Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Rewind: November

So let’s kick this thing off with a bit of a recap of the last 9 months. When we left you in early October, Roxy was seeking shade under my butt and JG and I were recovering from another epic visit from Devin and Tyler. I really couldn’t tell you what the rest of October was spent doing — though I would assume sleeping normal hours, drinking less, eating better, and getting ready for a bunch of travel in November.

Which brings us to… Virginia! We enjoyed our semi-annual trip “home” during the first two weeks of the month, and spent it in our usual whirlwind style. Including:

  • A fabulous weekend at the Greenbrier at John’s Aunt Jeane’s beautiful vacation house. We drank bourbon under piles of blankets out on the porch by night, and played outside in the insanely cold but gorgeous weather by day. We were joined by both of our siblings and their families, so there was no shortage of fun to be had with our 5 nephews and niece!
  • 5 days in Roanoke visiting our parents — including a mini family reunion at John’s parents’ house, some good downtime in my parents’ awesome new condo (where I had spent a stressful week in August helping them move, so it was good to see it through more relaxed eyes), and — much to John’s excitement — a Hokie game on TV! During normal hours! With chicken wings!
  • One night visiting family in Kenbridge, with more bourbon (by a fire, this time) and more freezing cold. Great to catch up with the “country” Hawthornes, and always fun to witness the whirling dervish that is Cousin Jackson.
  • One last night up in NoVa with my sister and her peeps, then we were on a plane again! It’s always too short, but we’re so glad that we get to see everyone 2x/year.

Once we arrived back in SA, we had a few days to unpack and repack, then we were off to Cape Town to meet up with Catherine! She was in town for a conference, so we flew down to spend Thanksgiving weekend with her and another Richmond friend, Taylor. Hilarity ensued:

  • First, on the way down, my flight was struck by lightning. As soon as the BOOM/FLASH struck, my (female) seat partner and I (who hadn’t even acknowledged each other an hour into the flight) immediately grasped hands and proceed to freak the F out together. Everything turned out fine, but it was a funny moment to suddenly find myself holding hands with a stranger.
  • Thanksgiving dinner was celebrated at The Grand with a few of our old CPT friends.
  • We spent Friday touring Catherine and Taylor around Franschhoek, complete with delicious charcuterie lunch at Bread & Wine, and our traditional end-of-day bubbles on the front lawn of Haute Cabriere. I love Durban, but I do miss the winelands!!
  • Saturday found us on the road to Hermanus to freeze our butts off while looking for (nonexistent) whales, and then to a lovely night in the Elgin Valley at a wine farm owned by one of John’s colleagues. More freezing cold, more fires, more drinks (I’m sensing a theme for November), but a night of bellyaching laughs with some old and new friends.

I think that does it for November! All in all, a fabulous (though cold) month, filled with many hours on many planes (only one of which was struck by lightning, thank God) and lots of friends and family. Next up: December!

Living the good life with sis-in-law Tracy at Aunt Jeane’s

I may have cheated on Roxy just a little bit with Cousin Tanky

Gorgeous weather and setting for some corn hole action with Jeane and Chuck

Johnny G under a dogpile of nephews

Cousin John + Cousin Jackson

Finishing off a stunning day in Franschhoek with Catherine and Taylor

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Sunday Lunch

Hiccup / Burp.

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We returned home from our trip to a dreary rain, a happy dog, and to a glorious surprise stacked in a corner of the garage: 6 cases of wine!

And not just any wine, the latest release from our superstar winemaker friends in Cape Town: The Alphabetical, produced by Simon and David of Owl & Vine. Everything from the packaging to the label design to the actual vino is absolutely top-notch – these boys know what they’re doing.

Alphabetical is already creating buzz – even our fave wine shop all the way up here in the wine wasteland of KwaZulu-Natal had already heard of it when we delivered a few bottles to them. Peep them in Cape Town Magazine, or South African GQ, or find Simon at &Union (David is probably there too, only on the other side of the bar and without the paycheck).

GQ totally nailed it when describing the boys as “winos who want to break the rules”. Best of luck, my wino friends!

Like Christmas morning!

The design is absolutely gorgeous.

Even the paperstock for the label is drool-worthy!


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Sauvignon Blah

It turns out that John’s nose for fine wine is entirely dependent on the smell molecules being filtered through his mustache.

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Furniturewatch: Shelves

Sort of a sturdier version of the Ikea shelves we had in our dining room in Richmond. Except that the assembly of these didn’t drive me to drink an entire bottle of Stoli Oranj (mostly because I didn’t participate this time).


…and After!

This is, of course, the proverbial tip of the iceberg – there’s this much again in the kitchen cabinets…

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Christmas in July

(Not to be confused with Christmas in August, which oddly ended up being the less boozey affair).

In our recent furniture frenzy, we finally got around to getting some shelves to house John’s our extensive wine collection (which had lived on the built-ins in our old kitchen). JG was like a (booze-loving) kid on Christmas morning rummaging through all those boxes!

The shocking amount of pink wine in the foreground was purchased in the run-up to Phil and Marguerite’s visit in 2008, since Marg was famously allergic to red wine. An allergy she heroically overcame just in time for her trip to Africa. Anybody want a bottle of rosé?

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Look Who's Here!

It’s a true testament to the good times being had when the Look Who’s Here post goes up 5 days after the guests arrive. Brodie and Amanda got in on Sunday night, and it’s been non-stop ridiculous fun ever since! I’m due to meet them at the beach any minute now, so let’s call this one of those all-in-one posts where I catch you up on a few days at once.

First, Look Who’s Here!

Brodie and Amanda enjoy a frosty Cuban beer. Commies!!

It’s fun being a tourist in your own town sometimes. We finally made it to the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Brodie gallantly shoves his wife towards the fierce, flesh-eating penguin.

What better way for a group of Americans to celebrate an Irish holiday in Africa than to pass around a Mexican hat? Ole!

Getting our wine and cheese on at Fairview.

That’s about it for now – will be back with more updates in a few days!

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Master Sommelier

Back during our May 2008 reconnaissance trip to see if we really wanted to move to Africa, we went out for a celebratory dinner upon making the big decision. In a festive mood, we foolishly allowed ourselves to be manhandled by the sommelier at the fanciest restaurant we’d ever been to, and ended up with a bill that worked out to about half of our mortgage.

We both remember him vividly, and see him around town periodically – here at the weekend’s wine festival. Merci, buddy.

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Saturday was the ConstantiaFresh sauvignon blanc festival, so we gathered up the crew and rolled out to Buitenverwachting wine farm (yeah – try pronouncing that after a few bottles. It’s bait-en-ver-VOCK-ting.)

It was a beautiful – though HOT – day, and we made the most of the dozens of wines on offer. Who would have guessed that the night would end in a full-on frat party back at our house, complete with a shattered toilet seat lid and a broken foot?! (Anna’s – a dancing injury. She goes in for surgery next week, poor thing.) Regardless, a great day!

Lizzy, Addie, Lindsday, Megan & Anna (pre-fracture) soak up some sauvingon

Chris, Pawl & John drinking it all in

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Our friend Simon (of &Union fame) recently got into the winemaking game, and had a launch party luncheon for his first release – The Hedonist – on Sunday. It’s an absolutely lovely wine – it worked just as well slightly chilled with the starters (bacon-wrapped figs and assorted cured meats), served room-temp with the main course (7-hour-roasted lamb, white beans, green beans, arugula salad) and again along with dessert (salted dark chocolate tart). A great day!

Best of luck to Simon and his business partner David. I predict great things from these two, and will be happy to say that we were there for the beginning.

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