Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Rhebokskloof Wine Club dinner

We had an invitation from Rhebokskloof to join them for a tasting of their new releases, followed by dinner. The event was an opportunity to thank their loyal customers, who are the highest purchasing members of their Loyalty Club
We don't drive home in the dark after events like this, so we booked an AirBnB room in Paarl on what must have been one of the coldest nights of the year! 
The winery
Roosting Guinea Fowl in the tree, escaping from ground predators. In our family they are known as Guinea fools; just watch the panic as they lose their minds as they try to cross a road!
The Werf with the tasting room
The restaurant was closed
The event was held in the next building
A welcoming glass of 2008 Rhebokskloof MCC; a crisp and dry sparkle from 100% barrel matured Chardonnay. It spent 5 years on the lees in the bottle. They don't make it every year. We liked it a lot
Happy smiling serving staff
The Canapé Menu
Said Canapés: Sticky and crisp sweet tomato tarts, a very rich mushroom duxelle and good rare beef with horseradish cream The 2016 Cellar Selection Hillside White was served
Dinner was in the Hospitality Centre
Our jovial host for the evening was Henrico van Lill, the Tasting Room Manager
Winemaker, Rolanie Lotz then led us into the wine cellar to taste the three new wines
At the entrance are these amazing rocks, still crumbling.
The first wine was introduced to us by Rolanie and her new assistant Karen
It was the 2017 Chenin Blanc, still unlabelled but about to be released. Yeasty green melon and guava on the nose; while very young, the wine is nicely made, complex and layered, with flavours of honeycomb, greengage and plums
Then we tasted the Hillside White, a blend of Viognier (54%), Chenin blanc (32%) and Sauvignon blanc (14%). The blend is still shy on the nose and all three varietals speak at once, which is a bit confusing, so it will need to settle a bit with time, ripe grapes, with honey on the nose and flavours of yellow peaches on the palate
We had a great time tasting the wines and chatting to club members
Then the top of the range 2013 Black Marble single vineyard Syrah. Toasted plums on the nose, rich red berries, plums and cherries on the palate, black pepper mid palate and a hint of molasses on the end
Rolanie explaining how she makes the wine
Time for dinner at the Long Table. The food was to be paired with the three wines we had just tasted
The menu
Lively discussion with dinner
The starter of Slow roasted ginger tomatoes with a spicy red curry, mascarpone and cashew nut crème on baby spinach. It looked simple; it was not, lots of different textures and complex Asian flavours. A good pairing with the wine
The main course of slow braised short rib of beef on the bone with a good jus, seared onions and herb mash and carrots
Dessert, we must admit, sounded a bit daunting. Goat’s cheese can be very funky. But it was not at all. The panna cotta with the jelly topping was creamy and set, the pecan brittle gave good flavour and texture to the cheese. The stone-like pips in the stewed guavas did rather stick between the teeth, but the flavours were good. Served with the 2017 Chenin blanc, a surprisingly good match
The chef and her kitchen staff
Then off we went to our AirBnB self catering room near Nederburg. Special mention must be made of Duane Hendricks, Head Sommelier at Grande Roche and his assistant Shirl, whom we met at the dinner. They were behind us on the very dark road and saw us take a wrong turn down a road which might have been dangerous. They came after us, turned us around and escorted us to the farm on which we were staying. Thank you both so much
Our accommodation was absolutely freezing. Thank heavens for the hot water bottles they left and a small electric fire to warm up the room. Probably lovely in the summer.... The temperature the next morning was 6.5ºC. The large tiled bathroom was like a fridge. 
We had to have some breakfast, so we headed off to Spur in Paarl
They serve this lovely breakfast for R34.90 which also includes two slices of toast and marmalade, (sadly with margarine rather than butter), but it has very fresh eggs and really good flame-grilled bacon. The chips are awful - those made up from mashed potatoes, but who needs chips in the morning anyway. And bottomless real coffee is R19.95
 John had the fluffy scrambled eggs
Then we proceeded to an appointment with owner Dirkie Morkel and winemaker Wilhelm Kritzinger at Bellevue wine estate in Bottelary

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