‘Tis the season and all that, but if you’re like me and you’re struggling to get into the Christmas spirit (but you also desperately don’t want to be a grinch) then I may have just the solution for you. You see, while I love and have always loved the Festive season, I must admit that this being a grown-up gig has taken some of the magic out of the whole thing. Work, deadlines, last minute crises. And let’s not talk about the anxiety of figuring out leave and holiday arrangements. Bah! Humbug! Hardly things that make me want to wrap myself in tinsel and sing Fa-la-la-la-laaaa. So how do we combat The Grinch at this truly lovely time of year? What could we do to dust off the anxiety and “meh-ness” of 2014 and get ready to have some summer fun in the gorgeous winelands? Lucky for you all, I have a secret. It’s called #SecretStellies and it might just put you in the summer festive season mood.
I have a soft spot for memes. I love them. They tickle my funny bone in the best way and they are EVERYWHERE. Condescending Wonka, Bad Luck Brian, Skeptical Baby, Grumpy Cat… the list is endless. If you’re not sure what I’m on about, do click over to the Memesly.com list of popular memes. But be warned, you may lose hours of productivity…
With the rise of meme hilarity on the internet, people have (as one does on the internet) started making their own memes. Meme generators are everywhere, where you can choose or insert an image and add a caption. Knowing this, I did a little giveaway on the SuperFANS mailing list. We were generously given 5 more double sets of tickets to pass on to deserving SuperFANS (in addition to our previous Magic of Bubbles giveaway). And the winners were chosen through trial by meme!
Summer is upon us, dearest winos and readers, and few things are as summery and refreshing as the Magic of Bubbles. Whether your taste is expensive and French or divine and local, we are heading into bubbly season. And there’s no better place to get your fizzy on than at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival. The festival takes place on the lawns around the Huguenot Monument on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November. Read on, because I have two double tickets to give away…
We’re all busy people. If we’re not out working hard to bring home the bacon, we’re busy with family, friends, hobbies, exercise, studies… There’s always something. For me, the first thing that flies out the window when I’m swamped is my diet. Even the simplest healthy eating routine gets dropped like a hot, carby potato when I’m buzzing around. I either don’t have time to cook, or I’m too tired. Or there aren’t groceries in the fridge. Cue take-aways. Not ideal.
Enter Daily Dish. A simple solution not only for those of us perpetually strapped for time but also great if you’re out of fresh dinner ideas and the ol’ mac and cheese just doesn’t cut it anymore.
On Wednesday evening, SuperFANS from around the country joined up via Twitter again for another Incogvino Twitter Tasting. This time, Vilafonté stepped up to the plate with the 2012 release of their Series M and Series C (which is in its 10th vintage). This time, the team from Vilafonté really upped the ante by adding a live stream of the tasting, with Mike Ratcliffe at the helm. Wine fans around the country: check. Social media channel for interaction: check. Audiovisual enrichment via live feed: check. The live stream was also used to answer questions that were posted via Twitter, on the #TasteVilafonte hashtag.
Let’s not beat around the proverbial bush here: if you say “brandy” to most South Africans, the word association to complete the phrase would undoubtedly be “Coke”. Now, in the spirit of Incogvino, we do not judge. If you enjoy your tot of firewater with fizzy, sugary drinks and ice added then so be it. To each their own. The only thing that irks me about that image is the fact that it seems to overshadow the fact that South Africa produces the best brandies in the world. Brandies that regularly wipe the floor with Cognacs and Armagnacs. Trophy, gold medal and overall award-winning brandies. And not always the type that you mix with fizzy drinks. Here is a little peek at some of our best brandies, as well as a giveaway of two fine specimens of these prize-winning beauties.
Recently had the pleasure of attending the Restaurant Mosaic out by Hartbeespoort in JHB. This is Chantel Dartnall’s baby. You may recognise her from MasterChef SA. And in a way, this is JHB’s baby as well. We don’t have many top notch crazy dining experiences that we can bring up in conversation with the Cape Town Foodies.
But this isn’t about Cape Town vs JHB (even though Mosaic will give most places a run for their money in terms of sheer opulence). This is about some pretty amazing cooking. I’m not writer enough to describe it. But I can show it. The 10+ course endurance eating extravaganza was paired with a selection of off-the-charts international wine from Mosaic’s 49,000 bottle cellar (every bottle of which is purchasable).
The Incogvino SuperFANS are all about the wine, and not just the tasting and the drinking. Being an inquisitive bunch, the following question popped up on our mailing list this week. “Egg protein? Milk protein? Is this normal?” with reference to a wine label with the aforementioned listed on it. This brought up the topic of fining agents and the question of not only what, but how, these processing aids are used in the making of wine. The science of fining agents can be quite complicated (some Chemistry 101: the molecules of fining agents have either positive or negative charges which affect the way they interact with the compounds in wine, which also have positive or negative charges. Science!) but the basics can be simple to understand. Here’s a quick clarification about fining agents in wine.
South African wine farms are diverse with many offering not just wine, but experiences, pairings and world-class gastronomic experiences. Diversity aside, there is a golden thread that runs through and binds many of our most well-known estates: history. Since the humble beginnings of our country as a halfway station between Europe and India, wine has been an established part of that history. Groot Constantia, Vergelegen, Blaauwklippen, Muratie, Alto (to name a few) were all established within the first century of the Dutch setting foot in the Cape. In 1791, Nederburg was bought by Philippus Bernardus Wolvaardt for 5600 guilders and the estate took its place in SA wine history. And this historical (and oenological) gem is hiding in plain sight.
After one of our most interactive and exciting Twitter tastings with Lithos wines, one of our SuperFANS, Stephen Brierley, went along to the farm to discover where the magic is made. If you want to follow Stephen on Twitter for his magnificent tweets about wine, you can find him at @sbrierley75. If you’d like to visit Lithos, contact them at @wines_lithos or visit their website.
I had a long overdue engagement with Tim Hoek, the winemaker from Lithos wines and just under two hours in traffic from Century City to Somerset West was not going to stop me. The farm is on Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road, on Wedderwill Country Estate. The Estate has another wine farm on its property, but that is a topic for another post. Lithos wine farm is situated between the Schapenberg mountain range to the east, the vistas of False Bay, that go on and on all the way to Cape point, to the west.