I have written often about poorly organised events, where the food has been awful and the wine has been absent, so it is only fair to shower with praise my chums at Tsogo Sun, who organised a magnificent media wine tasting this week. Long my favoured hotel chain, it was great to see a combination of generosity and welcome – the sort of thing you can see in adverts, but which is not always delivered.
The event at Montecasino was well attended, and was designed to showcase some of the special bottlings which had been purchased by the hotel chain at the Nederburg and Cape Winemakers’ Guild auctions.
When arriving we were greeted with generous glasses of perfectly chilled Veuve Clicquot, and these were topped up a lot. Tsogo Sun has a policy to put smaller than normal mark-ups on its Champagne, but I am sure the Die Vine Intervention team put a further hefty dent in their profits as we had one refill after another. My mate Norman and I met another chap called Norman, who was our host, along with the brilliant Miguel Chan, who has the rotten job of being Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier.
Bubbling over with bubbly, it was time to taste the auction wines. Now these events can be a bit daunting, with tasters seated like kids in class, as expert after expert tells them about the few sips which are in each glass. Not so at Tsogo.
The room had several tasting platforms, each with a pourer and a neighboring food stand. Each had its own wine, and the food dishes had been expertly paired with each wine.
I did not note down all the wines, as I was too busy guzzling (and there was no crib sheet) but did have a favourite – a 2009 Nederburg Private Bin cabernet sauvignon. This was paired with thin slices of beef, topped with the best béarnaise sauce I have eaten outside Europe. The cheese came with a vintage Monis Port which was also divine.
True to form, I found the most pricey wine – a Shiraz – was my least favourite, but nothing was bad.
The lay-out meant that one could mingle with other guests, who included vintage socialite Edith Venter, another lady who introduced herself as a runner-up from big brother, and several journalists. The atmosphere was fun, and this was because care and professionalism had been deployed in the planning
We weren’t hurried, we ate and drank far more than was wise, and they even gave us a bottle of the cab as we departed.
So bravo to Miguel and team for showing true hospitality, and for generously demonstrating that Tsogo Sun, which is a leading bidder in ZA wine auctions, has some real gems with which to pepper its wine lists.
It would be wrong for me to gush too enthusiastically about the tasting event, as there were a few things I would have changed. While I was thrilled to renew my acquaintance with the Clicky Widow, I wonder whether it might have been more apt to serve us a really brilliant local bubbly? There are many of these and Miguel know them all. Then the selection of cheeses was magnificent, but I believe many were imported. I am convinced that we could have had a range of locally-sourced cheeses, which would have been even better, and would have kept to the theme of showcasing local excellence. And then there was the Scottish salmon…..
Tweets of the Day:
PUNS (@omgthatspunny): A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired.
Male Thoughts (@SteveStfler): Diets are hard because I get hungry.
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