Monday, April 17, 2017

PLAISIR DE MERLE LAUNCHES FLAGSHIP RED

A visit to Plaisir de Merle at the foothills of the majestic Simonsberg between Paarl and Franschhoek is always a nostalgic affair. I well remember the grand opening of the new cellar in 1993 with Niel Bester at the helm. Niel’s philosophy of minimal human intervention hasn’t changed much in the last 25 years, as he continues to harvest quality fruit from a diversity of soils, slopes and elevations resulting in the award-winning wines from this cellar.




The recent celebration was the launch of the limited edition 2013 Charles Marais, an exquisite blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Niel considers this the pinnacle of blends produced in his 25 years as Cellar Master. The wine is named after the founder of Plaisir de Merle, Charles Marais, who fled religious persecution in France and sailed to the Cape in 1687. He was granted land by Governor Simon van der Stel in 1693 and named the farm after his home town Le Plessis Marly. Says Niel: “It would have been a fine moment for me to share a glass of this wine with the man who had the vision to set in place vineyards that to this day has a profound impact on how we make our wine.”





Niel explains that the grapes were hand-harvested in the early morning when the fruit was at its most flavourful. After hand-sorting, the grapes were de-stalked and crushed separately. Each variety was fermented separately in 5000litre stainless steel tanks. After alcoholic fermentation, a period of maceration followed when the skins remained in contact with the wine for two weeks. Following 16 months in new French 300litre barrels, the finest barrels showing the purest varietal character were selected for the final blend. A further six months in 3rd fill French oak followed before the wine was bottled without prior filtration. Two years in bottle further develops complexity and structure says Niel.




Each part of the blend brings a unique dimension to the whole remarks Niel: ‘The Cabernet Sauvignon brings red berries, dark fruit and juicy tannins to the blend, while the Cabernet Franc adds blueberries and a herbaceous note. The Petit Verdot contributes forest berries and spice as well as some firm tannin. The Merlot lifts the blend with aromatic violets whilst French oak delivers flavours of pencil shavings, sweet vanilla and spice.‘


THE TASTING EXPERIENCE:
Colour: Dark inky plum.
Nose: Multi-layered; aromatic.
Taste: Full bodied; Red berries and dark fruit with sweet vanilla and spicy overtones.


 

The wine was superb with the tender braised lamb shoulder, gem squash, gremolata and confit garlic prepared by chef Bertus Basson.

The limited stock (only 750 X 6 bot cases) of 2013 Charles Marais is available from the cellar door and selected retailers at around R1050.00 per bottle.




Contact: www.plaisirdemerle.co.za or 0218741071

Sunday, October 23, 2016

WHAT A MESS!

Situated at Shop 110 - The Rockwell, Napier Street Green Point, The Mess, Restaurant & Bar offers casual dining with good food in a convivial and elegant setting.





THE  NAME – The word mess dates back to the 15th century when a group of people who ate together was known as a ‘mess’ and brings to mind the military and naval tradition of referring to the dining hall where soldiers and sailors ate as ‘the mess’. The mess, historically, was a communal dining space; a home away from home - a place of companionship and camaraderie.  The word ‘mess’ also has its roots in the old French word mes, meaning a portion of food. And who can deny that eating good food with friends can sometimes be a messy affair.
THE OWNER  Carlene de Gouveia envisaged The Mess being the social hub of food and wine loving Capetonians and visitors alike. It’s a place to meet, hang out, celebrate and bring the family for a delicious supper where you don’t have to do the dishes.


While globe-trotting across many countries Carlene noted her favourite dishes and kept them stored in her memory bank for when she would open her own spot in her beloved City-by-the-sea.
THE CHEF  Luke Wonnacott of Lukefoodalways Consultancy worked with Carlene to create an eclectic menu that focuses on shared plates of good quality fresh ingredients. Platings are attractive and bursting with natural colour, a preview of the delicious celebration of flavours to follow. The menu, while varied, is quite small making sure that each dish is expertly prepared using only the freshest, finest ingredients.


