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Chef and Somm

[17/08, 21:16] Dennis Ang’ani : Melissa.
[17/08, 23:07] Melissa: Hey Dennis.
[17/08, 23:08] Melissa: What’s up?
[17/08, 23:14] Dennis Ang’ani: Hello, whole change of plans, how’s your day tomorrow?
[17/08, 23:22] Melissa: I had a tentative plan. But I’m flexible.
[17/08, 23:24] Dennis Ang’ani: Like, are you sure sure? Cos plans have changed…no hungarian wine. And somm has fallen in thus we need to make pairings asap with other wines.
[17/08, 23:26] Melissa: Yeah I can come in her place. What wines do you have for a plan B?
[17/08, 23:27] Dennis Ang’ani: You can have a look at them in the morning.
[17/08, 23:27] Dennis Ang’ani: Very easy but you must pair according to flavors. I tell you that you’ll conjure in your brain.
[17/08, 23:28] Melissa: What are you serving? Do you have time for us to sample?
[17/08, 23:30] Dennis Ang’ani: 7 courses
[17/08, 23:30] Dennis Ang’ani:

1.Plantain pizza

2.Honeybean pasta with black bean and pork puree

3.Chicken skin cinammon

4.Something with Tuna

5.Something with eggplant

6.Something with jackfruit

7.Dessert by guest chef
[17/08, 23:31] Melissa: Whoa!
Okay lemme get to researching.
[17/08, 23:36] Dennis Ang’ani: Perfect!

I know, crazy yeah? This conversation marked a pivotal moment in my wine-filled career. Someone demonstrated faith in my skill with the grape! 🍷 And this someone wasn’t just anyone. It was someone who’s respect meant a whole lot to me. Someone who’s work I’d admired for a long time for no reason more than his forward thinking, creative style of food and genuine passion for honing his craft. Chef Dennis Ang’ani. He’s featured in a few of my recent posts but this one is a special one.

The week before the dinner I was really frustrated. So I did something any respsctable millenial would do. I went on a rant on my Instagram profile. I’d lost faith in the culinary space in Nairobi for budding sommeliers. But you know how these inters of net work. I met someone absolutely special. It warms my heart to introduce Mulongo of Mulongo wine and spice.

Just when I was at the brink of losing all hope, I met this amazing lady on Instagram. She’s a Kenyan lady in wine traveling the world and doing amazing artistic things with wine. Her exploits are nothing short of brilliant, something like poetry.

You learn something new every single day, no?

I had been torn between a Chablis and a Muscadet for this dish. I’m glad I asked for a second opinion. That’s the thing about life though, someone somewhere knows more than you do, open yourself up to learning. That’s the essence of growth 🌟🤗

As I’ve already said a ton of times before, the dishes Dennis and the team come up with are nothing short of creative explosions that require equally explosive wines to go with them. Therefore I’d be a fool to turn down the opinions I get from those who came before me. It’s also pretty exciting when the work you do forces you into hours of endless thought and sleepless nights!

The patrons:

We had an amazing group of patrons at the dinner. They all had something in common: None of them was the new age “foodie” with nothing except a passion for taking pictures of beautifully plated dishes. Each one of these individuals had a special story to tell about their experience with food. A genuine love for food and wine and the exploration of the two of God’s greatest blessings to humanity. These are the kinds of guests every Chef and Somm dreams of.

These people will go to heaven! 😊

The team

Believe it or not, this brilliant chef was actually Dennis’s teacher at some point. Amazing how the world works don’t you think?
Irene of Irene’s Kitchen 😁 I shall quote Dennis on this one, “Irene’s role is so vital. As you can imagine, cooking is all fun and games until it’s time to clean up! We all light up soon as she walks in!”
The plan
Lots of behind the scenes stuff happens before perfect pairs are created.
Bouke is undoubtedly a lover of good food and good wine. Aside from hosting the dinner at his gorgeous home, he was more than happy to get down and dirty in the kitchen. Bless your soul!

