Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some South Africa Sneak Preview Pictures ( Camberley, Beaumont, Moreson, Blaauwklippen, ) 2009 With John Morrison

I'm just back from my wonderful trip to South Africa last week with importer John Morrison ( Boutique Vineyards ) and I'm still a bit jet-lagged and have lots to do to catch up from a week away from work.

Yesterday morning I started to download some pictures ( Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 ) before heading off to work and it was great to see a very few of them and remember just how glorious my trip was as well as what a beautiful landscape I was in, really delicious fresh foods ( seafood and game and fresh vegetables ) and wines that are just getting better and better and better.

I had nothing really negative to say about the wines on this trip : even the wines served to me on South African Airways were delicious, especially the Stonecross 2007 Pinotage which I liked a lot but John Morrison did not.

John Morrison was an excellent tour guide for me. He's from South Africa, clearly knows it very well and is both proud of all it's accomplishments as well as natural beauty and resources. He gave it 150% this trip with me and for that I will always be very grateful. Thanks John.

I hardly have put any pictures here to tease you with : I filled up all four memory cards that I took and that includes some very fun, close-up video clips of the winemakers and owners as they spoke passionately about their wines.

Here I have pictures of the drive in the wine country as well as along the coast on Saturday morning as we headed back to Cape Town after a week of tasting wines starting in the morning and not stopping until we collapsed on our beds after dinner.

The pictures here of the wineries include BLAAUWKLIPPEN, CAMBERLEY, MORESON and BEAUMONT. These are just some of the ones that I had on one memory card. Prepare yourselves for a whole lot more!

At BLAAUWKLIPPEN are pictured winemaker Rolf Zeitvogel ( rolf@blaauwklippen.com , Tel: +27 ( 0 ) 21 880 01 33 - also his blond-haired, smiling assistant who's name escapes me now ! ), Carolyn Carswell ( Asst Sales & Marketing Manager, carolync@blaauwklippen.com P.O.Box 54 , Stellenbosch , 7599 ) and Delia Colborne ( Sales & Marketing Manager, Stellenbosch delia@blaauwklippen.com - Delia came last year to our store at Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits, 3423 Conn. Ave. N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265, sales@clevelandparkwine.com www.clevelandparkwine.com ) to do an in-store tasting with Theresa Morrison ), owner Ian and Anette Corder of ELGIN VALLEY Vineyards ( info@elginvalleyvineyards.co.za Tel?Fax 27 21 846 8083 ) and two of their four dogs. They have two lovely children as well and each has a favorite dog, all different!

At MORESON I have only included here the pictures of the chef of the restaurant there ( one of South Africa's Top 10 ) Neal Jewel. Neal was nice enough to the next morning ( Friday ) give us a tour and tasting of all his cured meats that he makes himself. Neal is British and this was a grand treat and surprise for both John and myself. I've got great pictures, too of winemaker Clayton Reabow ( of MORESON, +27 ( 0 ) 21 876 3055 www.moreson.co.za ) which I will have to include later with many others.

I have also included some of BEAUMONT Vineyard where on Friday evening John Morrison and I stomped the grapes that they use to make their small batch of delicious port-style wine that we have enjoyed selling now along with all the rest of their wines for years. Pictured with John Morrison is Ariane the sister of winemaker Sebastian and daughter of Jayne. I will have to include all their other pictures later as time permots. Oh, Sebastian's assistant winemaker is included here lighting the candles in the room where we were shortly to stomp those grapes that were three feet high in the vat? Is that possible? It sure felt like it : quite a weird, odd sensation - my first ever. I am thrilled to have had this opportunity and I was called later by Sebastian as the Best Grape Stomper after all was done and we were enjoying our meal outside the winery on a beautiful but chilly night.

I have also included pictures of me hosed down after the grape stomping, looking like a dishevelled mess, smiling and content. I even included one of myself after I removed my white t-shirt, khaki light pants. Even my underwear was soaked in red grapes. It took Val at least three minutes to clear all the grapes clinging to me and my clothes once I finally got out of the vat after two hours or more of stomping, stomping, stomping and splashing and thumping my feet hard some more. I drank the BEAUMONT dry Two Rivers' rose after all of this. I could not drink the port-style red. I am pictured holding it later in my room after I finally left to really shower and get cleaned up and ready to collapse on my welcome bed.

