along with the previous two years’ Proteas and honourable guests from the valley, were spoiled with an afternoon of encouragement, entertainment, delicious eats and special treats.

Klein Handjies Preschool on the up and up

Klein Handjies graduation 2016

“Change the first five years and you can change anything.”

History, says Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.

The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal.  It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.

Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with. She says there are six main reasons for this.

These are:

·         It is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children.

·         It has sufficient staff (seven in all) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.

·         It has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.

·         It is well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.

·         It feeds its children throughout the day with breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and afternoon snacks.  What is more, the food is healthy and nutritious, most of it emanating from Boschendal’s farms and much of it also prepared in Boschendal’s Werf Restaurant.

·         Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose Programme.  The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives. The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field. He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education. Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play With A Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage.  If, therefore, children are exposed to interesting, stimulating activities at this stage their chances of coping with later educational demands, even under very difficult conditions such as overcrowding, will be much improved.

“Play With A Purpose programmes were introduced to Gauteng some 25 years ago by Robin Wieland, who still heads up the Preschool for Africa programme, but Klein Handjies is the first school in the Western Cape to buy into their educative methods.  This exciting change has come about because Preschool for Africa is represented in the Western Cape by Colleen Harvett, a very experienced nursery school owner and principal who, when not running her own school, devotes most of her spare time to promoting Play With A Purpose programmes in the Western Cape – and it was she who talked to Boschendal CEO Rob Lundie, who, she says, very quickly grasped the value and the concepts of Play With A Purpose.

“What makes the Play With A Purpose programme so revolutionary,” says Harvett, “is that previously too little thought was given in farm schools of this kind to stimulating and developing the minds of our youngest children.  If the preschool was comfortable and the children were looked after and kept amused that was often thought sufficient.  It is only quite recently that it has been understood that these initial years of a child’s life are crucial to its later ability to learn and adapt.”

In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.

“This means,” says Harvett, “that it will in time be able to take on pupils up to Grades 1 and 2 – and later possibly they will be able to go even further.  It is likely that this school will set new standards for farm education in the Boland and will find many imitators.”

www.boschendal.com | 021 870 4200 (Rob Lundie)

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