Saturday, June 22, 2019

De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019 launched at Sea Breeze restaurant, Cape Town

When certain wine farms release a new vintage, one's expectations are high. Especially when they have wines we love to drink like De Wetshof who produce 5 different and all excellent Chardonnays. And we were not certainly disappointed with this year’s Limestone Hill, which is their most popular and most reasonably priced of them all
DeWetshof Wines: www.dewetshof.com
The launch was held over lunch at Sea Breeze restaurant in Bree Street
A new venue for us and one which was on our list of places to visit
It certainly warrants a return, soon, and might just be Lynne's choice for her birthday in August
A clever way to let you know what’s on the menu
And a glass of the Limestone Hill was there to welcome us. The minerality shows first, then the typical, slightly bready chardonnay nose of golden citrus. On the palate, fullness with ripe lemon and some apple and peach notes, a little chalkiness, with salty minerality and a hint of tropical fruit on the long finish. Very refreshing, eminently quaffable and great with food. This was confirmed as we drank it throughout the meal. As famous wine critic Robert Parker said in the past:"... this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.” High praise indeed. It is our Wine of the Week. R99 on the farm and available with delivery included at R116 from wine.co.za
Johann de Wet awaits arrivals inside the restaurant
And lots of Limestone Hill was poured
PRO Journalist Emile Joubert told us that, this year in Kyoto in Japan, the Japanese sommeliers voted Limestone Hill
their Oyster Wine of the Year and it is now one of the top selling Chardonnays in that country
Johann de Wet told us that drought has played its part in their vineyards. They do get water from the Brandvlei dam and so they have enough water, but they have tried to conserve it as much as possible. He told us that 2019 will be one of the best vintages they have had for white wine. The wines have more structure and depth and good chemistry. The Limestone Hill is from four vineyards next to the cellar which are high in limestone and clay, which give minerality and salty layers, making this a good food wine
The media listen intently
and use social media on their phones to report on the tasting
The older ones make extensive notes for writing up the tasting, as you see Graham Howe and Lynne doing
The lunch menu
Those who can eat oysters got this wonderful plate of six on ice: 3 from Saldanha Bay & 3 from Knysna, with a cucumber, lime, horseradish and Amasi (local fermented milk) dressing, plus lemon slices
The well trained staff
Sea Breeze is owned and run by Britons Alex and Ruth Grahame, previously of the Hornblower’s seafood restaurant in Gourdon, Scotland. He explained that pairing seafood with wine highlighted the hard work of winemakers and the terroir. The citrus flavours of this wine were paired to compliment the food we would be eating as, in its turn, the food enhanced the flavours of the wine
Lynne cannot eat oysters (she loves them but they do not like her) and this was the excellent dish served as her starter. Superb large peeled prawns with a spicy red cabbage, pineapple and carrot slaw, with chilli peanuts and some sesame mayo. This dish made her resolve to return soon
The oysters, large and plump and fresh
The main course of gently seared Yellowfin tuna steaks (in season at the moment and sustainably caught), very tender, served with baby carrots and fennel, sautéed new potatoes, radish and a herb pesto. It was a perfect dish to go with the Limestone Hill, a lovely blend of flavours and textures. It certainly did encourage one to partake more of this very drinkable wine! We were Ubering home
Dessert was a sharp and sweet Lemon tart with quite a lot of lemon zest,
a good crisp pastry base and Chantilly cream
Yes!
Seabreeze Restaurant is at 211 – 213 Bree Street, Cape Town and is open Monday to Sunday, 12:00 to 21:30
 For bookings and enquiries, please call 074 793 9349 or email hello@seabreezecapetown.co.za.
Their website is www.seabreezecapetown.co.za

All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

Friday, June 21, 2019

This Week’s MENU. Robertson’s Wacky Wine Weekend Part two, De Wetshof Limestone Hill launch at Sea Breeze, Asparagus & Tuna Quiche, MENU’s Wine of the Week


Misty Ships

This week, we finish telling you about our Wacky long weekend in Robertson and then continue with the launch of a wine from that lovely valley. We have been victims of technology malfunction yet again. A company called Octotel laid the fibre optic lines that feed high speed internet to our suburb. We had no choice; it was their service or nothing and our ISP connects to it. Since we moved from the old ADSL to fibre, we have had breakdowns nearly every month. Our internet connection and, it appears, most of Sea Point’s went offline at about 11 am yesterday and we were only reconnected just before we went out for lunch with friends today, So MENU is late again…

A visit to Silverthorn, where talented winemaker John Loubser and his wife Karen have recently moved to their farm on the banks of the Breede River in Bonnievale, to set up a cellar where they will make his range of very special MCC bubblies. The 10.5ha family farm was bought over by the Loubsers in 1999. We are big fans of these wines and asked if we could call in briefly while we were in the Robertson area to see their new Tasting Room, which is nearly complete, and the new wine cellar, which was about to be erected…

