Opulence, celebration and extravagance.  These are all synonymous with the annual Big Bottle Festival, South Africa’s super-sized and grandest wine tasting extravaganza being held on Saturday, 22 August 2015 at the Cape Town Club from 15h00 until 20h00.

This year’s Big Bottle Festival will kick off on the Friday evening with a one of a kind Champagne tasting presented by Champagne and MCC specialist Paul Gerber of Le Lude in Franschhoek and will explore the different aspects and subtleties in the making of Champagne.

This indulgent dining affair will be held on the Friday evening, and is set to pair culinary delights with some of the world’s finest wines.  Ten champagnes (mostly vintage) from illustrious houses and famous growers will be explored.  These will include Bollinger La Grand Annee, Philiponnat Blanc de Noirs as well as a Champagne from Pierre Peters one of the most respected champagne growers in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Salon, a personal favourite of mine. We will have the rare opportunity to taste 1995  Dom Perignon Rose Oenotheque, directly from the producers cave.

The tasting will be followed by a 4 course dinner accompanied by some of Italy’s finest wines. Seven classic and unusual Italian wines such as Greco di Tufo Giallo d’Arles will be explored.  An extremely rare wine, a six-liter bottle of the majestic Sassicaia, first produced in 1948 as an anti-establishment wine and now considered the seminal “Super Tuscan” will be savored.  The six-liter bottle of 1997 Vasco Sassetti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, a personal favourite, will also be enjoyed, with the Tuscan tasting concluding with a few magnums of 2008 Tenuta Monteti one of Maremma’s best and most reliable producers.

Indigenous (or domestic) grape varietals are deep-rooted and at the heart of Italian regional winemaking.  Enjoy several double magnums of a simply fabulous 2008 Barbaresco from Produttori del Barbaresco, an exceptionally polished and refined Nebbiolo from Piemonte. We will drink from large format bottles 2005 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva, rated 95 points by Robert Parker. This unique and highly sought after wine, produced from the Aglianico grape in Campania, retains its classic authenticity, resisting the increasing pressures of globalization.

Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Rye, a highly rated and incredibly rare sweet wine produced on a tiny island 100 km southwest of Sicily from 100 year old vines, will round off the dinner.

The popular big bottle walk-about on Saturday, 22 August 2015 offers guests the chance to sip and swirl some of South Africa’s finest vintages.  Unique in concept and execution, the festival brings together South Africa’s foremost winemakers and chefs’ de cuisine, creating a different approach to wine and culinary pairings. All wines are poured from big bottles during the walkabout tasting whilst offering guests the opportunity to sample canapés and small dishes prepared by fervent chefs.

This year first time we will offer master classes presented by proprietors and winemakers:

  • A vertical tasting of Hamilton Russel Vineyards presented by Anthony Hamilton-Russell
  • Matured classic South African white wines presented by Eben Sadie
  • MCC and Champagnes presented by Le Lude winemaker Paul Gerber

The line-up of wines will include Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Raats Family, Boekenhoutskloof, Keermont and De Trafford whilst the Chef lineup boasts names such as Rudi Liebenberg, Albert Venter, Shyam Longani, Chris Harbeck, Garth Almazan and Christina Semczyszyn.

Tickets to the Big Bottle Festival Walkabout on Saturday, 22 August 2015 can be bought online from www.quicket.co.za at R450 which includes wine, food, music, glass and a fun-filled time.

Master classes need to be booked separately in addition to a walk-about-ticket.  For costs and full details on the Champagne Tasting and Gourmand Dinner please refer to our website www.bigbottle.co.za

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