Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The keenly awaited release of the first Jeffrey Deaver penned James Bond novel hit book stores around the world today. Bond get’s a new bespoke Bentley Continental GT but stays with his Omega Seamaster and his perfectly tailored British suits. In what has become classic Bond, 007 mingles with the sexiest women in the world – both good and bad in a carefully managed plot guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. South African wines feature for the first time and James Bond makes no secret about his choice of drink with Warwick’s ‘Three Cape Ladies’ red blend his preferred drink for seducing the lovely Felicity Willing.

“ ...vintage Three Cape Ladies, a red blend from Muldersvlei in the Cape. Bond knew it’s reputation. He took out the cork and poured. They sat on the sofa and sipped. “Wonderful” he said.”

The action set all over the world has Cape Town and Franschhoek in South Africa featuring heavily with their multiple exotic locations and exalted post World Cup reputation perfectly positioned to capture the interest of aspiring Bond fans everywhere. Shooting on the new movie – it is rumoured - commences in South Africa in September 2011.

Warwick is a family-owned and run South African Wine Estate focused on the high-end segment of the market. Warwick ‘Three Cape Ladies’ is available in fine wine stores and top restaurants around the world.



Monday, May 23, 2011


By GEOFFREY YORK, Toronto Globe and Mail

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa - The men who reigned over South Africa's wineries were amused by the former ski instructor from Alberta who was trying to break into their ranks. She was a foreigner, and she was trying to convert a fruit farm into a winery -- and she was a woman in a male-dominated industry.” I was a bit of a novelty -- like their mascot," says Norma Ratcliffe, the first female winemaker to become commercially successful in South Africa. "They couldn't believe that I was making this fabulous wine.” A quarter-century after selling her first bottle of wine, the self-described tomboy from Edmonton, Alberta is today seen as one of the pioneers of contemporary South African winemaking, an industry that has boomed globally.
Her company, Warwick Estate, has gained recognition as one of the best wineries in the world, with its products often landing in the annual top 100 lists of leading wine magazines. Even in the midst of a global recession, her winery is expanding, adding new buildings to boost its capacity by 30 percent. And now she is helping other women breach the barriers to South Africa's wine industry in a mentoring project that involves apprenticeships and networking events. There are 50 women winemakers in Stellenbosch alone, she says, yet none have been invited to join the Cape Winemakers Guild, the elite group of South African winemakers. Ratcliffe is still the only woman in history to become a member (and chairwoman) of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which remains a highly exclusive body. "I think it's very bad," she says bluntly. "It's disgusting. They've never had another woman member. The attitude seems to come from the young guys, not the old guys. I'm after them all the time about it.

"Ratcliffe, a science graduate from the University of Alberta and a former competitive skier, was running a restaurant on an island in Greece when she met Stan Ratcliffe, a South African who owned a 200-year-old farm in a stunningly beautiful valley near Stellenbosch, capital of the South African wine industry. They were married in Edmonton in 1971 -- in the middle of a blizzard, to the shock of the South African family members -- and then settled at his farm, where they grew pumpkins and cabbages and drove them to local markets at dawn. They soon began to take an interest in wine, planting grapes vines and making experimental wines throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. Lacking any background in the wine business, Ratcliffe started at the bottom. She took classes in winemaking, pored through books, bought second-hand equipment, learned to fix pumps and patch leaks in barrels and worked for months at a wine cellar in the Bordeaux region of France. In 1984, she released the first Warwick vintage, a cabernet sauvignon, which became an instant hit. She credits the valley's rich soil, and the help she got from generous neighbors, as big factors in her success. But she was also innovative: she was one of the first South African winemakers to make Bordeaux-style blends and to put wine into French oak barrels. Her true genius, however, was the branding and marketing of her wine, which soon built an international name for Warwick. Her winery created the First Lady and Three Cape Ladies vintages, a reference to her pioneering status and her daughter and granddaughter. One of her most famous wines, Warwick Trilogy -- a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc -- has become a South African flagship brand and has been served at state dinners.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Warwick Winery steps up to the (tapas) plate.

I have, on many occasions, sampled Warwick‘s beautiful Bordeaux Trilogy Blend or divulged in their succulent Cabernet Sauvignon, but never once have I expected this oasis in Klapmuts to send out a warning to all great chefs in the cape. Well it’s happening, and with gusto.

Mark Springhorn, head chef at the Warwick deli, and on his 7th month in the kitchen, has produced something beyond the extraordinary. The tapas menu has been in place for one week, yes, thats 7 days, 168 hours, 10 080 minutes and is already turning heads. This baby is learning to walk before it can crawl. Hell, this baby is running.

I sampled a fairly large selection of the items on the menu – and by that I mean all except one (The Chef’s soup of the day).

Find my top 3 below (in order), and a link to the full menu at the bottom of this article:

  1. Twice baked mini herbed goats cheese soufflé, wild garlic cream and a sweet red pepper preserve. (R25)
  2. Norwegian Salmon smoked with rooibos and oak chips on sweet cucumber with buttermilk-dill dressing. (R35)
  3. Lamb racks stewed in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce served with poppadums. (R45)

The above three were absolute killer dishes. The soufflé made me weak at the knees – the contrasting flavours of the subtly sour cheese and the tongue twisting sweetness of the red pepper preserve sent my guests and I into a whirlwind of “oohs” and “aahs”. Enjoyed with delicate slices of freshly baked, warm ciabatta – this took the cake, ate it and still wanted more afterwards (what a naughty and greedy little soufflé!).

The Norwegian Salmon was a fresh, summery and crisp little niblet. The fish preparation was executed with utter brilliance, smoked with rooibos and oak chips, and still as luscious as can be hoped. Set onto a little bed of pickled onion and sweet cucumber. The flavours were a mélange of beauty.

The bronze medal went to the lamb, cooked to medium, erring on medium-well, and served with a sour tamarind sauce. I absolutely loved the combination of the almost citrus influenced tamarind sauce with the malty poppadums.

On the other hand, I felt that the cos salad with artichokes lacked that vital X-factor and fell slightly short in comparison to the revelations that were my top 3; however, I did feel that the artichokes were beautifully prepared and perfectly tender. Similarly with the sole paupiettes, the sauce was somewhat basic in flavour and failed to impress. Yet once again, the fish was succulent and excellently done.

The desserts left me speechless, and fit into a top 3 category of their own.

  1. Persian love cake, with almonds, honey and yoghurt. (R25)
  2. Chocolate brownies, white chocolate grenache, cranberries and pistachios. (R25)
  3. Spiced dark chocolate mousse with chilli. (R25)

I have quite literally never tasted anything as good as the Persian love cake. I can see why it so aptly named – I wanted to do more than just love it. As Josh Groban profoundly stated, It raised me up, so I could stand on mountains. Yes, that good. The chocolate brownies, thick slabs of melted, high cocoa content, mouth watering morsels of deliciousness. Decadence to the max. The chocolate mousse was delightful with its chilli hit and fluffy presence.

The setting is cosy and inviting, with a warm fire that crackles in the corner. Windows surround the indoor seating area and take your eyes out across the lake and onto the vineyards or across the quad to groups of happy picnic-ers.

Watch out Cape Town, Watch out Head chefs across the city, this guy is going places. Fast.

Here’s to eating. Deliciously.


Warwick Winery Deli

Rated: 4 “R’s”

(You’ll notice I’ve adjusted my grading system. Restaurants are now awarded “R’s” in stead of stars and, once again, this is more a category system than a comparison system.)

Tapas menu available for lunch, Monday – Sunday.

price range: R25 – R45 per dish

021 884 4410

Tapas Menu