Thursday, October 26, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Prescient Chardonnay, Groot Phesantekraal, Veritas tasting, Caroline's White Wine review, Robertson Wine on the River, Asparagus, De Wetshof Bateleur

A yellow-billed duck takes off from a pond
The “gurus” of food and wine marketing appear to believe that everything should be crammed into the couple of months before Christmas. We are turning down invitations because we have already accepted others for the same time and date; and we sometimes have more than one event on the same day. Great fun, but huge pressure when we have to write, edit and put it all together when we come home. Thank goodness we love what we do! This week, we’ve capped the stories to those you see below and have held some over till next week; we already have seven stories in the pipeline for next week
See all this week’s MENU stories at or click on these links:
Another competition from This time with sponsors Prescient and some great local Chardonnays achieved very high marks. There were 11 wines scoring 93 to 95 this year and we tasted them at The Stack in the Gardens. During the disastrous ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) years Chardonnay became popular worldwide and our winemakers, embracing the challenge, planted it. Sadly many, who had not worked with this noble grape before, gave it far too much new wood contact and put many South Africans off drinking it; it was a tough ride for the industry. But times have changed, much more experience has been gained and we now have much success with different styles appearing. Sales are growing and the wine is being enjoyed. It is also winning many accolades from top judges here and worldwide. We can and do grow and make superb Chardonnay

For many years many of the Cape’s highly awarded wines, especially Sauvignons Blanc, contained wine from this prolific Durbanville farm owned by André and Ronelle Brink. They recently rebranded themselves Groot Phesantekraal and released their own 2016/7 wines with new branding,. We were invited to go and sample them over lunch in their restaurant on the farm. (They were previously known as Phizante Kraal). You can do so yourself this coming weekend at the Season of Sauvignon in Durbanville
Sadly, we had to miss the Veritas Wine Awards this month as we were away with our Wine Club in Bot River, so we were very keen to go and taste some of the top medal winners at this year’s open tasting at the CTICC. KWV did not enter any of their really vintage wines this year, so there was no rare wine to taste but there were many great current vintages and some older ones from the farms that entered. It is always a very sociable evening. There were 638 entries this year, and there were 71 Double Golds, 193 Gold, 654 Silver and 554 bronze medals. If you want to see this year's results in full click on the link:
We are always delighted if we are invited to Caroline's wine reviews; her selection of wines is usually very much to our taste. This year her White Wine Review was held again at the Table Bay hotel and was a great event, with lots of newly released wines from familiar farms to taste and new wines we have not heard of before as well as some older gems. The many MCCs and other bubbles were arranged in a row in the first room; what a lovely way to start a tasting. The wines of the evening that really impressed us were the Richard Kershaw Elgin 2016 Clonal Selection Chardonnay, the Anthonij Rupert Cape of Good Hope Caroline wine blend, a superb food wine, Almenkerk Chardonnay, Cape Chamonix Chardonnay, Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc from Springfield and Nick van Aarde's White Lady Chardonnay. Obviously the Chardonnays were really hitting the spot! We try but we cannot taste all the wines

This year we were invited to this, one of our favourite festivals, for just one day which was a pity, as we really wanted to go for longer - there is so much to do at the festival, but we were told that there was no accommodation available; it is very popular. We were transported by minibus from the V&A Waterfront with an early start planned for 8am (it is a 2½ hour plus drive). We had taken an Uber to get there as parking at the V&A all day would cost rather a lot. We actually left an hour late because we waited for late-comers, which compromised our limited time in Robertson. We arrived back in town at 7.45 pm. And, because we were delayed waiting for someone to collect something from us which they had left on the bus, we finally arrived at home at 9h20. It was an interesting and fun but very, very long day

Asparagus is in season; it is short, but a good one. We had some tonight, just lightly steamed for a couple of minutes, dusted with parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon. Or try melted butter and some fresh lemon zest. Lynne steams hers in the microwave for just 2 minutes. Other ideas are to brush the asparagus with olive oil and flaked salt and quickly cook them on the braai for a few minutes until charred a little; they will be slightly smoky and delicious
Or blanch the spears, drain well and cover with a rich thick cheese sauce to which you have added 2 egg yolks, a teaspoon of mustard and a dash of Worcester sauce. Cover with the sauce and brown under the grill for a few minutes. Arrange some freshly blanched spears on top of a quiche near the end of baking, or put them into a frittata. Or wrap each steamed spear in Parma ham and serve as a canapé. Enjoy
This, for us, is the top of the range as Chardonnays go. Full of limestone minerality on the nose and palate, with hints of green limes as well and perfumed with William pears, lemon drops and gentle incense wood. Full on the palate, with apples, limes and some good chalky tannins; nicely crisp and crying out for some delicate meat, seafood or fish dish with a rich sauce. Just released this week and R417 a bottle. Very good value is the magnum at R545 (prices are from the farm)

26th October 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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