Friday, September 14, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Pinotage on Tap, Spring and Summer tasting, Balducci vegan menu, Villiera Clan launch, Carrot & ginger soup, Kumusha blend

Winter beach walks

We’ve had a week of interesting events, food and wine and it has culminated in Cape Wine, the triennial exposition in which South Africa’s wines are on show to the world. It will end tomorrow and we will report next week on the show and on some wonderful recognition which has been given to this country’s wines. We’ve also had more lovely, gentle rain – the sort which would have had us cursing the cold and wet discomfort a few years ago, but is now a cause for celebration as we see the average level of our reservoirs reaching toward 70%; great happiness after a three year drought. Signs of spring are all around with lovely spring flowers appearing at the road sides. We’ve enjoyed them all and we hope you’ll enjoy seeing them here…
This lovely festival at Diemersfontein was graced with beautiful weather in what had been a rather wet week. We hadn’t attended for a while so accepted the invitation with glee. We parked in a huge flower meadow which had some lovely spring flowers to admire

presented by Cabo Esperanca, Ex Animo and Raath Promotions. Four young wine Entrepreneurs got together last week and held a joint trade tasting of the wines they represent. It was a fun evening, with far too many wines to taste!

Balducci restaurant in the V&A Waterfront now has a Vegan menu, in addition to their normal menu, and we were invited to sample some of it at a media event last week. It seems that there is a growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food in the Cape and, when they introduced it after many requests, they were very encouraged by the uptake. We are not vegetarian or vegan, but we have friends who are and we do enjoy eating this sort of food if it is well made. We are a little anti vegan food masquerading as meat. Be true to yourself; if you crave it, eat it. We met three of the owners of the Slick restaurant group, who joined us for dinner. They also own Balducci Asian Noodle and Sushi Bar, Belthazar, Gibson’s and Walters Grill

Villiera Special Release Launch at The Stack     An elegant evening with the Grier family of Villiera, held to launch their new premium wine The Clan. It was held at The Stack in Gardens. We were welcomed with a glass of their Monro Brut
This week’s recipe is suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians, as well as the omnivores.  It has lovely flavours and is then made more exciting by the addition of the sushi ginger hidden in each bowl

The wine of renowned Sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoku. We tasted this wine for the first time today at Cape Wine, the wine exposition which is held by WOSA at the CTICC every three years. We learned from Tinashe that the two wines in the blend were made by Attie Louw on the farm Opstal in the Breedekoof Valley and then blended by Tinashe. He wanted a blend that would go with food and we think that he has achieved this very well. It is available…
14th September 2018

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2018
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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

Villiera Special Release Launch at The Stack

An elegant evening with the Grier family of Villiera, held to launch their new premium wine The Clan. It was held at The Stack in Gardens
We were welcomed with a glass of their Monro Brut, Prestige Cuvée MCC

