Tuesday, September 01, 2015

This Week's MENU - Rosé Rocks, Chenin blanc and Pinotage Top 10s, Concert at Nederburg, Tour to Elgin

Spring is in the air and the dragonflies emerge
We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit. To get the whole story with photographs, please click onRead on.....” at the end of each paragraph, which will lead you to the related blog, with pictures and more words. At the end of each blog, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to the blog version of MENU.
To have two really good meals cooked by excellent chefs in one week is a terrific experience; to have them both paired with great wines is even better.
In the Pink - the launch of Rosé Rocks Competition      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 rather sweet 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.  Read on.....
The Top 10 Chenin Blanc Awards at Cape Grace     We have said this before and no doubt will again. Chenin Blanc is the grape that defines the South African wine industry. We grow more of it than any other grape. It can be grown all over our winelands as it is not terroir specific and can produce many different styles, very well. We have vineyards of great age and elegance that continue to produce superb wine, Astoundingly, all the winners in this competition come from vineyards that are at least 25 year old, and many are 40 years or more. It is our best hope of overseas attention and respect. We are producing some absolutely amazing Chenins, at all price levels. And some are very affordable. In fact at the prices quoted below, all would sell in the UK for around or below ₤10 yet their international competitors would sell for much, much, more.
This week, we were at The Cape Grace Hotel to attend the award ceremony of the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blancs for 1915. Read more, with photos, here
The Top 10 Pinotage Awards at the KWV     We were not able to attend this function because it was held at the same time as the Top 10 Chenin, and we had already accepted our Chenin invitation when the Pinotage invitation arrived. We do wish that all the PR people would consult each other so that there would be fewer clashes like this. Kanonkop and Rijk’s Cellars from Tulbagh made history by becoming the first producers to notch up ten Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards each.  Read on....
Nederburg Classic concert     We love classical music and opera and, sadly, our busy life does not allow us enough time to go to as many concerts and recitals as we would love. So, when we were invited to an early evening recital at Nederburg on Sunday, we jumped at the opportunity to hear the Esperanza Trio play some excellent chamber music in the Manor House. The concert finished at 7 and was followed by a simple supper of soup and canapés, accompanied by some good Nederburg wines, all of which are included in the price. There are three more concerts in the series for which you can book: www. concerts@distell.co.za or from Webtickets. They are held on the last Sunday of each month, except for the last which will be on Saturday 21st November and will be the Picnic concert. Read on to see where we were.....
A cool tour to Elgin     Most of the tours we conduct go, by the clients' choice, to the most well-known (to foreign visitors) areas, such as Stellenbosch. As most of our readers know, we go there very often. Stellenbosch, in itself, can be seen as a generic term because it is a large area with many very different terroirs. While it has a huge number of wonderful wine producers, it is quite close to home and therefore convenient. It also claims a massive share of the South African wine industry limelight and some other areas get lost in its shadow.
Which is why we really enjoy taking visitors to some of those other areas. Recently, we had the opportunity to take a party of American and South African wine enthusiasts to Elgin. We started at Paul Cluver. Cellarmaster Andries Burger had to be in Johannesburg, but he put us into the very capable hands of their Sales manager, Shaun McVey, who showed us the cellar and their wines with great enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject. Read on…..
This Week’s Recipe: Flavoured Croutons     It is still soup weather, although spring is showing us its lovely face now and then. Lynne has made a huge pot of pea, lentil, vegetable and ham hock soup for tonight and we will have some croutons to accompany this for texture. You can buy croutons quite easily in supermarkets nowadays, but just a few for the price of two whole loaves of bread. It is incredibly easy to make them yourself and they can be stored in a lock-seal container for quite a long time. A perfect way to use up stale bread, but you can, if pushed, use fresh bread too. White, brown or rye, whichever kind of bread you like, all can be turned into croutons. Save the ends of your hard cheeses and use them grated on top. Or just use parmesan or your favourite....
4 slices of bread - canola or olive oil, you can also use a flavoured oil, like chilli, herb, garlic or even truffle - salt - pepper - a seasoning, barbeque or herb salt mix - fresh chopped garlic - fresh chopped herbs - grated cheese - cayenne pepper for a hit of heat
Heat your oven to 200 ⁰C. Cut the bread into cubes about 2 to 3 cm square. Spread these on a lined baking tray and sprinkle them lightly with oil. Season and sprinkle over any of the above flavours you like, NOT all at once though. You could match them to the dish you are serving. Cover with a fine grating of cheese and pop into the oven until they are nice and golden brown. Turn them once if the bases need colour. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let them cool and crisp there.
You can also turn these into flavoured breadcrumbs for coating fish or meat or for sprinkling onto dishes to add texture.
Coming Events:
SEPTEMBER
Wednesday, 2nd September from 17h00 to 19h00  De Trafford will host an informal vertical tasting of Cape Winemakers Guild wines at the cellar, going back to the maiden vintage. They plan to have a few bottles of selected vintages for sale so you may leave with something special in hand. There is no charge, but space is limited, so please confirm attendance by email to info@detrafford.co.za
Thursday, 3rd September at 18h00 for 18h30  Alto Meet The Winemaker Dinner. Indulge in a three-course food and wine pairing L)inner with Winemaker Bertho van der Westhuizen at Alto Wine Estate. Dinner in the cellar. R395 per person (Limited Seating). For booking, please contact 021 881 8884 or info@alto.co.za
Thursday, 3rd September  Nobu Cape Town’s Wine & Dine 2015 Series. Conjuring Up a Magical Feast with Hartenberg Estate priced at R495 per person. To reserve your table at Nobu Cape Town, call 021 431 4511 or mail to restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com
Friday 4th September 17h00 to 20h00 Wine Concepts Seductive Sauvignons Festival at The Vineyard Hotel. This popular annual festival gives wine lovers the opportunity to taste a selection of flirtatious latest release Sauvignon Blanc’s and captivating current vintage Cabernet Sauvignons from over 40 of the country’s top producers. This year we will be including Bubblies, Rosé’s and Dessert wines and there may even be an older vintage or two to savour in the line-up. Tempting and delicious finger snacks will be served with the wine throughout the evening. All the showcased wines will be available for purchase at special prices from Wine Concepts on the evening. Venue: The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands, Cost: R170.00 per person – includes wine glass and light snacks Early Bird tickets @ R160.00. There is Ample Parking at the venue. The Vineyard Hotel is offering a special of a 2 course dinner in Square Restaurant, bed & breakfast for Single R1255; Double R1910. Tickets can conveniently be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za,   or at any of the Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at 021 671 9030 or Kloof Street at 021 426 4401. Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za or at the door on the evening subject to availability http://www.wineconcepts.co.za
Saturday 5th September   The seventh Waterblommetjie Festival presented by Windmeul Cellar and Rhebokskloof Estate in Paarl takes place on with waterblommetjie dishes and wine pairing as one of its main themes. Waterblommetjies (Cape pondweed), like other plants, grow more slowly in colder winter weather and bloom in the middle of August. The dams in which the waterblommetjies grow are about 1 meter deep to make the picking process easier. For more information and the full programs, windmeul@iafrica.com or 021 869 8100 (Windmeul) and info@rhebokskloof.co.za or 021 869 8386 (Rhebokskloof)
Saturday, 5th September  Waverley Hills Green Fair. The day will start out with a farm walk to raise funds for CANSA; the market will open shortly after walk commences. There will be live entertainment, great stalls that are local/sustainable/green minded, plus 5 food and wine pods that will have fynbos infused foods paired with Waverley Hills organic wine, some speaker sessions (tbc) and a kiddies zone.  Registration at 9am. Start time 9.30 am fro Waverley Hills Cellar. Wear GREEN to show your support. Funds raised will go towards CANSA. Participation fee R30. R10 for children under 10. Adult supervision is required. info@waverleyhills.co.za www.waverleyhills.co.za
Saturday, 5th and Sunday,  6th September from 10am to  4pm  The annual Bot River Spring Weekend. Beaumont and its neighbouring wineries will once again open their cellar doors. The Beaumont family invites you to celebrate the budding vines, the arrival of new vintages and delicious food with family and friends. This year they also welcome the refreshed Beaumont wine label — a sincere expression of their rich heritage, traditions and passion for the vines, the land and their life as a farm family. They will celebrate with heart and soul, chenins and blends, sweet and savoury, walks and talks and warming hospitality. For a full list of what they offer on this weekend and to book your table for lunch, a bed in their cottage or a guided tour please visit www.beaumont.co.za/news-event/ or call 028 284 9194
Wednesday, 9th September Blu Bird Exclusive Winemaker dinner at Bistro Michel, Blubird Shopping Centre, Cor Atholl-Oaklands Road & Fort Street, Johannesburg. Tyrell Myburgh will lead guests through the wines produced by Joostenberg. Seats are limited to 30 only to ensure a social evening centered around good food and wine. To book, please contact Corlien on corlien@wineconcepts.co.za or 011 440 5498. Seats are limited and will be allocated on a first reply basis
Learn about wine and cooking We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here
The Hurst Campus, an accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here
In addition to his Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here
Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here
Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia
Nicolette van Niekerk runs baking courses at La Petite Patisserie in Montague Gardens
George Jardine will be running a series of winter cooking courses and other activities at Jordan. Details here





2nd September 2015
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