Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cees van Casteren MW dinner at Waterkloof

Guests gather in the Waterkloof restaurant and we examine a fridge full of great wines
Renée Daneel, Francois Naude and his wife Magda
Rows of tables automatically divided us up into teams
Norman McFarlane and Andre van Rensburg heading for a look at the wines
What a sensational view from the restaurant
Our host, Cees van Casteren MW
Teddy Hall of Teddy Hall Wines and Andre van Rensburg of Vergelegen, discussing the finer points of winemaking
The amuse of duck liver paté with crumbs and a mango emulsion
Duncan Savage of Cape Point Vineyards with Tierhoek winemaker Roger Burton
Duncan with Philip van Zyl, editor of the John Platter Guide, and David Trafford of de Trafford wines
A selection of stunning wines
Norman McFarlane of The Bolander and his wife Eppy
Waiting for the dinner to begin
We were intrigued by this amazing collection of old wines and a port that is as old as Lynne. They did appear later in the dinner as part of a quiz
The kitchen, getting ready to present the first course...
...  lime cured Fisantekraal trout with roasted beetroots, a wasabi cucumber sorbet,
a creamed horseradish sauce and a sesame crisp
Cess van Casteren MW tells us of his path to becoming Holland's second Master of Wine and his thesis on Chenin Blanc
Head chef Gregory Czarnecki, originally from France, on the pass.
He places emphasis on using superb produce, sourced locally
A rapt audience of wine people listens to Cees explain how the quiz will work later
Fellow guests at our table included Roger Burton of Tierhoek wines and his charming wife and Duncan Savage
Chef Gregory Czarnecki  explains the night's menu
Smiling Valley Marron, Revisited “prawn cocktail” is the menu description. 
A marron is a fresh water crayfish, now being farmed here, and this was served with a marie rose sauce, a slice of avocado, a lovely lemon cream sauce and very interesting fritter containing marron meat and dipped in a very sweet syrup, a sweet and savoury koeksuster?  Some loved it (us), some did not
A view from the gallery of people chatting while awaiting the next course
John sat next to Richard Hilton of Pax Verbatim wines, Lynne sat next to Nora Sperling Thiel of Delheim, who is next to her husband Erhard Thiel. Opposite them are Duncan Savage, Ginny Povall of Botanica Wines, Norman McFarlane and Epi McFarlane
Cees discusses Chenin with Richard Hilton
Ginny Povall chats to Duncan Savage
Muratie owner Dr Rijk Melck, the winner of the first stand up quiz, who guessed correctly that we were tasting a left bank Bordeaux wine - 2008 Chateau Gloria from St Julien - and just pipped Joostenberg's Tyrrel Myburgh to the post
The wine we all had to guess and there were some very interesting conclusions..
Rijk received a very nice prize of a bottle of Château Branaire, St Julien 1986
Chef Gregory doing the rounds and getting some very good feedback
Main course was the most tender springbok fillet with aubergine caviar and a cream and brandy sauce with roasted hazelnuts
Grand Cru Chateau La Lagune 1968 Haut Medoc, one of the wines opened for the second part of the quiz, where each table had to guess the identity of the wine they were given to taste blind. 
Another wine tasted was Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild 1978 Pauillac Grand Cru Classé
Cees van Casteren MW reads out the table quiz results.  Our table came a creditable second, correctly guessing that the wine we tasted  was from Italy and Tuscan, mainly due to the Sperling end of the table. It was Lagerla Rosso di Montalcino 2007. We were way out on the vintage, believing it to be much older. The winning table, which included Mr & Mrs André van Rensburg, Francois and Magda Naude and Philip and Cathy van Zyl MW, correctly guessed theirs. It was a red blend from Chile, and they cracked the vintage: 2006.
Next came the cheese course, a 9 month matured Healey's cheddar, served with a spiced pear tarte tatin
Duncan, looking happy after all the wonderful wines we had tasted
The waiter pours our dessert wine, Rudera noble late harvest
Our first dessert was a Tellicherry Pepper Panna cotta , Cape gooseberries, smoked pear sorbet, and muesli soil
Lynne got to taste and take home the empty bottle of Hutcheson Port Colheita 1947 for our cellar. There was a lot of ullage and sediment and many of the flavours were suppressed by age, but you could still taste the tawny port character.
Our second dessert was coriander macaroons, fresh mango with a mango spuma and mango gel with a lavender cake
Our urbane, friendly and attentive Malawian waiter, Jaco Male
And finally, friandise: wicked dark chocolate truffles, citrus pastilles, and tiny shortbreads
The line up of wines for the second part of the quiz
A view of the very modern Waterkloof restaurant and Circumstance winery as we departed, with the lights of Somerset West in the distance
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2012

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