Wednesday, October 18, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel at Aubergine, FNB Top 20 Sauvignons, Broad beans, Perdeberg Dryland Chenin

Wheat fields, clouds and hills in the Overberg
You will have noticed that our last few weeks have been somewhat fraught. Just now, we are enjoying a small respite while we look forward to times which promise to be as frenetic as those just past. So we are taking the opportunity and publishing MENU with just two stories, each of which we believe to have special significance, plus our usual recipe and Wine of the Week before we gird our loins for the fun to come. We live in an exciting, still evolving country. It has some of the most beautiful, very varied, scenery; challenging, but fermenting and constantly developing politics, kept under control by free courts and media and, importantly for us, a very exciting food and wine environment. We do our best to keep you up to date with all of that, so read on and, we hope, enjoy

Simonsig Estate was recently crowned top producer at the 16th Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. Last week, we were invited to a tasting of older vintages from Simonsig’s range of Cap Classiques, hosted by cellarmaster Johan Malan. This was followed by lunch at Aubergine restaurant with a paired menu to match these excellent wines. They were innovative pairings by Chef Patron Harald Bresselschmidt, who is one of the most skilled at this difficult art
This year the awards were held over lunch at Franschhoek Cellars. We are great fans of this refreshing, crisp white wine that can have many different characters and styles, so we were excited to see which ones have risen to the top this year .
Broad beans are in season and, if you are lucky enough to find some, this is one of our favourite recipes to try. Easy peasy, no cooking required. You can make toast can't you?
250G shelled broad beans – salt - 1 small clove of garlic – 1 t of lemon juice - a handful of mint & parsley a dribble of olive oil - slices of bruschetta – 1 clove of garlic
Plunge the beans into boiling salted water and cook for no more than 2 or 3 minutes. Drain, refresh with cold water and then slip the beans from their tough outer coating. This is easy to do if you make a small nick in each bean and squeeze. Put them into your blender with the roughly chopped herbs, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Blitz them but leave them a fairly rough consistency - you do not want a smooth paste. Taste and add salt. They will make a beautiful bright green spread. Toast the bruschettas on both sides, and wipe the cut edge of a clove of garlic twice across the surface of each. Spread on the paste and enjoy3
We had this wine with one of our favourite suppers, witlof wrapped in ham and cooked in a cheese sauce. Some wines would not cope with the flavours of witlof or the heavy smoked ham and thick cheese sauce. This Chenin not only coped, but it added a lot to the dish.
A refreshing food wine with hints of spice, ginger and honey on the nose and a little petricor, which is rain on hot stones or earth. A tingle on the tongue from pineapple acidity, crisp citrus flavours followed by green melon and pear, lots of layers. John's comment? "It's a bloody nice wine". Often mistaken for another, very expensive, Chenin Blanc.
The current vintage is available from the farm at R110. They also have a barrel fermented Chenin in the same range for R115. Don't forget that Perdeberg has their open day on the 28th of this month, when you can go and sample all their wines and bring cases home with you

18th October 2017


© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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
If you like the photographs you see in our publications, please look at our Adamastor Photo website for our rate card and samples from our portfolio
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 these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually 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. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Menu's Wine of the Week. The Dry Land Collection Chenin, unwooded 2013 from Perdeberg

We had this wine with one of our favourite suppers, witlof wrapped in ham and cooked in a cheese sauce. Some wines would not cope with the flavours of witlof or the heavy smoked ham and thick cheese sauce. This Chenin not only coped, but it added a lot to the dish

A refreshing food wine with hints of spice, ginger and honey on the nose and a little petricor, which is rain on hot stones or earth. A tingle on the tongue from pineapple acidity, crisp citrus flavours followed by green melon and pear, lots of layers. John's comment ? "It's a bloody nice wine". Often mistaken for another, very expensive, Chenin Blanc
The current vintage is available from the farm at R110. They also have a barrel fermented Chenin in the same range for R115. Don't forget that Perdeberg has their open day on the 28th of this month, when you can go and sample all their wines and bring cases home with you


FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 2017 Awards

This year, the awards were held over lunch at Franschhoek Cellars
On arrival, all the top 20 wines selected were out for tasting with a programme, so you could, if you wished, vote for your own top 10. Here Siobhan Thompson, CEO of WOSA was tasting the Mulderbosch with Sean Griffiths and next to them was Kevin King with his South Hill Sauvignon Blanc
RJ Botha of Kleine Zalze, who are doing rather well with awards this year, with  Marize Uys of Amorim Cork
Lords Wines owner and winemaker Jacie Oosthuizen was there with Jacques, his son, and their Sauvignon 
Boschendal winemaker Richard Duckitt and Cape Point Vineyards' marketing manager Anetha Connan
Jax Lahoud of Winemag.co.za with Michael Smith of Highlands Road
Thys Louw of Diemersdal, the current Chairman of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group, was found knocking his opening speech into shape
And the MC for the day, Pietman Geldenhuys of "Oppie Stoep" on Cape Net TV, was going through his. He has the best Scottish accent we have ever heard from an Afrikaans speaker
Time to take our seats
The MC began with a long, amusing story or two, in very colloquial West Coast Afrikaans dialect
and he invented a song made up from random words given by different tables; good memory and great fun
Sean Skibbe, winemaker at South Hill in Elgin
On our table we had Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc from Durbanville Hills, one we buy often
And Lizelle Gerber's De Werf Sauvignon Blanc from Boschendal; this is only sold on the farm
The starter was a crumbed fishcake with a little salad and a slice of lemon. It needed a tartar sauce, but was fresh and crisp
The Trophies
Stephen Claassens, Provincial Head of First National Bank’s Western and Eastern Cape regions opened proceedings. He told us that the Wine industry creates 19 percent of jobs in the Western Cape. Sauvignon Blanc is increasing in production at the rate of 20% a year. We are the largest Sauvignon producers in the world, but only 14th in terms of land use. 7.8 litres of wine are drunk per person in SA annually. We do need to reset the prices both overseas and here to reflect its worth. (Many people in the room were rather surprised that consumption is so low - they know how much wine they drink, but they are all in the industry and make up for the non drinkers). Agriculture in South Africa is a very stable industry which FNB supports and backs. The awards have been sponsored by FNB Business since 2007; the competition has become the country’s foremost platform for Sauvignon Blanc producers
Thys Louw presented his speech in both Afrikaans and English, switching seamlessly. He said that Sauvignon Blanc is the No.1 varietal to achieve worldwide dominance with its flavours, aromas brightness; it is not a shy style of wine. Tannie Elsabé (Ferreira) said to him "Just brag about Sauvignon Blanc". "Easy", said Thys. 7.5 % of grapes grown in South Africa are Sauvignon Blanc, three times more than its closest rival. 21 million litres are leaving the country to be sold abroad, and these are the best quality wines, not bulk wine. There is massive scope abroad. South Africa now needs to grab the attention of the USA market and he asked WOSA to please help with this. There are many new wine regions in South Africa and they plant Sauvignon Blanc first; it is a pioneer
Time for the main course of chicken breast in a cream sauce with new potatoes and spring vegetables. There was also a table salad
Judges' convenor and Sauvignon pioneer Neil Ellis talked about values in the industry. He had encouraged Thys Louw to choose his own panel. The Top 10 jury comprised Neil Ellis, seasoned winemaker and family estate owner, with leading wine writers and judges Christian Eedes and Samarie Smith, as well as winemakers Kobus Gerber and Wilhelm Pienaar, while Morgan Steyn, Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé, joined by invitation to gain tasting and judging experience. They had the task of evaluating 190 entries from 120 participants. Neil said that the beauty of the panel was that it offered diversity of thought, style, objectivity and not personal favourites. Over the last 10 years, the influence of sites and regions has become more important. We must honour our good winemaking, viticulture, styles and sites and the awards do that
Time to announce the top 10 Sauvignon Blancs. First award went to winemaker Sean Skibbe and owner Kevin King of South Hill
Another to Alastair Rimmer and RJ Botha of Kleine Zalze
Richard Duckitt of Boschendal with their trophy
The wine on the table with the trophy
Sean with Trizanne Barnard of Trizanne Signature Wines and Stephen Claassens
The top Ten Sauvignon Blanc winners with their trophies and certificates. They are
·         Boschendal De Werf Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – WO Coastal, Lizelle Gerber, represented by Richard Duckitt
·         Diemersdal Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – WO Durbanville, Mari Branders
·         Groot Phesantekraal Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – WO Cape Town, Etienne Louw
·         Highlands Road Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – WO Elgin, Vanessa Simkiss
·         Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – WO Western Cape, RJ Botha
·         Mulderbosch 1 000 Miles Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Wooded) 2015 – WO Western Cape, Adam Mason, represented by Sean Griffiths
·         South Hill Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – WO Elgin, Sean Skibbe
·         Stellenbosch Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – WO Stellenbosch, Bernard Claassen
·         Strandveld Pofadderbosch Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – WO Elim, Conrad Vlok
·         Vrede en Lust Artisan Range Blanc Fumé 2016 – WO Elgin, Karlin Nel
Time for dessert before we leave. With coffee, some small, very gooey chocolate brownies
tiny meringues with fruit
and mini panna cottas
And, as we left, we discovered that they now have double-decker tourist trams in Franschhoek


