Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Media launch of Durbanville's Feast of the Grape at Diemersdal - 12 Characters working together towards a goal

Brunch at Diemersdal
Twelve Characters working together towards a goal. This was the media launch of the Feast of the Grape festival which will be held this weekend, 27th & 28th February, at D'Aria in Durbanville (we will be there with friends on Sunday). We were invited to come and have brunch and taste the Durbanville 12, a wine made by using one ton of grapes from each of the 12 farms in Durbanville. Our expectation of brunch is not high and we were very pleasantly surprised; we had a slap-up lunch produced by talented chef Martin de Kock of the Diemersdal Pantry and the company of many of the winemakers of the area, for which we are very grateful. It is the busiest time of the year for them and they had to make time for us in their busy day. Programme link
Gathering in the vine-covered porch next to the tasting room and restaurant for a cup of coffee
John Meinking sending his drone up for photos from above LINK HERE
Freshly picked pears, also being harvested now
In the cellar with Martin Moore of Durbanville Hills, Etienne Louw of Altydgedacht and Bennie Howard of Meerendal
Table plan for the guests
Catching up with some MCCs from the valley are Graham Howe, Martin Moore, David Biggs, Myrna Robins, Cathy Marston and Greg Landman
The bubbles to enjoy
Graham Howe had questions for Martin Moore about the harvest
Lunch was at two long tables in the cellar
Canapés of quail eggs, crisp bacon and asparagus
Smoked salmon, quail eggs and hollandaise
Martin Moore with Diemersdal's winemaker Thys Louw. Martin is now in his 18th season in the valley. He says the crop is lower but it looks like a good vintage, "if we manage it ripe, it will be good". Durbanville is an oasis, irrigated vineyards are a worry and might suffer, unirrigated vineyards adapt and put down deep roots, they are still finding water
Etienne Louw, president of the Durbanville Wine Valley, telling us about the harvest, the coming festival and the Durbanville 12 wine. So nice to see everyone working so well together in the valley; it’s rare. They meet regularly and they help each other and share information. Harvest is three weeks early this hot year
Cool T shirt John Meinking
So great to see a healthy David Biggs
Angela Fourie, PR manager of the Durbanville Wine Valley has a lot on her plate organising the Feast of the Grape festival
Diemersdal's winemaker Thys Louw tells us about the harvest and the production of the Durbanville 12 Sauvignon Blanc. We drank the 2014 with lunch, the 2016 was picked just a few days ago
Grapes coming into the press as we partied
We tasted some of the newly fermenting Durbanville 12 Sauvignon Blanc. It is figgy and green on the nose, very sweet fruit, as the alcohol has not fermented out the sugar yet, but lovely ripe sauvignon fruit with a kick of Durbanville salt. It is fermenting at 16 to 18°C this year, warmer than the usual 13 to 14°C . After a visit to New Zealand, they are adopting this practice. It adds extra flavours. It will lie on the lees till June and be bottled in July
Greg Landman of Country Life with David Biggs
Charles Hopkins, cellarmaster of De Grendel says that they are one month earlier than the inner valley
The Louw children with their buggy
Arno Smit has taken over as winemaker at Hillcrest where he has been for the last 6 years; he replaces Graham Read, who has now taken charge of the beer making
Freshly baked bread rolls and vetkoek, a traditional deep fried savoury doughnut
Karin de Villiers of Klein Roosboom. Behind her are Christian Eedes of winemag.co.za and Bernhard Veller of Nitida
The five sparkling wines from the valley, MCCs from Durbanville Hills, Nitida and Altydgedacht. The Pop Song sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is from D’Aria and the B'Loved is from Signal Gun
Durbanville 12 Sauvignon Blanc 2014. We had a hand in picking a few of the grapes that went into this wine. The wine is figgy and green on the nose, a classic Durbanville Sauvignon Banc with figs on the palate, fresh crisp and refreshing
Chefs in the temporary kitchen, plating up
It was a very enjoyable friendly lunch
The starter was a simple salad with mozzarella cheese, garden vegetables and roasted baby tomatoes
Then a raw marinated scallop with dollops of pea puree & baby beets served with a mussel and sweetcorn soup, and topped croutons. The scallop was very delicate, but still tasting of the sea and the dish had lots of texture from the toppings
Two main courses, served together. On the left Duck three ways with grilled nectarines, a lovely combination with the tart stone fruit. On the right a fillet steak with a herb and garlic chermoula and a rich red wine and coffee sauce which contrasted well
Dessert was a granadilla parfait, rich and creamy with notes of egg and condensed milk sweetness, with granadilla juice and vanilla ice cream. If this is the sort of food Chef Martin de Kock serves in the Pantry, we will definitely visit to try more of it. He is talented. And the food is nicely presented
Birds have been attacking this small Granny Smith apple ripening on a tree in the werf
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus
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