Pinotage – hate it or love it? | Beaumont House

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on October 31st, 2011

In response to the 9 July posting on Pendock Uncorked regarding the closure of Wine magazine, “Boetie” commented “With the luxury of hindsight, Wine magazine lost their way when they abandoned pinotage in favor of shiraz. They sacrificed their South African identity to become yet another wine magazine.”

If Wine magazine had stayed faithful to the Pinotage cause, would it still be in business? When I last checked, Vergelegen’s André van Rensburg and Eben Sadie of Columella and Palladius fame had still not opted to work with the variety. Or Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof, for that matter.

In some quarters, I am and always will be a Pinotage hater on account of the role I had in getting Wine magazine to forsake Pinotage in favour of the Shiraz Challenge back in 2004. Conversely, other observers accused me of a fairly significant flip-flop when I suggested in the December 2010 issue of UK publication Decanter that “today’s crop is worthy of a fresh look”.

Here’s the deal: I don’t think staying true to Pinotage would’ve influenced Wine magazine’s destiny in the slightest; for every high-profile winemaker who has taken a (cheap) shot at Pinotage, there are a whole bunch who have persevered with it and have in some instances managed to make accomplished wines (think Danie Steytler of Kaapzicht, Beyers Truter formerly of Kanonkop and now of Beyerskloof and as unlikely a protagonist as Anthony Hamilton Russell with his Ashbourne and Southern Right labels).

As for my personal take on wines from the variety, I would still contend that what was on offer circa 2003/2004 was generally pretty hopeless. It does amaze me that the turn-around in quality at the top-end of category has happened quite so fast but I suspect the critical hammering that Pinotage received in the late 1990s and early 2000s forced the faint-hearted out of the market while those committed to the variety duly went about upping quality (there were some fairly fundamental technical issues – acetone character, bitterness – which had to be addressed and were).

I write this with a glass of Kanonkop Pinotage 2009 to hand and would point out that this particular wine has to date won a silver medal at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (as did the 2003 and 2008 from this producer) and has placed in the last 20 from which this year’s winners of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition will be drawn (as is the 2006).

The 2009 from Kanonkop is a tour de force with pure and intense berry character, fresh acidity and fine tannins. You’d have to be spectacularly bloody-minded not to like it. Ultimately, however, Pinotage remains South Africa’s wild card. Yes, it’s a man-made cross and yes, the results are sometimes a little peculiar but there’re is far too much wine out there premised on simplification and mass appeal. Pinotage has its place and if it offends the delicate sensibilities of UK wine writers as much as it apparently does so much the better!

Article by Christian Eedes

Cape Town awarded World Design Capital for 2014

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on October 26th, 2011

It was announced today that Cape Town is the official World Design Capital for 2014, winning the accolade from competing shortlisted candidates Bilbao, Spain and Dublin, Ireland.

The World Design Capital title is awarded every two years by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to increase global awareness of cities dedicated to using design for social, economic and cultural development and change. The bidding process for this prestigious title began in 2010 and was undertaken by Cape Town Partnership as mandated by the City of Cape Town.

The win comes at an optimal time as Cape Town Tourism recently unveiled our new brand and global marketing campaign for Cape Town. The campaign perfectly aligns with the intentions behind Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid. Forming part of a comprehensive marketing strategy for Cape Town aimed at growing the demand for the destination by speaking to a wider audience in new and established international and domestic markets; the brand aligns with sectors beyond tourism and is to be introduced globally at World Travel Market in November.

Says CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold: “We are obviously very excited about this win; by far Cape Town’s biggest accomplishment for 2011 and a major boost for morale in the design, public and private sectors. The bid process has been an exciting journey and learning curve for the city. It comes at a crucial time when Cape Town is set to launch an innovative, exciting and inclusive brand for the city, positioned to embrace citizens, tourism, business and academia.”

The year 2014 will be a milestone in South Africa’s history as it marks twenty years of democracy in the country. With the title of World Design Capital 2014 we have the opportunity and platform to re-design a historically disconnected city as an inclusive, entrepreneurial and sustainable African city with one common vision for all sectors of business.

Vote for Table Mountain now!

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on October 20th, 2011

In just over three weeks, Table Mountain could be named one of the New7Wonders of Nature, an accolade that is set to boost tourism to the city and ensure that for years to come, children will learn about Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. It will forever have a place in the history books of the world.

We would like to call on all of our members to support this amazing initiative by casting your vote for Table Mountain and encouraging your guests and visitors to do the same. There are four ways to vote for Table Mountain.

