Experience elegance at Arabella

Driving down the white-stoned gravel road en route to Arabella Wines’ tasting room, with stunning views of the muscular Arabian horses galloping on the side felt, for a split second, like a scene from the 1980’s television series, Dallas. The Arabella farmstead, situated on the spectacular Route 62, could easily be mistaken for the Ewing’s famous Southfork Ranch.

IMG_0204

The scenic entrance to Arabella Wines.

The farm, which is named after the famous endurance riding horses for which the De Wet family has an inherent passion for, has views to spoil you rotten. Endless mountains and skies to impress even the fussiest landscape snob, a sea of greens to calm the soul and a massive front porch that is both inviting and relaxing; the perfect resting place for a thirsty throat. Arabella Wines, right outside Ashton, is where my journey took me this week.

The tasting room with beautiful vernacular architecture was perfectly designed to capitalise on the exquisite landscape views. You immediately feel at home upon entering this very comfortable setting with large couches to help you feel right at home. I met with Winemaker, Marna Brink and Marketing Manager, Nelmarie Baard for a lovely afternoon of tasting and touring.

Untitled-5

The beautiful tasting room with vernacular architectural designs.

The Arabella brand has market itself successfully as a supermarket brand and supplies to most major supermarkets within the country. Their exports have also increased substantially over the last few years with around 60% of produce exported, mostly to the UK, and 40% distributed locally.

Arabella has a long harvesting season; around two and a half to three months, Winemaker, Marna explains. “This is mostly because we use a variety of grapes, for our wines. We use both the younger grape with higher acidity, but then we also use the sweeter grape that stays longer on the vine for our sweet wines and rosés. This is why our harvesting season tends to be slightly longer than other farms’.”

Untitled-1

Stephen de Wet inherited this beautiful Bible from his parents.

Although the farmland belonged to the De Wet family for generations, the Arabella farm was only established around eight years ago when brothers Stephen and Freddie de Wet divided the two farms, forming Excelsior (Freddie de Wet) and Arabella (Stephen de Wet), respectively. Stephen insisted on the latest technology and built a state-of-the-art wine cellar which has the capacity to produce and store around 3.6 million litres of wine at any given time. He also invested in the best bottling and labelling machinery to ensure a completed process under one roof, so to speak.

Untitled-4

The high-tech bottling and labelling machinery. 

“We focus a lot on producing easy drinkable wines for the greater public”, says Nelmarie. They launched their latest offerings, the Natural Sweet Rosé and the Natural Sweet White earlier this year during the Wacky Wine Festival, and were pleasantly surprised at the reception it received. “It was our most successful launch to date, it really exceeded our expectations”, she added. The reason, she reckons, is because a sweet wine or rosé usually attracts first-time wine drinkers and since the Wacky Wine Festival generally attracts a younger crowd, it was a total hit between festival goers.

IMG_0222

Arabella’s two new offerings; the Natural Sweet Rosé (left) and the Natural Sweet White.

Arabella Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Vintage

The Sauvignon Blanc was the first target in the tasting process. This is their most popular white wine, Nelmarie says and not surprisingly so. I love that it’s light enough to lure the gentle wine drinker yet it will also appeal to the more complex palate. A burst of summery, fruity flavours settle on your tongue from the very first sip. It’s a lovely soft wine to be enjoyed during warm summer evenings.

Untitled-7

I sipped leisurely on their Sauvignon Blanc (left) and their Merlot. #yum

Arabella Pink Panacea

Although a dry rosé, the Pink Panacea still offers that sweet, fruity taste that lingers on your palate. A little more complex than their sweeter varieties, this wine is a lovely alternative to a sweet rosé if that doesn’t tickle your fancy. Another one for the summer, this rosé makes for the perfect poolside wine.

Arabella Merlot

One of their most awarded wines, the Arabella Merlot proved why it is such a favourite amongst consumers. Rich flavours of plum and blackcurrant, this wine is soft on the palate yet has a long, slow finish. This was by far my favourite of all the varieties. I loved the complexities, yet it makes for a simple, easy companion.

Reserve range

Next we moved onto their premier brand, the Reserve Range.

IMG_0223

Their Reserve Range boasts an elegant black label.