The food (I almost skipped straight to this part)

Plantain pizza. Goodness 😋 *Waits on Joshua’s notes*

Tuna salad: Carpaccio of beetroot, topped with grated and baked turnip with lightly seasoned tuna, baby radish, pixie, lime and a duo of spiced an sweet tamarind sauce. Yes, take a second with it.
Githeri tiempo! Our “play” on githeri was one of the most rewarding procces(es) in my opinion due to the patience it required from us. We had 2 types of beans, moi moi beans (found in west africa) and njahi (black beans). Had the moi moi benas ground to a flour, which we used to make our homemade pasta….” -Chef Dennis Ang’ani
Jack fruit three ways:1.Topped with almond pesto 2.Topped with peppered squash puree 3.Topped with mango coulis and cape gooseberry
The eggplant dish. Roasted eggplant+Sweet tamarind+Beet+Glazed apples. The eggplant was made in rings with a crispy exterior and a fleshy interior…a play on texture.

The wine 🍷💃 (Excuse the stain)

Nose of red fruit. Think of strawberries and raspberries. Floral aromas of rose and orange blossom. It’s a pink drink! Clean and crispy with a beautiful salmon hue. Paired this beautiful bottle of pink matter with the eggplant dish. Logic: Eggplant is such a fussy vegetable when it comes to pairings so the beet and the sweet tamarind transcended this pairing from a good one to an excellent one. You can quote me on that one!
Everything you should now about Muscadet (“muss-kuh-day”) in one breath: It is unfairly underrated here!!! Also, important to note, Muscadet ≠ Muscat. Muscadet is a dry white wine and is not related to Muscat, Moscatel or Moscato. Paired this lovely French wine with the tuna dish, Notes on why on the conversation I had with Ms. Mulongo.
Notes you’d find in a wine magazine: 100% viognier making this an elegant, aromatic varietal wine. Excpect intense aromas of apricot, peach and rose. The perfect wine for the dry ,crispy white wine lover. My notes: It’s a crispy,clean, lightly oaked wine with a roundness yet sharpness to it. It’s such a paradox. It’s aromatic and fruit forward. It’s a little like a knife that was brought to the party to cut the pasta and straight through the pork in the honeybean pasta dish. I reminds me, very fondly so, of those kick-ass swords they use to saber champagne at these fancy shmancy wine affairs. Have you been to a bubbly brunch hosted by Juan and myself?!
I absolutely NAILED this pairing! First of all, I’m so bummed out that I didn’t get any pictures of the dessert. Picture this, Homemade Ice cream+Cinnamon+Ginger+Chicken Skin Notes you’d find in a foodie blog about the dessert: Intensely creamy, moderate sweetness,amazing balance with the cinnamon and ginger. My notes: This desert is the company I’d need for three important events in my life: a.) when I’m getting over a silly waste man. b.) when I’m getting a tattoo done. c.) when I’m waxing…I know, I know. It makes for such an amazing comfort food. My notes on the pair: The Riesling made for such a beautiful pair with the ice cream. It’s such a different style of Riesling from California Wines By Rose that I think all food and wine critiques ought to try. The pair was like when you go to a kid’s birthday party and you mix the ice cream with a bit of rum to make an adult dessert and you become the gown ups hero!

These two (among others) are the future of exploratory culinary arts in Kenya.

Joshua Obaga

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Featured

Rosé colored glasses (Château Miraval)

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As of the Spring of 2013, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt officially became makers of a Provencal Rosé , one produced at Château Miraval, an estate in the South of France.

How good is their rosé

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Hint: The first ever 6,000-bottle run sold out within…wait for it…a whooping 5  hours!

Bottling:

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The packaging of the wine is definitely what sets the  rosé apart. It has a luxurious feel to it. It’s packaging is the wine equivalent of a bottle of Executive water against any other bottled water you’d come across in the grocery store. Take a second. Picture it.(Read as; See below)

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Before (and after) the sip:

The wine itself have a very beautiful aesthetic to it. It has an elegant shade. First thought that came to mind, “If Audrey Hepburn dressed in a gorgeous light pink cocktail party dress, was a bottle of wine for a day, it would be this one. (Try saying that sentence in one breath!)  The wine has a beautiful sort of Hello Kitty pink. It, thankfully, lacks the coppery pink hue that many rose’s exhibit.

