Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A five course lunch at Morgenhof

The Tradition of Morgenhof
It is a while since we visited this beautiful farm in Stellenbosch and it was delightful to be asked to come for lunch and taste their new vintages on Thursday. Owner Madame Anne Huchon was there to welcome us and despite it being another chilly grey day, the fires were lit and we had a good tasting followed by an excellent lunch. She was at pains to tell us that she is NOT trying to produce French style wines here in South Africa but, working with viticulturist Pieter Haasbroek (who has been there since 1998) and winemaker Andries de Klerk (since 2012), they are trying to express the best their dry land terroir can give them. It certainly shows in the wines Morgenhof has always produced excellent Chenin blanc from really old bush vines and the vintage we tasted, 2011, was full of lovely tropical fruits with the richness nicely balanced by good acidity. Their reds do need time as they have both structure and elegance and we enjoyed drinking them with food very much, particularly the Cabernet Franc, which is drinking beautifully and is a lovely food pairing wine. Which leads us on to a great lunch prepared by chef Thys Esterhuizen.
The start of the tasting
The line up: Morgenhof Brut 2008, Chenin 2011, Merlot 2010, Estate 2005, Pinotage, Cabernet Franc
Owner Mme. Anne Cointreau welcomes us and tells us of her philosophy of wine making in South Africa
Rapt attention

Anetha Connan, Morgenhof’s marketing manager, is about to go and live in California
Herschel ? has joined from Nitida Swop with below
Winemaker Andries de Klerk
The wines on show
Lots of canapés with the Morgenhof bubbly
We have an aperitif while waiting for lunch
Herschel, Winemaker Andries de Klerk and viticulturist Pieter Haasbroek
The restaurant with another welcome fire
Pearl Oliver sommelier at the Mount Nelson's Planet restaurant, Siobhan Thompson, new head of WOSA, Andrew Baker of WineWorx, who represent Morgenhof, and Kimi Blackadder, sommelier at Rust en Vrede
Two menus: the one on the left is a special for John with no mushrooms. The food was really good. And Chef has taken on board many of the Banting rules so we were able to enjoy most of the dishes without much guilt (with the exception of the ravioli and the arancini! Which were irresistible and thankfully small)
So clever, so smooth and savoury: Curried chicken & goats cheese crème brulée. Another one to copy at home
Prawn and salmon ravioli in beurre blanc (butter with reduced shallots and vinegar) sauce with paprika oil. A very pretty dish
Mozzarella stuffed arancini (risotto rice ball) in a beautiful mushroom velouté (rich creamy soup)
John’s version was in a Basil velouté
Beef fillet wrapped in leeks and mushrooms in mushroom broth topped with sweet potato crisps
John’s version had the mushrooms and the broth removed and was surrounded by a rich Morgenhof Estate jus
Under a pepper tree just outside the restaurant, a small hen had made her nest and laid so many eggs that some were escaping.
The esteemed David Hughes enjoying his lunch
The final course was Almond crusted lamb cutlets on beetroot and butternut purees with a five spice polenta disc, glazed carrots and the rich Morgenhof Estate jus
Anne Cointreau introduced us to the Chef Thys Esterhuizen
Dave Hughes said Grace at the beginning and thanked the farm at the end for a great tasting and lunch
At which point we discovered there was another course. Scrumptious chocolates and biscotti to go with coffee. A happy end to a good day
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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