Arabella In Unison Reserve

The In Unison Reserve was up first. An equal mix between Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, this red was truly a delight to savour. This is the wine you want to drink like an alcoholic; alone after a tough day at work. Nelmarie’s words, not mine. It is 12 months wood matured in oak barrels and offers that rich, seasoned taste. It truly is a ‘special-occasion’ wine to enjoy leisurely.

Arabella Shiraz Viognier

Recipient of the 2011 Michelangelo Silver Award, the Shiraz Viognier was another lovely treat. It contains all the complexities of a Shiraz yet is gentle on the palate. Full-bodied, this red exemplifies all the qualities of a dark, rich blend, offering a long finish. It has a blackcurrant and rich coffee aftertaste. It’s a wine to be appreciated and cherished.

I concluded my trip to Arabella with a tour of their ultramodern wine cellar, including the entire bottling and labelling operations. The tour is also open to the public pending prior arrangement, Nelmarie said. It is truly amazing to see how much work goes into what we perceive as just a ‘simple’ bottle of wine. It was incredible to view the process first-hand.

IMG_0235

The lovely ladies from Arabella Wines; Nelmarie Baard (left) and Winemaker, Marna Brink.

Untitled-2

Arabella’s state-of-the-art wine cellar can produce and store around 3.6 million litres of wine.

Untitled-8

2014 Merlot anyone? Marna has to check and approve all labelling (left).

Untitled-6
The Arabian horse dominate the discipline of endurance riding and is one of the oldest breeds in the world.

IMG_0301

Arabella offers picture perfect views.

Electric Vines, in association with Arabella Wines, will host a New Year’s Eve Music Festival, featuring a whole bunch of great local artists, including the likes of Just Jinjer, Prime Circle and Jesse Clegg. It will be a two-day event from 30 to 31 December and promises to be great fun. If you don’t have your tickets yet, please visit Electic Vines for more info.

I’d like to thank Marna and Nelmarie for the lovely visit at Arabella, I had an awesome time. If you’d like more info, including prices on their wines, please visit their website. Also follow them on twitter and facebook.

Did you like this review (of course you did!), then please subscribe to my blog (see top right hand side →). Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more reviews over the coming months.

Till next time… xoxo

 

DIY: Create your own personalised pictures

Howdy guys,

So I’ve had a lot of requests about my pictures. People are always asking where I find them; if they’re my own or whether I source them from a third-party website. The bad news is that they are my own pictures, taken with my very expensive camera. But the good news is that you don’t need a R20,000 camera to get equally (if not better) quality images. So I thought I’d share my favourite online picture sharing site in this week’s Online DIY post.

Besides for being extremely time-consuming, doing your own pics also takes a lot of effort. Firstly you have to actually ‘go out’ to take the pics, and then you have to download and edit them in Photoshop to get it exactly how you want it. So not only do you need a good-ish camera, but you also need software, like Photoshop or Gimp or something.

Studies have proven that posts that contain a picture are much more likely to be ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ or ‘commented on’ or ‘retweeted’, etc. So weather you’re a small business who like to increase your social media following using images or an individual who just love pretty pictures (like me!), this post will certainly get you to your goal in no time.

**Hello, and welcome to the world of Canva.com**

For those of us who are not graphically inclined, creating anything that looks slightly presentable poses a colossal obstacle, especially if we are trying to come across as professional as possible. The great news is that with Canva, you don’t have to design anything. Yes, you heard me. They have a database of over a million designs and pictures and backgrounds to choose from so you’re bound to find whatever you’re looking for. You can create anything from posters to invitations to cards to web graphics to just a beautiful picture, and its easy as pie.

Step by step tutorial:

Log into www.canva.com and subscribe to the website. You will receive an email confirmation, confirm and you’re good to go.

Canva1

Firstly, pick your template. They have 20 options ranging from social media, poster and blog graphic. I selected the ‘social media’ template. It will open the board below;

Canva2

*Take note: if you hate spending additional money on designs, like me, then be careful not to select one of the pics that have the ‘Canva’ sign on the background. These are not free and you will be prompted for payment details once you’re ready to download the picture. So look out for that.

Right, so you have your blank canvas and you are ready to create an awesome personalised picture. You will see an options board on your left. Here you are able to pick your layout, your text, your background and in case you’d like to upload your own picture, you can choose the ‘uploads’ button. You can also search for a theme-related picture at the top (like Christmas or swim or summer… you get the point). So first you select the layout of your picture.