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It is very pretty and aromatic on the olfactories ( wine speak for nose) with rose petals, wild strawberries and confectionery sugars. Ever tried sticking your nose in a sachet of  Wrigley’s Orbit strawberry flavored candy? On the palate, however, it exhibits a slight acidity, typical of the varietal it’s made of- grenache.

Much like a beauty with brains, this bottle is easy on the eyes, pretty on the nose- but a little rougher on the palate. It’s a very serious wine!

When to have it:

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It would be really great to have it, ice cold, on a beach somewhere (definitely ask if you are allowed to have wine at the beach lest this happens)

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Nobody bothered to mention anything as they watched me stroll into Clifton Beach with my picnic basket. In it a bottle of glorious  rosé (thankfully not Miraval!), a wine glass and a snack. It is illegal to drink alcohol at the beach! Imagine my dismay! But I’m a survivor. I’m not gon’ give up. (If you didn’t sing that line, what is your life?) Anyway, as you can tell, I still had my wine 🙂

You definitely want to have it outdoors- with good, sunny weather, I insist, on a beach. Honorable mentions: A garden with a lovely view or beside a rooftop pool with the view of the city .

Pairing suggestion:

I can see myself having this beautiful wine as is. But since I plan to be at the beach next time I’m having it, I would love to have it with raw salmon or tuna sushi. Something light. Or with something spicy.

I’m almost done:

I know I know, you’re probably wary of wines from celebrity vintners. That doesn’t apply here. Brad and Angelina are real vintners. They hired a wine maker and made the wine right. It is a legitimate wine. Sure, they made a Côtes de Provence rose but it’s only obvious. It’s what they drink. It’s what their friends would enjoy and it makes all the sense in the world.

Thanks but I’m all the way in Nairobi. How can I possibly get my hands on this bottle?

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Thank God for wine distributors. Thank God for De Vries Africa Ventures. This beauty of a wine and two others from Chateau Miraval will be available in Nairobi under exclusive distribution by De Vries Africa Ventures. More details coming up soon.

Interested in being part of the Launch party?

WSET in Kenya

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2018 started on a pretty darn high for me. It was #DryJanuary and here I was on my way to Cape Town to sit my #WSETLevel2 exam at the International Wine Education Centre. At the time, the course was only available in South Africa in the whole continent! I was so excited, nothing could touch this! My week-long stay was pretty great. It was summertime down there ⛱️🌞
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I get back to Kenya, I’m now waiting for my exam results and it’s such a nerve wrecking experience but something amazing is about to happen. I get a call from Invogue models  and I’m off again, this time to Bangkok for a Veet commercial advertisement shoot. You can imagine my level of bliss at this point. Everything in the line of my career seemed to fall in place and I was so grateful for it. 
So, I come back home after a week there and it’s Valentines day. An email from The Wine Center comes in and I have passed! Not just any pass but a pass with merit! Oh my heart was filled with so much joy. I’m finally a certified wine geek. That certification would soon open many unimaginable doors.
A great number of things happen in the in-between time since the beginning of the year and the near-end that is now. Fast forward 9 months later and the same WSET course I had to go all the way to Cape Town to pursue is now offered in Kenya. That’s not even the best part. The course is offered by Hospitality Competence Center-East Africa
whose co-founder is De Vries Africa Consulting, with me as the WSET APP course administrator!
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I’m sitting here thinking about how big a difference 12 months could make on one’s professional life and I can’t be more grateful to be part of a winning team. I woke up to this amazing publication by The drinks business about the successful establishment of hcc_ea.
All I’m saying in this blog post is, I am grateful for all the amazing opportunities that have come my way thanks to my affiliation to Vergelegen and WSET by extension. I’m really excited for the coming year! Are you interested in being a certified wines and spirits professional? Check out our website for details on our available courses.

A sensory explosion

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being in the kitchen with one brilliant chef.Chef Dennis Ang’ani

Every so often he hosts these amazing pop up dinners that I think are absolutely amazing. More because they are so unique. Something like a breath of fresh air!

Anyway, on this beautiful day I got to be part of his creative process in the kitchen and we made three brilliantly curated dishes. Octopus in three styles, beef with passion fruit and finally a vegetarian turnip dish. We paired each dish with wine from 6212nautucals

The pairings were nothing short of bold and brave!