We set off from McGregor at 5.30 for Mimosa Lodge in Montague where we were invited for a tasting and dinner at their new restaurant. We allowed lots of time as its a fair old way and the road works are still on going on the road to Montague, We were told by locals there were two "stop and go" traffic lights for one way access. Luckily we got through reasonably quickly. We arrived at the Hotel at a quarter to 7, and were warmly welcomed by the Barman to their new bar; he remembered us from our stay there a couple of years ago. He poured us a lovely glass of Chardonnay which we sat enjoying when we saw Fida Hess, wife of Bernhard the owner/chef who said, "What are you doing here?" "We came to see your new restaurant" we replied. It turns out that it is nowhere near the hotel and we had not been told it was separate or been given its address. "They are waiting dinner for you, you must hurry" she said, and with some instructions, we managed to find the new restaurant which is on the right as you enter Montague from Ashton. It is called BluVines…

Sometimes after a good dinner, you awake quite hungry for breakfast. So we packed up at Tanagra, checked out and thanked our hosts by 7h30 to get to Arendsig in Bonnievale where we were invited to breakfast at 8h30. Oops no, Lynne got it wrong, it was 9h30(!), so we arrived an hour early. Actually it was fine as we got the most beautiful early morning winter views of the countryside on our trip there. We risked the short route via the Steenbokvlakte Road skirting the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve. It is gravel all the way but much, much shorter than going back into Robertson and "all round the houses" for 40+ kilometres. There is a rather vertiginous mountain pass on the way and we were so glad we had not driven that way when the road was wet with rain. But it is a beautiful route. John grew up on dirt roads in Botswana and, later, was in a rally team, so he has no problem driving on them…

Our next port of call after Arendsig was just down the road, to visit our friends at Quando. The garden was full of happy people tasting their wines. Friends we made the previous evening at BluVine were enjoying the day. It is a family business. These are the four excellent wines that winemaker Fanus Bruwer makes. Fanus also does the marketing. His brother Martin is the viticulturist. Martin’s wife Estelle keeps them in order! …

We had been invited to a curry lunch at RiverGold farm which is right next to Arendsig but, sadly, on Sunday the only food on offer was some samoosas and Chilli bites.  The curry had been on offer the previous day. They were not expecting us, but we were given a warm welcome and could taste their wines in the impressive cellar. Owned by the Naidoo family from Durban, we met some of the family members…

De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019 launched at Sea Breeze restaurant, Cape Town


When certain wine farms release a new vintage, one's expectations are high. Especially when they have wines we love to drink like De Wetshof who produce 5 different and all excellent Chardonnays. And we were not certainly disappointed with this year’s Limestone Hill, which is their most popular and most reasonably priced of them all…

We have no internet as I write this, so I have had to recycle a recipe from the distant past which we hope you will like. Something good for a quick supper or a weekend lunch. If you want to make this without the tuna, you could just add more asparagus or even use some mushrooms. You can use store bought pastry, no shame in that, especially if you are working…

The minerality on this new vintage shows first, then the typical slightly bready chardonnay nose of golden citrus.  On the palate, fullness with ripe lemon and some apple and peach notes, a little chalkiness, with salty minerality and a hint of tropical fruit on the long finish.   Very refreshing, eminently quaffable and great with food.  This was confirmed as we drank it throughout our 3 course meal at Sea Breeze restaurant, where it paired well with oysters, prawns, seared tuna and a lemon tart…


PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information

Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005

Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in our website and ancillary works are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are often unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise.

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On the MENU this week. Asparagus and Tuna Quiche

We have no internet as I write this, so I have had to recycle a recipe from the distant past which we hope you will like. Something good for a quick supper or a weekend lunch. If you want to make this without the tuna, you could just add more asparagus or even use some mushrooms. You can use store bought pastry, no shame in that, especially if you are working
Shortcrust pastry 1 cup flour – 1 egg yolk – 2 oz butter – pinch of salt – ice water
Whizz together quickly in your food processor, adding just enough water to bring the pastry together into a soft ball. Cover in cling film and rest in the fridge for ½ an hour, then line a loose bottomed flan tin with baking paper and bake blind with baking beans for 15 minutes at 180ºC
Filling 1 onion – 1 leek - 1 t oil and 1 t butter – 6 or 8 asparagus spears - 1 can of flaked tuna in water - 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg – 100ml cream – 100g grated pecorino cheese – salt and pepper