Next you can choose which text you’d like to add or change. You can choose the text font, the size, the colour, etc. You are also offered a selection of text banners should you wanna use them. Again, just look out of the ones that says ‘free’ when you hover your mouse over it.

Canva3

You can delete the text on the background picture and select a text banner, under the “Text” tab, if you’d like.

Canva4

Okay, so we’re just about done. Once you are happy with your picture and you’d like to download it, select the ‘Download or link’ tap at the top. It will take you to the screen below.

Canva5

Under “Publish” select; “Image”. Another pop-up will inform you that they are “preparing your image”. Usually the image will save to you ‘downloaded items’, depending on how your PC was set up. Once your picture has been downloaded, you can post it onto your social media sites or your website or save it as your PC background or whatever you choose.

*Tip: Another tip I always do is to personalise my pictures. I like to add my website’s address at the bottom of my pictures, as you can see in my example below. Branding should always be a priority for you and your business so I’d highly recommend this.

And voila! Your very own, highly professional-looking picture created all by yourself and without some fancy camera! Doesn’t it just look gorgeous?!

Honeycomb_Aim

Canva is an amazing tool for the clueless, and can come in handy for professionals too. It makes designing easy for everyone, but it’s not aimed only at amateurs. The simplicity and richness of the tools will get you coming back for more, and according to Canva’s developers, the current features are only 1% of what they have in store for us.

If you liked this little tutorial, please let me know so I can share more of these kind of tips with y’all. Please also share it if you think it could benefit some of your friends. As always, please subscribe to my blog (see top right hand side →). Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more tutorials like this over the coming months.

Peace and love… xoxo

Step into luxury at Graham Beck Wines

From the time you step into Graham Beck Wines’ tasting room in Robertson, you immediately notice that this is not just another tasting room. The opulence is immediately noticeable and you know you have entered into a completely new ball-game. The tasting room is like no other I’ve experienced before. I used the word ‘experienced’ on purpose, because the Graham Beck Wines’ tasting room offers you exactly that; an ‘experience’. It was thoughtfully designed purely for leisure.

I could tell you about the exclusive pieces of art on the walls; or the crafted sculptures which add a mix of contemporary and antiquity flair; or the carefully selected pieces of furniture in the room; or the endless glass walls which capitalise perfectly on the exquisite views; but instead, I really want to tell you about their unique selection of MCC’s.

Upon entering the tasting room on Friday, I was greeted pleasantly by sales executive, Ricardo Booysen and escorted to their little bar-seating area, which again, looks out on the most gorgeous views of the Langeberg valley. The tranquillity of the views compliments the tasting impeccably.

Aim_GBW3

A massive bottle of Graham Beck bubbly (left) and the beautiful views from the tasting room (right).

I’ve touched slightly on what an MCC is in my previous post, but I was completely fascinated with Ricardo’s explanation that I really want to delve a little deeper into it, in this post. Also, Graham Beck is mostly known for its delish MCC’s and so I think it ought to be the cornerstone of this review.

An MCC, or Méthode Cap Classique is, in layman’s terms, a champagne. However, the word ‘champagne’ is restricted to be used only for wine that’s produced from the grapes grown in the Champagne region in France. The method, however, for producing both an MCC and a bottle of champagne is essentially the same. It requires, amongst other, a secondary fermentation period of the wine in the bottle to create the carbonation. This method is exclusive to a bottle of champagne or MCC.

Aim_GBW1

Their gorgeous bar-seating area (left) and one of the many sculptures in the tasting room (right).

Graham Beck Wines is one of only a handful of cellars that produces MCC’s in the region and not surprisingly so. I have renewed respect for winemakers Pieter Ferreira and Pierre de Klerk. It takes an intensive process of planning and nurture to produce the perfect bottle of MCC, Ricardo explains to me. The MCC grapes are harvested early to ensure the perfect balling reading. Essentially, the balling reading should contain a high acidity and low sugar reading of the grapes. Grapes are then harvested before sunrise to manipulate the balling reading.

After the first fermentation period, which includes settling the juices of the two cultivars and fermented separately, the two are then cross blended and bottled for the second fermentation period. The second fermentation (as mentioned) requires the MCC to be bottle-fermented. It is then bottled and left for 15 month to 18 months yeast contact time before disgorgement. During this period, the bottles are riddled occasionally. Although this process was done manually during earlier years, it is now all automated, Ricardo says. (Apologies for the in-depth explanation but I was completely blown away by this info.)