I laso have pictures of the town of Franschhoek on the main thoroughfare here as well as of the B & B where we slept just two minutes away from MORESON. You can see that our rooms were called L'Aragne : Spider in French. I loved that and had to take an artsy picture of that as you can see.

I have these few pictures here of owners Johhny Nel and his wife Gael of CAMBERLEY ( 3/18/09 ( Tel : 021 885 1176, Helshoogte Pass , R3 10 ). You can see the traditional labels in blue and gold as well as the brand new one called " Prohibition ". Pictured with Johhny and his wife is one of their assistants Jeanine Faure. Lasse Lykkested of Denmark was also working there studying marketting I believe. I'll include a picture of him later.

I also have these incredible pictures of some wild baboons that I missed but John spotted. He quickly and dangerously stopped the car on the side of a winding, steep hillside and I jumped out to immediately snap as many pictures as possible. You have to look carefully because they really do belnd into the rocks.

I've also included pictures of the many views I enjoyed on our drive back to Capetown from BEAUMONT ( Hawk's Bay area, on the northern tip ) . The views just kept coming and changing and dazzling me so much that I could not resist snapping picture after picture after picture. I have only included some here.

The beauty of this visit is that it corresponded with part of the harvest and wine-making and so John and I were able to see the grapes arrive, be de-stemmed and crushed, taste wines still fermenting and only a day or two old, two weeks old, just in the barrels, still in stainless steel, already in the bottle - and even enjoy some of them later with the owners and winemakers in the wineries' restaurants if the had them - like at BLAAUWKLIPPEN. Impressive, all of it, really.

I also have a few pictures here down on the Cape Town waterfront sitting in the famous pub there called Ferrymans where I enjoyed a local lager made next door at Mitchell's called " Forresters ". I asked my waitress Michele about the menu and decided to try the fish and chips because it was made with their local fish called Hake and I wanted to try it. I was worried that it would be too breaded and that I would not be able to taste anything but the crust. Boy was I wrong : it was moist and tender and firm and delicious. You can see for yourselves.

I was sitting under an umbrella on a round small table and stool. It was really hot this Saturday afternoon! Everyone was out and strolling around. I had a great view of everyone passing by and as I wrote I'd glance up and enjoy the many people as they went on their merry ways.

I was sitting across from the famous wine store that I had already been earlier that week called Vaughan Johnson's that specializes of course in South African wines. It's the mustard yello-colored builing in the photos.

Lastly, this Saturday afternoon I was exhausted and able to do some shopping for my family. The last picture here is of the young artist Laston Souhikonye from South Africa that cut andmade from tin cans animals in the shapes of lizards, frogs and other Africasn animals. They were colorful, playful and I bought two as gifts. My wife and son love them.

I also bought things from Melanie Adler of Siyakatala ( hand-crafted artwork from South Africa Tel : 083 774 8269 info@siyakatala.co.za www.siyakatala.co.za ). Both Melanie and Laston are located in the V & A Waterfront Art & Craft Market in the " Blue Shed " pavilion just by the Cape Town Aquarium. John Morrison told me that his wife Theresa helped get the funding to build the aquarium : go work Theresa!

Oh, I also bought a beautiful shell there for my mother from Lynne Nadauld ( lynnen@telkomas.net ). Her stall is named She Shell. Nice. While there I met one of her local artists that she buys from and we all chatted for awhile. I mention all these names because I found them very helpful and willing to work with me and my needs : something I value very much in salesmanship.

This was a trip as much to taste the wines as it was to completely submerge myself in South Africa and the complete experience. I had a blast. I took as many pictures as I humanly could, composing picture after picture as I looked and tasted and listened. I had very little time to write things down so the pictures will have to do a lot of the talking for me. Hopefully as I llok at them they will jog my memory and help me as I try and fill in many of the details.

I hope you have enjoyed here a very few of the highlights from my recent South African trip March 14th-22nd, 2009 with John Morrison.

Cheers, TONY

No comments: