Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Strandveld wines paired with dinner at The Vineyard

Roy Davies, General Manager of The Vineyard was kind enough to invite us to stay the night, so that we could enjoy the wines without worrying about the drive home
The terrace outside our room overlooking the river walk. Oh if only it had been a sunny day.
Pure glamour, softly chic and comfortable modern would describe our room
Please note, TWO televisions, goose down duvet and a coffee pod machine plus a useful desk for composing MENU notes
Travertine marble bathroom , very spa like.  Huge bath behind the photographer.
Swathes of clivias in bloom under the trees
on the attractive river walk next to the Liesbeek, which was in full spate after all the winter rain
Spring is appearing, despite the weather. The oak trees try to make a green show.
Lots of mud coming off the mountain
The garden is always green and always has something interesting in bloom
Looking back at the hotel from the garden cottages and the upper ponds
Our menu for the evening
The welcoming drink was the newly released 2013 Strandveld First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and dry with lovely notes of green pepper, figs and elderflower
Getting to know each other in the foyer
Caroline van Schalkwyk, Sales and Marketing manager for Strandveld, and her husband Anthony, ‎International Brand Manager at Ken Forrester Vineyards
Roy Davies, the General Manager of the hotel, welcomes all the guests
…who listen intently
Conrad Vlok, winemaker at Strandveld, tells us about his wines and the Elim area
Chef Chris Law tells us about the food we are about to eat
The restaurant was packed for this very popular dinner
When we did the food pairing, we all loved the mussel cream sauce and it was an absolutely brilliant idea of the chef to put it around the twice baked soufflé. Adding the cashew nuts brought out all the flavours in the wine - Strandveld Adamastor 2011
Not bread, but a basket of the many different minerals/stones from the terroir that the Strandveld wines grow in.
The sweet baby beetroot and the gentle smoked duck with the herbs in the Salsa Verde pinpointed the flavours in the Sauvignon blanc.  Not so sure about the goats cheese cream as an addition.
Even John found the sous vide ostrich fillet a tender delight full of flavour. He normally finds it rather bland. The apricot puree with the rich meat juices and the fig and cracked pepper again made all the flavours of the wine come together with the meal. 
The capsicum in this dish was a bit out of tune with Strandveld's The Navigator, a blend of Shiraz and Grenache with a touch of Mourvedre and Viognier. The duck fat fondant potato was the best we have ever experienced, as often they are hard and undercooked.  This was soft and melting.
Very tender rolled lamb breast with all the fat rendered out by long slow cooking on a bed of garlic and herb mash may seem fairly conventional but sometimes keeping it simple and not throwing every ingredient at a dish means you get the best of the dish and the wine. The counterpoint of the mushrooms and cranberry gel echoed similar flavours in the First Sighting Pinot Noir. Even though this was the fourth course, everyone’s plates were cleared.
Probably one of the best pairings of the evening (and there were many contenders) was unexpectedly the dessert, individual baked Alaskas.  An Italian meringue on top of strawberry and vanilla ice cream on a citrus sponge was so good with the Strandveld rosĂ© – which is not a sweet rose at all
The breakfast bar the next morning had lots and lots of choices. 
The scrambled egg was the best Lynne has ever had in an hotel, soft, creamy and buttery, not a hard lump of curds.
We also had fresh juice, lovely croissants and large cups of good coffee before rushing off to start work at the Biscuit Mill at 8.
Sausages and bacon on offer
John’s favourite, the fruit and muesli bar
 © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013
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