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We launched the Michael Fridjhon Wine Experience® in 1997 with the avowed aim of ensuring that, at least once a year, wine enthusiasts in South Africa would get a chance to sample the world's best bottles. Since then the price of international icon wines – in hard currency terms – has increased at least tenfold, while the Rand has lost at least 75% of its value. Initially we were able to keep going through the generosity of corporate sponsors. However, even the deep pockets of the companies which supported the event could not bridge the ever-widening gap between what it cost to provide world-class benchmark wines, and what the market would bear. Three years ago, we decided it was better to call it a day than to dilute the principle upon which the Wine Experience® was based.

Just the same, over the years the Champagne Brunch acquired a life and reputation of its own. Before there was any interest in single site Grand Cru bubbly, we had sourced some of the very best examples and offered them as a taste-off: Grand Cru versus Grandes Marques. Tom Stevenson, the undisputed Champagne guru of the English-speaking world, arrived one year armed with standard and late-disgorged Cristal to show how time on the lees altered even the region's most sophisticated pinot-chardonnay blend. Jacques Peter, chef de cave at Veuve Clicquot, presented a vertical of Grande Dame. Ghislain de Montgolfier, President of Bollinger, compared Grande Année with Bollinger RD.

We kept hoping that it would be possible to resurrect this element of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Experience, with the famed oysters, the iconic king crab, the truffled scrambled egg, the sushi and the risotto. Happily, The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff was ready to offer the Champagne Brunch a new home at the fabulous Jacaranda Hill. The only limitation fits in with the event's exclusivity: Jacaranda Hill can accommodate half the number of guests accustomed to attending the brunch.

Sunday 29th September is a day set aside for Champagne aficionados. The pre-brunch tasting will present a trio of standalone bubblies – a pure 2010 Pinot Noir from Benoît Lahaye, whose vineyards and cellar in the Grand Cru site of Bouzy, as well as his bio-dynamic farming philosophy, guarantee pinot perfection; Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007 delivers the chardonnay equivalent. Louis Roederer Cristal 2005 the 50/50 combination (more or less) of the two noble varieties of the appellation.

Brunch will be accompanied by a single grower bottling from the exceptional 2008 vintage (Jacquinot Symphonie), the non-vintage champagne judged best in the world at the 2018 World Champagne and Sparkling Wine Championship (Louis Roederer Brut Premier), the Billecart Salmon Rosé – universally regarded as the finest pink Champagne from a family-owned cellar – and a Premier Cru Demi-Sec (Forget-Brimont) to wrap up the occasion.

There are only 100 places, and the price for the brunch is only fractionally more than it cost when we last hosted it in 2016.

Price: R3950 pp incl. or R7350 per couple incl.

To book, click here and submit your form electronically to Alex Mason-Gordon.

Please call us if you have any queries.

Tel: 011 482 5936/5/4 or

Date: Sunday 29 September 2019

Time: 10am - 2pm

Arcadia Ballroom
Four Seasons The Westcliff
67 Jan Smuts Avenue
Westcliff, Johannesburg

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff
Book direct
Promo Code: MFWE

For other accommodation options, please contact the organisers directly.

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