What do you do when you can’t get people from Gauteng to buy their wine in Stellenbosh?
You bring Stellenbosch to the people of Gauteng.
That was the event we attended last night at the amazing Summer Place venue in Sandton. The event was sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth, so you know that it was going to be a good one.
Being the conscientious road users that we are, we ordered out Uber and set off through the streets of Johannesburg to Summer Place, knowing that we would have a few glasses of wine and bubbly.
On arrival, we registered and were shown towards our first stop, The Method Cape Classique section. For those of you that don’t know, that South African Champagne. We aren’t allowed to call our champagne Champagne because champagne can only come from Champagne. (My head is sore now)
Not really sure how the whole process worked, we asked the server and he explained it in elegant terms, “I pour, you drink.”
There was live music from a small band consisting of a double bass and a piano near the MCC section with various rooms leading off from the main entrance. We aimed left and found a huge cheese section with some stunning fruit and crackers to cleanse the palate after a lovely glass of bubbly. Outside were chairs and couches under a Bedouin tent and later, more live music from a fantastic band with some lovely vocals. They were never too loud, so it added to the atmosphere and didn’t distract from the reason we were there. Many venues could learn a thing or two from this.
After the break in drinking to enjoy the cheese, we made our way to the Hall of White Wines; and what a choice. Seven Chenin Blanc, five, Sauvignon Blanc, six Chardonnay and five White Blends!!! We decided from the outset that it would not be a good idea to try every single one as we would have liked to have kept some respect for ourselves. So we looked as the two things that most wine drinkers look for, the name and the price. We picked the most expensive ones and the ones with the coolest sounding names. Some of the prices were quite good. A bottle of Somerbosch 2015 is only R50. But some were not. R375 for Ken Forrester FMC 2013 would be opposite of a good price but when one meets the real Ken Forrester and he pours his wine into your glass and he tells you how he made it, the suddenly your night changes.
I didn’t think that Ken Forrester was a real person. I thought that it was just a name that some marketer came up with, but he is real. I even have a picture to prove it.
All around the great Hall of Wines, there were small food tables serving the most amazing food I have tasted in a long time. The food was small and designed to compliment the wines that were being tasted. The food was made by chefs as you watched them and all of them came from restaurants in Stellenbosh.
- Christian Campbell from Delaire Graff restaurant
- Bertus Basson from Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley
- George Jardine from Jordan restaurant
- Michael Broughton from Terroir restaurant at Kleine Zalse
- Gregory Czarnecki from The Restaurant at Waterkloof
On to the red wines we went with many from which to choose.Pinotage, Shiraz, Cab Sav and then the red blends. In all, there were more than eighty wines to tease our taste buds. We continued our quest to test the most expensive and the best-named wines. Beyerskloof Diesel was one of my favourites, but it’s named after a dog, not the fuel you put in your car.
Finally, we made our way outside to the brandy and dessert wine area. There we HAD to try the R1520-a-bottle Van Ryn’s Collectors Reserve 20yo. What a treat! Find a tasting room and try it. I don’t normally enjoy brandy, but this changed my life.
The Stellenbosh at Summer Place was an amazing idea and I would suggest it to anyone who has the money as things are not cheap. The wines were exceptional and were actually well priced. Certainly better than if you went to the bottle store.