Thursday, November 16, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Bellevue 1953 & restaurant, Ocean Basket Summer celebration, Diners Club Wine Maker of the Year, Pollo Orvietana, Groote Post SeaSalter

Beach huts, Muizenberg
In the 1970s, a system of wine bottle neck “bus tickets” was introduced by the Wine and Spirit Board. On these tickets, up to three coloured stripes designated origin, vintage and cultivar. The flaw in the system was that the public assumed that the more stripes there were, the better the wine. As the third stripe denoted “cultivar” it was translated as meaning that a single cultivar wine was better than a blend. It has taken many years to recover from this flaw and, while red blends have become respectable, only recently have white blends achieved serious recognition. This week, our Wine of the Week is a white blend and we’ll tell you next week about the great wines we tasted at a white blends awards ceremony. Please click on these links to see this week’s stories:
We visited Bellevue Wine Estate in Bottelary recently to taste their wines and they told us that their new restaurant and wine tasting venue would be opening soon and that we would be invited. This launch took place last week and it was also their opportunity to launch an iconic new wine, 1953 Pinotage, made from the vineyards planted on Bellevue 64 years ago. Pinotage vines (a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault -aka Hermitage- propagated by Professor Abraham Perold in 1925) were planted on Bellevue in 1953 by PK Morkel. The grapes for the first commercially produced Pinotage were harvested from these vines and made into this original South African wine which sold under the Lanzerac label, owned at the time by Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery. Bellevue is an historic wine estate (established in 1701) with its original Cape Dutch homestead built in 1803. The modern new facilities complement the original farm buildings

Over the last year, we have been asked by Ocean Basket management to sample new ideas in their menus and give suggestions. Last week, we were invited to Canal Walk Ocean Basket with several other members of the media to hear about and taste what they are currently launching. This was their Summer Celebration, where we could taste some of the new ideas they have for food in the restaurants. They have been moving to a more Mediterranean style and doing their best to work around the diminishing supply of sustainable fish. And we were told to come hungry. And this after the lunch at Bellevue!

Minerality in wine is 'a good thing'; it adds to the complexity. Sometimes, a little salt is found in wine. It is not a negative flavour and adds some nice savouriness, it helps to highlight other flavours and aromas in the wine, as it does in food and it often comes from the same areas. We look for it in wines from Darling, Durbanville and other West Coast areas. Groote Post has some in this new Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend just released by the Pentz family of Groote Post and it is an impressive wine. We were invited to taste it and six of their other wines this week at the Cape Grace
These awards will be presented on Saturday 25th November in Franschhoek. We have been invited and hope to be there if we get accommodation. It is a long way to drive home after midnight.
Winemaker of the Year Finalists: Category - Pinotage
·         André Scriven - Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve 2016 (Robertson)
·         Christiaan Groenewald - New Cape Wines - Arendskloof Pinotage 2015 and Eagles Cliff Pinotage 2017 (Worcester)
·         Clayton Reabow - Môreson Widowmaker Pinotage 2015 (Franschhoek)
·         De Wet Viljoen - Neethlingshof Pinotage 2016 (Stellenbosch)
·         Niël Groenewald - Bellingham Homestead Pinotage 2016 (Franschhoek)
Young Winemaker of the Year Finalists: Category - White Wines
·         Charl Schoeman - Simonsig Roussanne 2016 and Roussanne Marsanne 2016 (Stellenbosch)
·         Murray Barlow - Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2016 (Stellenbosch)
·         Philip Viljoen - Bon Courage Chardonnay Unwooded 2017 and Noble Late Harvest 2016 (Weisser Riesling/Gewürztraminer) (Robertson)
·         Wade Roger-Lund - Jordan Blanc de Blancs Méthode Cap Classique 2015 (Stellenbosch)

What is on the Menu this week? Pollo Orvietana - Chicken with Kalamata olives and Balsamic vinegar
We first had this lovely summery dish at Morgenster when, several years ago, we were invited to lunch with owner Giulio Bertrand and it was prepared by his chef. If you can get hold of the Morgenster Balsamic and their Olive Oil it will be superb. Lynne cooked it for friends this weekend as a simple supper and it was delicious, so we thought it might be time to reprise this recipe.
8 jointed chicken pieces – seasoned flour - Extra Virgin olive oil - fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and oregano) - 2 bay leaves - 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
16 kalamata olives - 3 or 4 large peeled potatoes, cut in quarters or eighths - Balsamic vinegar di Modena
Dust the chicken joints with flour, braise with herbs until golden in olive oil. Add olives and stock, and par-cook chicken for about 15 minutes. Add potatoes for the last 15-20 minutes, so that they will be cooked at the end, but firm. When all is tender, ensure that the stock/juices are reduced until consistency is slightly syrupy. You might want to pour this off into another pot, as you don’t want your chicken/potatoes overcooking to pulp. Add generous dollops of vinegar five minutes before serving and swirl all the syrupy gorgeousness to coat every morsel. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with last minute drizzles of extra virgin olive oil and chopped parsley. (By courtesy of Christiaan van Graan-de Groen – former chef/butler to Mr Giulio Bertrand, Morgenster Estate)
Menu's Wine of the Week. SeaSalter from Groote Post in the Darling area
is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Semillon and Sauvignon components were made separately and then blended. 40% of the wine is wooded for 4 months in French oak barrels, the rest is made in tank. We were so impressed with this wine. R250 a bottle on the farm. It does indeed smell of sea mist with some kelp and herbs and minerality too. It sparkles on the palate with lovely fruit acids, a tingle on the front of the tongue, rounding on the end from the Semillon. Refreshing, It has had wood and lees contact and the salt stays on the palate at the end. And it is a food wine. Quite French in style, we suspect that it is headed for some awards in future

In next week’s MENU: White blends, Distell 5 Star brandies Wine Concepts Champagne Fest
16th November 2017

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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