Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Saronsberg wines at La Colombe

You may think we are jaded with all of the many meals we have at good restaurants. But who cannot fail to be excited by an invitation to a restaurant that has featured as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world for the last few years. This was to celebrate Saronsberg's annual release of their six new season wines, which takes place at this time of the year. This year, they decided to treat members of the wine trade and some members of the media to lunch at La Colombe with the wines, paired with several courses. It was a wonderful showcase for their lovely wines. Saronsberg was rated the Red Wine Producer of the Year by the South African Wine Index Awards 2015 and 2016
Nick van Huyssteen, owner of Saronsberg, with Manuel Cabello, sommelier at Ellerman House, and PRO Nicolette Waterford
Journalists Lucille Botha of Landbouweekblad, Fiona MacDonald, Christian Eedes of WineMag.co.za and Graham Howe
Saronsberg Viognier 2015 was without doubt the most popular wine served at the event. People kept calling for more. It goes beautifully with food. It is winemaker Dewaldt Heyns’ passion; he worked a vintage in Condrieu and loves this grape and the elegant style, full of white peaches and lemons with hints of smoke. It was the winner of the International Wine Challenge (IWC) South African Viognier Trophy 2016
Saronsberg MCC Brut 100% Chardonnay with the slightly tropical 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. It is grassy, full of melon and pineapple, clean and crisp, with a flinty end
Winemaker Dewaldt Heyns pouring his MCC for Greg Landman of Country Life
Mark Norrish of Ultra Liquors with journalist Maryna Strachan
Alan Mullins and Rebecca Constable, both of Woolworths wine department
The canapé was served in a beautiful garden. Yes, there is food in there. Look closely, there are four. It was a pastry bark filled with dots of rich and smooth chicken liver pate, tiny cep mushrooms, beef tartare below, pickled onion, sherry gel and a herb emulsion (green). The pickled onion was there only as a note of necessary acidity to fire off the rest of the dish. Superb with the Chardonnay MCC Brut
Two old(er) gals together. Lynne with Chris von Ulmenstein
Master chef Scot Kirton in his kitchen. Eat Out San Pellegrino Chef of the Year, and he took La Colombe to 76th place in the Top 100 Restaurants in the World - 2016
Lynne gets a hug from talented La Colombe sommelier Joseph Dhafana. Read about Josephs incredible journey to wine here
We thought you might like to know that La Colombe has a Winter Special. Valid for LUNCH ONLY (Monday to Thursday) from 4 July 2016 to 31 August 2016 at R350 per person - 3 course menu http://www.lacolombe.co.za/
Dewaldt Heyns tells us about the wines they released and his philosophy of making the best he can from the two different sites they have on Saronsberg, cool mountain vineyards and river valley rocks
A refill of the 100% Chardonnay Brut MCC. This is kept for 3 years on the lees and while sales for the first vintage were slow, they now sell out every years despite upping the quantity. It has a lovely prickle on the palate and the bottle age pays dividends
We began with some sourdough rolls accompanied by one of the best 'butters' we have ever had. They churn their own virgin butter and then mix it with baked bone marrow. To this chef adds some pickled fish to add some necessary acidity. It is topped with some capers, micro herbs and a herb emulsion and an anchovy puree. The fish acted more like anchovy might and was there as an umami flavour with no hint of a fishy smell. A success
Chef serving the canned fish starter that has become a trademark of La Colombe
This time it was filled with fresh seared yellowfin tuna, avocado, shiitake mushrooms in a ponzu dressing. A good blend of freshness, textures and good flavours to complement the good tuna
A huge West Coast oyster flavoured with Kalamansi (a small, tart citrus fruit widely grown in the East, also known as Calamondin), apple and soy. It was a good match for the Sauvignon Blanc that accompanied it
The next course was voted the best of many good courses by most of the people we spoke to; we agree. Some perfectly cooked portions of quail - breast fillet, drumstick, etc, well glazed, crisp on the outside and succulent. Served with a huge scallop seared in miso, a creamy parsnip and corn puree, parsnip crisps, braaied corn kernels, and bok choi . In a hay 'nest' was a caramelised teriyaki sauce to add in small drops to the dish. Served and perfectly matched with the Saronsberg Viognier
So soft steamed Chinese Bao (buns) folded over slices of pork belly, dressed with kimchi, herbs and sesame. Another good course to return for
Then a basalt bomb arrived and when the top was removed, the air was full of smoke. We must admit to feeling a little cheated by this course. The description reads Lamb tongue and sweetbreads. The tongue might have been from a lark it was so small, and tongue is a favourite. Smoked garlic and Jerusalem artichoke accompanied the one small deep fried piece of sweetbread and the dish had quite a sharp sauce. Served with the blockbuster Full Circle red which has flavours of liquorice, dark wood and black fruit
Then to a palate cleanser of Granny Smith apple popsicles smoking on dry ice. Some declined, as they said it would spoil their palates. We disagree, they were refreshing and a good pause.
Saronsberg Seismic Rooi - two previous Saronsberg Bordeaux Blends now combined into one. It will age but is made in the young style. The Seismic name is a nod to the Tulbagh earthquake
Three lunching girls having fun: Nicolette Waterford, Marthelize Brink of Radio Sonder Grense and Malu Lambert
Sommelier Joseph serving the Seismic Rooi
Tender Wagyu beef fillet, rich oxtail, a sweet langoustine tail tasting of the sea, served with peas, broad beans, Romanesco broccoli, spinach puree and mustard with a beurre blanc sauce
Was the next course a dessert or cheese? Some of both, titled 'Three ages of Boerenkaas' (farmers cheese). A cheese ribbon, a puree and an ice cream with onion, rhubarb, walnut and cumin
Wines served with lunch: The spicy and fruity Shiraz, the savoury Mourvedre and the Grenache (our wine of the week) were all great matches for the main courses and for the cheese dessert
Petit Fours: mini muffins stuffed with a blueberry, chocolate and coffee truffles and fudge with popping candy. These were served with good coffee. It was an excellent meal. Thank you Saronsberg for showcasing your wines in this way, it is really appreciated. Good wine should be paired with good food

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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