Slice the onion and the leek and fry them in the oil and butter with a little salt till soft and beginning to caramelize. Put into the bottom of the pastry case. Blanche the asparagus spears if using fresh, and cut them into 3cm pieces. Add them to the quiche with the drained, flaked tuna. Beat up the eggs with the cream, season and pour over the contents. Sprinkle on the cheese and bake at 180ºC until the custard has just set, about 20 minutes. Serve with a salad and a good crisp Chardonnay like our wine of the week. Delicious warm or cold
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

MENU's Wine of the Week. De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019

The minerality on this new vintage shows first, then the typical slightly bready chardonnay nose of golden citrus.  On the palate, fullness with ripe lemon and some apple and peach notes, a little chalkiness, with salty minerality and a hint of tropical fruit on the long finish.   Very refreshing, eminently quaffable and great with food.  This was confirmed as we drank it throughout our 3 course meal at Sea Breeze restaurant, where it paired well with oysters, prawns, seared tuna and a lemon tart.
As famous wine critic Robert Parker said in the past:"... this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.”  High praise indeed. 

R99 on the farm and available with delivery included at R116 from wine.co.za

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Robertson Wine Valley's Wacky Wine Weekend 12. RiverGold, Le Roux & Fourie

We had been invited to a curry lunch at RiverGold farm which is right next to Arendsig but, sadly, on Sunday the only food on offer was some samoosas and Chilli bites.  The curry had been on offer the previous day
They were not expecting us, but we were given a warm welcome and could taste their wines in the impressive cellar
Owned by the Naidoo family from Durban, we met some of the family members
Mr and Mrs Naidoo on the tasting counter
The wines are made by Lourens van der Westhuizen. The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is full of green notes, typical of Lourens's style. The 2016 Chenin is bready on the nose, very fruity and sweet with a good acid balance. The Chardonnay has a yeasty nose, and is full of flavour with nice peach with a citrus zing and a bitter grapefruit marmalade finish
The deck outside. The Merlot is green and minty on the nose, and rather agricultural in the old style. The Cabernet Sauvignon has nice cassis on the nose, and good ripe cassis fruit, very juicy. The Shiraz, with we have tasted before at Wine on the River, is perfumed, with plums and very quaffable juicy fruit
A locust in the garden
We went to collect our samoosas and chilli bites from the happy ladies in the kitchen
They have a restaurant and this is the interior
The outside of the restaurant
We sat in the garden and enjoyed the very crisp and flavourful samoosas and chilli bites with a glass of the Chenin blanc
Then it was time for our last call, a new producer for us but, apparently, they have been making wine for several years
It is on the road home to Cape Town and just beyond Rooiberg winery, near the limestone quarry, you will find Le Roux & Fourie
The tasting room is inside
And this very nice young man took us through the wines. He is passionate about wine and we hope he has a long career in it
They seem to hold on to vintages for quite a long time and the wines we tasted were from several vintages back
They also have a café
Which seems to do nice cakes and pies.  It was getting late and we finally got home at 6 pm on Sunday. What a full and busy weekend. We used up a lot of petrol getting to all the places in the two valleys and beyond. We had a nice fresh salad for supper and, of course, a bottle of Robertson wine to celebrate being home
Thank you to all of those who welcomed us warmly and gave us such excellent hospitality
The area is well known for it
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

Robertson Wine Valley's Wacky Wine Weekend 11. Quando

Our next port of call after Arendsig was just down the road, to visit our friends at Quando
The garden was full of happy people tasting their wines
Friends we made the previous evening at BluVine were enjoying the day
It is a family business. These are the four excellent wines that winemaker Fanus Bruwer makes
Fanus also does the marketing. His brother Martin is the viticulturist
Martin’s wife Estelle keeps them in order!
The 2017 Chenin/Viognier has beautiful peach and lees notes on the nose; Rich old vine Chenin, sophisticated Viognier, with ripe peaches and nectarines, nicely balanced with acidity. The 2019 Mourvedre Rosé always has to be topped up in our cellar, so 6 bottles came home.  Red berry fruit on the pretty nose with a little bit of wildness, cassis, rose petals, cranberry and candy floss on the dry palate; a quaffable wine to drink all summer and in the colder months with spicy food. And at R65 a bottle very reasonably priced. The 2016 Pinot Noir is perfumed and has dark berry fruit on the nose and palate; it’s an old style, very satisfying, Pinot Noir. R130
Some free hapjes (snacks) were delivered to every table. Home made (by Fanus) snoek paté and some olive tapenade from their own olives, on seed loaf
We began with the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc. Old School Robertson, crisp and green with a slight tropical note,
very satisfying and so easy to drink with food. R75. A case of that came home too
Fanus came to join us at our table and we had a long chat while tasting the wines
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus