ALTHOUGH the theme for this year’s Summer Elegance Festival – which took place at The House of Krone on the Twee Jonge Gezellen estate near Tulbagh on Saturday, December 8 – was “Put Your Hat On”, Summer chose to take hers off.
With temperatures around 30ºC, revellers delighted in the shade of the leafy oaks in the picturesque courtyard, sipped copious amounts of bubbly and slathered the suntan lotion (cleverly included in the goody bag handed out on entry) on bare bits and bobs. A couple of well-known wine-writers and their friends even removed their shoes, rolled up their attire and took residence in a water feature near the cellar for the day.
And what a glorious day it was. The Summer Elegance Festival, first introduced by Luke Krone in 2008, is all about Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), edible delicacies, music, fashion and fun in splendid surroundings. The House of Krone, which won the Museum Class award for the Krone Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut 2001 (Pinot Noir-Chardonnay) at the recent Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, is beautifully located beneath the craggy Saron Peak Mountain in the northwest part of the Tulbagh valley. (Scroll down if you just want to see the pictures.)
The winery has a long history of successes. Famous for harvesting at night (when grapes better retain their subtle, finer qualities), Twee Jonge Gezellen has been in the family for more than 300 years. In 1980, Luke and his winemaking brother Matthew’s father, Nicky was named Champion Private Producer at the SA Wine Show. Three years later, Nicky was crowned South African Champion Winemaker at the same event. In 1995, his 1993 Krone Borealis was judged the best MCC in the country and Nicky was crowned Winemaker of the Year by Diners Club.
Shortly thereafter, Nicky – who began making MCC because his wife, Mary was sulphur intolerant – was approached by French Champagne House, Mumm to produce MCC under its label in South Africa (Cuvée Cap by Mumm). Krone Borealis Brut was winner of Air France’s PB Classic award in both 2000 and 2001, which is when Matthew began working with his father. He took over responsibilities in the wine cellar three years later.
Four years ago, Luke introduced the Summer Elegance Festival to Twee Jonge Gezellen. It has, since then, become an annual highlight for MCC-lovers. It is also an excellent reason to visit the pretty Tulbagh village and valley for the weekend. This year, in addition to superb bubbly, the event included a team of sushi chefs who defied the heat and prepared delicious sushi to order, an oyster bar and other delicacies, including olives by Groote Vallei, cheese and figs by La Petite France, nougat by Wedgewood and elegant cupcakes, some of which included Krone MCC in the ingredients.
The day began with a tasting of a selection of the Nicolas Charles Krone Marque’s 2001, 2002 and 2003 vintages with Matthew in the upstairs tasting room, which leads onto a deck with magnificent views across the vineyards and onto the mountains. Several magnificently maintained vintage car were on exhibition in the garden and students from fashion school, FEDISA showcased some of their highly creative designs during a fashion show. This was followed by a best-dressed competition and other fun events.
As evening approached and the shadows grew longer, music group CODA took to the stage. Within no time, the combination of classic electric strings, Afro-jazz sax and vibrant vocals had everyone on the dance-floor. Luke might have added, to his “Put Your Hat On” theme, “But Don’t Worry, You Can Take Your Shoes Off”.
But, since a picture says a thousand words, here are a few to show you what really took place at the Summer Elegance Festival. (If you weren’t there this year, make a plan for 2013.)