Aim_GBW2

Another bottle of bubbly (left) and their spacious tasting room (right).

After the second fermentation period concludes, and after numerous tests have been performed to ensure the MCC is perfect (and delish!), the yeast is disgorged. To ensure a slightly sweeter taste, a hint of dosage (liqueur d’expédition) is then added to all the MCC’s with the exception of the Brut Zero, which contains no sugar.

All Graham Beck Wines’ MCCs contain a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, with the exception of the Blanc de Blanc which contains 100% Chardonnay grapes. The red Pinot Noir grape is sourced from Graham Beck’s Firgrove farm while the Chardonnay grapes are grown at the Robertson estate, right here in the Langeberg valley. All MCCs are produced at Graham Beck’s state of the art cellar, in Robertson.

You may also notice a substantial difference in price between their Vintage and Non-Vintage MCCs. Essentially, the long and short of it is that; the Vintage wines are produced from one specific year while the non-vintage varieties can be more than one year’s harvest. No year is thus recorded on the non-vintage bottle labels. This makes their vintage wines a tad more expensive than their non-vintage range.

Aim_GBW4

I was literally in bubbly heaven with endless bottles of MCCs (left) and a portrait of the legend himself, Graham Beck (right).

Ladies and gent’s, we have officially reached my **favourite** part of the interview; i.e. the tasting!

Graham Beck Brut NV

Of course I insisted that Ricardo opens our tasting with the legendary Graham Beck Brut NV. It is after all the MCC that both former president Nelson Mandela and US President Barack Obama served at their respective inaugurations, and it did not disappoint. A citrus, limy taste explodes on your palate from the very first sip. Ricardo explains this is because the soil is treated with a limestone which gives it the zesty flavour. I loved it because it is so refreshing and citrusy. A real treat.

Aim_GBW5

Ricardo doing what he does best (left) and a lovely glass of bubbly (right).

Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2009

If I thought the Brut was a lovely treat, I was in for a pleasant surprise; the Blanc de Blanc completely blew me out of the water. This was my absolute favourite of all the varieties. I loved the complexities yet elegance that accompany this MCC. It is robust and full-bodied yet fresh and versatile. If you never try any of Graham Beck’s MCCs, please at least try this one. It was a real delight.

Brut Zero Vintage 2008

Although a tad bit drier than their other varietals, the Brut Zero Vintage 2008 is not only fresh on the palate but also light on the hips, with no added sugar. If you’re anything like me and like to watch what you cram into your pie-hole, this MCC is a lovely alternative. No dosage was added to this MCC making it one of the purest wines. It offers an invigorating, natural taste to be savoured and enjoyed leisurely.

Aim_GBW9

Bubblies to pick and choose…

Graham Beck Brut Rosé Vintage 2009

Ricardo was filled with child-like excitement upon pulling out the bottle of Brut Rosé. Cheer filled his voice as he explained this MCC, his absolute favourite, to me. Pretty and pink, this 82% Pinot Noir and 18% Chardonnay MCC is slightly softer and fruiter than its Brut counterpart. In a South African first, the whole bunches for this MCC were co-fermented; the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes were jointly pressed as a blend in the same press. The Brut Rosé’s delicious salmon pink hue makes it attractive to both the eye and the palate and I could relate to Ricardo’s enthusiasm.

Graham Beck Bliss Demi-Sec NV

Another light MCC, the Bliss Demi-Sec NV, offers full flavour yet is softer on the palate. A mix of sophistication and simplicity, this MCC is a tad sweeter than the other varieties. It is easy drinkable and those who prefer a lighter wine will appreciate this MCC.

Graham Beck Gorgeous

Aim_GBW10

Their lovely new rosé, Gorgeous.

Let me start off by saying that I’m always sceptical of the media hype around a new wine. I’ve read a lot about the new Gorgeous before I had the change to actually taste it and so of course I had to insist that Ricardo sends me off with this new rosé.

Please quote me on the following: “Graham Beck’s Gorgeous completely and utterly lives up to the hype as portrayed in the media.” I think it is safe to say that the media frenzy around this new wine is completely justified. Point proven. Wow, what a lovely rosé it is!