Tasting Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel with lunch at Aubergine

Simonsig Estate was recently crowned top producer at the 16th Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. Last week, we were invited to a tasting of older vintages from Simonsig’s range of Cap Classiques, hosted by cellarmaster Johan Malan. This was followed by lunch at Aubergine restaurant with a paired menu to match these excellent wines. They were innovative pairings by Chef Patron Harald Bresselschmidt, who is one of the most skilled at this difficult art
The line up of wines we were to taste
Johan Malan chats to journalist Graham Howe
The table laid for the tasting
Restaurant manager Catherine Poole welcomes Allan Mullins and Richard, Allan's driver and aide
Drinks outside on the terrace first
Jacques Jordaan, Simonsig's Sales and Marketing manager, spoke first. Simonsig's success is a tribute to Johan and his late father, Frans, who made South Africa's first Champagne method sparkling wine. Jacques will be travelling worldwide North, West and East next year to New York, Moscow and Shanghai to promote the wines
Johan Malan told us that his son Michael Frans has joined as a wine maker in the last week. He has been working at Creation for the last three years
Jacques and Johan, with their new Social Media manager Chantal Esau in the background
We began with the 1999 Kaapse Vonkel Brut, degorged in 2016. There are only 100 bottles left of this in the Vinoteque. Bready and yeasty, rich and mature with richness on the palate still dry and crisp with stewed apple notes. Interestingly this has 4.7% of Pinotage added 13 years and 8 months on the lees. Incredible
A nice touch, not water biscuits or cream crackers but shards of flat bread to cleanse the palate
Next was the outstanding 2005 Kaapse Vonkel with extended cork contact; bottled 2005, degorged 2007. Sea Salt and sea mist on the nose, crisp sparkling mousse, also initially with sea salt flavours. Crisp and elegant. Gout Anglaise maturity, so good apple crumble flavours. Lynne’s favourite of the tasting with 18.5 points. The 2005 recently degorged came next, softer on the nose with some herbal notes; it was less full on the palate with nice apple sorbet flavours
MCC Winemaker Hannes Meyer, who has been with Simonsig for 9 years, took us through this tasting. Then came the Kaapse Vonkel 2013. Biscuity on the nose and a little sea mist. Citrus crisp, then apple, long on the palate, and slightly sweeter. Will age well. This has no Pinot Meunier
Next the 2015. Granny Smith apple on the nose, and some red apple too, with a lovely mousse. This wine is a poem to apple on the palate. To come and to be bought. 18 points
Time to taste four vintages of the  Cuvée Royale. First the 2005; 96% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Noir. Rich and full, brandy and brulée with hot rolls and butter on the nose. A crisp mousse, almost cutting. Long flavours of apple sorbet with a little mint, creaminess turns the sorbet into apple ice cream
Ralph Reynolds, Sommelier at Aubergine, with our next vintage of  Cuvée Royale 2010 (100% Chardonnay). It had 4 years on the lees, 3 on cork. Ciabatta bread baking nose, yeasty and savoury. Crisp zingy apple flavours, both cooked and raw grated, this MCC is still fresh and young and attractive. 18 points
Hannes pours us the next two vintages (100% Chardonnay) 2011 nutty and showing its age; 5 years on lees, and the 2012, 5 years on the lees, no wood and no malolactic fermentation. A hint of herbal buchu on the nose, with long apple sorbet flavours on the palate; a wine that really sparkles, fresh and fun
Time for lunch after the splendid tasting of Simonsig MCCs. Jacques introduced Aubergine’s Chef Patron, Harald Bresselschmidt
Chef Harald runs through the four course menu with us, which will be paired with two of the current MCCs we have just tasted, plus the Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2015 and the Demi Sec 2015
The menu
Ocean caught and flavoured Kabeljou, marinated and cooked sous vide on a nettle and green apple purée matched the 2015 so completely, echoing all its flavours
Diane Malan, Johan's wife, who is the support of the family
The next course of Calf’s liver, pink in the centre, so seldom served, so much appreciated by us, on new season tender broad beans, with breadcrumbs and lemon glazed white grapes. Served with the Cuvée Royale 2012
Then came tender Quail breasts filled with mousseline, with a prawn reduction, pistachio nuts and a cherry-quinoa dressing which went so well with the Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2015, our favourite Cape Brut Rosé
And, with the dessert of an Ivory chocolate dome with a soft MCC centre, an almond streusel and angelica ice cream with a white flower espuma. Perfectly matched with the Kaapse Vonkel Demi Sec MCC 2015
The Simonsig team had to have a photo with Allan Mullins, as his Simonsig MCC for Woolworths was also lauded in this year's Amorim Cap Classique Awards. It was a great occasion