Friday, September 08, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Matjiesfontein continued, Sutherland, Winemag Sauvignon blends, Dave Hughes benefit, Steenberg launch, Two Seasons Broth, Nguni Malbec

Bud break signals the end of winter in the vineyards in front of Buitenverwachting’s 18th Century Cape Dutch manor house in Constantia
Another hectic week. We continue the story of our jaunt to the Karoo and have stories to tell you of wonderful wines and a dinner in honour of one of our South African wine industry’s legendary figures, so please read on...
Matjiesfontein and The Lord Milner Hotel, continued    
We awoke refreshed to see nice weather, much warmer than we thought it would be. We went down to breakfast to find that there are two options, or both combined. You can have just the buffet breakfast, or something cooked off the menu or both. We started with some juice, black coffee - real, from a dispenser, a little weaker than we like it - and a very good mini croissant from the buffet. 
Visiting the South African Astronomical Observatory at Sutherland    
We would have liked to have gone to see the stars at night from SAAO at Sutherland, but driving 110 kilometres in the dark there and back from Matjiesfontein was not for us. Another time, we hope to stay in Sutherland and do that tour. The observatory is so high that it has the best view of the skies in South Africa and it is far away from any light pollution
Winemag Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend & Wooded Sauvignon Blanc Report 2017    
Held at Nitida, this annual award deserves attention; and a sponsor. South African wine drinkers, you are missing a trick! Do we need to bang heads together to get you to pay attention? It is just not cool to ignore blends and only drink single varietals. Many of the famous, most lauded wines of the world are blends - Bordeaux's red and whites particularly. You do not know what you are missing. Yes, some of the bulk producers are filling tanks with bulk wine and selling it cheap as weekend wine, but at the top end of the scale, you find examples like these superb wines. Go on, get with the In Crowd and buy a bottle of one of the wines below and see how it changes your life. Only in South Africa do people ignore the best wines being made for them. The rest of the world snaps them up. To quote wine writer Jancis Robinson, "... Semillon alone is rarely responsible for great white Bordeaux. ... it is in conjunction with Sauvignon Blanc that it displays its dazzling best”
Steenberg Celebrates the release of their new range of wines    
We were invited to Steenberg's Bistro Sixteen82 on the first day of Spring to come and celebrate the release of their three new wines, all named after the ships involved in the Battle of Muizenberg: a 2017 Ruby Rosé, The Sphynx 2017 Chardonnay and the 2015 Stately Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend, which would be served with lunch. The grapes for these wines come from other areas like Robertson
A tribute to a living Legend in the South African wine industry. Dave Hughes     
We attended the second dinner and wine auction last week. It was held at Neethlingshof Wine Estate. Why two? There were so many people wanting to pay tribute to Dave Hughes, that they had to have two. Neethlingshof donated the venue; the food and the wines served were also donated, the chefs gave their time to the cause and all of the wine in the auction was also donated. He is much loved and respected in the industry
Winter and Spring are vying for attention at the moment, some days are warm with spring berg winds, then the North Westerlies sweep in across the sea and bring chill and welcome rain. This week's soup can be served in either weather. It is fresh and light with some Asian flavours but full of warmth from the fresh ginger and five spice powder. It is a great way to use up left over roast pork or chicken. And you can add a dash of Tabasco or chilli sauce should you wish it warmer. If you use raw meat or chicken add them just after the leeks and onion and make sure they are cooked through before serving. If you want to make this vegetarian you can. You could use mushrooms or silken tofu
1 T oil - 2 leeks, sliced - 1 small onion, chopped - 2 diced carrots - 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced and chopped - 1 clove of garlic, chopped - 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger - ½ teaspoon five spice powder - 180g cooked pork or cooked chicken, chopped - 750 ml chicken stock - 50g green bean noodles or egg noodles - ¼ cup fresh bean sprouts - ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley - ¼ cup chopped celery tops - 2 or 3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced - salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, sauté the leeks and onion in the oil till they are transparent and soft, then add the carrots and the fennel and continue to cook for a couple more minutes. Put in the garlic and ginger and five spice powder, stir to warm through and then add the meat or chicken and the stock. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the noodles and cook until they are done. Then add the sprouts and the herbs and season to taste. Just before serving add the spring onions
Malbec is apparently the fastest selling wine in Europe and, while much is made in Argentina, Australia is busy planting quite a lot of it. We have some here in South Africa, often used as a component of blends but it is only 0.5% of our 'national vineyard'. Darling has 9 hectares and is producing some very lush wine. This wine comes from négociant Charles Withington who owns the Darling Wine Shop. It is grown on Oranjefontein farm in Darling. Nguni are the colourful indigenous African cattle. Charles sent us a bottle to try and we liked it so much that it is our wine of the week
It has that typical Malbec savoury herbal nose, with prunes and incense wood. On the palate, it’s full of soft sweet berries, cherries and prunes, soft chalky tannins, marmite salt and perfume
Who could resist? R90 from Charles Withington, who delivers. Or, you could do yourself a favour and go and visit Darling for their Spring flower show next week and grab some then. Darling Wildflower Show We’ll be there too, on Friday 15th

8th September 2017
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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