Thursday, March 03, 2016

Durbanville Feast of the Grape at D'Aria

This was held last weekend and was an example of how to do a family wine festival. Not only were there lots and lots of good Durbanville Sauvignons and other red and white wines to taste on all the Durbanville wine farm stands, but lots of great entertainment had been provided. You could stomp grapes, you could do guided tastings. One farm, Nitida, had a four course fine dining lunch at a table next to their stand for which you could book and there was some lovely old fashioned fairground entertainment for children, which was a delight to watch. Food trucks and the wine farms’ stands provided the food and there were tables and chairs under umbrellas and marquees for shelter from the sun.
Ah, grapes to taste at the door, where you collect your armband, glass and ...
... your clip card
Time to get some of that wonderful Nitida Sauvignon Blanc
Everyone had a pouring measure on their bottles, so you got just enough to prevent drunkenness; very sensible we thought
Cassia restaurant had this fine dining table for which you could book
From Klein Roosboom, a good charcuterie and cheese platter
Shady umbrellas and a huge marquee
Warren Swaffield of Cassia restaurant at Nitida preparing his second course
Signal Gun had their wines and their craft beers for tasting
A magical golden dragon fly on the guy rope of a tent
Grape stomping, with all the profits going to the Pebbles Project. The main emphasis of the Pebbles Project is education as well as nutrition, health, community and protection.. They work with children and families in the Winelands farming communities in the Western Cape
Children having such fun on the old fashioned swings
Getting nice and sticky foot pressing grapes
Try a quad bike? Some needed a push or two, this one still needs to learn to pedal
On the trapeze, risking all and having an amazing time
The old fashioned children's carousel
Pancakes are very good for soaking up wine
The array of food trucks
Sounds healthy
For the thirsty
Hmm those look good
Friendly attention and lovely wines at Diemersdal
Peter and Yvonne from Holland on the Diemersdal stand
Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blancs are lovely. They sold a lot of wine
Then to one of the guided tastings. We were ferried to the D’Aria tasting room in a brand new Mercedes van. The tasting was four Pinot Noirs and four Pinotages from Durbanville farms
Here is Bennie Howard with the Meerendal magnum of Pinot Noir
We loved the rich and spicy Pinotages; the valley obviously has good terroir for them. The Pinot Noirs are elegant, but still very young and need time in the bottle
Etienne Louw, Chairman of the Durbanville Wine Valley and winemaker at Altydgedacht, with Marketing manager of DWV Angela Fourie, who so ably organised this very enjoyable festival

The 8 wines we tasted were Pinot Noirs from Meerendal, De Grendel, Nitida and Altydgedacht and Pinotages from Meerendal, Altydgedacht, Durbanville Hills and Bloemendal
Bennie Howard and Etienne Louw guided the tasting
Then we made a quick dash back down to the Cassia dining table for a late lunch
We joined a table of four people who were great fun and foodies like us
The Menu
We began with a very fresh Oyster in Tequila, a good shooter. It was spiced with chilli which rather stole the freshness of the sea from the oyster. It was paired with Nitida Coronata Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc white blend, such a good match for the two starter
Then came a Guinea Fowl pot. A lovely meaty aspic jelly with small pieces of guinea fowl, a blueberry compote in a port reduction, which added the desired fruity acids to light up the dish, and a rich toasted brioche
The main course was a clever adaptation of a Beef Wellington, eminently suitable for a festival with minimal cooking facilities. It was a rich, braised Wagyu beef ragout, wrapped inside pastry with a truffle infused jus and summer vegetables on a potato rosti. Crisp pastry and delicious beef. We had glasses of 2009 Nitida Calligraphy, warm spicy and layered classic Bordeaux Blend of Merlot (54%), Cabernet Franc (21%), Cabernet Sauvignon (17%) and Petit Verdot (4%), which is on Cassia's restaurant wine list
Dessert was a piped vanilla crème brulée with a peanut butter cookie and a brandy snap, rich and fun. This was a lovely lunch. We would like to see more of these at wine festivals
Warren Swaffield, Chef patron of Cassia restaurant and Nitida owner Bernhard Veller
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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