THE FOOD If you like communal dining, try portions of Saldanha Bay oysters, with mignonette vinaigrette; or the confit pork belly with smoked apple and braised cabbage or the generously-sized sharing plates of yoghurt and thyme flatbreads with mezze of French confit duck rillette and pickled beetroot, white bean and tahini Pâté with pine nut and mint vinaigrette and pickled goats’ cheese with Moroccan nut dukkha.
The menu includes: Asian Beef Tataki with ponzu dressing complemented by a serving of lime-infused tuna ceviche with a coriander and spring onion salad; a Mexican spicy squid taco with smoky mayo or pork belly taco with smoked apple and charred corn slaw. Be tempted by Italian Aubergine Melanzane with grilled aubergine, fior de latte, tomato ragout, pine nut and Parmesan crumble which is as tempting as the fall-off-the-bone American Southern staple of pork loin ribs which of course, should be eaten with your hands.
If sharing is not your style then order your own: Choices are varied from a Cape Malay vegetable curry with smoked apricot couscous, flatbreads and tomato chili jam; Angus rib-eye or beef fillet with sides of charred broccoli and dukkha, thick cut fries and truffle mayo and confit crackling pork belly, braised red cabbage, smoked apple, and fennel jus.


The Desserts – choose from a traditional crème brûlée, or delight in the dark chocolate lava cake which is served with white chocolate and lime ice cream and roasted hazelnuts or indulge the Fromage Blanc Eton Mess – a fromage blanc and vanilla panna cotta with meringue shards, naartjie sorbet and seasonal berries. Or share the delectable Cannoli to go with your coffee.


The drinks – enjoy a cocktail from the list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the spacious bar or choose a wine from the changing selection of wines from Carlene’s cellar.


The elegant outside area is protected and prettily lit up with fairy lights and is ideal for balmy summer evening dining. So call some friends; stay for dinner and feel at home– because it’s a helluva MESS.



The Mess, Restaurant & Bar is situated at Shop 110 - The Rockwell, Napier Street Green Point. Open Monday to Saturday from 18h00 till late. The kitchen closes at 22h00. For dinner reservations please call 021 418 3910 or book online at http://themess.co.za



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

THERE'S A DRAGON IN THE DEN



There’s a Dragon in the Den - in fact there are two in mine! - A brown one and a green one with extra burn.
Serious ginger fan and chartered accountant Warren Harries-Jones started brewing the beer in his garage some years ago. After many trials, testing and tastings the brew was ready for public opinion. The maiden batch popped out at 11%AV (alcohol by volume) and was quickly guzzled by willing guinea pigs. No one has dared to challenge the Dragon Master since.   Dragon Alcoholic Ginger Beer comes in a number of varieties: Dragon Original at 5% AV; Light at 4%; Double Dragon at 8% and Ginger Apple at 5%. The Light Dragon is brewed with stevia instead of sugar and has 33% less calories than the original.



My guests, who are neither beer drinkers nor regular consumers of alcoholic beverages, seemed really thrilled to feel the ginger buzz in their nose. It takes the breath away - literally. While the Double Dragon is punted as ‘having extra burn’,  I found the Original refreshing and vibrant served icy cold, straight from the freezer in a tall pilsner glass with a dash of tonic and twist of lemon.   Dragon Alcoholic Ginger Beer is sure to find a niche in the market that bandies craft and artisanal around like salt and pepper.                                                                                                                                                                                 Dragon is giving away a fully stocked Dragon Fiery Bar with 30l keg. See their facebook page for details.  https://www.facebook.com/dragonbrewingco/
Dragon Ginger Brew is available at trendy pubs, clubs and leading liquor stores for R421.05 for a case of 24 bottles

WARNING: Take care that the kids don’t grab an ice cold bottle of the brew for a lunch-box treat on their way to school, as mine did many years ago. On enquiring what happened to the can that I’d left in the fridge the previous day,(West Coast Cooler at around 6%AV)  I got an, ‘Oh, I had it during break.’   ‘And when did you write your test?’ I asked, horrified. ‘Immediately after break’ he answered nonchalantly. ‘And how was the test?’ ‘Easy-peasy….. Is there another can of that lekker juice for tomorrow?’