The veg dish paired beautifully with the 6212 nauticals Fortified Shiraz because of the sweetness of the plantain. The breet gave the dish muscle to stand up to the Shiraz.
Dishes can be different in texture and taste. Texture differences tend to be more explosive than taste differences. The three styles of octopus here are a classic example. We dared to pair the octopus with Chardonnay and it worked quite well to our surprise!
We went ahead to cook the beef in this gracious bottle of 6212 nauticals Sangiovese. Cooking with wine should be a staple! Fun fact, the alcohol on the wine evaporates when you cook it making such a dish safe for children as well.
My fascination with the ingredients chosen will definitely show here!

Ever tried fruit on beef? Neither had I. The flavor profiles worked so well, I was pleasantly surprised. The passion fruit gave the dish character and edge. The wine pairing with Sangiovese worked even better since the wine was fruit forward.

I strongly believe that wine and food pairing is about experimenting. Playing with your senses is the best way to come up with life changing pairings. Food and wine should each be individual players in a sensory orchestra. None should be at the mercy of the other. They should play supporting roles to create a decadent dish!

Cheers winos! 🍷

That Kenyan-South African love

A story about the Cape Wine 2018 Kenyan Delegation

(and why I so desperately want to be one of these cool cats…)

It’s the last day of July and what better way to close the month than in a room with a dozen people I’ve grown to admire in the wine (and media) circles.

Being the kind of person I am, this is the part I reserve for shout outs. Granted, this will take a while…

Wanjiru Mureithi (@winenjiru) The lady I want to be like when I grow up. The true definition of a strong, powerful, successful industry leader !

Josiah Kahiu (@knife_and_wine) nothing ever beats being at a wine gathering with you and your intellect(who wouldn’t want to grace La Paulée with you?)

Mr Njabulo Mbewe (Economic counsel-South African High Comission) trust that one day when I’m trekking the table mountain and someone as much as refuses to give me sip of their water I’ll us the “I have friends in high places” line thanks to you haha.

Hussein Jiwani (@goplacesdigital) If for some grand reason I ever join The Amazing race or any such like competition where my entire reputation to this point depends on choosing the perfect travel buddy, I’d definitely choose you. Its a no-brainer that one.

Jean Wandimi (@thewineandfoodreview) You are the fabulous, intelligent, gorgeous, go-getter, ambitious lady I look up to every single day. Your passion for all things wine and digital media is oh so very admirable!

Judy Kariuki (@sierraburgerandwine) If I was asked to paint something that speaks grace and poise, I wouldn’t look too far. Besides, Wanjiru did tell us just yesterday that you are the kind of person that’ll successfully make a description of Wagyu beef cattle sexy!

And finally, Della (@dellambaya) I remember sitting there and thinking to myself how cool your life and work might be. A media personality who is big on wine. Not bringing myself to you would’ve been something like fighting gravity.

Anyway, now that you have seen a few of the members of the Kenyan delegation through my eyes, let’s get into it. #capewine2018. Sounds great and all but what is it?

About Cape Wine

*Cue your favorite film score of all time before you read this bit* (I’m going with Jonny Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood)

Cape wine is a Leading International Trade Show for South African Wines that happens every three years. 200,000 years ago the San people understood the importance of living in balance; they called it ‘hannuwa’. ‘Hannuwa’ is the theme for this year’s exhibition. Wines of South Africa (WoSA) are the hosts of this three-day event, which is being sponsored by the world’s leading express logistics company, DHL Express, from 12-14 September 2018 at the Cape Town International Convention Center.

Being their wine ambassador, allow me to point you to the greatness that is stellar wine making. we shall be stationed at F67. the name is Vergelegen, Vergelegen Wines

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The South Africa Theme Tasting Area

The fun stuff first:

There will be a free-pour wine tasting area to allow you to explore a wide range of themes, varieties and regions highlighting top quality wines, across 18 specified areas. A total of 240 wines will be poured in this tasting area. What a blast that’ll be!

The rest of the program is pretty exciting as well! This a crash course on wines of South Africa that any reputable wine lover should make an effort to attend.

