Embrace your inner strandloper with Ultra Liquors

The Chinese New Year of the Horse descends on Tamboerskloof this morning in a rainy mist suitable for training racehorses. Let’s hope it doesn’t slow down the Brand House Party of the Year aka J&B Met with the crème de la crème of the SA liquor industry from around the country already decanted into the Protea Fire & Ice Hotel at the foot of the kloof. Protea are on message, unlike other five star hotels in town, as the manager’s door says “please disturb” while the other establishments have management perpetually “in meetings.”

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This will be a busy year for the Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj. Not dreaming the name of the winner of the Met, we’ll be kicking off this morning pairing brandies with dim sum at South China Dim Sum on Long Street for CCTV and their billion viewers. The Van Ryn 20 year old is one way to start a horse race.

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Yesterday Jeff Gradwell from KWV treated us to a bowl of mussels (above) at Harvest Restaurant on Laborie to celebrate the first B2B fair Big is Beautiful. A Shidduch for Wine Collectives and the nation’s restaurateurs and hoteliers. The event goes down in early August in the Cathedral Cellar, largest in the southern hemisphere. Wine Collectives from the Perdeberg to Du Toitskloof are already signing up to play with the big boys.

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Mussels have been on the menu since Ultra Liquors agreed last week to team up with the Durbanville and Darling appellations on an exciting new Sauvignon Blanc festival Ultra Mussels in May. What a match made in hedonist’s heaven: Saldanha Bay mussels and Sauvignon Blanc from the West Coast.

China eats 40% of the planet’s mussels and with SA wine exports to the Middle Kingdom down last year, could grassy Sauvignon be a game changer? Mussels are the original indigenous food for SA with clans of nomads making jewellery and feasting on clams 80 thousand years ago in Blombos Cave. So this May, embrace your inner strandloper with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.