Tag Archives: South African wines

Wine of the Week – Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2017

This wine, says Bruwer Raats, the winemaker, celebrates its varietal and was crafted minus oak to preserve its original freshness and flavours. “It reflects the lifelong passion our family has for Chenin and pairs effortlessly with a variety of foods.” He particularly likes it with spicy prawn dishes, calamari, sushi and oysters, he observes. The winery is located in Stellenbosch, South Africa and is owned by Raats Family Wines.

We enjoy it with foods and all by itself, especially on a hot summer afternoon when its a welcome and delicious refresher. Visit http://www.capeclassics.com for more information.




Wine(s) of the Week- Syrah-Grenache & Pinot Noir

Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah-Grenache 2015

This charming Syrah-Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France delivers spicy hints of cinnamon and vanilla along with black cherry. The winemaker, Francois Lorton, represents his family’s fifth generation in winemaking since 1897. The Mas Janeil vineyards comprise 59 acres in Maury in the Roussilon region on the Meriterranean coast. The Rhone red blend offers notes of black fruit and  licorice with strong tannins. It’s 80 percent Syrah and 20 percent Grenache, with 13.5 percent ABV. Spicy, peppery and elegant, it’s imported by Cape Classics.

B – Black Bream Pinot Noir, 2015

B Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir comes from Walker Bay on South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. The name, bream,  comes from that of the country’s national fish, the galleon, found in inaccessible shallow areas of the coastline.  It’s made by cousins Bruwer Raats and Gavin Bruwer Slabbert and reflects its red and black fruit along with hints, its makers note, of crushed oyster shells which deliver a “distinctive saline character.” The wine celebrates its heritage and terroir – soils rich in limestone – and is aged for 12 to 14 months in old French oak barrels.

Both of these wines offer value to both restaurateurs’ wine lists and diners who select them. We love wine and wine by the glass lists that offer wines that aren’t “the usual suspects”! Exploration makes for an educational and often, delicious outcome.



Wine of the Week – DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2014

We have to confess, this is definitely one of our newest favorites- a beautiful white wine complex and delicious! It received 92 points from Wine Spectator and a distinguished wine writer, Jancis Robinson, applauded its elegance and combination of fruit and acidity. “This lad can make wine!” Robinson declared and we can definitely agree. The combination of fruitiness – pear and citrus –  and complexity makes it a wine you’ll want to have in your cellar. It combines Roussane (26%), Chardonnay (25%), Grenache Blanc (19%), Chenin Blanc (17%) and Vigonier  (13%) for a full bodied result that makes you want to return to it again and again. From Stellenbosch, South Africa, the grapes are grown in vineyards where music is played continuously and is believed to have “a beneficial effect” on the wine. We loved it and see why it won a 2015 Decanter World Wine Gold Award.

Visit www.morgenzon.com and www.CapeClassics.com.



Wine of the Week – Kanonkop Kadette

The Kanonkop Kadette Dry Pinotage Rosé 2015 from South Africa is a traditional rosé with rich aromatic raspberry and cherry flavors from this Stellenbosch winery whose name means “Cannon Hill,” referring to the days when cannons were fired to signal the arrival of Dutch trading ships into Cape Town Harbor.

With grapes from Stellenbosch, east of Cape Town, the 2015 wine was made after a cold and wet winter with a moderate ripening period, harvested on January 28, 2015. The wine has soft tannins and complexity, with a long finish. It is 14% ABV and makes for lovely sipping on a warm summer day or evening.

Wine of the Week – Topiary Shiraz 2014

A beautiful Shiraz from the Western Cape of South Africa

FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA – Topiary, a relatively young winery which is said to be the only French-owned one in the country, is owned by two Frenchmen, Philippe Colin and Serge Jacqzynski with backgrounds in the wine industry in their native land  – Philippe as a wine farmer in Burgundy, and Serge, as a former sommelier.
This particular wine is 100 percent Shiraz, from grapes grown on 15 year old trellised vines that face south and are planted in a mix of granite and sandstone. The wine offers hints of Damson plum, mulberry, white pepper and spices such as anise, with what some critics have called “silky” tannins. It’s a wine that spends 12 months in French oak barrels, 10 percent of which are new, for aging. The rest of the barrels used are 2nd to 4th fill.

