If there's one thing you have to love (or hate!) about South Africans, it's our directness. Other bloggers may waffle on about their philosophy and inspirations, but when you visit the "About" page at The Cru, this is what you read: "My name is Brendon Shaw and I love wine." Sounds like the opening line from a Wineblogaholics Anonymous meeting, doesn't it! But you can't fault it on accuracy – Brendon certainly does love wine – that much is obvious from every post. The Cru is dedicated not only to bringing you tasting notes but to bringing you the "all-encompassing experience of wine" – the wine, the company, the setting, and anything else that makes a wine-drinking occasion memorable. Never one to shy away from controversy, you can also expect some heated debate from Brendon on the state of the South African (and international) wine industry. Let's get to know him a little better.
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
Cape Town – South Africa
2. How long have you been blogging?
One year and ten months.
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
Being able to express myself in writing, share experiences with random people from around the world and give South African wine as much exposure as I can.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
The technical issues that I just cant get my head around. Wanting something to look a certain way and it coming out completely different. And I guess on the wine side, all my friends thinking that I'm some sort of wine guru/snob now just because I write about it. Not the truth – I'm just passionate about it and it's all just a big learning curve for me – plus wine is completely subjective isn't it.
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
I've always liked writing and can't single out an inspiration for that. Drinking wine? A bottle of 1987 Meerlust Merlot - it all just made sense. Cooking? BBC Food and my mothers refusal to cook for her four boys!
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
At work! No, whenever I have a free moment and/or feel the necessary motivation.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
Well I reckon if I was to choose a dish for "Master Chef Goes Large" it would have to be: Rosemary and Garlic Pan Seared & Oven Roasted Chops on a bed of crushed Sweet Potato, Peas and Butternut, with my old mans chilli oil drizzled over the top and caramelized onions on the side.
Favourite Wine : Anything from Thelema, Tokara, Camberley or Solms.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
Winefly Selection, Pinotage Club, Serious About Wine, Spittoon, Jamie Goode, Cooksister, Shawza Life
9. Favourite restaurant?
At the moment it's La Brigada in Buenos Aires. In the recent past and an all time favourite – The Hussar Grill, Rondebosch.
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…
Starter: Deep Fried Camembert Philo Pastry Cigars with Strawberry Liqueur
Main: Argentinean Bife de Chorizo with Provincial Fries
Dessert: A 1L mixture of Almond, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate ice cream
Wine: Angelica Zapata Malbec 2003 (I'll have a case of that thanks!)