It’s been an interesting seven years for Cape Town-based wine fundi Tshepang. Her early career saw her plunged into the magazine world and thanks to an editor who encouraged her forays into the world of fine dining and wine appreciation, the stage was set. It also helps, she says, that her parents ran a bottle store in the 90’s, leading to an early understanding of the market. She’s won the Veritas Young Wine Writer of the Year Award (2016) and last year was a critic for Eat Out Magazine – this gal is going places!
Summertime and the living is easy – what are you drinking and why?
Merwida Chenin Blanc from the Breedekloof, Hartenberg Chardonnay, Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc, also, bubbly, including Philip Jonker Entheos MCC, Pol Roger Champagne, Cordiniu Cava Classic Brut and gin – I am a huge fan of Hope on Hopkins London Dry Gin. I am also not opposed to red wine in summer, I’ve been enjoying Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir and David and Nadia Sadie Grenache.
Help get us out of a food & wine pairing rut – can you share one or two unusual food & wine combo’s that are just wow!
Ever paired whiskey with ice cream? It’s an unusual combination, but it’s not done nearly enough. Perhaps pair Three Ships Pinotage Cask Finish Whisky with cherries and ice-cream. Or why not try Hartenberg Riesling with a spicy chicken curry – the acidity in the wine brings a lot to the table.
What wine accessory do you love giving as a gift and why?
I always take a set of glasses and a wine bottle as a housewarming gift when visiting a friend’s new home.
Your top 3 wine accessories and why?
A decanter, great glassware and the Le Creuset LM450 Lever Corkscrew – it’s a winner.
Tell us your take on glassware – what’s a must and what’s a no-no for you?
Make sure your glassware is as clean as possible when serving, so that there is no chance of the aromas being obfuscated.
Budget is tight… what foolproof wine suggestions do you have for us?
Don’t be shy. If you purchase from cellar door, prices are usually lower. If you join an estate’s wine club, you usually get a discount – we joined both De Grendel and Graham Beck’s wine clubs and besides free delivery, we also received a sizable discount when purchasing by the case. Also, if you’re a wine club member, you usually enjoy a few free tastings a year. Tastings are important, you won’t waste money on wine you don’t like and you can figure out what you like in a relaxed environment. Wine Concepts in Newlands and Kloof Street usually offer free tastings in the evenings. Definitely worth popping in.
Quick, it’s a no-wine event! What’s your alternative liquid vice?
Either gin or brandy.
And, you’re allowed to choose one wine to drink for the rest of your life…
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2010 from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Any new (ish) trends in wine we should know about?
Yes – ‘garagistas’! By that I mean the young guns making wine without owning actual estates and experimenting with some sensational winemaking techniques in the process. I love Magna Carta, Blackwater Wine, Thistle and Weed, David and Nadia Sadie among so many others.
If you recommend one wine show to visit this year which should it be?
The Roberston Slow Festival. Great for long lunches with winemaking teams in a romantic, relaxed environment and enjoyable for the whole family.
You’re something of a trailblazer in the industry – what challenges have you faced and how do you deal with them?
Thank you. I think my biggest challenge is remaining creative and not allowing myself to be restricted by what’s expected. I’m working on expanding my wine education, and have achieved a WSET Level 2 Certificate as well as an Advanced Brandy Course from The Cape Wine Academy and Van Ryns. BB King said, “the beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take that away from you” – I believe in that idea wholeheartedly.
Whether you’re an enthusiastic wine amateur or a serious aficionado, the right tools can elevate any wine experience – click here to browse the Le Creuset range of accessories and glassware online, or pop into your nearest Le Creuset boutique store.