Gorgeous is lower in alcohol content which means that I can have more glasses of wine (score!). Just in time for the summer, this rosé is a refreshing pick-me-upper. The fruity salmon pink hue makes it softer on the eye and gives it a slightly feminine characteristic. It’s a delightful wine and will appeal to both the delicate and the complex palate. It truly is this summer’s must-drink wine.

Aim_GBW8

Ricardo (left) with Tasting Room Manager, Nadia Lakey (right) who ensured that I had a lovely tasting.

Aim_GBW6

GBW Accounting Manager, JC Kriegler (right) lend a helping hand when the tasting room started to fill up.

Aim_GBW7

Both Ricardo and I were very impressed with his great tasting. This picture was taken right after the tasting.

Aim_GBW11

The impressive GBW building in Robertson.

I spent a lovely afternoon at Graham Beck Wines and was so sad to leave. I will return to their tasting room soon, if only to get another sip of their Blanc de Blanc and delish Gorgeous.

I’d like to thank Ricardo Booysen for his enthusiasm and professionalism. I had a fab time drinking (oops… I mean tasting!) and learning about their lovely wines. Please visit Graham Beck Wines’ website for more info and prices. Follow winemaker Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira on twitter. Please also follow GBW on twitter and facebook.

If you liked this review (of course you did!), please subscribe to my blog (see top right hand side). Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more reviews over the coming months.

Till next time… xoxo

Check my schedule

Howdy guys,

hour-glass

So I’ve been pretty much all over the place this past month and I thought I’d map out some resemblance of a schedule in my life for two reasons mainly; firstly, so that I can plan my time around my business activities. It’s been a bit tough this past month since all I did was either to post updates to my blog or planning to post updates to my blog. This has occupied all my time and I haven’t found the time to do much else. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I want everyone who likes a certain section of my blog to know on which days they can look out for their favourite content.

And while on the topic of content; as you all know that to be successful in any type of online marketing, it is vital to concentrate solely on one niche market to advertise your services. Initially, I was all over the place trying many things to ‘find’ my market as I really liked so many things; I used to be a financial journalist and so that is probably my first love when it comes to any type of writing, but I also like fitness and health stuff, I love, love, loooove wine, and then I have a passion for useful online marketing tools. So I tried posting a few articles on all the above over the past couple of months just to get a feel of what people like but it didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped. Eventually I’m forced to pick my niche, and I’ve narrowed it down to two things; Wine (of course, because… duh?!) and online DIY content. I admit it’s a bit of an odd mix…. and your point is? So if that’s what you are interested in, please follow my blog as most of my posts will be related to either one or the other. I will also try to add random posts in between, just because I can.

But to come back to my schedule, please pay careful attention; I will post an Online DIY piece on Mondays, starting next week. My wine interviews I will do every Tuesday, starting this week and then the actual review will go onto my blog every Thursday. It takes a little while to work through not only the content from the interview but the pics can be extremely time-consuming. And my blog must have **awesome pics**. That’s non-negotiable, of course.

If you are either interested in acquiring better Online DIY tools or you like reading the latest wine reviews, please subscribe to my blog (see top right hand side). Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more wine reviews and online DIY tips over the coming months.

Thanks to everyone who has already subscribed, you guys are awesome! #sograteful

Till next time, xoxo

Faces of Wine on the River

This gallery contains 26 photos.

This year’s Wine on the River festival, which took place this past weekend (17 to 19 October) at the Goudmyn farm between Robertson and Bonnievale turned out to be another hit amongst festival goers (as all festivals we host here in … Continue reading

Beauty and the Bride

Howdy guys,

It’s not often I post a review on hair, makeup and beauty stuff, so enjoy it while it lasts. I simply had to make an exception as we have some amazing ladies in our area and I so much want to tell the world about how gifted and remarkable they are.

As I’ve mentioned (a few hundred times) before, my sister, Nadia got married last month and it was important to her to get the very best hair and makeup duo who could understand her needs, and the needs of her bridesmaids (me) and give us exactly what we had in mind.

When planning a wedding, one of the biggest things, besides the importance of the dress, is that the bride should look absolutely exquisite. A lot of thought and planning has gone into ensuring that Nadia looked perfect on the day, thanks to the amazing job done by Mariska Joubert from La Vie Hair Salon and Dawn Esterhuizen Britz from Beauty and Natural.

Nadia wedding4

Mariska concentrating very hard on the task at hand.

