Friday, 27 June 2014


Often times, people don't talk enthusiastically about rose wine. Its like that friend you are indifferent to.You don't know whether to be happy or sad to see them. For most people, it is either white or red wine. People think of rose and they automatically think Sunday afternoon picnics and family days. Or those uneventful weekends with cousins or friends.

This is a wine that is stereotyped and sidelined and almost ignored. I have also been that person who had no regard for it. I thought that it was the wine for girls in frocks running through fields and meadows. I don't know where I got that impression. Probably from an old movie or book. This wine hovers in limbo between red and white. In hindsight, red wine is wine that has been left with the grape skins on. Theses skins are responsible for the wine colour. The more wine stays with the skins the deeper the colour. Red wine is the best because it has a lot of antioxidants.White wines have no skins included in the wine making process. Rose wine on the other hand, is wine that has had the grape skins for a few hours. I recently changed my opinion on rose wine when I tasted the Abeso Rose Frizante. I loved this wine. It tasted of pomegranates and it reminded me of the fruit.
We had a pomegranate fence when I was growing up but we never did anything with the fruits. I regret not knowing that I could have made fruit salads or grenadine. Grenadine is a common bar syrup made with pomegranate fruit and it is used to make cocktails.
 The wine was made by exposing the skins of the grapes for 5 days. It had a slightly pink colour and it was so fruity. This was a great wine and it went well with pork. I have learned to do away with the misconception that rose wine is somewhat inferior.Next time you go wine-shopping, show some love for this wine.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


Here's a great way to chill wine. Put green grapes in the fridge. then put them in a glass when serving wine. it is a great way to present wine especially when you have friends over plus the wine remains cold.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


This is so basic. It is like learning the alphabet once more. The screwdriver is a very easy drink to make. It is interestingly uncomplicated. It’s probably the first cocktail recipe I ever learned. It also has a very interesting name. People who worked in oil rigs in the Middle East would open cans of OJ(Orange Juice) with a screw driver. They would take cans and cans to cool off from the hot sun. If you are looking for that burst of vitamin C, this is the drink to go for. 
Yesterday I was feeling under the weather. Do you have those days when you are feeling lethargic, lazy and demotivated? Work seems to take a toll on you and you need a break? I was having such a day. I have learnt never to ignore that feeling. Sometimes, your body sends you a message that it is low on electrolytes and you need to recharge your batteries. I decided to fix a tall drink with a lot of freshly squeezed orange juice. Oranges have a lot of ascorbic acid and they smell fresh. This will definitely change your mood.
To make the screw driver you need
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh Orange juice
  • Orange wedge for garnish

slice the orange and cut in half to get a wedge for garnish

  • In a mixing glass pour the vodka and juice.
  • Stir with a bar spoon
  • Fill a highball glass with ice.
  • Add the mixture
  • Garnish with orange wedge

I have not written what amount of vodka to use because it depends with the individuals preferences. I put an ounce of vodka because I did not want a potent drink plus it was a weekday and some work needed to get done.

I definitely felt better and this drink gave me the motivation to finish a project I have been working on for weeks. Try it.


Sunday is the countdown to reality. A few hours and we are back to the hustle and bustle of the week day job. I always love to do exciting and motivating things on Sunday because they determine the note at which my week will commence. I decided to attend a winetasting at Michael Joseph Centre in Westlands, Nairobi. The event was organized by Marie Pierre. The companies that participated in displaying their wine were El Vino and The Wineshop.
Sommelier Juan Ignacio Cambil was at the El Vino station and sommelier Geoffrey Kariuki was at the Wineshop station. What made the tasting interesting is the fact that Juan and Geoffrey were personal friends and they liaised with each other to facilitate the tasting. They displayed their wine knowledge and they collaborated in answering the myriads of questions from the throng of people in attendance.

The once lifeless wine scene is Kenya is burgeoning at an alarming rate and people are interested in knowing about the brands of wine that they consume. They want to know what wine goes with our traditional food.  When I started this blog late last year, I got like 3 views and no comments everyday but this is not the case. People are interested to know more. Someone pointed out that very few people have done a food and wine pairing for Kenyan food and this is one of the reasons very few people in Kenya appreciate wine. Well I tried to do an authentic food and wine pairing here.
Juan Cambil is a respected Somellier and an expert in his field. He displayed his mastery of wine by taking us through a detailed tasting. We tasted five exceptional wines and I will review the tasting notes in subsequent posts. I even got a new favorite wine. The wines we tasted were
  • Eresma Semiduce
  • Abeso White Frizante
  • Abeso Rose Frizante
  • Abeso Red Frizante
  • Carvida Tempranillo

