25 November, 2022
Travelling to the USA
As misunderstood as Bruce Springsteen’s hit song “Born in the USA” is, so is the confusion around the history of ‘Black Friday’ – which has become a much more positive occasion. Well, it is debatable, depending on which side of the supermarket or credit debt you are on. Don’t worry; I’m not going to offer you a Black Friday deal you cannot refuse…
We will be ‘travelling’ to America to celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving Celebration in spirit! Although 2022 was not easy, we have lots to give thanks for. We are thankful for health, good food from our kitchen as well as new and old friends that joined us at the table.
The recent Cape Wine 2022 was a very positive experience for Laarman Wines – hopefully, with the existing sales outlets and a few more on board for 2023, travelling to the US might just become a reality after an ...
14 October, 2022
Travelling to Italy
And just like that, we will celebrate Christmas in just over two months. Where did this year go? We’ve had a rough time the last few months and got a bit silent on social media and communication. Typical of us as human beings, when you start speaking up about your troubles, you learn that you are not alone. We found 2022 has not been an easy year for many people in various ways and, like so many times before, this puts your own troubles in the far less concerning category.
With the arrival of spring, there is always the promise of new life, regrowth and rejuvenation. September was Madeleine’s birthday month and seeing that it’s her biggest dream to travel to Italy, for now I will take her there with food. We recently had lunch at our local Italian Deli – with delicacies like antipasto, Caprese salad and Veal Limone, ciao Bella, ...
15 June, 2022
Travelling to Mozambique
When travelling is impossible, we can always daydream about any holiday destination we desire. Lucky for us, we were invited with friends on a real trip to a private island off the coast of Mozambique. It sounds like an idyllic dream, yet here we were, floating on noodles in the sea or chilling next to the pool with a glass filled with bubbly.
We guys went fishing a few times – even though we had a few miss-hits, we caught beautiful yellowfin tuna and wahoo. The chef treated us to sashimi, grilled fish, freshly caught crayfish, prawns and the most delicious fishcakes – catch of the day onto our plates!
On 26 May we celebrated international Chardonnay Day on the island and enjoyed a bottle of my Cluster Chardonnay 2020 next to the fire.
With our batteries recharged and our tummies a little rounder, we are now back home, reminiscing about the ...
29 March, 2022
Travelling to Greece
With most of the harvest activities completed, we have extra time for socialising again – we still don’t want to cook anything too complicated, yet super flavourful. Although we still have lovely summer days, the feel of autumn is in the air! Autumn is one of our favourite seasons with the change of colour all around, especially in the selection of foods. From the deep orange colour of carrots, crimson red of beetroot, burgundy-violet of fresh figs to the brownish-purple of eggplant or the green of spinach.
These colours are also a good reflection of the recent harvest. As I mentioned, harvest is nearly completed and all that is left is cellar work – my chardonnay barrels are filled, primary fermentation completed and topped-up. I am busy with pump-overs on the reds – the pressing of these tanks will start soon. Not only is this a real treat for my senses to ...
15 February, 2022
Travelling to Mexico
Harvest has started, which means long and busy days and lots of energy consumption. We need to plan our menus accordingly to ensure we have quick, nutritious and healthy (ish) meals. With temperatures in the high 30’s, we wanted to enjoy this at the pool with a glass of ice-cold, refreshing wine.
Therefore we decided on slow-cooked shredded chicken nachos with Cluster Series Pinot Gris! I simply place the chicken with BBQ sauce in the slow-cooker in the morning and by the time I got back home, I only had to prep the rest of the ingredients, put it all together and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.
SA Wine Harvest 2022 has also been a bit of a slow one, with an average of 2 weeks late start due to the cool and rainy spring. At this early stage the overall thought is that the yield quantities are down ...
2 December, 2021
The One About 2021
Few can say the last year was just smooth sailing, but then again, I guess there are always the ‘glass-half-full people that see possibility when others are down and out. Elton John, for one! Look at him reinventing himself with the release of his new album ‘Lockdown Sessions’.
After numerous liquor sale lockdowns, the South African wine industry was definitely treated with a cold, cold heart, resulting in R7 billion direct income losses. And then the ongoing global logistics nightmare continues to create havoc for exporting wine and importing goods at an astronomical cost. Between load shedding and an increase in fuel prices, the glass feels rather pretty empty.
If there’s one thing we know – what does not kill you makes you stronger. As South Africans, we know, when disaster strikes, communities stand together. I received (and continue to do so) fantastic support from export markets and local campaigns like ...
25 November, 2021
First PLATTER Five Star Accolade For Laarman Wines
Laarman Wines clinched two 5 stars in the 2022 Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide for their Laarman Wines Focal Point Chardonnay 2019 as well as the Laarman Wines Focal Point Cinsault 2019!This remarkable double achievement marks winemaker Arco Laarman’s very first 5 stars from Platter.
“I am extremely happy with the results after three vintages of working on my own wines to achieve 5 stars on both my Focal Point wines. It is an affirmation that the vineyard sites I am working with are giving me the results I am looking for in my wines,” says Laarman.
After spending two decades at one of the Cape’s leading wineries in Paarl, Laarman embarked on his own in 2017 – cherry-picking grapes from different regions, creating award-winning site-specific wines, and masterfully crafting it into true expression from ...
5 October, 2021
The one about Touching the Rock
Dreams do come true! And we are actual proof of that.
We always loved Hermanus, well, Onrus specifically – it must be the energy on the cliff path or the smell of milkwood and fynbos, for whatever reason, it just resonates with the soul. For this reason, it was the obvious choice for our babymoon in April 2017. Over a glass of wine staring at the sea, I said to Madeleine that technically with me being an independent winemaker, I could work from here. And just like that, the seed to our dream was planted!
Life is all about timing, it took us four years to get here, but here we are! We moved in on the 1st of September 2020. Our dream came true.
The same day, while Madeleine organised the movers in the new house, I took Zaria (now 4 years old) to the beach to get ...
30 August, 2021
The One about the Beagles
The saying ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’ is very accurate, but this relationship gets taken up a notch if you are the dog of a winemaker. Over the years, famous winemakers and their dogs inspired me to start my search for my canine companion as a much younger winemaker. And in 2009, Mannix, my first Beagle, joined me on the farm at Glen Carlou. Mannix just loved to explore the farm and frequently came back to the cellar with a little tortoise gently in the mouth.
Unfortunately, we lost Mannix to cancer in 2017, and our rescue Beagle boy Rocky joined our then growing family. Kona, our little Beagle girl, joined us a year later and now, at the age of 11, still looks like a puppy. We celebrated Kona and Rocky’s birthday’s earlier this month with cupcakes and doggie treats.
These meaningful relationships for me as a ...
17 August, 2021
The One About the Angels
They say winemakers only work three months of the year, the rest is just wining & dining and some travelling. I can assure you that it is not the case and especially during the last 18 months with Covid.
We used the quiet months to relook our packaging and worked on some exciting marketing strategies, new products not to mention amazing partnerships that came as a huge helping hand to my business. I mentioned the release of my Cluster Series Pinot Gris in the previous newsletter, and these wines will be available in selected outlets in the next few weeks. Not to brag, but my Focal Point Cinsault 2019 received a silver medal at the 2021 Old Mutual Trophy Show wine competition recently.
On the topic of red wine, it is that time of year where the 2021 vintage have been put to barrel, given time to rest and mature. ...
28 June, 2021
The One about the Sourdough
As much as I love cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I have never been interested in baking. But when the hard lockdown hit last year, I was quickly pulled in by everyone on social media showing off their home-baked products. I experienced a bit with Challah making and learned to plait, which could come in handy in future with Zaria’s hair. But when I started to ferment a starter from Old Vine Chenin (1977), I immediately felt more at ease with the process and back in known territory. DoughBelix I named my starter, and after a few weeks of nurturing, it was ready for my very own Sourdough!
Just like winemaking, Sourdough takes time and lots of dedication. The gentle fold-over (tartine method) process reminds me of slowly stirring the lees in the barrel. Now working with cooler climate Chardonnay, I learned not to overwork the bâtonnage process ...
27 April, 2021
The One about Vermaaklikheid
Vermaaklikheid is a small town on the Cape South Coast near Witsand and close to the Duiwehoks River.
After years of working with warmer climate Chardonnay, I looked for limestone soil from a cooler area and something little different and unique region-wise to add to my portfolio. I found this 3.5 hours away from Cape Town, and my dream of making a local Burgundian style wine is slowing in the making. Over the next few years, I will perfect this as I learn which oak ratio works best with the fruit.
But some things are easier said than done, so when it came to my first Focal Point harvest in 2017, it was quite a logistical challenge to get the grapes to Paarl. But luckily, for my Code 14 license, I hired a truck and collected it myself. I left Vermaaklikheid at 5 am and drove ...