Franschhoek Uncorked

Make your way to the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, over the weekend of 4 and 5 September, for the unique spring wine meander, Franschhoek Uncorked. This multi-faceted celebration takes place on satellite farms throughout the Valley, and affords award-winning wineries – as well as the smaller hidden gems – the opportunity to ‘bloom’ as they showcase new vintages and releases, coinciding with the onset of spring.

Highly acclaimed wineries, participating in this much loved event include Allée Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Cabrière, Solms-Delta, Graham Beck Wines, Grande Provence, La Motte, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Môreson, Rickety Bridge, Vrede en Lust and Plaisir de Merle. Also included in the line up are some of Franschhoek’s smaller gems such as Dieu Donné, Franschhoek Cellars, GlenWood Wines, La Chataigne, Lynx Wines, La Petite Ferme, Topiary Wines and Maison. In addition select wineries will keep their visitors entertained with a range of events, whilst enjoying their fine wines.

Take in the picturesque scenery while soaking in country hospitality at its best. Wander along leisurely from farm to farm, enjoying some of live entertainment on show while enjoying fine wines and an array of delectable treats; a taste of what you can expect from South Africa’s gourmet capital.

Some of the not-to-be missed highlights at this year’s festival include: • As part of their wine tasting experience, Rickety Bridge will be offering visitors an array of delectable hot and cold tapas throughout the weekend, as well as picnics (weather permitting), live entertainment, boules in the vines and fun farm rides on their vintage Dodge truck for the kids.

• Coinciding with the opening of their new Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant, visitors to La Motte can experience a unique presentation of traditional cooking – Cape Winelands Cuisine – inspired by centuries of creativity in food. Booking is essential. Added to the mix is their new Farm Shop, perfect for wine sales, wine-related gifts and an irresistible selection of fresh, farm baked bread. The new La Motte Museum features historic aspects of the Rupert family and La Motte itself, with a room devoted to the art of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef.

• Stop over at Vrede & Lust for a unique French laundry experience, which includes a butler welcoming you at the door, a shoe cleaning service and French music provided by an accordion player. A selection of their new release wines as well as sumptuous treats, such as freshly baked breads, deep fried olives and cheeses, will also be on offer.

• It’s Fiesta time at Lynx Wines. Raised in Spain, winemaker, Dieter Sellmeyer, invites you to a fun filled weekend of tapas galore, live Spanish guitar, as well as lessons on drinking out of a traditional Spanish Porròn (leather pouch).

• At the picturesque and historic L’Ormarins – home to Anthonij Rupert Wines, visitors will experience a unique combination of both fine wine and vintage cars. Sample their new wine releases of Protea and Terra del Capo (an Italian cultivar). Classic car enthusiasts can view the extensive range of vintage cars on display, while wine connoisseurs can get a sneak peek at their gravity fed cellar and experience the esteemed Anthonij Rupert Wines at the tutored tastings.

• Master the craft of wine blending at Topiary Wines, presented by winemaker, Chris Albrecht. Relax on the lawn while enjoying live entertainment by Jo Martin, and nibbling on something from the food stall.

• GlenWood Wines invites you to join them for an unforgettable gourmet food and wine pairing experience. Included in the lineup is Bouillabaisse soup, chicken curry and Crêpe Suzettes, presented and prepared by well known culinary couple, Camil and Ingrid Haas, formerly proprietors of the Bouillabaisse Restaurant.

• Visitors to Môreson won’t be disappointed as the festival marks the official opening weekend of the Exotic Plant Company, with discounted prices on fresh-cut flowers and orchids. The food-and-wine market offers a selection of Môreson wines, including a new release from the Miss Molly range, as well as an array of fresh, local, organic produce.

• For music-lovers, there are live music extravaganzas which cater for all tastes, ranging from jazz- and blues bands to French bistro genres to fiesta Española flamenco.

An access card system will be implemented to ensure the successful running of Franschhoek Uncorked. The access cards, available directly from participating wineries on the day or through Computicket, at R80.00 each, includes a tasting glass and free wine tasting at participating wineries for the duration of the event.