The most exciting thing is that El Vino had not stocked this wine before and it had just been shipped for the tasting. Even the Sommelier confessed that he had not had time to do small tasting earlier on. They were selling the wine at a slightly lower price than the price that it would retail for at Chandarana Supermarket and Caribana Restaurant in Lenana Road. These are the two places that you can find the brands. The Carvisda tempranillo was the best wine I have tasted in a long time and it is definitely something I am storing away for a special occasion like an anniversary, family Christmas or my birthday. It had these undertones with an aroma of molasses. It reminded me of some sweets we had while we were younger, that were made out of brown sugar.
Geoffrey  Kariuki is our very own Kenyan Somellier. I even managed to sneak a small interview with him. Keep reading the blog for his amazing story. He has a relaxed demeanor and he talks with a certain mastery and confidence that keeps people interested in the wines. He works at the Wineshop at Piedmont plaza in Ngong Road. I had done a post on the Wineshop here. We were tasting the hardy VR collection of wine. This included:
  • Hardys VR chardonnay 2011
  • Hardy VR Shiraz 2011
  • Hardys VR Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

The shop stocks a variety of wines from different parts of the world including Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, France, Chile, Italy and South Africa.
Kevin, Geoffrey and Sanjey from the Wineshop
Also in attendance was Kamal Kaur who was the MC for the event.
 I attended the event with a friend of mine who was indifferent about wine. I had hoped that by the end of the evening she would have changed her mind about wine and I have to say I succeeded in that. Sommelier Juan Cambil said that if you are new to wine it is probably a good idea to start with white wine because the reds have potent tastes and complex intricate aromas.
My friend Kendi- new winelover

Below are photos of the guests.

Here were the bitings that accompanied the wine. Cheers!!

Photos by Akili Black and The Wine and Food Review

Thursday, 19 June 2014


I love South Africa and I love South African wine. They have the best vineyards in Africa. I went for an evening of wine indulgence hosted by Brown Biashara Limited and sponsored by Dasani Water, Browns Cheese and The Hilton. Brown Biashara Limited (BBL), a company registered in the Republic of Kenya, is a specialist importer and distributor of wines and neutral alcohol for the East and Central African markets.BBL supports the Elimu Foundation which was also part of the event.

This was the VIP wine and cheese tasting for hotel directors, embassy staff and supermarket heads and the formal unveiling of the Kenya Wine Club. The winetasting was at the Hilton in Nairobi on Wednesday, 18th June 2014. The air was electric and thick with love. Love for wine. You could tell that the attendees had a penchant for wine as people moved though the room scouting for great tastes. I was accompanied by one of my friends, Julianne from Afrikan Mbiu and we decided to learn all we could about wine. The Kenya Wine Club is designed to expose, and give East Africans access to, rare and exclusive wines which can only be acquired through the club. There are two membership options: Gold Club (9,500 kshs per month) and Platinum Club (14,800 kshs per month), both of which come with additional benefits. Originally, the gold club was 14, 400 kshs while the platinum was 18200 kshs. The prices went down after a special announcement by the organizers. They thought that this was a fair deal and I’m sure many people will sign up. Members of the Kenya Wine Club also have access to additional orders at special discounted rates. They have 37 South African vineyards and over 120 boutique and award winning wines under their umbrella. The wines are delivered from SA.

There were many guests including hotel executives, hotel representatives and people from different organizations around the world. In attendance were two sommeliers, Juan Cambil and Lisa Gorde .Some of the hotel luminaries present were from Panari, Sankara, Crowne Plaza and Ole Sereni among other award winning hotels.

There were about 12 large wine tables in the ballroom and two extra-large cheese tables. I don’t like cheese but I have to say, Browns cheese is very great. They have a wide array of cheese and crackers and I kept going back to the table for more. I was surprised that I am beginning to like cheese. 

 The open plan setting allowed for guests to move round the room discovering different wines and learning about the History and Science of the wine. There were 129 different bottles. I have never been to a tasting with this many brands. I loved moving from table to table trying the reds, whites, roses and sparklings. There was a projector with wine notes so that people could learn more as they moved. I even had the pleasure of meeting a wine maker, David John Bate, who had flown all the way from south Africa.  I will do a post on his wines and his two brands Leopard Frog and Frisky Zebra.

It was a great evening and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Joanne, Peter and I

Ms. Moureen Oloo from Crowne Plaza and I

Gentlemen having a light moment

Bernard  and Joanne from BBL

Peter Brown Owner BBL

You can find out more about the club, including the specifics of the Gold and Platinum Club memberships, here. There is a link to the membership application form (non-committal) on this page should you wish to sign-up.
Special thanks to Brown Biashara Limited, Dasani Water, Browns Cheese, Elimu Foundation and to the Hilton hotel.
Photos by The Wine and Food review and Bundi Anasi Photography