1. Visit and cast your vote

2. SMS “Table” to 34874 at R2 an SMS

3. Vote via Mxit for only 20 cents

4. Vote on Facebook

Once you have voted, please reply to this e-mail informing us and every 50th member that replies will win a fun prize as a thank you for their participation!

The organisers of the Vote for Table Mountain campaign have put together some great tools that you can download to raise awareness and rally up more votes until 11:11 am on 11 November 2011 when voting closes.

Records tumble at best ever Nedbank CWG Auction

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on October 10th, 2011

Records tumbled at the 27th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild auction held in the Stellenbosch winelands over the weekend, with a record turnover of R5 286 700, a new record price for red wine and overseas sales doubling. Despite the record turnover up by R1,4 million over the previous year and some outstanding prices, the 2011 Auction offered excellent value for money and great diversity.

The highest price per case, a new Auction record of R6 000, was paid by a Belgian buyer for the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2009.

“We got the balance right between the ratio of white and the red wines on offer this year and the great diversity of wines ensured keen bidding and interest from the floor right until the end. There was something for everyone with good value on offer as buyers snatched up wines at competitive prices on the one hand, with the more sought-after collector’s items fetching exceptionally good prices on the other,” said Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

The auction, conducted by Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills Auctioneers for the 14th consecutive year, attracted 122 buyers this year including 19 from overseas with a total of 2 955 cases sold at an average price of R1 789 per case equivalent of 6 X 750ml bottles. The lineup of 56 wines included 38 red wines, 13 white wines, 2 Méthode Cap Classiques, a dessert wine, a port and a potstill brandy.

Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop and Grill triumphed for the 10th consecutive year as the biggest spender at R1,3 million. The bulk of the wines, over 70%, was bought by local buyers with a record R1,5 million spent by overseas bidders headed by the United Kingdom with R586 400 this year. Overseas bids came from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Namibia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Canada.

In addition to the record breaking red wine, other top selling wines included Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2009 with an average price per case of R3 843, Hartenberg Estate Auction Shiraz 2009 selling at R3 264, Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2008 at R3 237, Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2009 at R3 212, Neil Ellis Rodanos 2007 at R3 125 and the Saronsberg Die Erf Grenache 2010 averaging at R2 677.

Amongst the white wines, top selling wines were the Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2010 with an average price per case of R2 285, Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009 at R2 100, the Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010 at R1 822.

In addition to the main auction, a total of R132 600 was raised on the day in aid of the Cape Winemaker’s Guild Protégé Programme, a mentorship initiative for young, upcoming winemakers. Every year a very special charity item is auctioned off to raise funds. This year’s item, a one-of-a-kind 18-litre 2009 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Reserve comprising a blend of top wines from members of the Guild, was purchased by Zdenek Lang of the Czech Republic for R25 000. This was the third consecutive year that the charity item was bought by Lang, who has donated it back to the Guild for resale at the 2012 charity auction.

Exceptional wines with a creative edge and great diversity of styles was the hallmark of the Guild’s 2011 auction, recognised as South Africa’s leading wine auction open to the wine trade and the general public. All the wines are crafted exclusively for the Auction by members of the Guild to represent the pinnacle of what can be achieved in South African winemaking.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens one of the world’s most beautiful picnic spots

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on October 1st, 2011

The picturesque Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens has been voted one of the world’s most beautiful picnic spots.


And when you wander through the lush indigenous plants shading rolling green lawns at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain you can only agree.

Whether you choose a shady spot beneath a spreading tree, or a cool place alongside the lilly-studded ponds or laughing streams, even on busy days a sense of peace and serentiy reigns in the vast gardens which are sheltered even on days when the wind whips the rest of the Mother City into a frenzy.

And of course, with summer on its way we can look forward to enjoying those picnics while listening to live local music at the Summer Sunset Concerts.

Kirstenbosch, which was established in 1913 to promote conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. It is administered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi).

The famous garden was selected by National Geographic magazine as one of the world’s 10 picnic hot spots, alongside the fjords of Milford Sound in New Zealand; the Huayna Picchu mountains (Peru); Point Reyes National Seashore (California); Villa Borghese Gardens (Rome); Jardin des Tuileries (Paris); the Haleaka National Park (Hawaii); Aran Island (Ireland); the National Sculpture Garden (Washington DC); and the Singapore Botanical Gardens.

Visitors to Kirstenbosch are welcome to bring their own picnic hampers into the Garden. Alternatively, delicious picnics can be purchased from The Kirstenbosch Tea Room


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