Two of Tintswalo’s 5-star properties, Tintswalo at Waterfall, north of Johannesburg; and Tintswalo Safari Lodge in the pristine Manyeleti Private Game Reserve; have won a Platinum Award – presented to those restaurants with a total score of between 81% and 90% – in this year’s Diners Club Winelist Awards. Tintswalo Safari Lodge made their debut on the prestigious list for the first time, whilst it is the third Platinum Award for Tintswalo at Waterfall.
The annual awards, now in its 23rd year, recognise those restaurants that excel in their wine selection and pairing of food with wine. Tintswalo seeks to offer both international and local guests interesting wine lists that perfectly complement the cuisine and primarily highlight the abundance of quality wines available in South Africa – from iconic vintages to new trailblazers.
The wine list of Tintswalo at Waterfall was jointly compiled by General Manager Martin Greyling and Operations Manager Willem Schaap. It has a distinctly South African feel, championing local vintages. A short but fine list of French Champagne and exclusive auction wines, as well as a ‘Wines of the World’ section with vintages from France, Italy, Spain, Chile and New Zealand, completes the offering.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s Platinum-winning wine list was compiled by Camp Manager Tanja van Tonder. The wine list impresses with an expansive, exclusively South African selection, that includes White blends as well as Bordeaux and Rhône style blends, and with a nod to Europe, a concise French Champagne section.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge has taken the lead as one of the first luxury game lodges to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in support of Braam Malherbe’s DOT Challenge. Located in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo province, the 5-star lodge has invested in a water purification plant that produces drinking water fresh from the surrounding Waterberg mountains. In guest rooms plastic water bottles have been replaced by glass bottles, while each guest receives a personalised aluminium water bottle that can be refilled with fresh, purified water for game drives, and to take along on their return journey home.
Extreme adventurer, highly respected inspirational speaker and conservationist Braam Malherbe conceptualised the DOT Challenge to connect like-minded individuals on a global scale and to encourage every human being to Do One Thing to protect and preserve our planet.
Mhondoro’s entire operation is based on sound environmental conservation practices and it is committed to making a contribution in each of the DOT Challenge categories – water, waste, conservation and energy. All excess waste is 100% recycled, including glass, cans, paper and food. Organic material is composted and used in the lodge’s kitchen garden where up to 45% of the fresh produce used in the restaurant is organically grown.
Other game lodges are challenged to join the #DotChallenge #NoPlasticH2OBottles challenge and ‘Do One Thing’ to help make a positive impact on our environment.
Bouchard Finlayson has introduced exclusive Vintage Tastings for wine enthusiasts interested in older wines, offering a rare opportunity for collectors and wine clubs to explore the maturation potential of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley estate’s lauded wines. Vintage tastings are presented by appointment in the cellar for private groups of up to 20 people, and depending on their availability, may be led by founder Peter Finlayson or winemaker Chris Albrecht. The cost is R3000 for up to 20 people, including cheese and charcuterie bites.
Due to the exclusivity of the vintage tastings on offer, the varietal theme varies according to the older vintage wines available, as well as their taste profile accessibility. Growing on the slopes of Galpin Peak, the elusive Pinot Noir varietal has been Bouchard Finlayson’s jewel and flagship red wine for over 20 years, having earned winemaker Peter Finlayson the name of South Africa’s ‘pinot pioneer’. One of the current Vintage Tastings themes, ‘Vintage Pinot Noirs’, presents the unique opportunity to taste Bouchard Finlayson’s famed Galpin Peak Pinot noir vintages from 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2009. (Depending on stock availability).
Vintage Tastings may also be tailor-made to include other Bouchard Finlayson varietals, such as Chardonnay, unwooded whites, or the Hannibal red blend.
Some of the older vintages are also available for sale at the cellar door, including Bouchard Finalyson Galpin Peak 1998 and 2001 (R500 per bottle).
Bouchard Finlayson recently hosted a Tutored Tasting at Open Wine in Wale Street (Cape Town), showcasing Hannibal, its unique red blend of Italian varietals, with vintages ranging from 2002 to 2011.
In this exciting blind tasting, Hannibal was up against two Italian wines (Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore 2006 and Tenute Silvio Nardi Turan 2011), as well as a locally produced Sangiovese from Idiom, and a Nebbiolo from Morgenster. These two cultivars form the cornerstone of Hannibal, alongside Pinot noir, Shiraz, Mourvédre and Barbera.
Bouchard Finlayson has to date, produced 17 vintages of this unique red blend. Winemaker Chris Albrecht said at the Tasting that the name Hannibal was adopted as a symbolic expression of the synergy with the African elephant participating in linking the winelands of France and Italy together two thousand years ago under the invading command of the classic Carthaginian general.
Recently, the 2014 vintage of Hannibal received excellent ratings both locally and internationally when Neal Martin of Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate, scored it at 91 points, after it received 93 points from James Suckling last year; and 92 points in the Tim Atkin SA 2016 Report. The wine was also honoured with inclusion in the prestigious SA Sommeliers Selection in 2016.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge has added to its portfolio of ‘Explorer Suites’ with the launch of a new two-bedroom family suite in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park. Aimed at families and friends travelling together, the new Grant Suite is connected to the main lodge by a raised wooden walkway that winds through the bush. It offers two en-suite bedrooms with lavish bathrooms, and a spacious lounge with private deck and a large plunge pool overlooking the wilderness.
Designed in the style of a villa to provide guests with a comfortable ‘home-away-from-home’, the Grant Suite includes luxury accommodation, all meals served at the main lodge, house drinks, two private game drives per day in a private game-viewing vehicle with a dedicated tracker and guide, as well as complimentary Wifi and laundry, at a set rate of R43 160 per night for the unit (valid until 30 November 2017).
Accommodating children from the age of 9 and older in the Grant Suite, Tintswalo Safari Lodge offers a tailor-made children’s programme, which aims to provide young visitors with a fun, educational perspective of the African bush. Daily themes focus on different educational aspects of the bush, ranging from South Africa and the Shangaan Culture, to tracking and stargazing – with each theme consisting of a talk, game drive and an exciting activity.
Each of Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s suites have been designed to evoke the colonial adventures of the 19th century explorers after which they are named. The new Grant suite takes its name from James Augustus Grant, a Scottish explorer of Africa who spent much of his time traversing the continent with the renowned John Hanning Speke, in search of the elusive source of the Nile – every explorer’s ‘holy grail’ quest. Grant was known for his commitment to Speke’s voyage, his loyalty, and his resilience during challenging times.