From spring shenanigans, frivolous fashionistas, bubbly and burgers, fancy festivals, wonderful websites, double-gold glory, to Springbok spirit – the GM&A diaries covers it all.
Celebrating Spring Sipping 2016 Vintage Cuvée!
Sunday 1 September, 6:15am, and the Franschhoek roosters were contemplating a few more minutes of shut-eye when the first popping cork rudely interrupted their dreamy reveries. Our staunch following of bubbly friends started congregating, unfussed by the darkness that still enveloped the sleepy town. Inside the House of GM&AHRENS, the fire was roaring and the bubbles were flowing, more than enough reason to abandon warm beds for a somewhat unconventional start to the day. This marked our ninth GM&AHRENS Spring Day Breakfast since the inaugural launch in 2011, when our eccentric founders, Gerrit Maritz and Albert Ahrens, decided to blow off some hot air and introduced our spectacular sparkler to the world from a hot-air balloon, launched in Franschhoek’s town square. Since then, our following to attend this auspicious event has grown year on year, with bubbly friends from around the country clamouring to guarantee their spot, and be first on the list to taste our latest, yet-to-be-released bubbles (rumour has it that even bribes have passed hands in desperation to get others bumped off the limited guest-list, but these are only rumours of course, and we would never be swayed by promises of large cash bags being dropped at our cellar door … pssst, please use the door around the side!). This year’s theme was ‘black’, from black décor with some pink spring blossoms thrown in to lighten our dark side, to black dress-code, thank you our bubbly friends for the dramatic dress-ups. To top off all this blackness, we decreed that a black breakfast to boot would be all the rage. Banish any thoughts of burnt bacon from your minds, here at GM&AHRENS we don’t do things in half-burnt measures. In fact, quite the opposite, we just bring in a famous chef with a directive to cook black, the ‘how-to?’ not being our concern. Said famous chef did not disappoint, thank you Chef Chris Erasmus (of award-winning Foliage fame) for being up to the ‘black challenge’, your Blackened Black Smoked Pork Belly, Prehistoric Eggs (they weren’t really, were they?), and Black Ashes Ciabatta were the perfect pairing with our a-la-volée 2016 GM&AHRENS Vintage Cuvée … and a-la-volée our 2016 did, in a steady, constant, sampling flow. We assume our winemaker, Albert Ahrens, got this one very right, judging by the stream of bottles from the downstairs cellar, to the 42-seater table, to the eventual recycling bin, with the last of our bubbly friends taking their final, happy sip well after midday. If you were among the unlucky that couldn’t join our Spring Day Breakfast festivities this year, click on the image gallery link below to whet your taste buds for 2020 … and if that’s not enough of a whetting, here is a slight heads up: our wacky duo, Gerrit and Albert, have an ace up their sleeves for our tenth birthday celebration, promising to top all others. Without letting the cat completely out the bag but still giving her some breathing room, we can positively state that this quirky pair isn’t always as grounded as they should be, and keeping two feet firmly planted on solid ground can be challenging for them at the best of times … wink, wink, nudge, nudge, and keep watching this space.
What’s happening in the Wine Cellar? We are not really sure, Albert has been flitting around Europe selling produce for the past couple of weeks … with some deserved time out at Bras73 Leusden, Netherlands, watching the formidable Springboks annihilate the English Roses in the RWC final.
Ever wonder who keeps our co-founders looking so stylish? They do scrub up pretty well with a little help from our friends. Thank you Gert-Johann Coetzee for keeping these two looking so uber-fashionable in their bespoke jackets …
… and no need to check your watch, any time is bubbly time when it comes to our spectacular sparkler, cheers!
In case you haven’t heard … … although how could you not have, we’ve been shouting the news from the Franschhoek mountain tops for the past two weeks, louder than any cacophony of vuvuzelas at a Bafana Bafana match … but just in case: we are still basking in our SA Sparkling Wine Championships double-golden glow, more deserved and natural than any tanning salon could have created. Chaired by Cape Wine Master and uber-wine guru, Allan Mullins, this inaugural competition surely showed all other SA sparklers that we mean serious bubbly business.
Getting in touch with our cheeky side at Buns Out!
Keeping tabs on what our directors are up to is a vital part of our business strategy; some might say we are just snooping around for a free lunch consisting of the hottest new burger in town, but we can handle the low blows in our passion and dedication towards research. Our findings: the burgers at Maps Maponyane’s new restaurant venture, Buns Out, in Linden Jhb, are definitely worth cracking a double-gold bottle of Vintage Cuvée 2015 for; the Happiest Bubbles on Earth paired with the Yummiest Burgers on Earth can only end in a blissful union!
Extra, extra, read all about it …
Here at GM&A we love interacting with our bubbly friends, so much so that we never stop exhausting avenues to ensure all our exciting happenings reach you hot of the press; as the old saying goes: you can run but you can’t hide. We are very excited to share a never-been-seen before screen grab of our brand-spanking new website. We can not wait to share once we are live, rest assured that our news will find you.
The Magic of Bubbles, 29 November to 1 December Come sample some double-gold heaven at stand no. 40 at SA’s premier bubbly event, the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival. Winemaker Albert Ahrens and Co-founder Gerrit Maritz will be at their usual entertaining best, and look forward to welcoming you with a glass of something cold and sparkly, and did we mention double-gold award-winning? Don your whimsical whites and boutique-bought blues to be in line for a ‘Best Dressed’ award, while stylishly sipping the afternoon away beneath the iconic Huguenot Monument.