Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kaapzicht celebrates 30 years with a special dinner

Kaapzicht – Celebrating 30 years of Winemaking
Friday was another of those days with two events; luckily the timing didn’t clash and we wouldn’t have missed the Kaapzicht Celebration in Bottelary for all the tea in China. We got to know the Steytler family when we were studying wine in the 1990s and have developed a fondness for them and a love for their wine ever since. We sold it in our shop and continue to buy and drink it as often as we can. Major David Charles Steytler bought the farm after the war in 1946, when it was called Rosendal. There have been four generations farming since then, at first mixed farming, and then they changed to grapes. They bottled their first wine in 1984, when the farm was renamed Kaapzicht (transl. Sight of the Cape). They have a beautiful view of Table Mountain from the farm, hence the name
Danie’s wife Yngvild handles the export market and visits at least 20 countries over 13 weeks each year. Now winemaker Danie Junior has the energy and new ideas to improve the wines. He and his wife Karen (who handles the sales) are preparing a new vintage, which will turn their parents into grandparents. Danie senior says winemaking is for young people, not for grandfathers, so the farm is on loan to them. The 5th generation is scheduled to arrive in October. They had a slideshow running, showing us the history of Kaapzicht in pictures. Over the years, Kaapzicht has won many awards for their wines, mostly Pinotage and Bordeaux blends, and we were very lucky to be able to taste these with dinner. This was prepared by Chef Etienne Bonthuys and all the food was cooked on coals of wingerd stokkies (vine prunings). As he produced some salmon soufflé dumplings, we were seriously in awe. Pots of boiling water were spotted on the fire for these. Very brave and it worked very well.
George Steytler welcomed us with a glass of Kaapzicht Celebration bubbly
So new, the corks haven’t gone in yet
Our pathway through barrels and crates into the cellar. Romantic candle light guided us
Long U shaped table for all the invited guests and family
Danie Junior spent days rearranging all the crates to make the cellar more cozy. It will take more days to put it all back. John asked what would happen if any of the labels became detached!
Friends, neighbours and family. Mrs and Johan Malan from Simonsig, Mrs van der Merwe, Danie Steytler, Mr van der Merwe of FNB and Louis Roos from Mooiplaas, the farm next door
Danie Junior, his mother Yngvild, Danie Steytler telling us the farm’s history and his mother, who still lives on the farm
The cellar had such a warm atmosphere with all the lights and candlelight – and not forgetting the heaters
Danie Junior explains what he plans to do to carry on the family farming tradition
The menu
Our wine to accompany the starter was a Markus Schneider Steinberg Riesling 2013 from Germany. Markus Schneider is Kaapzicht’s German agent and he had 1000 bottles made for Danie. It was a beautiful expression of what a Pfalz Steinberg Durkeim Qualitätswein should be. No turpenes, a nice grapey nose and crisp acidity on top of nice fruit
It went so well with the starter of grilled prawns, calamari and soufflé of salmon dumplings with a divine crayfish sauce
The Steytler family enjoying the evening
The 1947 Old Steen (chenin blanc) 2013, for all of us baby boomers, made from vines planted in 1947. It has a nice richness, sweet fruit balanced beneath the acidity and some slight charred wood notes on the end
It was served with Veal sweetbreads with the Kaapzicht Chenin Blanc-based saffron sauce. Perhaps a little adventurous for some palates. We did see rather a lot returned to the kitchen. It was topped with raw salmon sashimi and some creamy chicken liver and fruit accompanied it
Louis Roos in discussion with Danie Junior and his mother
Chef Etienne Bonthuys doing all the cooking on the open fires outside the cellar
Sous chefs assisting; a few watchers enjoying a glass of Kaapzicht
The Chef searing some spring onions
Lots of good organisation
Then it was time for a treat: Magnums of Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wine - Kaapzicht 2001 Auction Reserve. Incense, perfume and violets on the nose, with some herbal balsamic notes. Jammy Cabernet flavours of deeply intense dark berries and some more violets
This and the Steytler 2010 Vision Cape blend were served with the main course of an Ostrich eye fillet with a Kaapzicht Pinotage reduction, topped with tagliolini of pasta and courgette and rich bone marrow
The Vision 2010 Cape Blend had an intense nose, sweet and sour fruit which is layered with some chalk. Pinotage is definitely present in this wine! It won four and half stars in Platter. The Kaapzicht Cabernet 2008 won a Veritas gold
Sadly, no picture of the lovely dessert, but lots of fun was being had by all at the end of the evening. Shante Hutton of, sommelier Higgo Jacobs, Danie Steytler Jnr and Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Route - This big?
Something we did not know was that Higgo and Annareth are brother and sister. We know them both well in the wine industry - we were in the same CWA Diploma class as Annareth - but had never met them together. No, this big...
Damn, she is already married

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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