Being with all these amazing people surrounded by the best of the best wines of South Africa is something like a dream come true🍷

Cheers to the stellar wines of the motherland 🥂

Cheers to the amazing delegation flying the Kenyan flag high🇰🇪

Cheers to #Capewine2018 🍷

Images by hyve media.

Yours,

Melissa

22 Wine Street

What a year!

22 has been a phenomenal year for me. I’m talking in wine years 🙂 It has been a beautiful journey of learning and exploring the world through different bottles. I have met some incredible humans along the way, cut ties with a few others but all in all managed to grow exponentially. I’m happy with the far I’ve come and I can’t wait to see how far I get to go with my wine obsession.

Lemme start with my two favorite ladies in wine. These are the ladies I have looked up to most of this year. Ladies with an undying passion for wine. Ladies whose works have bee a critical part of my foundation in wine. Ladies I would absolutely love to meet and share a case of wine with. Ladies whose shoes I’d gladly fill!

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Katie of Katies.wine.life. So much love for you lady!
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Bianca Bosker, author of Cork dork. This is such an amazing book! Wine Bible material right here.

My year started out with me being named wine ambassador of Vergelegen here in East Africa. What better way to kick off the year?!

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Wine ambassador alert!

The rest of my year in a series of pictures…

Thank God for Instagram 😉

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This is how I started 22.
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Met this icredible person, Brian Msafiri during one of my wine tastings.
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That time I enrolled for the WSET Level 2 certification
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Then I hit Capetown for the exam in January
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And I passed!
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Now I travel for and with the wine. The ultimate dream job.
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Other times I go for wine tastings I’ve been invited to because my opinion somehow matters. It’s great validation.
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The epitome of happiness. Doing what you love and having it pay your bills haha.

It’s been nothing short of a blessing having something good going for me so early in my career. I am grateful.

For 23, LEVEL UP!

6212 Noirticals

The 2015 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

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See the concept of the steel magnolia- a woman who posses the strength of steel, yet the gentleness of a magnolia- this Australian Pinot Noir is its wine equivalent. It is beautiful and soft on appearance but bold and full on the palate.

I’ve never had a bottle of wine tickle my senses to the point of driving me to the grocery store dead in the middle of the night to shop for bourgeois ingredients for an equally lip-smacking midnight snack: super smoky spaghetti carbonara and salad on the side.

 

Last night was the ultimate throw-down in my kitchen! Get this, it was 11:47 pm when I got down to playing master chef. If you know me, you know that my kitchen skills start and end at creating unusual cocktails (You should definitely look out for my twist of the sangria recipe)

The wine:

Meeting her was something like taking a trip to the best part of the Yarra Valley. The delicate kitchen light had just turned the space a-flame with silver. She* had a comely figure which was stunning. Her curvilinear shape didn’t surprise me as much as the fiery saffron tint to her complexion. She must be a native, I thought to myself.  I yelped at the first sniff. Her delightful earthy notes hit me slowly, as if to invite me for a sip.

When I came closer, I noticed her elegant characteristics on the palate. A smooth and graceful, classic pinot noir with rich black cherry flavors and earthy undertones. There was a beautiful dryness to it with medium acidity and low, soothing tannin. The perfect wine for a cold night in, something like a nice warm hug.

 

The pairing:

I am still thoroughly impressed with the turn out of the pasta. I went with a creamier, fuller feel that would be easily complemented by the elegance of the Pinot Noir. The smoky bacon, cooked to a slight pinkness, worked just right with the light bodied Pinot.  Traditionally, pasta dishes are reserved for the crispier white wines but I’m not one to stick to traditions.

My Verdict:

6212 Nauticles have undoubtedly outdone themselves with this Pinot Noir. It is certainly something worth getting a case of.  An interesting food pairing suggestion would be a medium to heavy tomato based pasta dish for that rich umami flavor. That is what makes it stand up to the elegance of the Pinot Noir.

*Sometimes I get caught up in y wine descriptors. I’m sure for a second there you thought I was describing a person haha.

Photo credits: Raphael Mumbo (IG: rafIQi07)

Either give me more wine or leave me alone.

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As wine ambassador for De Vries Africa Ventures (sole distributor of Vergelegen in East Africa), Level 2 WSET holder and Sommelier in the making, I spend some weekends attending wine tastings. Here is a story of the last one I went to.

