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Sunday, March 25, 2012


The Cape wine and liquor industry is nothing if not enterprising. De Krans Wine cellar at Calitzdorp, in the Little Karoo, is well known as a producer of port, which is a lovely fortified wine (a wine with spirit added) but not one that is normally consumed in hot weather.

To expand its market De Krans has suggested several recipes for warm weather drinks based on port.

“Port and lemon” – lemonade – is of course a well-known drink in Britain, traditionally the favourite of ladies of the night. The De Krans recipes are a good deal more elaborate than that. Here are some of them:
Ginger Up. Pink port in a highball glass filled with crushed ice, a shot of gin, a dash of bitters and topped up with ginger beer.
Pink Sunset.Pink port and chilled iced tea in equal amounts in a tall glass. Add sliced strawberries and ice cubes.
Porto Urbano: Pour equal parts of Cape ruby port and cranberry juice into a martini glass and add a dash of lime cordial, and crushed ice. Garnish with orange peel and maraschino cherry.
Ruby Port Sparklers: One or two tablespoons of chocolate liqueur with chilled ruby port in a champagne flute. Top up with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon-zest strip.

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One of the Cape’s most beautiful farms, Plaisir de Merle at Groot Drakenstein, near Franschhoek, has opened a new tasting centre in a converted barn. Visitors can sample and buy the estate’s premium wines (R20 tasting fee) and, if they wish, have a pre-booked lunch platter for R60

The 18th century manor house on the estate has been restored for use as a wedding and conference venue and corporate guesthouse. The dining room has a long table that sits 36 people, suitable for a lunch, dinner or intimate wedding.

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One of the Cape’s best white wines, Newton Johnson Chardonnay from the Walker Bay area, near Hermanus, has been highly praised in the London Sunday Times.

Hugh Johnson, an English wine authority, writes that this was the wine he liked best on a trip to South Africa two years ago: “I remembered this wine for a certain musky density like a good Pouilly-Fuisse and a vitality like a Premier Cru Chablis. A tinge of smoky oak, something buttery and nutty in the flavour balanced by the ghost of a grapefruit”.

Descending from winespeak to normal language, he says that the wine is worth much more than its price (in Britain). The price there, converted to rand, is about R160 a bottle. The price in South Africa is about R125 a bottle. – Michael Green