Alcohol is not for sale to persons under the age of 18 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TOKARA RELEASES NEW VINTAGES





Miles Mossop
Winemaker Miles Mossop, Viticulturist Aiden Morton and recently appointed General Manager Karl Lambour hosted an exclusive preview of Tokara’s new vintage releases at the iconic cellar at the end of August. Media personalities mixed and mingled on the veranda overlooking terraced vineyards while tweeting; instagramming and sipping on the 2016 Tokara Elgin Sauvignon Blanc. This delicious wine is bursting with aromas of lemon and fig with nuances of dried herbs. The mouth-feel is full with a lingering fresh and dry finish. The Highlands vineyard in Elgin is aptly named as the site is 415 metres above sea level with fresh breezes from the ocean just 7 km away providing cool summer temperatures which are ideal for slow ripening Sauvignon Blanc. It was a good match for Chef Richard Carstens’ starter of cured home smoked trout, sushi rice, trout crackling with roast bone vinaigrette and herb salsa.
Aiden in the vineyard
Karl in the cellar


Chef Richard Carstens
The afternoon was relaxed as waiters poured samplings of the 2013 Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Reserve Collection Shiraz. Both wines are stunning examples of the ethos and commitment to quality for which Tokara has become renowned.                                                                It was however the Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2005 that really roused my senses.  Director’s Reserve showcases grapes from the best blocks and from the best parts of these blocks from premium vineyards on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains. The grapes are allowed to ferment naturally without addition of commercial yeasts allowing a slow fermentation resulting in full, rich complex wines. Only 20 000 bottles were produced. 15 cases of the remarkable wine were auctioned at the 42nd Nederburg Auction on the 16th September 2016 for the handsome price of R6000 per 6-bottle case.  Another Tokara star, the Tokara Siberia Chardonnay 2015, goes under the hammer at the 32nd Cape Winemaker’s Guild Auction on the 1st October at Spier Wine Estate.

 
Make a point of stopping atop the Helshoogte Pass and be tempted to visit the child friendly Tokara Deli where you can enjoy local and imported charcuterie; award winning cheeses; home-made chicken pies; freshly baked bread and so much more. Or browse the gallery with its unique ‘Wine Made Art’ pieces and interesting stonework sculptures or just visit the tasting room to savour their award-winning wines.


Tokara is situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass en-route from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek.     Tel: +2721 8085900       www.tokara.co.za



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Haute Cabrière Releases 2016 Vintage of Pioneering Wines



Ingrid Graham with Takuan Von Arnim at Haute Cabrière - Media Lunch

Cellarmaster Takuan Von Arnim hosted an intimate media group at a tasting of the newest vintage from the Haute Cabrière cellar. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and a perfect setting for a light alfresco lunch. The stunning vistas of the Franschhoek Valley, South Africa’s gourmet capital, from the terrace enhanced the mood with good company and great wines.
The focus of attention was the release of the 2016 Chardonnay Pinot Noir and the 2016 Unwooded Pinot Noir. According to Vin Pro, the representative body of some 3500 wine producers and cellars, 2016 was a challenging vintage, characterised by low rainfall and abnormal heat resulting in lower yields.




 Notwithstanding, Takuan says, ‘I’m delighted with the quality of fruit we harvested. The great advantage is that both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are early ripeners, so we avoid the heat and stress to the vines that occurs later in the harvest. Our grapes are also strategically planted on the estate and the magic of blending allows us to work with the very best parcels of fruit.’
















The Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016 has what I call a blushing pearl appearance. Takuan says the colour comes from the Pinot Noir pigmentation during crushing. The two cultivars are vinified separately and then blended according to Takuan’s tested magical formula. The wine is elegant and palate-pleasing with nuances of tropical fruit in perfect balance. It was delicious with the servings of shrimp and grilled kingklip, and would complement fruit skewers, salads and chicken dishes too.








The Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir 2016 is a perfect partner with salads, pasta and roast lamb. The fresh ruby red colour is followed through by ripe berry aromas and clean concentrated essence of cherries. Takuan believes that the Unwooded Pinot Noir is a congenial introduction to red wines for those who have not yet found delight in the fermented juice of crimson grapes.
Personally I could happily enjoy both these wines entirely on their own, with some nibbles on the side and good friends to share. Wines made for South African geselligheid.

 In 1982 Achim Von Arnim purchased a portion of the farm Cabrière that was granted to French Huguenot Pierre Jourdan in 1694. Achim was one of the pioneers of the Methode Cap Classique style of sparkling wines and a master of the art of sabrage.
The soil composition around the mountain cellar is especially suited to the cultivation of Burgundian varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Takuan continues the commitment set by his father as current Cellarmaster and Production Director.




Find: Haute Cabrière, Lamprechts Road, Franschhoek
Call: 0218762630 
Opening times: Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00; Sat & Pub Hols 10:00-16:00; Sun 11:00-16:00





















Monday, July 11, 2016

HERO TO ZERO




Image result for drunk superman
Pic from Phetchblog Powerhouse Animations


I am The Fly - just sitting on the wall, watching the array of superhero pretenders arriving for the annual Superhero Costume Ball. They’re all here. Batman, Iron Man, Superman, at least five different Spiderman wannabees, Captain America – and the girls-oh the girls! Phoenix, Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Angel Dust with the yellow eyes - too many heroines to mention. The barman, flashing a villainous Joker grin, is dishing out mugs of Kryptonic KonKoktion, offering a potion to match every lycra-clad hero and evil-eyed villain.

The party has just begun.

My multiple eyes see in all directions as the masquerade swings into top gear. Atom Girl sneaks a kiss from Lightening Lord, her arch enemy, while Elektra and Deadpool are boogieing to the sounds of Heroes for Hire. Whoa!! what is she doing? She’s taken off more than her turban and Deadpool’s struggling to get out of his shiny Lycra leotard. Wonder Woman shakes her head as she sips on her second Golden Lasso. The tubby superman with Da Vinci beard really is going to launch from the balcony.... Someone call 911!

What happens to the brain when mere mortals and superheroes consume alcohol?


The folk at www.howstuffworks.com tell us:

In the cerebral cortex, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that transmit signals to our body that control thought, behaviour and emotions) are affected by alcohol. Excitatory transmitters such as glutamate normally increase brain activity and energy, however in the presence of alcohol; glutamate is suppressed resulting in a slowdown. Slow speech; unfocused vision and loss of perception result. Alcohol also increases the levels of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which further slows the senses.        With more in-take, the cerebellum which controls movement and balance is affected resulting in staggering and off-balance swagger.                         Alcohol affects the hypothalamus and pituitary functions which are vital to keep the internal balance of the body, brain function and hormone release.             By acting on the medulla, alcohol induces sleepiness. It can also slow breathing and lower body temperature, which can be life threatening.

Why does alcohol make us feel so good then?

That’s because alcohol releases dopamine into the brain’s ‘reward centre’, resulting in a feel good mood. Yet the more we drink to release dopamine, the more we alter other brain chemicals resulting in all the nasties mentioned before. 

