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A walk in the country

In this Week's MENU

      We ended last week in Robertson and we’ll end this one there too, but more about that next week. We had a wonderful three days in that hospitable valley and came home to busy wine and dining activity in Cape Town. It has been a bit hectic. We’ll give you a small taste of one of those events here, the launch of the 2019 Platter wine guide, but the main story about that will be published next week. And we have a very special appeal.. An on line auction is being held for our friend Allan Mullins, to help with his huge medical expenses. Please click on the link below and look at the wonderful items being auctioned. It ends on the 11th, so you’ll need to hurry.. Scroll down to see this week’s stories. We hope you'll enjoy them….

      This year is ending with some spectacular wine-tasting opportunities which will let you share in some of our action. Please go to our Dates for your Diary below the Wine of the Week on this page, have a look at them and make your booking 

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      We enjoy sharing our experiences with you and are so pleased when you tell us that we’ve given you some pleasure

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      We have been producing MENU for 15 years, in which we have written about many interesting things. You can find them all in the Blog Archive in the right hand column of our blog page and in the Previous MENUs page on our websiteEntering a word in the “Search this Blog” window on the blog site should bring up everything we have ever written which relates

      We admit that we had been warned about the weather all week long, before we ventured to Robertson for the last day of Wine on The River, one of our favourite wine festivals. And boy, was it hot! At midday, it reached 42 degrees. Everyone was having a great time. First, we called in at the Robertson Wine Valley desk to get our media passes from Beatrix; also glasses, some vouchers, a lovely bottle of De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay to drink with our lunch and some more of the very useful necklace wine glass holders, which allow us to control cameras and notebooks and keep our wine glasses hanging safely on our chests

      We had an invitation from Aldert Nieuwoudt, Cellarmaster at Bushmanspad, to stay at their cottages and taste their wines. We were able to stay for two nights and could then go to Wine on the River and also visit some wine farms in the area that we have not been to before, including Bushmanspad. The farm is nestled up against the Langeberg Mountains on the R60 between Ashton and Swellendam. It is owned by Dutchman Menno Schaafsma, who had the vision to build the five self catering guest cottages high on a ridge with spectacular views of the farm and the countryside beyond. There is a trail on the farm near the dam and the kloof which shows evidence of where Bushman travelled over the mountain

      Robertson is full of some really kind and hospitable people in the wine industry, as we found on our most recent stay there. Although we had previously met the owners of Kleinhoekkloof, Theunis de Jongh, his wife Ronelle and daughter Danielle, who makes the wine with her father, we had never visited them on the farm and 

      We began our third day in Robertson at Springfield, where we tasted some of the new vintages in the tasting room, specifically the Life from Stone and Special Cuvée Sauvignons Blanc, and could not resist buying six of each. These wonderful wines are distinctly different from each other, change during the year and vie for first position.

      The Twelve Apostles Hotel at Oudekraal now has a sushi menu and we were invited to have lunch and enjoy some of the sushi last week. It is in the lovely, summery

      at Wade Bales’ Cellar in Constantia. Wade is a wine merchant (or, in French, a Negociant). We were there for the launch of a wine commissioned by and made especially for Wade; the first in his pioneering Wade Bales Regional Series: The Constantia White, a blend of 67% Sauvignon Blanc and 33% Semillon - as Wade says, the two hero varietals of the region. This is the outcome of a collaboration combining the talents of seven of Constantia’s top wine farms. Each winemaker selected a component of Sauvignon Blanc and/or Semillon from their best vineyards, tanks and barrels. All seven then participated in the rigorous tasting and blending process, hand crafting 

      The 2019 Platter Wine Guide by Diners Club was released this week at the Table Bay Hotel. Here, Publisher Jean-Pierre Rossouw holds up the new guide in its colour called Amphora, a mutable peachy pink that seems to change colour according to the light in which you view it. 