Topiary Shiraz ’14 is smooth and silky with a long finish. It’s 14.3% ABV Delicious with dark fruits, we think you’ll find it a good value at around $23 retail.

Wine of the Week – Beyond Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

This South African Sauvignon Blanc comes from Buitenverwachting, a winery dating to 1796 and known today for an array of wines that are designed to express its name, which stands for “Beyond Expectation.” It was founded by the first governor of the then new Dutch colony at the tip of Africa in Constantia, Cape Town. It flourished as a wine farm, due largely to 90 000 vines planted in 1825 by Ryk Arnoldus Cloete, brother of the famous Hendrik Cloete of Constantia.
Today, the Mueller family has retraced its roots, restoring the winery to former glory and planting selected cultivars. Its maiden grape harvest was the first in 30 years and lived up to the name.

The wines – more whites than reds- became internationally acclaimed. The vines of this Sauvignon Blanc range in age from three to 16 years. Vinification consisted of part whole bunch pressing and part skin contact for 12 hours, and a selection of five years strains. The wine has an ABV of 13.5% and is a pale yellow color. Dry and full bodied, it has a most of green figs and hints of gooseberries and peppers. You’ll taste citrus with minerality in the long finish. It is imported by Cape Classics.


NYC African Food Festival coming to Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY – The NYC African Food Festival, a new, two-day event, opens here August 13, Saturday, at noon and again on Sunday at 8 p.m., offering a variety of African foods plus engagement with African chefs, food experts, plus the chance to learn about a special coffee festival and check out textiles and apparel in the Queens tent, as well as grooving to DJs.

The first of what is expected to be an annual event is co-chaired by Marie-Claude Mendy, chef-owner of Teranga Boston with musician Ishmael Osekre who’ve teamed up this summer to provide tasty and sophisticate foods such as goat curry ravioli, sweet potato blini and trout caviar along with smoked honey and dates, fonio and red palm oil, vegan fare and multi-course feasts.

In addition to Marie-Claude Mendy, other chefs that will be attendance and presenting dishes include Pierre Thiam, Dieuveil Malonga, Zinyusile Khumbula, Coco Reinarhz, Joy Parma, Grace Odogbili, Bada Komlan, Alassane Ba, and Melchizedek Mensah.

Marie-Claude knew from the beginning as she grew up in Dakar, Senegal that she was meant to be a chef, starting at age five and preparing dishes from scratch with fresh, local ingredients, often with her father who encouraged her.

Growing up, she spent time in Paris and London, later coming to Washington, DC where she had a small catering business.

Winding up later in Boston, she fell in love with the city and eventually opened Teranga, introducing residents to Senegalese fare.

Her partner in the festival, Ishmael Osekre, came to New York from Ghana in West Africa and wound up hosting a radio show, and performing at the Apollo Amateur night and numerous colleges in the Northeast. He moved on, receiving a Last Mile foundation scholarship and later, a fellowship at the Harvard Innovation Lab, to curate the first AfriCan Music Festival and become a blogger as well as forming Osekre and The Lucky Bastards, an Afrocentric band.

At the New York City African Food Festival, attendees may sign up for a five course, VIP dinner, visit one of several themed tents such as Shisa (a hookah tent) or sample food from vendors taking part.

Participants will include chefs, food historians, cultural experts, musicians and DJs from across the African continent and African diaspora, who will gather to celebrate the continent’s culinary depth and diversity at this inaugural event

Tickets range from $10 (Early General Admission) to $2,500 (Bottle service + Festival (Ultra): www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-african-food-festival-tickets-23872202400

The event takes place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201. Sponsors are Nestle, San Pellegrino, Rekorderlig, WoodChuck Gumption, Truly Spiked and Sparkling, Lolailo Sangria, Widow Jane, Red Bull, Carib Shandy, Brooklyn Brewery, Tsingtao, Yelp, Moet, Manhattan Beer Company Distributors, Afropolitan InAsights and Teranga.