So, is it necessary to be an ascetic wallflower at the next Superhero Ball? Not if you drink in moderation; space your drinks; drink lots of water in-between and keep boogieing to the beat.      And oh, don’t forget to call an Ubermobile. It won’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight! (Sorry, that’s the “Damsels in Distress” Costume Ball) .
Try these Super Hero Cocktails at your next party
Kryptonic Konkoktion
250ml Bacardi white rum
250ml Cruz vodka

2l Pineapple Juice
1 can of coconut cream


Method:Pour the juice and ice cubes into a large punch bowl. Add coconut cream and blend in. Stir in the rum and vodka. Serve in sling glasses garnished with a pineapple wedge and cherry.




Kryptonic Konkoktion


Picture courtesy of Wonder Woman Collection
Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso
25ml Bacardi white rum,
12 ml Oude Meester brandy, 

12 ml triple sec
Method: Blend liquors in a shaker over ice, strain into cocktail glass which has been coated with golden sugar on the rim, and decorate with long lemon twist. 

Alas, Mzansi has her own Brave Heart - Eli King. EK is a dance teacher from Jozi who discovers a mysterious, mystical crystal that gives him super powers. Like all superheroes he embarks on an adventure to fight evil and save the world from devastation. To honour EK we’ve created the Ek Jongojito made from pure home-grown products.  Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, is the first single grain produced in SA and has recently been awarded the Whiskies of the World Trophy in London. Cape Fynbos Grappa from Wilderer Distillery is uniquely South African made from 32 herbs, including buchu, rooibos, honeybush, devils claw and wild dagga.


EK Jongojito                            
EK Jongojito

25ml Bain’s Whisky
25ml Cape Fynbos Grappa
2tspns caster sugar
Lime wedges,
Fresh mint leaves
Dash of soda water
Crushed and cubed ice


Method: Put lime wedges and sugar into a glass; muddle to release the juice. Bruise the mint leaves in your hand and rub around the rim of the glass before putting into the glass. Gently muddle the leaves into the lime. Half fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in the liquors. Stir the mix together until the sugar dissolves.Top up with crushed ice, a splash of the soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Ingredients


• 50ml Wilderer Fynbos
• 3 lime wedges, 3 orange wedges
• Fresh Mint
• 25ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup
• Soda Water

Instructions

Muddle fruit, mint and fynbos gentle and top up glass with half cubed ice & crushed ice. Churn with bar spoon, cap with crushed ice and a splash of soda.

Ingredients

• 50ml Wilderer Fynbos
• 3 lime wedges, 3 orange wedges
• Fresh Mint
• 25ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup
• Soda Water

In
Muddle fruit, mint and fynbos gentle and top up glass with half cubed ice & crushed ice. Churn with bar spoon, cap with crushed ice and a splash of soda.





















Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Wellington – Hidden Gem – Discovered Treasure

It’s time to discover Wellington – no! Not that Wellington at 41°S/174°E where Haka is performed to welcome guests, acknowledge great achievements and to bid farewell to the dearly departed. I’m talking about Wellington: nestled in the valley below the mighty Hawequa Mountain with the Berg River on the west. French settlers originally called the hamlet Val du Charron, valley of the wagon makers, a name which the Dutch translated as Wamakers Vallei. It was here that the intrepid travellers of the 17thcentury prepared their wagons for their arduous journey into the hinterland. In 1840 the town was renamed Wellington, after Arthur Wellesley the 1st Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.


