Monday, August 31, 2015

In the Pink - Launch of Rosé Rocks, SA's first Rosé competition at Cavalli

We've been told that this is the first ever competition for rosé wines in South Africa and it is hoped that it will raise the profile of the rosé wines that we can produce so well. Rosé wines have (sadly) been viewed in the past as wines only suitable for giving to your girlfriend or mother on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. And, usually, they are seen as sweet and characterless. We think they are worth much more than that. Overseas, especially in the South of France, these easy drinking, fruity wines are enormously popular with food, especially at lunches, often in the summer. They are normally lower in alcohol and you can share a meal of fish, seafood and meat without having to order more than one bottle of wine, as most rosés pair excellently with all dishes. A few years ago, many farms upped their game and produced some really good rosé wines - we used to sell lots - but many have now disappeared. The supermarkets are selling too many characterless wines, with one or two excellent exceptions. Do we blame their buyers or the uninformed public for excluding those dryer, more elegant rosés from their shelves? Perhaps this competition will bring the good rosés to the fore again.
What is a rosé wine? Officially it is made from the first free run juice of a red wine, bled off to increase the concentration of the juice used to make the red wine. To quote Wikipedia, rosé is "wine that incorporates some of the colour from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine". Very pale pink wines can be known as Blanc de Noir (white from red). It has all the nuances and flavours of its red grape, just few tannins and no wood. It can be made from a blend of white and red wines, illegal in France but not in South Africa. You might like to know that in the UK, they spend ₤1.8 million on rosé wines each year, so this could be a great market for our Rosés.
We were invited to lunch at Equus restaurant at Cavalli wine estate on Thursday to hear about the competition.
Judging will take place on Wednesday, 9th September, and the results will be announced within 2 weeks of the competition. The Judges are: Chairman, Alan Mullins, CWM and Woolworths wine buyer; Journalist Neil Pendock; Marthelize Tredoux, Journalist and wine exporter; Tinashe Nyamudoka Head Sommelier at The Test Kitchen;, Tatiana Marcetteau, Sommelier at Cellars Hohenhort ; Praisy Dlamini, winemaker; and food and wine Journalist Malu Lambert.
Chef Hilton Espey produced a great lunch menu which paired very well with the wines we drank. He told us he was waiting for the delivery of the main course fish, so we knew it was going to be very fresh
Chair of the judges Alan Mullins with Leah van Deventer of Good Housekeeping, on the terrace with a good glass of pink MCC from Villiera
Chef Hilton Espey explains the lunch menu while Lynne takes notes on her phone
On the other side of the table, Terri Dunbar Cohen of Independent Newspapers and Shante Hutton of
Sommelier Farai Magwada telling us about the wine to be served with the first course
The Morgenzon Garden Vineyards 2014 Rosé from Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre. Crisp and dry with notes of summer fruits
Gentle citrus cured gravadlax of local trout with pear slices poached in red wine, a num num gastrique and flaked almonds, topped with spring pea shoots. Num Nums are the sour red fruit of an indigenous variety of jasmine. We had never had pears with trout and this works very well. The puree added the acidity and the almonds a good texture crunch.
Lots of tweeting happening. We did trend for a while
Fresh glasses
The main course was served with Cavalli's Pink Pony rosé made from Grenache, was well seared and just delivered fresh Hake fillets on a bed of truffle mash with a saffron seafood sauce
Sommelier Farai tells us about the next wine, the Vondeling 2015 bright and lively Rosé, made from Merlot, which was served with dessert. This is a marvellous lunchtime wine, dry with soft cherry & strawberry fruit and a hint of nuts
Dessert was a deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake, ginger biscuit crumbs and lemon ice cream and a shard of cardamom blond caramel, which added unusual hints of cucumber. Rich and unctuous
All attending finished off the lunch with a toast to rosé and the competition
For those who see journos as over-thirsty, the table at the end of lunch
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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