Thursday, February 04, 2016

Harvest Lunch Table at Vergenoegd

Vergenoegd, we are well satisfied
Vergenoegd Wine farm is just off the N2 on the R44 - right across the road from the Cape Town Film studios with their Black Sails galleons, This farm, famous for its huge flock of Runner ducks, was sold last year and we were invited to visit and see what the new owners have done to the farm. We were mightily impressed with all the offerings and think you will be too. We think they might be candidates for this year’s Klink awards. Chef Ryan Shell (who was at Haute Cabrière restaurant) has moved here and he produced a really exciting, fresh, family style lunch for the media. One you will be able to experience too.
The farm organised transport for the media from Cape Town and from the winelands for which we are very grateful. Tasting wine and then drinking with lunch or dinner and driving is just not clever and we wish more organisations would get the message.
Having an early morning coffee and croissant in the Waterfront while waiting for the transport
A warm welcome by the staff and the farm dog on arrival
Water, wine or juice?
Vergenoegd Managing Director Peter Stuart with Chief Destineer Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate PR agency
The manor house
The march of the Indian runner ducks. It is very amusing to watch how well trained they are by the duck herder
The flock has grown so much since we last visited
They come in multi-colours but all are the same skinny, stand up shape
They are not farmed for eating, but for keeping down the population of snails and other pests in the vineyards
Fast moving stragglers!
Lunch was to be held at a long table in front of the manor house
We were split into two groups and given a tour of all the different attractions that you can experience on the farm. This is Peter Stuart, the new Managing Director
First, a tasting of wine in the cellar. They only grow red grapes on the farm, the white wine grapes are bought in
Canapés were served as we tasted. This was a fish paté
A lovely smooth salmon mousse
Divine, melt in the mouth mini choux buns filled with blue cheese cream
Winemaker Marlize Jacobs
Chef Ryan Shell, sensibly, commandeered a barrel stack to tell us about his food and the picnics they are currently doing on the farm. There is no restaurant, but there are plans to build one in the next year or two
Chef Mike Israele, who had the Pomegranate restaurant on the farm, has moved and we were told that he is planning a new enterprise
Some of the younger wines had been decanted
Pouring some tasters ..
.. of the Cabernets Sauvignon 2005 and 2010
A lively conversation. "Did you hear...?" Events manager Nicole Arnold with Destineers Mariette du Toit-Helmbold and Annareth Bolton
Chef Ryan Shell tells us about the picnics
This is a sample box called the Running Duck, it comes with bottles of wine and water
The picnic menu
There are two layers in the picnic basket and good bread
John then went into the kitchen and took some photos of our lunch being prepared
The roast beef
beans, broccoli and courgettes
Freshly baked baguettes
We were then led through the manor house and introduced to the different tasting experiences you can have
This is the olive oil blending room. There are three oils to taste and blend and you can then take home a bottle of your own individual oil blend: the tasting costs R95 and the 500 ml bottle to take home costs R100.
The wine tasting room. It costs R35 to taste 5 wines
The tea and coffee tasting room. You can taste three coffees and make your own blend. Or three teas and make your own blend. Both tastings cost R95. 250g packs of your individual blends can be taken home for R100 each
The teas
The coffees
A connoisseur smelling the coffee
and, in another room, you can do wine blending.
These are the individual varietals you can choose to blend
You measure out the wines in different proportions and taste until you get the blend you like. This costs R150 pp. To take a 750ml bottle home will cost another R150. This might be a fun exercise for clubs
This young man will guide you through your blending experience
Time for lunch and some cold Runner Duck 2015 white, a Sauvignon Semillon blend
You can play boules on the readymade courts
Lovely old buildings on this farm, established in the 17th Century
Lemons and patty pan squash decorated the tables
Fresh fish cooked en papillote
New potatoes with herbs, butter and cheese
That rare roast of sirloin beef and some slow cooked lamb shanks with a truffle Hollandaise
Herbed breadcrumb stuffed roasted aubergines
Steamed summer vegetables
Lynne’s choice
A glass of the 2010 Cabernet
A summer sunflower
and with dessert, a taste of the 1999 Tawny Port
Chef Ryan with a cheese platter to go with the Port
Dessert was a gentle vanilla roulade, topped with whipped cream and fresh blueberries, drizzled with syrup. A lovely end to a great meal
The center of the roulade was soaked in berry juice
And finally, a wickedly thick chocolate sorbet on biscuit crumbs
The wine cellar
The duck pond is filled with birds and they have built some hides for bird watchers
Our transport home from the Waterfront, a MyCiti bus

A map of the Vergenoegd estate
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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