Now I’m not very blessed in the hair department (no need to keep up pretences), and so it was more an issue of life and death to me to find someone who can deal with these tangled wires on top of my head. Luckily for me, our family hairdresser, Mariska was up for the challenge.

But let me tell you about Mariska; I’ve been to many hairdressers, both here in the Langeberg area as well as in Cape Town and no one (and I mean, no one) can do my hair quite like Mariska can. Her hairdressing studio, La Vie has just moved to a new location (which, as illustrated, made for the prettiest pics) and it’s absolutely GORGE(ous)! Mariska truly has a rare talent and it’s so comforting to know that you can trust her with the best advise on your hair and the best products suited for your hair type.

Nadia wedding5

Like all woman, I am terrified when it comes to my hair. I need it cut and treated in a certain way and from the very first time I stepped foot into La Vie, Mariska knew exactly how to manage this crazy bunch of curls. She is someone you can trust with one of your most important assets, your hair. I have never walked out of her salon not being completely happy and satisfied.

Nadia wedding7

Nadia also pulled in another friend and expert, Dawn to help with making us look slightly presentable on her big day. Again, I’m not too gifted in the looks-department (just calling a spade, a spade) but even I was completely blown away by Dawn’s work. I met Dawn for the first time on that day and what a delight she was! She knew exactly what will work for my skin colour and skin type. She swung her magic wand and I turned into a princess. Well, at least that’s what I felt like. We were really so fortunate to have the help and assistance of these professionals.

Between me, my mom and my sisters, we really felt like fairy princesses on our way to the ball.

Nadia wedding6

Dawn is doing her magic on Nadia’s face.

Nadia wedding11

Nadia was completely overwhelmed with her make-up.

Nadia wedding12

Beauty and the Bride (me being ‘Beauty’, of course 🙂 )

Nadia wedding13

Even my mom felt (and looked!) like a celeb.

Nadia wedding15

Nadia and Dawn…

If you are ever in need of some pampering or are planning your big day, please give these ladies a shout, they are brilliant!

Mariska Joubert

  • La Vie Hair Salon – 023 626 6733

Dawn Esterhuizen Britz

  • Beauty and Natural – 072 379 5841

 Ps. And how about those pics? Didn’t I do just an awesome job? #lovemyjob

Till next time… xoxo

 

Painting the valley red @ Rooiberg

Howdy guys,

My visit to Rooiberg Winery has been the perfect start to this new addition to my blog. Let me start of by saying that I’ve always maintained that the people from the Langeberg area are a special breed, really very nice people (okay, perhaps I could be a tad bit bias since I’m from the area). However, having said that; Ashley Jaftha from Rooiberg Winery was an absolute delight, like a breath of fresh air. She was incredibly passionate about the wines and let me tell you, this lady knows her wines. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every sip of Rooiberg wine.

Aim_Rooiberg6

Look at all the awards stickers on their Reserve Chardonnay (left) and Ash with a bottle of their Red Chair Bean There Pinotage which features a hint of coffee (right).

I stumbled into Rooiberg Winery on Tuesday like a lost tourist but I was immediately welcomed by the friendliness and hospitality of everyone there. Because Rooiberg operates as a cooperation with 34 members and 16 farms that grows their various grapes, it is able to keep their prices at a minimum making their wines very affordable to the public, Ashley explained to me. Last year they produced around 10,800 tonnes of grapes generating between 7.2 million and 8 million litres of wine. Man, that’s a sh*#%t load of wine! (Pardonnez mon français)

I tasted six types of wines. Here they are in chronological order;

Flamingo Sparking Wine

Just arriving inside their tasting room from the excruciating 30 degree heat on Tuesday, this sparkling wine presented a lovely solace. It is produced from the pinotage and the red muscadel grape and is not an MCC (Methode Cap Classique a sparkling wine which is made in the traditional Champagne style), but merely a soft carbonated drink, says Ashley. It has a 9% alcohol level and is really lovely when served cold, I can certainly attest to that. It has a slightly sweet, fruity taste but it’s very subtle and not overwhelming. I would recommend this lovely, light wine for a lazy afternoon cooler. It really managed to quench that thirst (if you know what I mean?).

Aim_Rooiberg7

The Flamingo is a semi-sweet sparking wine (left) while they also offer the Rooiberg Winery Rose Natural Sweet (right) as a lovely alternative.

