Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tasting at Simonsig, lunch at Glenelly

Spoiled wonderfully at Simonsig followed by a Birthday lunch at Glenelly
We mentioned to Johan Malan last week that we planned to bring our Dutch friends to Simonsig this week, on our way to attend our friend Peter's Birthday lunch at Glenelly. And they really pushed the boat out for us at Simonsig and made it such a special day for us and especially for Peter
Itumeleng in the tasting room saw Peter looking at the Sabrage sword and then taught Peter how to do it on a bottle of Kaapse Vonkel Rosé. He was thrilled
 Peter removed the top of the bottle perfectly and John managed to catch the cork flying through the air - you can see it at the top of the glass door.
Now he knows how to do it, we expect to drink even more MCCs and Champagnes. As he is a retired Dutch Naval Commander, we think he may have his own sword 
Then we began tasting with the three most popular MCCs that Simonsig produce, the Brut, the Rosé and the Cuvée Royale. They are all excellent and, apparently, these wines are sold in Holland, but only in restaurants
Because lunch was booked for 12.30 and we were meeting others there, we went straight to the Red wines, as these are what Peter likes to drink. We began with the 2013 Tiara, a Cabernet driven Bordeaux blend full of spicy wood and black berries which still needs time to gather its skirts together; the 2015 Redhill Pinotage which begins shy then boom! opens up.  A powerful wine with spicy wood, lots of fruit and licorice and elegance. Next the really impressive 2015 Frans Malan, which is a Cape blend of Pinotage, Cabernet and Merlot. It is still youthful, with cassis on the nose with richness and hints of vanilla, full of spicy cassis and plums and future
Then something very special from the Vinoteque: the 2004 Merindol Syrah has balsam on the nose and soft sweet integrated fruit on the palate, still has time to go. And then to contrast,the 2014 Merindol Syrah, which Itumeleng decanted through an aerator. You can see the relationship. The wine is soft, silky and sweet, with spiced black current jub jub berries, chalky tannins, and dark wood on the long finish. What a treat to compare two vintages, ten years apart
The top wine, The Garland Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, is herbal, with sweet cassis and violets on the nose.  On the palate, the wine had cherry notes, perfume and complexity, so soft and full, it is silky with soft chalky tannins and warmth. Built to last, the wine has such quality and length. We felt very privileged to taste these special wines
Wine Advisor Itumeleng Mohale and Peter with a magnum of Kaapse Vonkel
On to lunch at Glenelly and the menu had to be studied well, as there were so many temptations
This was the menu of the day
The pepper crusted oh-so-tender springbok fillet, served with fresh spanspek melon, a horseradish sauce, pickled vegetables and baby leaves. Lots of flavour.
A very popular starter was the Prawn and Langoustine Bisque with chive cream, which got great applause
The lightly cured hake and mussel marinière, with grilled baby courgette, Mediterranean potatoes and glazed carrots. The hake was pronounced especially well cooked and delicious
Peter ordered the Pork cheeks Grande Mere and was rather envied by a couple of us. It is a beautiful dish, with melting pig cheeks and a very rich jus with lots of vegetables, beluga lentils, and glazed onions and cabbage. This was the perfect dish for the Glenelly Glass Collection Syrah
The Bouillabaisse was generous. It had four pieces of fish - silvers and panga, calamari, lots of mussels, and a gigantic prawn. It also correctly came with a dish of rouille, the spicy sauce you top those tiny croutons with and float in the bisque. Almost too big a portion for one, some had to be left and the bisque could have been a little deeper in flavour. Went with a carafe of Glenelly Glass Collection unwooded Chardonnay
John chose the Beef Rib eye Steak with potato wedges, root vegetables and a mustard sauce, drenched in a wonderfully aromatic and flavourful gravy. He relished the dish
Yes we did have room for dessert. This was the much enjoyed warm melting dark chocolate "biscuit" served with poached figs, and a Chantilly yoghurt
Lynne had to have the Canelé from Bordeaux; she knows Chef Christophe is a master at them. Hard to describe its between a baked pancake and a stiff panna cotta, set and caramelised on the outside, gooey and creamy inside. Once you have had a good Canelé you are hooked for life. Served with sharp caramelised pineapple, a good foil for the sweetness of the dish, and a rooibos and honey ice cream. A very good ice cream if you are a fan of rooibos tea. Lynne is not and it did completely take over the dish, hiding even the honey. Without it the dish was good for her. You may love it
The Rum Baba, a soft pudding cake soaked in rum and topped with preserved sour plums and a Chantilly cream and a plum coulis. Pronounced delicious by the Birthday celebrant
The beautiful views from Glenelly
Vines after harvest
Our waitress taking photos for the group.
Cattle in the far fields
The Hottentots Holland mountains through the vine pergola
We had been to see the glass collection before and made sure the group went downstairs to look at it. Such an interesting end to a lovely day in Stellenbosch

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