Thursday, May 17, 2012

Villiera at the Vineyard

Tastes of 2012 Villiera dinner at Vineyard Hotel   Invited for a friend’s 75th birthday celebration to eat in the Square restaurant last Friday, we were delighted to discover that it coincided with one of the Vineyards excellent wine and food pairing dinners which they now hold every two weeks. We met in the foyer where all the guests gather for a welcoming glass of Villiera Brut Natural 2008, full of lovely ripe and mature flavours – an aged bubbly, very much to the gout Anglais (English taste), and then went in to dinner. Sadly, the table was not suitable for our host’s wheelchair, so there was a short wait while an appropriate one was found before then we sat down to the first course.
We so enjoyed this meal and will definitely be back to try another soon. The price of R265 per person includes all the wine, but not coffee or bottled water. The next one will be with Ernst Gouws & Co Family Vineyards on May 25th. However, a recommendation is that you do try to sit away from the rather loud piano, as it does make conversation a little difficult. The service, as always, was discreet but attentive.
Our first course of Smoked Salmon Orzo (rice shaped pasta) with wild rocket, apple, toasted almonds and citrus emulsion blew us away.
So much did we enjoy it that when we got the opportunity later to talk to the chef we asked lots of questions and Lynne is going to attempt to make it this Sunday for Clare’s birthday. The salmon, some cooked in the dish , some fresh decorating the top was gentle, the orzo perfectly cooked, still al denté, mixed with a cream sauce gently flavoured with dill and other spices, topped with fresh Granny Smith apple shavings and then sprinkled with toasted almonds which added just the right amount of crunch to the texture. The small starter portion was surrounded by a reduction of lemon and orange which also added to the dish rather than overcomplicating it. This was served with Tradition Brut Rose which highlighted all the flavours in the dish without being overwhelmed.
The second course was a very surprising contrast: crisp deep fried balls of homemade blanc fromage (paneer cheese) with dukkha, artichoke, mango and pineapple salsa and a curried korma dressing.
Very Indian, very light, great textures and a good match indeed to the fruity and complex Villiera Tradition Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010.
The next course was very tender peppered beef fillet slices with rosti potato, creamed spinach and promised a bitter chocolate jus but sadly we tasted sweet Lindt chocolate.
This was served with the Domaine Grier Crusade 2006 which comes from the Grier family vineyards in Southern France. It is a Côtes du Rousillon Villages made with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The wine was lovely and smooth, fruity and had good wood, tannin and depth. Sadly, there is no more available from the farm. It matched this course well, particularly the creamed spinach, which we thought might fight with it, but didn’t. We do wish the chocolate had been bitter rather than sweet.
Dessert was a lovely classic individual Apple and Pear Tart Tatin, with roasted rhubarb ice cream and a honey rooibos gel.
The tart's contrasts of sweetness and sourness was well-matched by the Villiera Inspiration Noble Late harvest 2010. made from chenin blanc.
Photographs taken with Nokia N8 in dim available light. ©John Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus cc 2012

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