Rooiberg Red Chair

Their latest offering, the Red Chair collection, was created to capitalise on one of their biggest marketing ploys; the ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ and it’s worked wonderfully, says Ashley. “People love the idea of this massive, red chair outside our door and we thought why not create a range of wines to compliment this creative marketing initiative. People love a good story and the red chair has become one of our stories, so we made it part of our brand,” she said. They launched the Red Chair brand in March last year and they hope to have the wine in local Checkers stores by next month (November). “We are very excited about this new range,” Ashley said.

And the wine certainly lives up to its creative birthing idea. First up was the Red Chair Sauvignon Blanc De Light. This is a very light and refreshing wine. It’s the type of wine (my dietary) dreams are made off; it’s low in kilojoules (yay!) and low in alcohol (9%), but full in taste! It has a zesty, lime taste with a fruity flavour aftertaste. I also wanted to taste the Red Chair ‘Bean There’ Pinotage and found it a lovely delight of dark mocha and rich plum with velvety linger in your mouth. The alcohol level in this wine is 14%.

Aim_Rooiberg1

The Red Chair range (left) next to the creative genius behind its name; the actual ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ (right).

Columbar

Next it was onto, what I’ve found to be, my absolute favourite, the 2014 Columbar! The grapes from the Langeberg area tend to have higher sugar levels due to our climate, Ashley explains, which gives this wine just a tad hint of sweetness. Since I took the very first sip, a fruity, guava taste exploded in my mouth. It has a beautiful mixture of tropical and fresh honey aftertaste. It was so refreshing and light. I really enjoyed this wine.

We moved next to their range of red wines. Their flagship range of wines, the Reserve range, weighs up nicely with other superior wines from the area. The range is made from strictly A-grade, single variety grapes and matured in first fill French oak barrels. (For those who, like me, are less advanced in their wine knowledge, Ashley explains that this simply means that the Reserve range is the very first wine range to enter the French oak barrel, afterwards the barrel is reused to store some of their other wine varieties.) That is also one of the reasons their Reserve range’s wines are so DELISH.

Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve

To my palate’s delight, Ashley pulled out their award-winning Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve. It is the acclaimed recipient of the Gold Medal at the 2014 Gold Wine Awards as well as a Silver Medal at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Completion, and rightly so. It has been 18 months wood-matured and has a purple, deep ruby shade. Your tongue really comes alive with the very first sip. It’s has a combination of redcurrant, blackberry and subtle vanilla notes from aging in the new barrels.

Aim_Rooiberg5

The Rooiberg Winery’s Reserve range.

Rooiberg Cape Vintage Port

As with all good things in life, this trip too had to come to an end, sadly. And Ashley didn’t disappoint; sending me off with a final tasting of their delish Port. Very fittingly, this 18-month matured, desert wine left that good feeling of satisfaction on my tongue. The aromatic flavours of fruitiness lingered in my mouth as I walked to my car. It wouldn’t be too long before I pop into Rooiberg Winery again. And that’s a fact.

Rooiberg Winery also boasts a GORGE restaurant, Bodega de Vinho, on the premises for a yummy lunch.

Aim_Rooiberg2

Restaurant Bodega de Vinho at Rooiberg Winery.

Aim_Rooiberg3

Another Bodega de Vinho snap.

Aim_Rooiberg4

I absolutely loved the chandeliers at the restaurant, it just gave it that romantic feel.

Aim_Rooiberg8

Ashley and I after my tasting… I’m still holding up after a few glasses. #soproud

Visit Rooiberg Winery’s website for more info and prices on their various wines. Also, please follow Rooiberg Winery on twitter and facebook. A special thanks to Ashley Jaftha for the wonderful tasting. I had such a fab time, also follow her on twitter.

If you don’t follow my blog yet, please subscribe by clicking on the tab on the right side of the blog. Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more reviews over the coming months.

Ps. Thanks to Rooiberg for this tweet… ↓

 

I’m so incredibly humbled.

Till next time, xoxo

Helloooo Wine-not SA?!

**ANOTHER BIG ANNOUNCEMENT**

IMG_82651

In line with keeping the adrenaline going and the blood pumping, I have more exciting news! Yip, you guessed it; I’ve added yet another new section to my blog called; ‘Wine-Not SA?’. This new section will feature the latest in local wine news, plus I will do reviews of our lovely wine valley and the DELISH wines we produce here. I am sooo excited! I cannot wait to taste some yummy wines and share it with all of you.

