Cape Wine 2012

I wandered into Aladins cave last week, it was heavily diguised as the Cape Wine 2012 trade fair. Shock, horror, should I go left, should I go right or should I just plough through the masses to the Holden Manz Estate section.??..

Holden Manz (you’ve guessed it) was ably manned by Gerard Holden and his trusty winemaker Rikus Neethling. I introduced myself, that was the easy bit ! I had in mind to taste the new Rose addition to their wonderful selection. It is a mainly Cab’ Sauv’ wine (2012) and just pink… superb. I’m always a little wary of the deep pink Roses, don’t know why as I’m usually up for anything pink, the pinker (is that a word?) the better !!   I was not disappointed it is a superb wine and worthy of the recent hype. I feel a mention of the new label design is in order here, love it as well.  Well done guys.

Next on my ‘hit list’ was to be the Morgenhof Estate area, easy to find just follow the map Tony, easy for some but reading maps, however clearly marked, has never been one of my better skills !!

Along the ‘scenic route’ I discovered what is to me a new label, the Painted Wolf Estate and what a wonderful find…….who’s a clever boy then ?  The charming representative, Jeremy I think, (sorry lost his card) proceeded to ply me with all kinds of wines starting with their beautiful Viognier (he must have known that is my particular weak spot) and then we wandered through their Stellenbosch Pinotage (2010), the 2009 Pictus Shiraz blend and finally, after much persuasion …(.NOT !!)  the Guillermo 2010 Pinotage blend. I am, it appears, fast becoming a Pinotage lover…….and not before time I hear a shout from the back of the room.!!

I did reach the Morgenhof area (finally) and was so glad I made the final last mile. The delightful Lee-Ann Bosman introduced me to a couple of the new additions to their cellars since I last visited their stunning estate.Their Sauvignon Blanc (2011) and their Chenin Blanc (2011) both excellent wines. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon blend has long been a favourite of mine and so I finished the afternoon with a rather large ‘tasting’ of the delicious blend….rude not to really.!!

I must congratulate the organisers of the event on their attention to detail, efficient staff and the way they rapidly found me a cab to whisk me back home !!!!

Whilst on the subject of wines please pay a visit to Wine at the Mill in the Biscuit Mill Woodstock. They always have an excellent selection of ‘different’ wines and my friends Tanya and Nigel share a wealth of knowledge as well as a particularly heavy hand when topping up your tasting glass. Tell them I sent you, they won’t refuse to serve you, promise !!  Have a great weekend. x



One of my favourite parts of the Cape Town area has to be Babylonstoren.This particular little (not so little actually its 300ha!!) piece of heaven is situated between Stellenbosch and Franshhoek just outside an area called Klapmuts. The name, I am reliably informed,means Babylon Tower.I cannot recall the last time a place impressed, delighted and enthralled me so. The whole farm/wine estate/restaurant/tea room and I use the word tea room very loosley as it is based on a Victorian conservatory and resembles something out of Kew Gardens.(ask your Mum !) The whole place beggars belief really.

The Estate boasts acres of fruit trees, grape vines,vegetable gardens and more latterly, much to my delight, a Clivia and Arum lily wood complete with a babbling brook and rustic wooden bridges, rest areas and peace and quiet !!

At ten o’clock every morning except Sundays and Mondays you are invited to a guided tour of the grounds with commentary by the delightful (and very young, or maybe its that age thing again?)) head gardener Gundula, who will love showing you her domain as well as answer any questions or observations you may have. I have dozens always, I’ve been like that since I was child apparently. My parents thought I’d grow out of it like my short trousers, not so !!

Ironically it was Natalie who first told me about this veritable oasis after she had read one of the many articles and features world wide extolling the pleasures and delights of the place…..and she lives in Spain…..!! How I missed it I do not know, my radar is usually pretty good.

