An Evening of Top Wine, Food & SA Jazz

You know when you’re having one of those weeks at work when you just know things aren’t going to come together? Because you’re that busy, there’s that much to do and things are all starting to fall apart. Well I was having one of those phases a few weeks ago, when I was REALLY late for a great evening with friends and family.

It was a combination of work being trafficked too late, large sums of money being required, credit cards bouncing and time running out. I rushed home, fetched Mr John and headed to Mike Froud’s house, creator and editor of Top Wines SA for an evening of great wine, South African jazz and delicious food.

Murphy’s law; as the door opens, my phone rings, I’m trying to hug my friend Evan and teach my colleague how to submit the UK Search Award entries at the same time. Needless to say, at this point I was ready to Google, “How not to have a meltdown post work on a Friday”!

BUT the purpose of hanging with friends and family (and this is why hanging out around a dinner table is one of my favourite things to do) is because you can walk in, have a 5 minute whinge, get a hug, handed a glass of wine and your troubles are soon forgotten.

This is exactly what happened when I enjoyed an evening of superb South African wine, intricate South African jazz and delicious South African cooking. I NEEDED IT! And, there was a snoozing kitty at the fireplace so I knew I was in good hands.

Photo’s by my hubby, Team Team Photography

Great Wines with Top Wine SA

Top Wine SA is Mike’s wine blog, a great website filled with South African wine news, tips and wine event information. Mike had put together a selection of beautiful wines while Dan, my brother, had put together a range of South African jazz albums. Margie, Mike’s wife, was the maestro in the kitchen that brought the evening all together. And they put SO much effort into it – including printing little menus for us! And what a menu it was! Here’s what we enjoyed:

Round 1: Sauvignon Blanc & David Cousins

My first sip of salvation came in the form of Springfield Life from Stone . It was most welcomed as I “made it” over the threshold. Dan had chosen David Cousins’ Flight of Fancy because of David’s, “beautiful, melodic playing by an excellent pianist. Subtle enough to be in the background while you chat, yet sophisticated enough to intrigue one when you zone in and listen to the improvisation.”

Mike chose the wine as, “it is one of the better Sauvignons from Robertson with a loyal fan base. Good acidity; a tasty palate cleanser before heading to the dinner table.”

Round 2: Syrah & Jason Reolon

For the second course we experimented with a number of wines. While white wine with light food and red wine with heavier food is the tradition, more and more wine lovers are mixing it up and so did we. They included the Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2014 and Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2016. To eat, ciabatta pizza with salami, balsamic mushrooms and rocket. I LOVED this pizza! The dough was SO soft and the flavours absolutely fresh and delicious. YUM!


Dan chose Jason Reolon’s – Outline album as it’s, “A groovy jazz trio album to subtly start creating a vibe. Great interplay between the musicians, melodic playing and beautiful improv.”

Mike says of the Shiraz, “One of the country’s most hyped-up Shiraz wines from Swartland fruit, and deservedly so: class winner at the SA Trophy Wine Show, 5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, and probably the favourite wine during the dinner.”

The sauvignon blanc is an, “easy-drinking number from the Webb’s winery off Helshoogte Pass on the Simonsberg, Stellenbosch – good variety typicity.

Round 3: Pinot Noir & Andrew Lilley

For the second course, which was a delicious moroccan chicken with almonds, we tucked into the Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2015. A case in point on mixing “red with white”, but it was a perfect combination.

Course 3: Chardonnay & Andrew Lilley
Dan describes Andrew Lilley’s Brother Gone as, “a great album from a master South African jazz piano. The personnel includes some of the best South African jazz musicians, as well as heavy weight Scandinavian musicians. Great composition and arrangements with excellent solos.”
Paired with the Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015, Mike comments, “From Elgin grapes, trucked to Neil and Warren Ellis’s cellar in Stellenbosch. Gold medal at the International Wine Challenge; 95/100 in Decanter magazine it has good, restrained oaking with a lovely character and some complexity.” 


At this stage it was probably close to 10:30pm, but we didn’t have a care in the world. The good wine kept flowing as we tucked into our 4th course and 4th (?) bottle of wine. Margie prepared for us a beautifully cooked beef fillet with roasted veg. (Cooked to perfection by the way.)

Course 4: Thelema – Sisonke Xonti

Here we went classic with a “red and red”, beef and Thelema’s Rabelais 2013. Mike says, “For years Thelema was particularly renowned for their Cabernet Sauvignon flagship, and now they’re leading with a Cab-led Bordeaux-style blend positioned almost as a brand in its own right. A vintage that top-scored in a tasting report.”

Dan chose Sisonke Xonti – IYonde as it is a fantastic album by the rising star. “A bold and robust album with great African grooves, honest and real improvisation, with great interplay between the band members. Iyonde means ‘to be enjoyed’.”

Round 5: Dessert – Dan Shout

We couldn’t help but end things on a fun note with Dan Shout’s In With a Shout album and Margie’s delicious puddings! Accompanied by the light-hearted and fun South African jazz album with some Cape grooves, exciting improv from the band members and a little something to suit everyone’s taste, we had a whale of a time until about 2am! Time really does fly when you’re having fun…


What Are Your Favourite SA Wines?

Honestly, sitting around a table with good food and wine is literally one of my top 5 things to do with friends and family. Sharing beautiful food, music and wine is a joy and I know some of you reading this have your favourites. Please let me know what they are in the comment section below, or head over to Top Wines SA to read all about them on Mike’s site.

A HUGE thank you goes to Mike and Margie for hosting such a wonderful evening! Apologies for taking so long to get this post out – poor Mike and Margie have had to wait for me to wrap up jobs, change jobs and then go overseas for 2 weeks, EISH! Thanks to Evan for the organising and waitering skills 😉 Thanks so much for having me! You should turn this into a thing…

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