Friday, November 30, 2018

Simonsig launches the Grapesmith and celebrates 50 years of wine estate status with lunch at the Mount Nelson

Simonsig is celebrating 50 years of wine making this year, so we were delighted to be invited to the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel for a launch of something new: The Grapesmith wines, Die Kluisenaar and Mediterraneo
What else would be the welcome drink than a glass of Simonsig's Cuvée Royale MCC
A bit of sparkle lifts the spirits
Outside on the terrace at the Pink Lady. The venue was in the Green Park Room and Terrace
Matt Dietchmann, FNB Manager of the Vineyard Hotel
with Simonsig's CEO and viticulturist Francois Malan
Cellarmaster Johan Malan, The Grapesmith, and his wife Diane
Sales manager Jacques Jordaan got the party started
Johan explained that his father Frans Malan (an esteemed pioneer in the South African wine industry) planted many varieties of vines on Simonsig. Now that the drought and approaching global warming are beginning to take its toll on our vineyards, Johan decided to start a new project to see if some of the more southern Rhône varieties that they had, that are tolerant of drier conditions, might be used to make some different wines. We must look down the road to a drier future, he says. There is always something new and innovative at Simonsig. He began last year with a wine called Die Kluisenaar 2016, a blend of Roussanne and Marsanne which he submitted for the Cape Winemakers Guild auction in 2017. This is now the first Grapesmith wine; a new brand and a new range of wines for Simonsig, Johan's project taking them in a new direction.. He got the word Grapesmith using the same context as Wordsmith. The Afrikaans word Kluisenaar means Hermit in English, and the connection is with Hermitage in France where many of these grapes are used, and in the blend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
It is not about primary fruit in these grapes, but secondary flavours, texture and minerality;
as they age they develop viscosity and glycerols. They keep their freshness
with beautiful acidity and concentration, which self adjusts with time
The lunch menu was paired with the two wines
Chatting while we taste the wine and wait for the first course to be served
The very professional serving staff
Tinashe Nyamudoka, head sommelier at The Test Kitchen
chatting to Martelize Brink of SABC Radio Sonder Grense
The girls from Die Burger
Die Kluisenaar 2016 is a blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne made in 12 to 7 year old oak. It has the fully integrated warm country wine nose, with nutty, sesame seed notes, even some olive oil, golden apples, loquats and perfume from Armani. Lovely entry; crisp, perfumed, the mouthfeel is gorgeous, limes, lemons, citrus full on with some marmalade wood on the end. It cries out for food. R240 on the farm
And it was served with all Lynne’s favourite seafood on one plate with salad leaves, including some local dune spinach. Smoked salmon, seared tuna, a perfect scallop, avocado and an avocado lime mayonnaise and a large peeled prawn topped with seaweed, which brings out the sweetness of the prawn. A marriage made in heaven
Perfection from another angle
beautiful colour
Johan telling us how he made the Kluisenaar
A smiling Sales Manager Jacques sitting with journalist Fiona MacDonald
Head sommelier at The Twelve Apostles, Gregory Mutambe. Greg is also Chairman of BLACC
Next was Mediterraneo, a blend of 57% Roussanne, 37% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc and 1% Verdelho. There is sweetness on the nose, warmth and perfume of peaches and white plums, spice and light smoke. Full on the palate with amazing layers of fruit, & warm alcohol. It stays and develops into a superb wine with long flavours of white peach, plums, apricots and nuts which coat the whole of one's mouth. Lime and lemon remain on the end. So refreshing and leading you to food. It begs for a creamy sauce or Mediterranean food. This is our wine of the week this week. R240 on the farm
And it found its perfect match in the main course of Crown roasted chicken breast - the most tender and moist piece of chicken both of us have ever had. The leg had been made into a sage stuffed roulade and there were flavourful roast chicken tortellini, a celeriac purée beneath with wilted spinach and exotic mushrooms. The chicken jus was perfect too and the dish made the wine sing even louder.
You can see how moist the breast meat was
The Mount Nelson's Executive Chef, Rudi Liebenberg
To accompany the dessert, our favourite Brut Rosé from Simonsig. Crisp and full of raspberry flavours
Divine dessert! A Raspberry and Chocolate Delice entremets with 6 layers. Lynne detected a crisp nutty biscuit base, a layer of almond marzipan, an almond cake, caramel, a raspberry mousse topped with a raspberry jelly? Topped with raspberry and blackcurrants. So professional. This was served with a rich tonka bean ice cream and went so well with the raspberry flavoured Brut Rosé MCC
And they gave John a surprise Birthday plate as well, with fruit jellies, fudge and coconut ice
Thank you! Two marvellous wines, and a fantastic meal to go with it - thank you so much Simonsig and Chef Rudi

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