and we were served this starter of very fresh line fish ceviche topped with a rocher of lime panna cotta. It came with soused onions and thin slices of cucumber. Fresh zingy and exciting, it matched their flagship MCC Monro Brut so well. This has 60% Chardonnay with some Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and is perfumed and yeasty on the nose, a lovely prickle, with crisp limes and lemons and a good richness and complexity. Half the Chardonnay goes into older barrels which gives complexity and maturation. The Pinot Noir has yeast contact. It spends 5 years on the lees and 6 months to a year under cork. This is the 2011 and the 2012 will be released in a month or two
Then it was time to take our places at the long table with the other guests and members of the Grier Family
An amusing opening by Cathy Grier CWM, who handles Sales and Marketing. She says that it was time for the Clan to get together. The Grieg family have always worked together. They are into their fourth generation as a family business. Grandfather Grier arrived in South Africa from the United Kingdom in the 1920s. He studied at Elsenberg and started a poultry business. The second generation of Griers, Robin and Alexander Senior, took it a step further and were involved in developing County Fair, added value poultry business and planted some vineyards. The third generation, Jeff, Simon and Cathy, were more interested in what to drink with poultry! Jeffery Monro Grier CWM is the Cellarmaster and his cousin Simon Monro Grier, the viticulturist. Cathy (née Grier) Brewer CWM, is Jeff's sister. Together they began working on the farm 35 years ago, in 1983. If memory is correct, they were the first brother and sister to earn the Cape Wine Master accolade. And they have now been joined by one of the 4th generation of Griers, Alexander Monro Grier (Xander), winemaker and son of Chef and adventurer David Grier, another cousin. Their other young wine maker is Nathan Valentine and he is not related. That's how the clan works says Jeff
They told us that we would be tasting two new wines. They are also working on a super premium bubble, news of which will come later in the year. 35% of Villiera’s wines are Méthode Cap Classique wines; they are well known for these wines and they are very successful with them. But they felt that it was time for a premium red wine
Jeff told us that Xander is driving membership of the old vines project for their vines. In 2015 they re-assessed the reserve wines. They know that they are quality wines, but they must be different from other wines in the market to continue competing. Part of the difference is using old vines, another is quality and skill in the making of the wines
Their Sauvignon Blanc was not different enough, so in 2016 they made a Blanc Fumé (a wooded Sauvignon Blanc) And this is what we were now to taste
They want to avoid malolactic fermentation, as they want freshness on this wine. They wanted a wine to compliment food. And the wood gives more structure and ageability. They use some new and some older barrels; the cigar shaped elongated 300 litre barrels (similar to Port pipes) maximise lees contact and enhance thiol characteristics in the wine. A portion of the grapes is fermented whole and the wine spends six months in barrel and then six months in the bottle before release. The 2017 is now available
We found that it has richness and ripeness, lush fruit - golden melon, William pear on the nose. On the palate, it has a slight prickle, good weight, loquat and passion fruit first, then some green pepper, smoke and green apple on the end
The second dish was red and yellow beetroot served with creamed goats cheese, always a good pairing and this was served with a square of intense verjuice jelly
Next we tasted the 2018 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc. The wine is a blend from three old blocks of Chenin, each picked at optimal ripeness and also some grapes which were picked earlier. Some is fermented in ceramic eggs, some in 400 litre new and used wood barrels, with some whole bunches and some skin contact. 40% of the pick goes through malolactic fermentation for richness, the balance has none to enhance freshness. It goes through natural fermentation (no added yeast) and they do batonage. These grapes often have some botrytis, but there was none in 2016 and 17 due to the drought. Smoke and gentle fruit on the nose, a good mouthfeel, with lively limes and plums and there is a very satisfying richness on this wine
Journalist Fiona McDonald chatting to winemaker Alexander Grier
Dr Johan Nel who is a serious wine buyer and a customer of Villiera
Journalist Mel Minnaar with stylist Katinka Lombard
The next wine we tasted was the Monro Merlot. Monro is one of the family names and it is used on their Prestige reserve wine labels. We liked this wine so much that it was our Wine of the Week last week. South Africa is not known for its Merlots; much of it is grown in the wrong areas, we often pick the grapes too early and the wines can be tough and harsh. But when they are made carefully and well, they are just beautiful. It is said to be a feminine grape and a wine that women prefer. We think that this will impress both sexes.
Made by Jeff Grier, the wine so reminded us of a good St Emilion; lots of black cherries and incense wood, with minerality and elegance. Richness is their signature on red wines; this is lovely, velvety berry wine with good integrated wood, ripe cherries and cassis berries, milk chocolate and not a single hint of greenness. Long deep flavours of red plums follow with a little salty liquorice and some nice chalky tannins. It calls out for food. Around R200 on the farm
We had it with Pan seared duck breasts with Shiitake mushrooms in Pomme Purée and a good rich jus
And finally, the newest release, Their new super premium red, titled The Clan 2015. An unusual and, we think, unique blend of 86% Cabernet Franc with 14% Carignan. Bruléed berry fruit with violets, incense wood and richness on the nose, with green cassis leaves, cassis, mulberries, forest floor & mushrooms ... and something else ... which of course is the wildness of the Carignan. On the palate, full & dark with cassis and mulberry, rhubarb and dark plums, warmth, dark 90% chocolate and a little liquorice. This wine is complex, structured, grippy and will last for many years. But it is drinking well now. In heavy Stellenbosch bottles, the label has a tartan effect but is, in fact, a grid of all of the family names and it is finished with an applied wax seal. R850 a bottle on the farm
This was paired with tender Springbok loin, baby carrots, and a potato fondant
Jeff told us that he normally only uses Cabernet Franc for his Cape Wine Makers Guild wines. The Clan reflects the close family unity and commitment to quality that has sustained the Grier family of Villiera over decades in the wine business. Attention to detail was foremost in their minds while creating and packaging “The Clan” and no expense has been spared in creating this wine. Only 1400 bottles were produced. To blend a northern French grape with a Southern varietal is unusual and it works. The Carignan portion will vary from 15 to 20 % each year. They have bottled the 2016 and next will be the 2017. It spends 18 months in barrel
Sister and brother Cathy and Jeff Grier, leading members of this successful Clan

Thursday, September 13, 2018

On the MENU this week.Carrot and Ginger Soup

Photograph per kind favour of Genius Kitchen

This week’s recipe is suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians, as well as the omnivores.  It has lovely flavours and is then made more exciting by the addition of the sushi ginger hidden in each bowl

1 tablespoon olive oil - 1 large onion, finely chopped - 1 dessertspoon (10ml) fresh ginger, grated - 1 liter good vegetable stock - 4 large peeled carrots, roughly chopped - Salt and black pepper - half a lemon - 50gm preserved sushi ginger from a jar
Fry the onion and ginger in the oil until they are soft. Add the stock and the carrots and simmer until the carrots are tender. Blend the ingredients until they are smooth and add salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary
When serving, place 3-4 leaves of sushi ginger in the bottom of each soup bowl before pouring in the soup
You can also add peeled naartjie (clementine) segments if you don’t have sushi ginger
Serves four

MENU’S Wine of the Week. Kumusha 2017 Red blend, the wine of renowned Sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoku


