Award-winning wines on show

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Copy of Coffee bar at Pierneef a La Motte HR . La Motte retains its Best of Wine Tourism title.

RMB WineX marks its 10th anniversary this year with Cape Town Select, a two-night affair in the Cape Town Convention Centre ballroom where 75 exhibitors will present award-winning wines, offer master “tours” and wines at special prices. Delicious deli items will complement tastings.

Three worthwhile causes benefit, albeit indirectly, from the show. These are Rage (Rhino Action Group Effort), the rhino anti-poaching organisation, while Rotary projects benefit through their management of the show, as does Pebbles through the use of breathalysers.

The event takes place on November 29 and 30 from 5pm to 9pm. For a list of exhibitors and wines in the show, visit www.winex.co.za or call 011 482 5936.

Tickets, which cost R150, include a Riedel glass and deli vouchers. Book through www.computicket.com or call 0861 915 8000. Groups of 10 and more qualify for discounts. E-mail [email protected] for group bookings.

La Motte pinnacle of tour destinations

La Motte has, for the second successive year, been voted winner of the Great Wine Capitals’ Best of Wine Tourism destinations.

Copy of Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival Media Opening Three days of Franschhoek festival fun. .

Waterkloof estate in the Helderberg was a close runner-up. The Pierneef restaurant at La Motte is tempting visitors with a new tea and coffee menu, an alternative to lunch, served from 9am to 5pm. Items, savoury and sweet, sound mouth-watering – more on this once sampled.

Social media is abuzz about the start of the Wine Tram operation, which is running on the original railway line between Rickety Bridge and Grand Provence farms at present, with plans to extend the route. Pity it could not have been a steam train, but just being on those historic rails adds romance to wine sorties. Visit www.winetram.co.za.

No visit to Franschhoek is complete without time spent at Haute Cabriere’s mountainside venue, where visitors can sample the recently released non-vintage Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs and Brut Sauvage.

Achim von Arnim was first to put Franschhoek on the map as a fine Cap Classique producer and today he and son Takuan are quintessential elements of the valley's sparkle. The blanc de blancs (R140) is an all-chardonnay affair with persistent mousse, citrus and vanilla flavours, while the brut sauvage, a classic chardonnay/pinot blend, is pale and yeasty, naturally made with no dosage added, an elegant accompaniment to seafood.

Travellers who relish cellars with a long history should put La Bri on their itineraries, as this farm with its compact and charming manor house is said to be the oldest Huguenot-allocated farm in the Franschhoek valley. Its renaissance includes a new tasting room, extensive plantings on 15ha, and wine labels featuring flowers and herbs found in the farm gardens.

In the range are the 2010 merlot (R85), trophy winner at this year’s Trophy Wine show, featuring the March lily on its label, and offering berry and cherry notes, along with herbs and smooth tannins .

Copy of La Bri Early photo of La Bri, one of the oldest Franschhoek farms. .

The inky 2010 syrah is complex, its herby bouquet leading to spice and fruit, followed by a good mouth-feel. The yellow clivia decorates the 2011 chardonnay (R85), a zesty wine with loads of citrus that complements salads of poultry and fruit dressed with creamy sauces spiked with chilli, horseradish or mustard seeds. Also available, but not tasted, is a viognier, only available on the farm, and the 2009 cabernet. GM and winemaker Irene Waller has been at the helm since 2010.

Franschhoek bubbles over

As the festive season approaches, Franschhoek comes to the fore, with both the tourism office and individual farms tempting visitors with new and familiar attractions.

December starts in style with the annual Magic of Bubbles Cap Classique and Champagne festival, an event which attracts trend-setters along with winelovers.

Festivities revolve around the giant marquee on the lawns of the Huguenot monument, where the finest sparkling wines of both Cape cellars and France will be presented. The town’s renowned restaurants contribute irresistible finger food. The organisers have chosen Black and White as the festival theme, with the emphasis on parasols and fans.

The show is open from 6 to 10pm on November 30, and noon to 5pm on December 1 and 2. Tickets, which cost R200, include entrance, a glass and 10 tasting vouchers. Children under 18 get in free. Buy tickets through www.webtick-ets.co.za, with a 10 percent discount for those using MasterCard.

* For more information, see www.franschhoekbubbly.co.za - Weekend Argus

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