Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Blaauwklippen Blending Competition #32

Each year Blaauwklippen invites wine clubs to enter this competition and each year they select the varietals which will constitute a blend which they want the clubs to make. There are now clubs in five countries that enter and this year they were required to make a blend made to last from five classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Bottles of wine are sent to all the clubs and they come up with their own blend. We were invited to come and see the awards being presented last Friday on the farm and to taste the winning wine and to enjoy a really great lunch prepared by visiting Chef Craig Cormack.
This year's witty wine label designed by artist Frans Groenewald to celebrate the 32nd year of the competition
Canapés on arrival
Time for the welcome and information about the competition and the entries
We were seated at the very long table with other media and the two members each from the four top clubs in the running
Chef Craig Cormack tells us about the lunch he will be sending out to us. We eat of restaurant and function food, most of it superb, some of it insubstantial but very pretty and some of it average and some not so great, but we don't write about that. The food Craig cooks is always top standard. He present classic dishes, done the way they are meant to be done, every detail correct and tasting fantastic
The menu had a Burgundian theme. This is the starter of smooth, rich duck liver parfait with a sliver of wine jelly, on a rich buttery brioche (as it should be), topped with micro herbs and a slice of crisp apple
The team who do the work in the cellar, helping to make the wines
Winemaker Albert Basson
The well-known Stellenbosch artist who designed the label, Frans Groenewald
Rolf has been making Gin, unusually using fresh juniper berries. Lynne has tasted it and it is slightly sweet and fruity and aromatic. This is Craig's take on a Gin and Tonic sorbet using Rolf's gin. Very tart and very refreshing
We hear how the wines were made
The wines served with lunch
The main course. The best and most authentic Beef Bourguignon we have eaten in South Africa. And so clever in its presentation. The bourguignon was simmered for 14 hours, was meltingly tender with the beef still holding its cube shapes. Mushrooms were added, then Craig wrapped it in a crepinette and covered it with bacon pieces and the glossy jus from the braise. It was served on a silky pommes puree with some braised baby onions, a dab of butternut, leeks and carrots and sprinkled with parsley. Every detail added something to the dish
Rolf presented bouquets to the two members of staff who help to organise the competition
We thank the other staff involved
And the winners of the Newcomers award are: the team from Rindchen’s Weinkontor, Hamburg-Uhlenhorst-Germany
And they were also the winners of the Blending competition this year with their blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec
The three running-up finalists for this popular competition are Club De Vin from KwaZulu-Natal, Digital Blenders from the Eastern Cape and Oude Akker Wijn from North West
We drank the wine with lunch. It is very powerful and full of vanillins from the wood, fruit, acid and chalky tannins to help it last a long time
Our dessert was a perfect individual Tart Tatin, served to loud applause
The winning blend is bottled under the Blaauwklippen Barouche label and recognition will be given to the successful wine club on the back label. The wine is sold in Magnum bottles from selected retail outlets, the farm’s Tasting Room and online via www.blaauwklippen.com
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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