We tasted this wine for the first time today at Cape Wine, the wine exposition which is held by WOSA at the CTICC every three years . We learned from Tinashe that the two wines in the blend were made by Attie Louw on the farm Opstal in the Breedekoof Valley and then blended by Tinashe. He wanted a blend that would go with food and we think that he has achieved this very well
It is available on the wine list at the Test Kitchen where Tinashe is the Sommelier, as well as on the menu at the Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club, all restaurants owned by Chef Luke Dale Roberts. Don’t despair, it is also for sale at Wine Concepts and other specialist wine merchants in Cape Town
Tinashe is Zimbabwean and this wine, he says, “is produced in SA by a Zimbabwean who is advocating (for an) African wine language”. The name means “My Home” in chiShona, his home language, and the label is an apt illustration
The wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Cinsault. Very elegant on the nose, it is perfumed with violets and incense wood, with a little rose geranium. Soft, sweet, smooth but with intense berry fruit on the palate, with nice soft chalky tannins, it ends with gentle blonde oak notes. This is a great wine for red meat and game and would also be able to support some spicy seafood dishes

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A tasting of wines for Spring and Summer presented by Cabo Esperanca, Ex Animo and Raath Promotions


Four young wine Entrepreneurs got together last week and held a joint trade tasting of the wines they represent. It was a fun evening, with far too many wines to taste!
 Mark Herd tasting bubblies with Jane Eedes. Jane is very excited that Dainty Bess her own MCC has been getting international recognition and scoring high points
She had the bubblies on her stand for tasting. Very tempting
 David Clarke of Ex Animo and Giorgio Nava  (Carne, 95 Keerom and 95 Parks restaurants) were having interesting conversations about wine
David Clark's selection of interesting wines
There were some familiar and some new wines, some of which are from the young turks in the Swartland who are pushing the envelope, not always appreciated by the old and staid wine trade. But the young always have to learn on their own to reinvent the wheel and find out what works and what doesn't
Only one thing we can say about these wines, we like them. Matthew Copeland is a great winemaker. He has made another Ancestral Wine which made very good money at the Nederburg Auction last Saturday. Congratulations Matthew. Vondeling is represented by Kyle Martin - Cabo Esperanca Wines. He also has Keermont, Olifantsberg, Blackwater, Oak Valley and Vermont gins  on his good list
The tasting was held at Hail Pizza in Bree Street, This was early on before the crowd got heavy
Dane Raath of Raath Promotions with his sales representatives Karin Venter and Chloe Walker.  Dane was showing Silverthorn, Allee Bleue, Beaumont, B Exploration Vintners, Raats, Sterhuis, Teddy Hall, Bouchard Finlayson and Chamonix wines. It is a very impressive list with several great wines

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pinotage on Tap 2018 at Diemersfontein Wine Estate

This lovely festival at Diemersfontein in Wellington was graced with beautiful weather in what had been a rather wet week. We hadn’t attended for a while so accepted the invitation with glee. We parked in a huge flower meadow which had some lovely spring flowers to admire. This is a Moraea vegeta, a member of the Iris family
And several Spiloxene capensis, a star flower
The walk took us up to the family's manor house,
the ‘Groot Huis’, where we could pick up our tickets
Lots of people still arriving
A Selfie place
And we began with a glass of the Diemersfontein Pinotage. Tickets cost R295 per person and included a goodie bag and a glass on arrival. Pinotage and other wines flowed abundantly from the barrels too. All included in the price. This year we would have Freshly Ground on stage with Jesse Clegg as the supporting act
Dry ice cream makers, with unusual flavours
Lots of food vans if you needed some lunch
and, thankfully, some of them took cards
Two smiling ladies on their truck
and things to buy on other stalls
David Sonnenberg, owner of Diemersfontein, meeting guests and enjoying the sunshine
He was about to make his opening speech
People were spreading out their blankets, putting up their chairs and getting out their lunch while listening to the very good bands. Jesse Clegg was playing when we arrived and the main group was the very popular Freshly Ground
Our lunch was Spare ribs, and a Pulled pork bun both with chips
We bought a bottle of Diemersfontein Chenin Blanc to go with it
You could take part in Welly Wanging - throwing a Wellington boot
to see if you could get it into the barrel
The Thokozani stand with its friendly staff, where you could taste some Ovation Spumante
A charity auction happening on stage
It was a large crowd, very well behaved and enjoying the day
Quoits. Ring the bottle!
Crossed swords of marshmallows and strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
Also included in your ticket were the three chocolate fountains,
with mounds of marshmallows and strawberries
You could have as many as you liked. This is the dark chocolate fountain
There were two with milk chocolate
Very generous and very yummy
Freshly Ground on stage
Delivering a glass
and enjoying the day!
Getting in the groove
Dancing with your friends
The Spumante Fairies
Helpful staff
filling the empty glasses
Time to wend our way home along the flowery path to the car park
The Festival and concert continued
and more beautiful spring flowers. These are Morea, otherwise known as the Cape Tulip