Archive for October, 2009
The wine cabinet is full of special wines that you can’t find the right time drink. These wines could be wedding gifts, special memory bottles or a grand wine which a business associate gave you. The question is when is the right time to drink the wine?
The answer is “There is no perfect time, other than right now, to drink any wine”. If it’s a young wine, drink it to celebrate its freshness and vitality. Decant it and give it lots of oxygen; don’t worry about it being too soon. If it’s a wine you’ve been sitting on, find a reason to drink it. Wines do not ever reach a magic point of perfection. They merely change. Most just lose fruit, get tired and fade away. A few special wines from special places do improve, gaining complexity in the aromas, changing colour, adding nuances and textures. But those wines, too, are delicious when drunk young, and will have something interesting to show you at almost any age.
The worst timing mistake you can make is to wait too long, and if you have just one bottle of a special wine, it’s the mistake you are most likely to make. So drink it! Any winemaker will give you the same advice. Rest assured, they have made more, and they will gladly sell you another bottle.
If you want to see how a particular wine is going to age, the best strategy is to buy at least half a case. Drink the first bottle immediately. Leave enough in the bottle to have another taste on the second day. If it’s still fresh, the wine will probably age for another six or eight years. If it makes it to day three, it may have a 15-to-20-year life span. Check in with another bottle every few years to see how it’s doing. And don’t worry about the perfect time. They will all be perfect.
Kumkani Brand News:
The multi award-winning single vineyard Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those special wines. This wine has a dense, dark red colour with fresh blackcurrant and ripe berry fruit on the nose. The palate is layered with ripe fruit and oak flavours and a soft tannin structure.
For some people the indecisiveness when choosing the wine for an event is sometimes unbearable. Picking the right wine for any occasion is easier than you think. Just be logical and think a bit about the dynamics of the event and the people that will attend.
The first thing about selecting the wine is to relax and to realize that this is a live or death decision. The wine choosing process is supposed to be fun and part of the enjoyment of the event.
The second thing that you must take into account is the dynamics of the social event or when and how will the wine be enjoyed. Is it for a dinner and the wine will probably be discussed? Or is it a party or an informal gathering where the bottle will only be one of a few that will be opened by the guests? In the latter case it would we unwise to buy expensive, rare or unique wines.
Dinner with snobbish business partners (or your boss) will call for a different wine budget than a casual evening with friend or family.
What do you do when you are “Stuck in the middle”? This is where you can not decide which wine, because the guests are diverse or you do not know their wine preferences.
The trend is your friend so go for the most popular choices within your budget. In a South African context I will go for Cabernet Sauvignon (maybe Merlot) for red wine and Sauvignon Blanc for white wine.
Just remember to relax and make a decision because indecisiveness creates unnecessary stress.
Kumkani Brand News
The Kumkani Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2008 has won numerous awards. This wine is sure to impress and delight at any occasion.
The BBC reports that South African wine industry is booming as new domestic and international markets are explored by South Africa brands.
On the domestic front , the recent Soweto Wine Fair was deemed to be a roaring success. More than 5000 people visited the wine festival which was mainly attended by the so-called “black diamonds”, the country’s prosperous new middle class, jostled shoulders in the festival’s giant marquee as they tested the latest star attractions – new blends of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.
Internationally it seems in Western markets, the wine industry is in difficulty.
As a discretionary purchase, a decent bottle of plonk is one of the first things that consumers cut back on when budgets are tight.
But South African vintners have increasingly focused on new markets, and the plan has paid off.
By the end of August, sales of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay to China had risen nearly three times on the same period last year, and the growing domestic market is strong.
Soweto Wine Festival organiser Mnikelo Mangicipho said: “[The winemakers] had to go and tap into the untapped market, which is the black market.
“And fortunately we have the numbers. The more people you are exposing to these wines, the more the sales and the turnover of the winemakers [increase].”
South Africa’s trade with the rest of the world is powering ahead, almost oblivious to the events in the rest of the world economy.
Exports increased to $4.4bn (£2.7bn) in the first seven months of the year, according to government figures, a rise of almost a half on the same period in 2008.
Kumkani Brand News
Derived from the Xhosa word meaning ‘king’, Kumkani is one of the brands that personifies the true African heritage. Our exhibit at the Soweto Wine Festival was very popular among festival goers and we would like to congratulate the organisers of this event for a successful festival.
To experience the best things in life you must take chances and I believe that the same holds true for enjoying wine. It can be compared with the quote from the Bette Midler song , The Rose, “It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance”. In wine terms it is the palate afraid of trying that never leans to enjoy the spice of life, namely variety.
Restaurant goers are usually not the most experiential type when they order wine. They opt to go for a wine that they know and do not regularly choose a new wine brand, style or variety.
It is also a well known industry notion that the second cheapest wine on the wine list are usually the most popular wine with the biggest mark-up. The reason is people do not like to order the cheapest wine on the list but wants to stay far away from the menu’s more expensive wines.