It’s Friday evening, I get a call from Kahiu inviting me to a tasting. (See above proof of excitement) He’s an incredibly talented oenologist. He has been, for a long time, one of the few people I have wanted to tag along with to a wine tasting, he seemed to be the perfect blend of wit, charm and wine smarts. He was!

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I was pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces when I got to the venue. Speaking of which, getting to Kenrail towers in Westlands with the road works was nothing short of an extreme sport!

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The name is Angani. Chef Dennis Angani. Aside from being a food magician. He is nothing short of a culinary comforter. He has the impressive ability to turn basic ingredients into soothing meals that make all your workday stress melt away. He also seems to be a  finessing foodie, paying attention to the visual details while not sacrificing overall flavor. Ultimately making him a master manipulator, able to “turn your frown upside down” and seduce you with carefully-crafted dishes. It was great to have him cater at the tasting.

Rose. The brilliant lady behind California wines by Rose. She has done something quite revolutionary for the Nairobi wine market by focusing solely on American wines. What she offers in her portfolio is a beautiful assortment of wines from the U.S. On Friday she invited a few of us to sample eleven of her newest picks from Washington state and Oregon. Overall, I’d say the wine selection she has is great for every palate in Nairobi. Amazing entry point for the new wine drinker, a few hidden gems for connoisseurs and definitely  some gift worthy bottles as well.

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You know you’re an adult when a cheese board is the highlight of your week.

It was a dark and stormy wine. I approached the glass with dread …

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Okay, that might have been a little exaggerated. This 2016 vintage of intrinsic cabernet sauvignon was really beautiful to stare at. Even better on the nose and palate. It was a beautiful fruity and floral cab. The mouth feel was really smooth and silky, with a nice rustic texture. Honestly, I’d have it as is, I really enjoyed how it danced in mouth but I’m really curious to try it with garlic-seasoned pan grilled lamb chops covered in lemon juice, parsley and crushed red pepper. *mouth waters*

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The Domaine Ste. Michelle Non-vintage Brut was a great start to the evening. It was much like the lovely hostess that meets you at the door with great conversation and beautiful delicate features. With a nice crisp edginess to it, It made for a nice expression of a new world sparkling wine. I’d drink this bubbly for breakfast for a month if it were socially acceptable and didn’t ruin my liver. I dare say it’s  the perfect Sunday brunch companion.

IMG-20180610-WA0007 For this bottle, I’ll quote my exact tasting notes. (Verified by Kahiu)

“Dry Riesling 2016 vintage: Intense aromas of peach, low alcohol. Low acidity, could use a bit more crispiness. Great with spicy food. Intensely aromatic, almost fruit juicy. Much like sticking my nose in a basket of freshly plucked rose petals and peaches. Lacks in complexity.”

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Buttery popcorn.

This bottle was wonderful tool for learning. I had the pleasure of understanding the works of malolactic fermentation through the assessment of this bottle with Kahiu. Question I always get (and asking myself), What’s the big deal with legs on the side of a glass of wine? I’d always thought the answer was an indication of alcohol but I learnt something different from Kahiu. It’s an indication of malolactic fermentation.

I know you’re now wondering, what is this malolactic fermentation you speak of? It’s the process in wine making that gives California chards buttery and nutty flavors…like a big bowl of popcorn.

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This is not a red blend to serve at a dinner party, unless you’re hoarding it for yourself in the kitchen while serving guests another cabernet. I joke. This is a wonderful red blend to transition from sweet wine to dry wine. It’s something interesting to try with your fine wine bend drinking friends. It’s complex, amazing to break down in the company of wine geeks.

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Overall, it was a great way to end my Friday. Which one of these bottles would you like to sample with me? 🙂

Photo credits Eugene Rhyl. Find his work on instagram at @rylpixphotography

On the floor

This is the story of my fist time as the “Somm on the floor“. Translation: For a couple of days, I was in charge of running a wine menu in a fancy restaurant, and it was thrilling!

The restaurant was Tamarind. Beautifully set at Karen Blixen, Tamarind is a multi-award winning restaurant. I only got to understand the reasons behind its acclaimed reputation after working the floor. We were launching a Vergelegen Wine Dinner menu over the course of four (intense) days.

