Thursday, January 31, 2019

Survivor Wild Yeast Shiraz launch at Carne on Kloof

Last week, we were invited to the launch of the new Wild Yeast Syrah in the Survivor range from Overhex winery in Worcester. It is always appreciated when a wine launch is held in a good restaurant and this time it was at Giorgio Nava's Carne in Upper Kloof Street. We knew we were in for a good event
The restaurant is in a 19th Century house with a small covered stoep. We were warmly welcomed ...
... with a glass of Survivor Sauvignon Blanc
The range also includes Chenin Blanc, a Wild yeast Chardonnay, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon
Giorgio also has his other restaurants, 95 Keerom Street, Carne in Keerom and Carne at Parks in Wynberg, which we wrote about last year. Here he chats to Michael Fridjhon who had come down from Johannesburg for this and a weekend function
We spotted this interesting line-up of wines on the bar and discovered that these were the wines we would taste. Ben Snyman, the winemaker responsible for the Survivor range, said that he wanted to introduce us to the wines that had influenced his style of wine making and the results
Winnie Bowman CWM and journalist Mel Minnaar
We take our seats and the wines are poured. Vicky de Beer is the Food Editor of Rooi Rose magazine
With a screen of Survivor Pinotage, Chef watches the room. We were served really lovely tempura vegetables as canapés
Caroline van Schalkwyk, who manages the marketing for Overhex, welcomed us and talked about the history of Survivor, The cow stops here; it jumped off a truck and landed in the lush vineyards. It lives there still and so began the brand. (No, the cow wasn't branded). Harvest has begun in the Overhex valley
Ben Snyman is passionate about his wine. This was to be an inspirational tasting, 4 Survivors and 4 foreign wines that have inspired him on his travels through wine. He says it is all about terroir. Overhex sources the wines from all over the Cape; Bot River, West Coast, Robertson valley and other places. Five winemakers bring their experience of old and new world wine to their wine making. These are the wine areas that have influenced Ben and the Survivor wines are how he expressed those influences
The menu for the day
We began the tasting with Domaine du Tariquet 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Gascony in France. It was so interesting to see the name of the grape on the bottle, which is not usual in France. The French concentrate on terroir. The wine is made and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Clean on the nose with hints of pyrazines, nice integrated fruit, very French. Crisp and textured with limes, loquat, lemon; nice and warm as is the area it is farmed in, very long flavours. Paired with the Survivor Sauvignon Blanc, which has a similar nose, gentle warm country wine on the nose, on the palate a slight metallic ping, yellow fruit, more Chenin flavours than Sauvignon, very drinkable.
After studying, Ben went to work at Chalk Hill winery in California for 5 months, where he learned to make Chardonnay. Newton 2015 Unfiltered Chardonnay from the Napa Valley was next. It was wild yeast fermented. Herbal miffy nose, complex with lemon, pineapple and stewed apple. A smooth entry with marzipan and wood, lemons, limes, chalk, a bit overworked. The Survivor Wild Yeast 2017 Chardonnay was better, with perfume and cooked apple on a pleasant nose. Silky, and the citrus lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours linger for a long time
The glasses on the tasting sheet. The Pauillac producer was unnamed. It’s a Private Selection 2010, a Bordeaux blend. Ben learnt that barrel selection, as they do in Bordeaux, adds value to your wine, as you can select different characteristics shown in different barrels, like different fruit characteristics, burnt sugar, nuts, vanilla wood, forest floor, to add to the blend. Their red wine maker Willie Malan went to France and brought back the experience they need to make the Survivor Cabernet Sauvignon 
The next flight began with a left bank Pauillac Private Selection 2010, a Bordeaux blend. Very much as expected, deep dark savoury fruit, with a dive-in nose, Marmite, cassis: berries and leaves, incense wood. Mouth puckering tannins of youth, chalky with cassis, blackberries, dark roast, mushrooms and forest floor. Needs a lot of time
The 2017 Survivor Cabernet Sauvignon has vanilla oak richness and fullness, more cherry than cassis on the nose. Dry chalky tannins that stick to the teeth, cassis, balsam, long flavours, shy fruit and, at the end, sunshine on the palate tells you it is South African. Ben and Willie also went to Australia to learn about the wines there. Australia makes twice as much Shiraz as we do, and SA e wanted more big jammy Shiraz
So, next we tasted a benchmark Shiraz from Penfolds, 2014 Bin 128 Coonawarra. This is a wine Lynne cut her teeth on in London in the 1980's when it was so popular. On the nose a little bloody, with sesame putty, white pepper, initially shy fruit, then rhubarb and mulberry peeked through. Soft, sweet liquorice and warm fruit, very familiar and friendly, warm mulberries and raspberries, followed by good umami. She scored the nose 13 and the palate 17.5! The Survivor Shiraz is from Botrivier grapes, barrel fermented on wild yeast. A pretty but light nose of red berries. Chalky tannins, Morello cherry on the palate with a long, memorable end
Time for lunch and we could drink any of the Survivor wines we had tasted. We began with restaurant-made perfect ravioli, filled with finely minced slow baked lamb shoulder. This superb dish was dressed with crisp fried sage leaves, shaved parmesan and a really delicious lamb jus and sage butter. It went SO well with the Shiraz; whoever did the pairing is a genius
Then came a family style platter for the table with a selection of perfectly grilled Carne meats. Tri-tip, Spider steak, Flank steak, Pork chops and some grilled vegetables and porcini mushrooms. But who grills the dreaded Brussels sprouts? 50% of the audience love them
A formaggi plate of 4 local cheeses for each of us came with a cherry or grape preserve and an orange marmalade
NOT a survivor
Broadcaster Guy MacDonald of Magic Music Radio enjoying the day
Comparing footwear, or is it manicures?
Guy with Winnie Bowman. It was a great launch
And on our way home, we saw the MSC Cruise Liner Musica anchored just off the coast. She was unable to get into port as the South Easter wind was howling and her high sides make entry to the harbour dangerous
Clifton beach is sheltered by Lions Head, so it looked calm
and we went down to the Sea Point beachfront for a closer view of her

