Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Vintage day at the 330th Anniversary of Boschendal

Vines were first planted in the Cape in 1655 by Jan van Riebeek. Boschendal in the Franschhoek valley was established thirty years later in 1685. They invited us to join them in commemorating 330 years of wine at Boschendal last week. There was a special gala dinner on Wednesday 12th of August, we were invited, with other media, to a celebration lunch on Thursday 13th of August.
We don't mind dressing up for an event but when you get an invitation to a 330 year anniversary lunch and the invitation says "Dress: Vintage" we did have a few anxious moments wondering what we were going to wear. Especially as we were being collected at 10h45 from the Waterfront. To wear Jacobean dress? Would we fit in the bus? To go as peasant farmers of one of the periods since wine was planted in the Cape? We certainly didn't have anything suitable in our cupboards. Lynne slept on the problem and came up with the solution. We have our own vintages and so we dressed accordingly. It was a marvellous celebration.
If you want to help them celebrate you can join them on Heritage Day on the 24th of September when they willl be having an Ox roast and for the small sum of R285 pp and R85 for children under 13 you can go and enjoy a feast. To quote them " Expect platters heaped with seasonal produce, great wine including some new Boschendal releases, and an upbeat atmosphere enhanced by the live music of ‘Slow Jack’." Booking is essential.
The historic manor house
The ladies in their vintage gear
Marguerite Nel, Samantha Linsell, JeanriTine van Zyl, Lynne Jarché Ford.
Lynne is Vintage 1947
We had some great Boschendal MCC bubbly before we embarked aboard the bus and when we arrived
Someone said Lynne looked like an air hostess, another The Queen! Hmm
John’s camera is a 1938 Agfa, given to his mother by his father as an engagement present
Three elegant ladies. Marguerite Nel, Lynne and JeanriTine van Zyl
Chatting to an old friend about his new job at Boschendal, Executive Chef Christiaan Campbell
The wine vintage
Old oaks
Our favourite Boschendal wine rep Kathy van Niekerk with the bus
A quick tour of the wine cellar by red winemaker Richard Duckitt
Where we were joined by the white wine maker Lizelle Gerber and new assistant winemaker Tammy Jaftha
It’s an impressive barrel collection
drawing off samples from the barrels using a "wine thief" . They were much enjoyed, there is lots of concentration and life in these wines to come
Richard Duckitt tells us about what we are sampling
They use mainly (expensive!) French barrels
One of the friendly farm horses
The newly planted kitchen garden for Chef Christiaan Campbell’s needs.
Lots of raised beds, arbours, with lots of different vegetables and herbs and some fruit, everything a chef could desire
Megan McCarthy, the horticulturist who is in charge of the garden answering some of our many questions
Spring plantings are springing up. This should look superb in a few weeks
Rows of different lettuces
An interesting method of raising beds, which have easy access
The restaurant overlooks the kitchen garden
More bubbly on the terrace, which looks a great place to spend a summer lunchtime
The pretty Celebration Brut bottles of the 1685 MCC, it is a clean and crisp
Many bottles were poured
The sommelier and his colleagues who were all wonderfully attentive and anticipated the guests’ every need
Canapés of smoked salmon, salmon caviar and cream cheese on a crisp cracker
Sometimes, we have to be at these wonderful events
Winemaker Lizelle Gerber impressing with some Sabrage on the MCC bubbly
The lunch menu
Welcomed by Jacques Roux, Marketing Director of Douglas Green Bellingham, who produce and distribute the Boschendal wines
Chef Christiaan Campbell explains the menu
The starter of freshwater crayfish (never enough!) with dumplings of light gnocchi, dressed with a superbly made seafood bisque sauce and a few peas. Liked the contrast of the nice crisp and tangy addition of zesty compressed apples. This was served with both the Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2014 and their Elgin 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. Both matched well but the Chardonnay won for us
Winemaker Richard Duckitt talked about the wines we were served with lunch
A garden salad with roasted pear with a fennel dressing
The witty main course, speared with a rib, was served “family style”, so we could help ourselves. However, this enormously generous family sized portion was served to every two guests! Succulent, slow cooked rib of beef in a master stock marinade topped with gremolata, salt baked celeriac (love it), roasted vegetables and oh, so crisp potato wedges. On the left, some tiny lilly pilly fruits (Australian cherry) which were pickled and added a great contrast to the rich meal. Doggie bags were called for. We drank the Boschendal Grand Reserve 2013 and the Grand Selection 2013, both lovely fruit filled wines with elegance
Dessert was a small “white chocolate” sponge, with fresh & dehydrated guava, a guava sorbet, aged Cape gooseberries, white chocolate worms , sprinkled with roasted almond flakes. The star wine was the fabulous 2013 Vin D'Or, absolute nectar and honey, perfect with any dessert
New DGB Marketing Director Greg Castle makes the final speech of this great occasion and thanks us for coming
A happy chef !
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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