Contact Winelands Experience, on 021 876 4204, for a professional shuttle service. The Franschhoek Wine Valley supports responsible drinking and driving.

So, with something for everyone, make a weekend of your visit, taking full advantage of the various accommodation packages on offer. Come and indulge yourself as you witness the country’s gourmet capital blossom and come alive.

For more information about the festival, please contact: Darielle Robertson Events Manager: Franschhoek Wine Valley Tel: 021 876 2861 Email: events@franschhoek.org.za

Sparkling etiquette

Article By: Bryony Whitehead

Champagne, sparkling wine, Methode Cap Classique, whatever your preference, drinking bubbly is associated with good times and celebration, and since it’s nearing that time of the year when we dust the fluted glasses off, and put on our party hats, it’s worth going over those finer details for quaffing a glass or two of sparkling.

What to choose?

With the large choice of sparkling wines lined up on the retail shelves these days, the natural thing for anyone to do is to stick to what you know. And while it’s certainly good to have favourites, there are a few great local sparkling wines worth popping the cork over. Look out for names like Krone, Simonsig and Pongraz Bruts to name only a few. These three are usually well-priced and are all fantastic wines.

Know your MCCs

While these names may be slightly more expensive, consider that you are paying for a genuine sparkling wine. This means the wines go through a long process requiring two fermentations and ageing to ensure the wine not only bubbles, but is also crystal clear. Developed in Champagne, France, in the 18th Century, this method is known as Methode Cap Classique or MCC in South Africa. Alternatives to MCC or Champagne are artificially carbonated.

Ice cold

Once you’ve chosen your wine, slip it into the fridge overnight to ensure that it’s well-chilled and ready to enjoy. If you want to drink it on the same day, try popping it into the freezer for an hour or so. Mind you, don’t forget it there, as freezing the bubbly can ruin it.

Open with care

Unless you are as ecstatic as Michael Schumacher after winning a Formula 1 race, don’t shake the bottle. Or pop the cork. Opening a bottle of sparkling is similar to arriving at a party: do it gracefully. Ease the cork out of the bottle and try to avoid the loud pop. You should hear a hiss as the cork is worked out of the bottle. This is so that you keep all those pretty little bubbles inside the wine for you to enjoy, rather than forcing them out all in one go. Of course, that’s only if you’re aiming to quaff at a specially chosen bottle or two.

Do go ahead and pop the cork if you’re into the effect it has on a good party.

Pouring

The next important step in sparkling wine etiquette is how to get sparkling wine into a glass. A lot trickier than it seems. Three clever tips to pouring a perfect glass of bubbly every time are these:

Easy does it. Pour a smidgen of the wine into the bottom of the glass first, wait for the initial fizzy head to bubble down, and then pour the rest.

Don’t tilt the glass. Rather, hold it upright, or let it stand on a table and pour the wine directly into it. The swirl and turbulence of a tilted glass can cause the wine to bubble up and over.

Don’t over-fill the glass. It’s a sure way to send all that precious liquid cascading over the edges of the glass. Think ‘less is more’ when filling a glass with wine. And with a bottle of bubbly, it’s always better to go back for a refill from a chilled bottle than to sit with the wine getting warm in your glass.
Fluted glasses

They look good. Really, they do. But seriously, this long-stemmed wine glass was developed for two more reasons. Firstly, that long stem offers a place for you to grip the glass without warming that perfectly chilled wine. It’s one of those ingenious inventions that is right up there with the wheel and fire. Secondly, the width of the glass helps the sparkling wine to retain its sparkle as it has a smaller area from which to escape compared to a wider rim.

FAST FACT: A fluted glass should have a pin-prick engraved inside it from which the bubbles can stream. This is to create that steady, but delicate, column of bubbles that trickle up to the top of the glass. Just like diamonds.

When to mix

Any time is a good time to mix really, but bear in mind that the standard ‘champagne and orange juice’ is probably not a good idea for that vintage bottle of genuine sparkling wine. Rather, look at mixing your chosen ‘everyday’ champers – whether it is carbonated or MCC.

Sparkling wine offers a great way to punctuate a celebration with a special toast and with a bit of etiquette, it can turn a special occasion into that memorable event. Cheers!