Restaurateurs usually take pride in selecting their wine lists and they will make every effort to ensure that they can offer quality wines. Also, wines which are served in certain restaurants are in some cases not widely available and you will not find these wine in your local supermarket.
Lastly the pleasure of finding something new (a wine) that you like is much better than the possible disappointment of tasting a wine or wine style that doesn’t suit you.
Kumkani Brand News:
Try the medium to full bodied Kumkani Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz 2006. This award-winning wine combines spice and fruit with hint of mint from the Cabernet. Ripe berry and mint supported by well integrated oak aromas with fruit layered palate.
South Africa has produced 10 Nobel Prize winners of which Nelson Mandela is definitely the most renowned. These South Africans were outliers in their field and some had an enormous contribution in establish this wonderful, unique and diverse country.
Apart for the four Peace Prize winners there are three Medicine, two Literature, and one Chemistry Nobel Laureate winners.
The Nobel Peace Prize winners:
The great man himself – our Madiba. “We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people.” Thanks to sahistory.org.za
F.W. de Klerk
Former President F.W de Klerk won the Prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela, for his role in ending Apartheid.
Archbishop Tutu won the Peace Prize in 1984 for his work against Apartheid.
We’re onto the big guns now, people. Albert Luthuli won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960 when he was president of the ANC.
Nobel Laureate in Medicine
1979 Nobel Laureate in Medicine: For the development of computer assisted tomography.
Max Theiler, 1951 Nobel Laureate in Medicine: For his discoveries concerning yellow fever and how to combat it.
2002 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine: For his discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. Interesting that Chris Barnard never got a Nobel, nè? (nobelprize.org)
Nobel Laureate in Literature
1991 Nobel Laureate in Literature: Who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity.
2003 Nobel Laureate in Literature: Who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider. This man’s books will haunt you forever according to nobelprize.org.
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
1982 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. Professor Sir Aaron Klug won the prize in Chemistry in 1982, for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes.
Kumkani Brand News
Kumkani , the king of South African wines, salute these extraordinary and brilliant South Africans.
After last year’s extremely successful Township Wine Festival, the organisers decided to expand this year’s festival with more wines and a full activity calendar.
This festival is Cape Town’s only township wine event and it promises to a huge success, full of fun and entertainment. The Annual iTownship Wine Festival will be held from Thursday, 29 October – Sunday 1 November 2009. The new venue for the festival is Gugulethu, one of Cape Town’s most vibrant townships where the famous Mzoli’s is situated. Over 130 wines were tasted at last year’s inaugural wine festival, which was held in Khayelitsha.
This is the second year that Kumkani and Versus wines will be exhibiting at the festival. Please join us for a glass of wine and come and enjoy our lovely wines.
For more info, visit: itownshipwinefest.co.za
The rigid and old wine and food pairing principles are not applicable anymore. The old rules for matching food and wine ;white with seafood and poultry; red with red meat – no longer apply. But that doesn’t mean anything goes. Wine writer Leslie Sbrocco suggest that the following wine-pairing strategies.
Match the texture of the food with the texture of the wine. A light wine, whether white or red, will be overpowered by a rich dish like steak. A rich wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, will balance it perfectly.
Match aromas and flavours. If you have a highly spiced dish, you need a wine that’s not going to get trampled by that. Riesling is a complex, spicy wine, so it works well with cuisines like Chinese and Thai. An earthy pinot noir with cherry notes pairs beautifully with a duck dish containing mushrooms and dried cherries. (Though pairings certainly don’t have to be that literal.)
Use acidity in the wine to balance the dish. With a high-acid dish-say, a salad with vinaigrette or something tomato based-you want to complement that acidity with a high-acid wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc. In the same way that a spritz of lemon balances and brightens fried seafood, so too does a Sauvignon Blanc.
Pair with the sauce, not the meat. Chicken in cream sauce demands the same wine as pork in cream sauce.
Follow your personal preferences. For most rules there’s always an exception, so experiment with different food and wine combinations to see what your particular taste buds respond to.
Kumkani Brand News:
The Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc 2009 will compliment acidity of tomato base dishes. This wine has a mild palate and a long fresh finish which is made to enjoy with food.
South African wines are still lagging behind other wine counties with regards to their presence in the American market. This market is one of the most important wine markets in the world and South Africa wine represent only 1% of their imports.
It seems that America wine critics are slowly but surely becoming more aware of South African wines.
New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov wrote the following about South African wines.
“Forgive me if I’m excited, but I can’t help it. I want to tell you straight out that South Africa, of all places, is one of the greatest sources for moderately priced Cabernet Sauvignon on the planet today,”
South Africa is in many instances the new kid on the block when it comes to American wine consumers. The wine critics and media is creating interest in South African wines. This and the marketing efforts by Wines of South Africa (WOSA) and importers like Cape Classics are setting the table for more South African wines on America dinner tables.
Kumkani Brand News:
One of South Africa’s great Cabernet Sauvignon wines is the Kumkani Cradle Hill Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. This wine won gold at last year’s Concours Mondial de Bruxelles
Wine awards are created for wine brands to set themselves apart from their competition. But a recent study found that all the new awards are confusing consumers and awards are not seen as very important buying catalyst or differentiator for consumers.
A recent USB study by Christene von Arnim found that 68% of South African wine consumers find the increasing number of wine awards confusing. The study also found that wine consumers have certain perceptions regarding competitions. The South African wine awards are seen as comparatively less important than International wine awards
This MBA study investigated the consumer perception towards wine awards and the impact wine awards have on the decision making process of the wine consumers.
The study concluded that the evidence show that awards are rated relatively unimportant compared to top marketing cues such as wine variety, vintage, packaging and producer.
Kumkani Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2008 won a Silver medal at this year’s Veritas awards.
To read the full report visit: USB Leader Lab – October 2009
When entertaining guests the question often arises of when to serve what wine? Do you want your guests to drink your best wines first or do you want your guests to drink the lighter wines first.
I think a few things must be taken into consideration when choosing the time to serve the wine.
The first is about the wine style. It is always better to go from your lighter wines with their more nuanced flavours, like the Chenin Blanc and then steadily build to the heavier wine like the Cabernet Sauvignon. That way the lighter wines get their moment in the limelight before your palate is numbed by the heavier wines. Along similar lines, it is also useful to go from dry to sweet as the dry wines will taste funny after a sweet one.
The other answer is about common sense. At the start of the evening, the senses are strongest. Your guests are fresh and you don’t have alcohol in their system. They haven’t begun nibbling on all the heavy snacks that may numb their taste buds as the evening progresses and nor have they gotten themselves into deeply engrossing conversations. It is a perfect time for them to appreciate a fine wine and remember it too. It makes common sense to serve your best wine at the start of the evening.
I would suggest to start with the lighter Kumkani Chenin Blanc wines and build towards the big, full bodied Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.
The annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild auction was deemed to be a great success. Some fears that the current economic vows would influence the buyers were put to rest by some record breaking bids.
The Auction , which was held for the 25th time, attracted a record number of local and foreign bidders and raised the event’s highest ever total of more than R5.2 million.
The quantity on offer – 2 274 cases – was 10 percent less than last year but the wines, made specially for the occasion, were of exceptional quality. The average price was R2 288.65 per case and the total was over 5 percent more than in 2008.
Although most of the 159 buyers were local, there were more from overseas than ever before. Local buyers spent R4 396 400 and foreign buyers R808 000.
The average case price for the auction was R2288 compared to R1958 last year.
The 5% record turnover increase this year is telling in the face of 10% less volume of wine on sale than last year.
According to Alan Pick of Butcher Shop & Grill restaurant in Sandton, it is because the guild wines “have become a recognised brand, and we have some awesome stuff “. Pick was the biggest spender for the eighth year on more than R1m worth of wines.
More buyers bid at this year’s auction than in previous years, and 84% were local. The biggest overseas buyers came from Belgium, the UK, Hong Kong and Denmark, but only one foreign buyer made it to the top 10 list, proving that South Africans will find the money for quality products – perhaps more so in a recession than in the good times.
Kumkani’s winemaker, Nicky Versfeld, has been a member of this illustrious group for more than 10 years. At this year auction the Kumkani Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 were auctioned at the Silent auction.
The 2009 lineup of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction to be held at the Spier Convention Centre in the Stellenbosch winelands on Saturday, 3 October, has excelled at two blind tastings in New York with the vast majority of the auction wines breaking the venerable 90 point barrier once again. Both James Molesworth of Wine Spectator and Steve Tanzer of the authoritative International Wine Cellar, have given the 2009 auction wines exceptional reviews.
Of the 33 Guild wines tasted by Tanzer, 29 were rated 90 points or more, whilst James Molesworth’s 90 plus points tally on Wine Spectator’s infamous 100-point scale comprises 25 of the 31 auction wines he tasted.
Describing this year’s selection of Guild auction wines as “the best offering yet from South Africa’s top winemakers” and the best set of wines in the three years since he began reviewing these special releases, Molesworth had the following to say about this year’s auction line-up: “As a group, they showcase this still-developing wine country’s strengths – Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, cool-climate whites and dessert wines.”
This year’s 41 auction wines include 27 red wines, 9 white wines, two dessert wines, a Méthode Cap Classique, a potstill brandy and a port.
The auction is open to the public and all the wines on offer are made exclusively by members of the Guild to represent the pinnacle of what can be achieved in South African winemaking.
Distinctly different from wines bottled under the members’ own labels, the CWG Auction wines are selected at a blind tasting and only those showing technical excellence and maturation potential are chosen. This thorough process involving the members of the Guild ensures that every wine boasting the CWG Auction label is a wine of exceptional quality.
Since its inception in 1985, the Nedbank CWG Auction has become a quality benchmark and the CWG label is an authentic assurance of quality recognised by leading wine buyers both locally and from abroad.
Kumkani Brand info:
Kumkani’s winemaker, Nicky Versfeld, has been a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) since 1999.