Please subscribe to my blog to stay updated with my latest offerings. Many thanks to those who are already subscribed. Also, feel free to leave a comment should you agree/disagree on my reviews.

Here’s to happy wine-drinking… oops sorry, I mean, ‘wine-tasting’ 🙂

Till next time… xoxo

I’m no foodie, but…

I’m no foodie or health expert but with everyone nowadays having an opinion about the latest fad diet and what-not carbs and protein, I thought I’d throw in my two cents too.

1620511_719095664788960_1181096773_n

I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) a few years ago and it has since become imperative for me to watch what I put into my pie-hole. But before I had a complete diet overhaul, I ate anything (and everything!) to my heart’s content and then soon suffered the horrific consequences. Sometimes I was constipated for days, other times I had diarrhoea coupled with excruciating stomach cramps. This went on for months. I refused to change my diet because my eating ‘wants’ were really not so drastic that I had to completely cut out certain foods, I thought. So I suffered for a little while, stopped, then went back to my old habits again. A perpetuating cycle that went on and on for months.

In the meantime, I quietly slipped into my thirties and my metabolism, together with my IBS, took a turn for the worse. Eating anything with gluten would have me in constant discomfort, I would feel bloated and anxious to the extent that I couldn’t sometimes sleep at night. Now if you know anything about me, you’d know of my love for anything baked; from freshly baked breads to muffins and croissants, to cakes and just about any pastry under the sun. Asking me to give up my gluten-injected baked goodies is asking me to give up my life. I simply cannot live without it. Or so I thought.

The choice to give up all gluten foods was not out of free will. In fact I can pretty much say it was against all will I had within me, I was forced. It was not a decision I came to lightly, it took months and months of convincing but finally my stomach cramps no longer left me with a choice. I had to bid farewell to my most beloved emotional eating friend and companion, my late night snack and my ‘I’m-bored-so-I’ll-snack-on-a-doughnut’ bff. It was a tragic but necessary step in my life.

Today, I am happy to announce that; My name is Meriza, and I am 254 days gluten free (and I’ve never felt better!). No more feeling bloated and no more discomfort, no constipation and no diarrhoea! I’ve also heeded Prof Tim Noakes’ LCHF (Low carb high fat) dietary advice and it’s helped a lot in planning my daily lunches and dinners. I’m never, ever hungry PLUS I lost four kays (SCORE!). I do however suspect that my dietary needs might change slightly once I start doing more regular, heavier running in summer. But I’ll cross that bridge once I get there.

For now, I’m enjoying my new healthy, slimmer body. And oh look, it’s just in time for summer. What a coincidence…

A shout-out to all the hustlers

This blogpost is dedicated to those who, like me, thought that they would have ‘made it’ by now.

winner

I’m a hard worker. No, I mean I can really put in the extra hours and the extra work. Like really. Late nights? Done. Early mornings? (Not particularly, but…) Done. Weekends? What’s that? To top it off, I’m also fairly intelligent (fairly being used very loosely), I’m diligent, determined, I can see a project from start to finish and I absolutely L.O.V.E what I do. So you can imagine how surprising it must be for me to sit here writing a blogpost about how I have ‘not yet’ made it in life. (Of course the assumption ‘not yet’ implies that I will still ‘make it’). But the truth is, as with all things in life, there are no guarantees.

So no matter what I’ve learned, no matter the long hours of hard studies and no sleep, no matter the skills I’ve acquired throughout my career, no matter the blood, sweat and tears I’ve put into becoming a skilled professional, I may still end up a complete failure. Man, how depressing is that? (Please excuse me a minute while I grab a blade to slit my wrists.)

But here comes the good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it); if you invest, and continue to invest everything you are into what you believe, i.e. your dream of becoming successful, then life/the universe/God WILL reward you. Fact. However, let me just add that most times the reward may not be a multimillion rand company or fame and fortune, but it will be the perfect reward for you.

Assuming that like me, this little-known fact is some days the only fuel that keeps you going when you are about to give up. Don’t. Do. Not. Give. Up. Why? Because I am rooting for you. Because I am in your corner shouting for you. Because I support every decision, every trail and every battle you endure. And because I know you can do it. And you know it too. Fight a little harder, a little longer. And when you reach the top of that mountain, make some space for me because I’ll be hot on your heels.

Till next time, xoxo