Also if you realise that one of the co-owners of Babylonstoren is lovely Maranda Engelbrecht the Cape Town doyen of style and originator of Manna (so much more than a bistro dahling) in Kloof Street here in Cape Town . Manna was the first place we went to for brunch with Natalie and Allen the first time they visited Paul and I here in Cape Town, which resulted in too many bottles(oxymoron?) of Haute Cabrierre Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend, if I recall ! We (Paul and I ) already knew the place well and had been recommending the place like mad to all our friends and business collegues. The stark white decor and camp chandeliers were unforgettable as well as, of course, the stunning food and home cooked breads (the coconut bread was to die for, trust me.) …….I digress, the restaurant Babel, is an absolute delight,such varied and unusual foods all of which are sourced from the gardens, except the meats of course. Its a delight to be eating and drinking their delicious home made fayre watching the garden and kitchen staff picking your salad !!

The restaurant is a converted stable building with whole walls of glass where there used to be bricks.The remaining orignal walls are painted white, the tables are rustic mixed with ultra modern with beautifully starched linen tablecloths and napkins.

YOU MUST……visit Babylonstoren NOW as the Clivia woods are amazing and the walk will help you build an appetite for some of their delicious fayre.

It is wise to reserve a table as most days they are completly full (just as the customers are when they leave!) 0027 (021) 863 3852. Enjoy.

Almost forgot, Maranda has just finished compiling her book called (strangley) Babel……look out for it in a couple of weeks its gonna fly off the shelves, trust me I’m a foodie as well as a wine addict and Maranda Engelbrecht fan.


Whats a girl to do ??

When one is presented with the option “shall we eat at home or they have a special winter menu at La Colombe”……whats a girl to do ??

The cuisine at la Colombe is always impeccable, the service first rate, the ambience superb and I also knew it would tick Natalie off if I wrote and told her we had been for a little light lunch at her favourite restaurant. So……whats a girl to do ?

The sun had got its hat on and we were given a table right on the courtyard close to the fountain. Paul had jiggled his appointments around so that a two hour slot MIRACULOUSLY appeared. I had nothing to wear but threw on an old shirt I found lurking at the back of my closet (promised myself I wouldn’t go back in there!) and off we went.

I honestly will post a few pic’s when I work out how to play the bloody machine that does it….technophobe doesn’t cut it when I’m in the driving seat, trust me. Haber….I will persist and in the fullness of time all shall be revealed.

Have a lovely Monday readers and don’t let ’em grind you down, if you keep smiling it ticks them right off, trust me I know the ropes by now and it works every time. Love and blessings……….xx

A little culinary titbit !!

Last night for dessert as well as the mango sorbet I whipped up another masterpiece !

I rehydrated the black figs (as promised) sliced them very finely and blended them by hand with my vanilla frozen yoghurt, refroze them for an hour…et viola !!

The taste and texture was amazing and I’m glad to say our guests were suitably complementary……..just don’t ask me to make cakes !!

Who’s a clever boy then……don’t answer that.

Revenge !!

Its O.K. readers I’m not on the warpath (any more than usual) but there is an excellent new T.V. series called revenge. Its American (of course) and has so many plots, sub plots, dramas, stylish clothes,good looking people, what more can one ask for in a T.V. series. Thankfully there is no mention of the Kardashian crowd, that in itself must be some kind of recommendation, NO ??

Its all about the goings on in The Hamptons (where else) and sort of reminds me of a modern day Peyton Place (ask your Mum!) and…..its not in black and white, dontcha just love progress, they’ll have a man on the moon before you know it ! What I, and many thousands more loved about Peyton Place was the white picket fence approach to life, it might have been blue but as I said T.V. was in black and white. AND then there was Dorothy Malone, all that hair, it wasn’t just teased it had been positively TORTURED !!

I digress, revenge has all the ingredients of a big hit in T.V. land, some new faces and (remodelled) old ones. Its a bit like a guessing what was she in and what did she(or he) look like before the remodelling started…great fun in itself !

Well reader its a BEAUTIFUL day in Cape Town and its time for a swan about and pick up some ingredients for tonights supper (chicken curry and red lentil dahl). I am also rehydrating in Vodka some dried black figs to have as a dessert with Mango ice cream. I’m sure there will be enough wine once the bottle store delivers….where is that man ?

Have a great weekend and take the World by the scruff of the neck before it does it to you !!