Imbuko Winery with Elsabe Du Plessis 
 It took just 60minutes from the V& A Waterfront in Cape Town to reach the tasting room at Imbuko Family Vintners overlooking well-watered lawns and green, ready-for-picking buchu bushes atop the hill.  We were welcomed by marketing manager Retha Muller, who introduced the Pomüla spritzer range of wines. Sweet exotic flavours of Moscato, Passion Fruit, Pomegranate and Berry set the tone for an indulgent day. Gourmet pies in Cape Malay Chicken; Lamb Curry; Slow Roasted Venison and Biltong were paired with the Van Zijl Chardonnay/Viognier; Cabernet Sauvignon; Pinotage and Shiraz/Mourvedre respectively, served with Elsabe’s Pinotage relish on the side. Matriarch Elsabe Du Plessis is a raconteur with endless stories about the merits of the buchu plant; how to grow olives and which grapes make the best relish. A demonstration of the art and science of steeping buchu in brandy followed by a tasting of the ‘cure-all’ and a top-up to make sure that you get the full medicinal value of the king of fynbos had us in stitches but left little time to taste the flagship Du Plevaux range. That’s just another reason to return to the place that means, ‘admiration for.’  www.imbuko.co.za



Tasting Wellington Wines on the Sneeuberg with the valley below


At the top of Bainskloof Pass, Jaco from Viking Adventure Tours loaded us onto the Unimark, a truck that had been used in skirmishes on our northern borders decades before democracy. The rough trail up the Sneeuberg Mountain gave some anxious moments as Jaco edged his way to our next rendezvous.  Blackened proteas hanging from bushes razed by a recent fire; a monument to young friends who drowned when they tried to cross a raging mountain stream; majestic cliffs and sprawling vistas below make for reflection on the fragility of mere mortals in the grand creation. The team from Wellington Wines welcomed us with chilled La Cave Methode Cap Classic. Viticulturist Marko Roux proudly pointed out the variety of soil types; aspect and lay of the land and unique slopes seen so clearly from our elevated vantage. He is responsible for viticulture at 97 different farms in the valley. Each pocket has a unique terroir which explains why the region was proclaimed SA Terroir Top Wine Area 2010, he says proudly. Some of the Wellington Wines we tasted high on the slopes included the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Shiraz and Le Cave Cape Blend. All the wines were delectable with the generous and tasty snack boxes which included chicken kebab; mini quiche; biltong; blintzes; mini hamburger; caramelled almonds and much more. All too soon the jolly crowd was hustled onto the Unimark for a quick stop at the duct of Gawie se Water waterfall before descending and meandering through farms and vineyards to our next stop. www.wellingtonwines.com 




Stokkies draai at Bosman Family Vineyards - Lelienfontein

On arrival at Bosman Family Vineyards (BFV) - Lelienfontein we were shown a demonstration of stokkiesdraai (grafting and binding vine cuttings). The saying goes that in the early days young boys were kept home to assist with vine grafting. When the teacher asked after their whereabouts, the response was: ‘Hulle draai stokkies’. The term was then coined to mean playing truant.                                                                                                       An experienced nursery man or woman can graft up to 4000 vines per day. Grafting onto disease resistant rootstock is necessary because of phylloxera, an aphid which devastated the Cape vineyards in 1885.  Wellington boasts a huge vine-grower’s nursery and claims that some 90% of South African plant material comes from the valley.                                                                           Corlea Fourie, who oversees viticulture and winemaking at BFV, presented her 2010 Optenhorst Chenin Blanc.  The Chenin grapes, from bush vines planted in 1952 originates from a single vineyard site called Optenhorst, which literally means perched on top of a hill. Barrel fermented and matured in French oak, this medley of fruits, citrus, honey and vanilla proves that the combination of site, soil and skill can produce a Chenin Blanc of exceptional quality with good aging potential. BFV is Fairtrade accredited and in 2008 a joint venture with the Adama Workers Trust saw eligible workers take co-ownership of 430 hectares of prime farming land. The innovative Adama white and red wines are named after the forebear of many of the farm workers.  www.bosmanwines.com


