Friday, March 03, 2017

Survivor launches the new vintage at Spek & Bone, Stellenbosch

Survivor is one of the brands of the Overhex winery near Worcester and we were invited to taste the new vintage  of their wines at Bertus Basson's new wine bar and small plate restaurant, Spek & Bone (it's pronounced boorna - the Afrikaans name of his dog; means “beans”) Spek is his pet pig (translates as “bacon”). It is exciting when good wine is paired with a top chef's food, so we were delighted to accept, especially when they sent a minibus to take us there and back. It has now become de rigeur for transport to be provided when we attend events where we will need to taste the wines, thank heavens
The restaurant is right next to the iconic Oom Samie se Winkel (Uncle Sammy’s shop) in the historic town of Stellenbosch
We sat outside under the leafy canopy
Welcomed by friendly staff with a glass of Survivor Sauvignon Blanc
Bertus with Greg Landman of Country Life
Spek and Bone have their portraits on the wall
Bertus is a lovely man and is much loved by the media. Here he gets a kiss from Winnie Bowman CWM and a hug from Fiona MacDonald
Doing what Bertus does best
Inside, seating is at the counter
Good craft gins and some good wines; Cape Wine Masters' Guild and French on the menu
It is a lovely place to have lunch
The Survivor lunch menu
First, some canapés. Very unusual Mac and cheese deep fried 'Tots' with a dipping ketchup
Scrumptious crisp squid in paper cones, with divine aioli and a few chips
Discussing the wine. The 2016 Sauvignon is partly barrel fermented, with good tropical fruit and nice crispness. The grapes come from DB Rust’s farm Constantia near Malmesbury
Gerard van der Wath of Overhex International told the story of the Nguni cow (that jumped, not over the moon but out of the truck and into the vineyard), which gave the name to the wine Survivor. It escaped the abbatoir and became a pet. He told us that these wines, which all come from the Swartland, are now vinified at Darling Cellars to avoid the grapes spoiling on the long hot trip to Worcester. This improves the quality
Winemaker Ben Snyman
Taking notes as Bertus explains the lunch menu. He says that the food he serves here is the food he wants to eat, ditto the wine. It is not tapas, it good local South African food. Check it out on Facebook.
The new Survivor MCC (85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir) is made by Melanie van der Merwe who makes very good MCC under her own brand, Tanzanite. She has been working with Overhex for several years to produce this wine. Its vintage is 2011. It has spent five years on the lees in the bottle. It is yeasty, bready with apples and a hint of raspberry on the nose. Golden Delicious apples and some soft raspberry hints on the palate
Keeping the Chardonnay cool on a warm Stellenbosch day
Freshly baked and still warm sourdough bread with an olive oil mousse and an Ash cream
A cool glass of the MCC
We ate family style. A perfect steak tartare, meat fresh and tender, well chopped, not massacred, with cornichons and capers, served with freshly fried potato crisps
A leafy beetroot, feta and onion salad
The Wild Yeast Chardonnay (shouldn't that be the Wild Beast Chardonnay?) is full of citrus and ripe apples on the nose and cooked apples on the palate. It has some sweetness and goes well with food
Well received fish tacos dressed with a Yuzu dressing, avocado guacamole and crisp cabbage. A good pairing with the Chardonnay
Then came the lightly sautéed Gnocchi, lovely and buttery and well flavoured, with mushrooms and parmesan cream, topped with a crisp crumb which gave good texture
Not universally popular, but Lynne loved it: Roasted fresh yellowtail fish, topped with octopus. We had this with the Chenin Blanc; grassy and warm land aromas, with lovely full-on jujube sweeties on the palate, and a finishing hint of honey, but it is dry. Such a good food wine
The Survivor Chenin Blanc
Bertus preparing the dishes of monkey gland basted sirloin, with roasted cauliflower, served puréed and roasted. Nothing to do with monkeys or their glands, it's our traditional barbecue sauce, full of tomato, garlic, Worcester sauce, chutney and some heat. Spices up meat a treat
Ready to serve, and to pair with the Pinotage, which goes so well with spicy food. It has a very intense nose of mulberries and plums. On the palate, chalky tannins, salty licorice with raspberries. Lovely wine. The chalky tannins mean that it will last a while too. The steak was very tender but, for us, could have been much more tangy and spicy
Tired chef!
We also tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon with the steak. It has pure cassis on the nose with pepper and spice notes. Full sweet cassis berries and ripe cherries with good supporting chalky tannins and a long finish make this classic Cabernet one to buy now and drink in 3 to 4 years time
Dessert was a Peppermint Crisp ice cream cone which took us all back to our childhood

And finally a good espresso with some shortbread biscuits. A tour de force of good wines and excellent food
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017

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