Thursday, August 24, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Foxcroft lunch, Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal, CWG Showcase, John Collins & Ex Animo tastings, Perfect crackling, Restless River Chardonnay

A sure sign of spring. Two squirrels romping in an oak tree at Delaire Graff
The play continued and a new litter can be expected in a few weeks
The wine tasting season is upon us. For nearly two weeks we have been to wine tastings almost every day, sometimes more than one in a day. What fun, you may say. It is, but we taste a large and wide selection of wines without drinking most of them. It is taste, spit, make notes and move on. So the little bit of damp wintry weather we’ve had has given us a good excuse to come home, sit in front of the fire and actually enjoy a glass or two of something good in the comfort of home. Click on the links below to open the stories or go directly to MENU on our website
Lunch at Foxcroft    
Where to go to celebrate Lynne's birthday this year was easy. Foxcroft has been on our To Do list for a while. We met the restaurant manager Aaron Farquhar at a media lunch at La Colombe earlier this year and we had heard very good reports of the food and the ambience. In a cold and rainy week, the weather played fair and the clouds parted, so we had a chance to eat outside on the terrace. Foxcroft is in the High Constantia centre, just before you make the turn for Groot Constantia on Constantia Main Road.
A Guided Vertical Tasting of Bouchard Finlayson's Hannibal     
We were invited as media to this small vertical tasting, guided by the winemaker Chris Albrecht. Three wines in each flight were to be tasted blind. Two of them would be different vintages of Hannibal. The third wine would be something different but similar. We were to see if we could spot the odd one out. Hannibal is a Sangiovese led blend of six Italian and French varietals, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Barbera and Mourvedre, none of them Bordeaux,. Each one is barrel matured for up to 16 months. It was awarded 4½ stars in Platter. The blend differs every year according to the harvest. When introduced, the blend was frowned upon, but it has a good following and has had great success
Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Preview     
This is one of our best tastings of the year and this year we could taste 44 of the upcoming auction wines, guided by each winemaker, and several more after the tasting. We are heading for Wine Auction time in the Cape. The Cape Winemakers Guild auction will be held at Spier again this year on Saturday the 30th of September. This auction is open to everyone so, if you are interested, do register with them. Further registration information and details on the Telephonic and Proxy bidding options are available from the Cape Winemakers Guild Office via email at or call +27 21 852 0408. We hope to be there
Wine Concepts’ Seductive Sauvignons at The Vineyard   
Once a year, Wine Concepts asks a group of Sauvignon producers, white - Sauvignon Blanc and red - Cabernet Sauvignon, to showcase their wines at this prestigious wine showcase. Your ticket gets you a good wine glass and you walk around the room tasting to your hearts delight. Very often, you can chat to the man or woman who made the wine while you taste. And the Vineyard Hotel supplies good snacks to help you cope with all the great wines you are tasting. 42 wine farms were there on Friday. And if you care to eat, you can book for dinner at the Vineyard and even stay the night, they offer special rates
John Collins trade tasting at Den Anker, V&A Waterfront   
Hallelujah, it's Trade Tasting time again in the SA wine world. Two tastings on one day make it rather hard to stay focused. The first was at Den Anker in the Waterfront: John Collins' stable of excellent wine farms and independent producers that he represents; all top names in the industry. It was a very popular and well attended tasting
Ex Animo Spring Portfolio Trade Tasting at Auslese   
We were very happy to be invited by David Clarke to this tasting of wines, even though we had to come after John Collins' tasting. There are some wild cards here, some very interesting and impressive wines and winemakers, some very new to us, and some we really respect. On the list are Craven; Hogan; Intellego; JH Meyer - we like and have bought these; Joostenberg, we like and have sold and do buy these; Julien Schaal; Luddite - know them well and buy the wine; Mother Rock; Restless River has an impressive Chardonnay and other good wines - we have visited and enjoyed; Skinny Legs Wine Co; Spioenkop Wines we know are good; Testalonga; Thorne and Daughters, another 5 star Platter; Trizanne Signature wine, we have sold and bought; Van Loggerenberg Wines and Vuurberg. There are some Zoo Biscuit wild child wines in there and some from the Swartland. We need to get to know more of them. We only had an hour to taste and only touched the surface
MENU's Wine of the Week. Restless River Chardonnay 2015   
When one is near the end of two tastings in the same day, having tasted over 60 wines, many of which were young and somewhat tannic, sometimes quite acidic, it takes a very special wine to blow the cobwebs out of one’s mind and delight the palate
Craig and Anne Wessels’ Restless River Chardonnay from the Hemel en Aarde valley has impressed many of the best critics and was scored 96/100 by British critic Tim Atkin and 95 by Jamie Goode. The 2015 is in perfect balance. A subtle but intense mineral base supports delicious citrus fruit in perfect balance. It is barrel fermented but the wood does not overpower the fruit; again, a perfect balance
The 2015 we tasted was an unlabelled pre-release sample; the photograph shows the 2014
What's on the Menu this week? Not a recipe but one of Lynne's best tips for failed crackling; you can save it.
You all know how frustrating it is when the crackling on pork fails. Our gas oven has recently had an overhaul and a very expensive new thermostat fitted. But it did not get hot enough to cook our roast of pork on Sunday; it had to be finished in our convection microwave. But the crackling, despite being well oiled and salted was rubbery. But Lynne knew how to solve that

Take the crackling off the roast and put some into a small Pyrex dish. Cover loosely with a sheet of kitchen paper towel. Make sure that the skin has a light dusting of salt. You might have to do this in batches, but it is quick. Then put it into a microwave. Put it on full power for one minute, you will hear lots of popping and exploding. Do this until it has crackled nicely but is not burnt. It might still be a little flexible when you take it out, but leave it aside for a few minutes and it will crisp up really nicely. Drain off the fat before doing another piece. Don't, under any circumstances, leave off the paper or your microwave will be covered in fat and be horrible to clean. And don't give it longer than a minute at a time - it can catch fire

24th August 2017

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.

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