I made life long memories, learnt way more than I’d have from any classroom and met people I wouldn’t otherwise have met. That’s the thing about wine. Wine is freedom. It gives you freedom to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, go places you wouldn’t go, and try things you otherwise wouldn’t get to try.

Sommelier
Lesson ONE: Wine knowledge and Confidence can only take you so far on the floor as a Sommelier. Charm and character are what grab your guest’s attention, leaving a lasting impression.
Bartender
Lesson TWO: The best seat at a busy restaurant over dinner is definitely the one at the bar. However, this is only true if you meet a cool bartender (They usually are) . Even better when he knows a bit about wine and a whole lot about cocktails…the conversations can go on forever. It’s never a dull moment. I met a particularly interesting bartender at Tamarind, Greg was his name. I’ll share the story of Greg on my next blog entry.
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Lesson THREE: Spend time at the table with the experienced wine drinkers. I learnt quite a bit. There’s nothing more thrilling to a Sommelier than meeting guests who have been drinking wine for a few years. Mr Folb and his friends were amazing guests all the way from California! It’s amazing going back and forth on your wine experiences.  I was, still am, very grateful at how warmly they welcomed my presence at their table. They were eager to share their wine escapades and I savored every second of it!
The fun table
Lesson FOUR: Be part of the fun. There was this one table made up of really incredible individuals; among them a level 1 WSET holder, the group Training and Development Manager of The Tamarind Group. They always had something interesting to talk about with each service and I enjoyed, more than anything else, being part of the fun!
The Birthday Girl
Lesson FIVE: Make the occasion special. On the first night of the Dinner, I met three lovely ladies. One of them was celebrating her birthday. Thing is, I didn’t know this till the end of the meal. Something amazing happened though. As I was presenting to them the dessert wine, she told me she’ll not forget that birthday. For the first time ever, she had been walked through a wine menu by an expert; one who eased her into the whole experience. I left work with a wide grin, as you can imagine 🙂
Mother's day special
Lesson SIX: Maintain professionalism regardless. So, on Mother’s day, a good friend of mine was one of the guests at the restaurant. She was joined by a few of her friends. They were amazing! Regardless of our personal relationship, I had to strike the delicate balance between being friendly and professional on the floor. After all, I was on the job!
chef.jpg
Lesson seven: Make friends with the head Chef. It’ll come in handy, I guarantee! 😉

 

A Vergelegen Dinner

Hey there.

Last Saturday evening I attended a dinner and it was spectacular! Why? Because I got to taste the whole Vergelegen range of wines…most of it at least and it was amazing!
I’ve raved about those wines all year with good reason. Let’s talk about Vergelegen with amazing pictures captured by @carole_tuimur_photography

Cheers folks!

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Bubbles to start off the night 🍾
Founded in the 1700s, Vergelegen (meaning “situated far away”) has been under the ownership of some of the world’s greatest explorers and visionaries who helped shape Vergelegen to what it is today: A world-class estate. As a result, Vergelegen has many international fans among them, Nelson Mandela. At Verglegen, it is all about the eccentric wine maker André van Rensburg. The ‘Beast on the hill’, as he is nick named in the South African press is n unguided missile who is named year after year as best winemaker.
From left: Vergelegen V 2012, Shiraz reserve 2014, sauvignon blanc reserve 2015, Vergelegen G.V.B Red 2012
The premium range…
The reserves: 2012 Reserve DNA(Newest in the range), 2012 reserve Merlot, 2009 reservecabernet sauvignon and the 2014 Reserve Chardonnay to die for!
This is what happiness looks like 😁
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This 2012 reserve Chardonnay almost brought me to tears 😭 That’s just how good it is!
Who run the world?! You already know! 👸
Let’s talk about this bottle. Its the holy grail of Vergelegen wines…G.V.B Red 2012. Plum, chocolate, graphite,cassis and cedar wood on the nose. On the palate the fruit,tannin and acidity marry perfectly to offer balance and complexity, supported by flavours of black cherry, black currant and refreshing minerals.

Cheers to a great new month!🍾🍷