The Big Bottle Festival, now in its third year running, showcased over 40 wine producers and seven of South Africa’s top chefs this past weekend at the elegant Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, reaffirming it as the Western Cape’s grandest annual wine tasting extravaganza.
VIP guests such as Natalie Becker, Derek van Dam, Lisa Crowley, Reinard Ludick and Tracey Lange amongst others were treated in the exclusive Absolute Aviation VIP lounge. Special canapés by Peter Templehoff were also served throughout the weekend in VIP Lounge as guests of Absolute Aviation, leaders in Beechcraft aircraft sales in South Africa, and these were paired with Johnny Walker Gold Reserve and Ciroc Vodka cocktails. Catering to the sweet tooths amongst the glittering crowd, high tea style treats of imported chocolates and biscuits were provided courtesy of the Wings Group.
The weekend-long festival kicked off with a Champagne Tasting on Friday evening presented by Hendrik Snyman and incorporated uncommon 2002 vintage cuvees from distinguished Champagne houses Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Dom Pérignon, Louis Roederer Cristal, Jacques Selosse Blanc De Blancs, Grand Cru Brut Millesime and Egly-Ouriet Pere et Fils Brut Grand Cru amongst others.
Guests were delighted later in the evening by chef Peter Templehoff who in collaboration with Jörg Pfützner created a sumptuous dining experience with the 5-course Gourmand Dinner that showcased delectable meals such as Blackened Game Fish ‘Sandwich’ with passion fruit, basil, green tea bavarois and a warm octopus dressing, and Scallop & Abalone Boudin Blanc with braised celery, seaweed gnocchi and mussel bouillabaisse which were accompanied by exceptional wines such as an iconic 1983 Chateau Gruaud-Larose as well new cult wine Ladredo from re-emerging regions like Ribeira Sacra. Other wines served included the 2011 Soalheiro Alvarinho Dócil, 2003 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs from England, 1994 Quinta de Bágeiras from Portugal, 2006 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Tradition Kremstal from Austria, 1983 Chateau Gruaud Larose from Bordeaux France.
With near perfect weather, the Big Bottle Walk About Tasting was, for many, the highlight of the Big Bottle Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Guests were also enchanted by the statuesque models who roamed the extensive grounds dressed in KLûK CGDT couture with hair by Caitlin Howie of ‘At Yours’ and make up by Chelsea Cathrine Hare. For the first time in South Africa, guests of the Big Bottle Festival were able to view the Bentley New Flying Spur and the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster which has yet to be officially launched in the country.
Over 40 of South Africa’s top wine estates took part, including Morgenster, Buitenverwachting, Tokara, Klein Constantia, Chamonix, Delaire Graff and Mullineux amongst others. Seven of South Africa’s top chefs prepared “Winter Comfort Food” for guests, which paired beautifully with the wines on offer.
The delicious meals were prepared by renowned chefs, Peter Templehoff, the executive chef of the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, Edgar Osojnik head chef at Buitenverwachting, Rudi Liebenberg of the highly acclaimed Mount Nelson, Harald Bresselschmidt celebrated chef from Aubergine Restaurant, Roland Gorgosilich of Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl, Gregory Czarnecki renowned for his work at the Waterkloof Estate and Brad Ball, Executive Chef of the world class Bistro Sixteen82.
With the resounding success of the Big Bottle Festival 2013 event, many South Africans are already looking forward to next year’s event, which has now firmly established itself as the Western Cape’s leading social, culinary and wine tasting event.