      Our friend, Cape Wine Master Allan Mullins has had a huge impact on the South African wine scene, especially in his capacity as Wine Selector for Woolworths. He has done this despite having to live with a severe disability since he broke his spine in a diving accident at the age of 23. He has been in a wheelchair since then. He celebrated his 70th birthday last month. Living with such a severe disability presents severe medical challenges, especially as one reaches an advanced age, and this becomes very expensive. A group of Allan’s friends and family has put together an on-line auction of Special Vintage Wines, Unique Experiences, Art and Accommodation to boost his Medical Fund. The success of the auction rests on getting the word out to as many people as possible, so please go to the auction website in order to participate at 

      Lynne has not cooked much this week; we have been away and out so much, so she hopes you won’t mind a repeat recipe from the past. Christmas is looming faster than we can credit and we are already planning our meal. Lynne made a couple of her famous Christmas puddings earlier this year, as we are rather traditional and love them on Christmas Day, after our main meal in the evening. But not everyone likes them and this is a possible substitute more suited to our hot summer weather. You could substitute whisky or brandy for the rum if you prefer…

      is one of the highest scoring Wines of the Year in the just released 2019 Platter SA Wine Guide. An unusual varietal that we believe has never before won 5 stars, we have enjoyed it many times in a wine from the same wine Estate, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. Read on…

      8th November 2018

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       Coming in MENU Next Editions

      Platter 2019

      Keermont Single Vineyard wines

      De Wetshof Chardonnay Celebration

      Elim Festival

      Leeu Manor House menu

      Winemag Wooded Savignon/Semillon Report


      Wednesday 14 November. Port Elizabeth. Veritas Double Gold and Gold public tasting, Wellington Room, Garden Court Kings Beach Hotel, Port Elizabeth. 17:30 for 18:00. R120 - Sit-down tasting of a selection of award-winning wines, including a light snack. Tickets  available from Jacques van der Merwe, cell 083 406 3354

      Knysna. Wine and food lovers in and around Knysna will have the pleasure to enjoy a selection of Veritas Double Gold and Gold award winning wines with the culinary delights of Kilzer's Kitchen, with celebrated chef Albin Kilzer preparing the delectable dishes and Bennie Howard, Vice-Chairman of Veritas, presenting the wines

      Thursday 15 Nov, 18:00: Sit-down tasting, followed by light refreshments. Cost R160.00 pp.


      Friday 16 Nov, 19:00: 4 course menu paired with Veritas-winner wines. Cost R390.00 pp.  

      Venue for both events: Kilzers Kitchen, No 3 + 5 Roos Bolton Crescent, Knysna Heights. Limited seats are available, please book early with Jenny: 082 572 7986 or kilzerkb@iafrica.com 

      These countrywide tastings are proudly sponsored by Deloitte


      Saturday 17 November Paserene Open Day. Celebrate the newest Franschhoek wine farm www.paserene.co.za Tickets from www.quicket.co.za

      Friday 23rd November. The Magic of Bubbles, Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” International Sparkling Wine & Champagne Affair. Tickets for the Affair cost R500.00 and can be purchased from Wine Concepts stores, online on www.webtickets.co.za or at the door on the evening

      Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 DecemberThe fourth Eastern Cape Wine Show. Ticket sales open on 15 October via Computicket and cost R190.00. Early Bird prices, valid for sales until 18 November R160.00. Visit www.easterncapewineshow.co.za for more information


      We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are still in trouble. This July has seen the lowest July rainfall since 2011. Maybe August will be better... 

      It is not difficult to be careful; just be aware of what you do with water and look after this precious resource. Don't leave the shower running while you soap, use grey water to flush, don't run the dishwasher until it is full..... We're in crisis. Think about it! Your garden will, like ours, become a desert. Sad, but necessary and a minor sacrifice in comparison to queueing at a hose for your daily 25 litre allowance.

      So don't think that it's OK, It's raining, the trouble is that it is not raining enough. The dams are only, on average, just about half full. We need to try harder. It is no use hoping that more rain will come. If it does, it will be a blessing, but the long term forecast still does not encourage optimism. Tapping into aquifers and installing desalination plants will help in the long term, but we must face up to the fact that water will always be a scarce, precious commodity. The world's weather is in trouble. Europe is experiencing temperatures that we are used to here in Africa. It might be normal in Spain, but when we hear stories from chilly Scotland and often icy Norway about temperatures in the 30s.....

      ...

      We want to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, we’d love to have them. Condition is not important. Please let us know

      We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wineCathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here

      The Hurst Campusan accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here

      In addition to his Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here

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