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De Wetshof Chardonnay d’Honneur and Cannelloni

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Preparation Time: 60 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes Yield: 4

Cannelloni it seems means “large reed”, an apt description for the large pasta tubes with a savoury stuffing that carry the name, except that they are actually manicotti.

Cannelloni are made from a rectangle of cooked pasta, into which a savoury filling is rolled, then baked in either a tomato or béchamel sauce.

The closest one can come to real cannelloni without a pasta maker, is to use lasagne sheets in which to wrap your selected filling. Alternatively, one can buy what are called cannelloni tubes (but which are really manicotti!) and use them instead. They tend to be a bit finicky, because once cooked they are quite delicate, so I’d opt for the lasagne sheets instead, if you do not have a pasta maker. Read more…

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Is the grass really greener?

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Does it make sense to pursue potentially problem-fraught off-shore markets for South African wine,  when one of the largest US wine producers is entering our local market aggressively?

The Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, which is expected to retail at R49.95 per bottle.

About 100 people, mostly from wine estates in the area, sat and listened to a Wines of South Africa (WOSA) organised seminar in Stellenbosch last Wednesday about export opportunities into Angola and Nigeria. Neither of these markets is particularly large at present, but growth over the last couple of years appears to have been substantial.

Angola for instance, with an estimated population of around 19 million, has seen annual per capita wine consumption grow from 2.3 litres in 2003 to a projected 12.2 litres next year. Compared to most of the rest of the world, including South Africa, that’s pretty attractive growth. Even France has seen a dramatic decline in wine consumption, from a high of around 55 litres in 2006 to an estimated 48 litres in 2010. South Africa has seen a decline from 7.94 litres in 2008 to an estimated just under 7 litres this year. Whilst the numbers do differ significantly, the magnitude of consumption decline is pretty much the same at about 12-13%.

The picture gets more interesting when one looks at retail wine prices in Angola, which have risen from €1.23 in 2003 to €2.19 in 2009. At current exchange rates, that’s from around R12 (2003) to R20 (2009) a bottle. Now, with the excises, imposts, duties and “back-scratching” amounting to 60% – according to one of the speakers at the WOSA conference – of the cost of the wine, that makes the landed cost around R8 per bottle.  Not terribly much in there from the producer, now is there? Read more…

Basil Fawlty delivers a baby!

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Basil Fawlty aka Garth Brandon-Podd (right) and colleague Martin Cupido with the new born baby "Indio". This is Garth's 14th delivery. Picture by Brenton Geach of The Cape Argus

First published in Bolander Lifestyle & Property, Pg 5, September 8, 2010

Somerset West resident Garth Brandon-Podd, was unavoidably delayed last Thursday night, and arrived late at The Playhouse Theatre for the second rehearsal of his role as Basil Fawlty in the hilarious BBC TV comedy series, Fawlty Towers.

But the delay was unavoidable. Mr Brandon-Podd (aka Basil Fawlty), a Rescue 911 paramedic, was tending to a pregnant mother who was being rushed to hospital by ambulance. “The mother was already in labour, and on the way to the hospital, the baby decided to arrive,” said Mr Brandon-Podd, “so I had to deliver it right there and then.” Read more…

Carl Schultz on Shiraz

September 6, 2010 1 comment

Carl Schultz in the cellar at Hartenberg with a glass of his fine Shiraz

The first time I listened engrossed while Carl Schultz spoke about wine was about a year ago. The occasion was a dinner and tasting of 11 South African Rieslings. A notoriously difficult grape from which to make a good wine in South Africa, Carl’s discourse about the varietal, its origins, the difficulties a winemaker faces in working with it, its the peculiarities, what happens when it ages, and his reflections on the great Rieslings he has tasted over the years (it is evident from his reflections that he has travelled widely in pursuit of his understanding of Riesling), gave me the most remarkable insights. In short, I learned much that evening.

Read more…