Diemersfontein
Next stop the beautiful Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate. Winemaker Francois Rood, originator of the now legendary Coffee Chocolate Pinotage, took us on a tour of the ‘enchanted garden’ and well-appointed manor house.  Whether you’re taking a break from the rat race; looking for a base to explore the valley and surrounds; planning a conference or your next big fat wedding, Diemersfontein has a variety of accommodation and facilities from which to choose. The staff are welcoming and friendly too. The sun was just setting as we started the chocolate pairing with the Diemersfontein Chenin Reserve; Thokozani Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier and Thokozani Grenache Rosé. Thokozani is an empowerment company that turned workers into shareholders and investors, initiated by owner David Sonnenberg in 2007. The Pinotage on Tap festival takes place on Saturday 29th October 2016. Expect live bands; goodie bag; lunch; dessert and of course Pinotage on tap!   www.diemersfontein.co.za



Dunstone Country Estate
Abbi Wallis, owner of Dunstone Country Estate greeted us with warm smiles as we offloaded in the reception area before being dispersed to our accommodation for the night. A quick freshen-up, change of garb and necessary teeth scrub before being picked up by Rene in the golf cart. It was just a short ride to the Stone Kitchen. Talk about making wine in the kitchen. It’s a real working winery!  A basket press right next to a comfortable sofa; stainless steel tanks housing the newest vintage just to the right of a well-stocked bar and the barrel room round the corner. The menu boards offer an array of breakfast, lunch, sides, desserts and kiddies fare - too many to mention - at super reasonable prices too. After a welcome three course dinner accompanied by the estate Shiraz, a perfect partner to the delicious steak, the Iris Room was beckoning. Dunstone offers a choice of luxury accommodation in the Country House or the Dunstone Manor. Additional spa facilities will be completed later in the year. The venue is child-friendly if booking the entire Manor House, and welcomes families to explore the vineyards, orchards and to “Make Your Own Wine” during season.   www.dunstone.co.za

THUS ENDED THE FIRST DAY!


DAY TWO
The historic farm Welvanpas has been home to the family Retief for some 10 generations. Die Ou Meul coffee shop is a rustic, homely spot where you can purchase homemade cakes, delicious home-baked bread stuffed with sumptuous fillings, tasty preserves and Dan Retief’s crafted wines. It is also the start of the Welllington mountain bike trail. Katrin and Elaine of Wellington Wine Walk  charmed those less energetic who chose a walking tour rather than cycling from the coffee shop to Doolhof Estate some two kilometres away. This is a taste of ‘The Original 3 Day 3 Night’ Wellington Wine Walk. Beautiful scenery, picturesque mountains, run-down cottages from a by-gone era and many, many stories made for a pleasant walk to where the cyclists arrived an hour before.  
www.welvanpas.co.za       www.winewalk.co.za
Welvanpas and Wellington Wine Walk


Doolhof winemaker, Gillie Beukes, promised that lunch would be relaxed and informal without too many technical explanations. The wines spoke for themselves as they were matched perfectly with celebrity chef Duncan Doherty’s out of the ordinary game dishes.

Wellington Media Tour participants at Doolhof
THE MENU

First course
Crispy skinned sea bass, pickled wild fennel, fresh mussels, onion marmalade and grapefruit salsa.
2nd course
Braised hot smoked deboned rabbit, sautéed truffle mushrooms, roasted sweet potato, pomegranate pearls and baby salad.
3rd course
Grilled loin of kudu and black cherry jus, pea puree with 3 day old first press olive oil.
4th course
Roasted wild pigeon breast, warm brown lentil and sundried tomato salad in wild pigeon stock.

Doolhof, meaning labyrinth in Afrikaans, is planted with cultivars best suited to the topography and terroir allowing for unique varietal expression in the wines.                                                                 
The estate offers scenic river walks and picnics or stay over at the elegant Grande DéDale Cape Dutch manor house.   www.doolhof.co.za

The towering Hawequa, Groenberg and Limietberge conceal the hidden gem at their feet. A treasure of highly esteemed vini and viticulture; a haven for hikers, cyclists and extreme sportsmen; accommodation to suit all budgets; a proud heritage and passionate honest people, makes Wellington an unspoilt jewel worthy of exploration.  www.wellington.co.za