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

This Week's MENU. Russell's on the Port, Blaauwberg, Indian Chapter, Durbanville, Oranjezicht Market, Pavlova, Nitida Grande Matriarch

The classic view of Table Mountain across Table Bay from Blaauwberg on a perfect Summer day

Thank you to the lovely readers who have said complimentary things to us about our new layout on the web and blog pages. Feedback is essential and we take your comments seriously.

The year is already warming up and we are receiving some exciting invitations to events which we look forward to describing to you when we’ve been to them

This weekend will see us at one of the great events of the year, the Hemel en Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration. This week’s stories follow, click on the headline, the photograph or the green words at the end of the paragraph to see the whole story
On the way home from our Summer Holiday, we made a reservation for lunch at Russell’s on the Port hotel and restaurant at Velddrif. We had lunch there last January and vowed to be back. It has both great food and a very relaxed atmosphere. It’s next to the Port Owen Yacht club

The view from the beach at Blaauwberg! Cape Town is doing turquoise so well this year. The fine white sand is almost blinding. A little breezy, but this side of the coast does get a bit of wind. It is a great place for kite sailing and surf boarding, you just have to be careful not to be taken out past Robben Island

We are fans of good Indian food and Lynne, who is a member of a Facebook restaurant page called Cape Town Restaurants, the Good, the Bad and the Nasty, found that The Indian Chapter in Blaauwberg was recommended by members as one of the best in Cape Town. We were going to be in the area, so we made a booking for lunch during the week. The restaurant is owned by Prim Reddy, a TV and Radio personality…

This is always the time of year when we have several good friends visiting from overseas. And doing a wine tour with them is always fun. Diana Loots studied for the Cape Wine Academy Diploma with us way back in the 90s. We took her and her husband Philip on a tour of some Durbanville wine farms. We began at Nitída…
On Saturday, we visited the Oranjezicht City Farm Market at the Waterfront and met some old friends from the brief time when we, too, worked in markets like the Biscuit Mill. It is a dynamic place selling good comestibles from local suppliers to keen foodies and featuring the fresh organic fruit and veg produced at the Oranjezicht City Farm. It is now open on Saturday and Sunday so you can go and buy your fresh produce for the following week…
Friends joined us for lunch on New Year’s day and, as this time of year has the best selection of tropical fruit and berries, our dessert was a classic. It’s not difficult to make at all, remember to take your eggs out of the fridge a few hours before. Lynne made the meringue the day before and had a challenge. Our gas oven is playing up and would not light. The temperature in the oven is impossible to control and so she risked cooking this in our combination oven where you can set the temperature to the desired 110°C degrees and cook in the Convection mode – she just had to use a lined Pyrex or porcelain dish instead of anything metal. It worked well…

The 2015 Grande Matriarch MCC from Nitída in Durbanville is, unusually for a bubbly, 100% Pinot Noir and it so impressed and surprised us that we have made it our wine of the week. It has cherry and raspberry on the elegant nose and on the palate the best expression of cherry ever, so quaffable. It has good length and depth, elegance and lovely maturity from 39 months on the lees. So exciting and so delicious. R225 on the farm and as you see, also available in magnums for great celebrations…

Things to do
Sunday, 27th January      Groote Post’s First 2019 Country Market. For further information on the Groote Post Country Market. Contact I Love Yzer: 022 451 2202 or / • • @GPCountryMarket
Saturday, 2nd March       Harvest Festival at Muratie Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.  For further information and bookings contact Nina Martin at Muratie on 021 865 2330/2336 or

Friday & Saturday, 1st & 2nd March      RMB Starlight Concert at Vergelegen. Details and tickets at
24th January 2019

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019

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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169

Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005

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 our website and ancillary works are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are often 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, pleaseclick here to send us a message and if you wish to be  removed from our mailing list

Two Durbanville Estates and lunch at Durbanville Hills

This is always the time of year when we have several good friends visiting from overseas. And doing a wine tour with them is always fun. Diana Loots studied for the Cape Wine Academy Diploma with us way back in the 90s. We took her and her husband Philip on a tour of some Durbanville wine farms. We began at Nitída
and who should we run into in the tasting room, but Rudger van Wyk, Assistant winemaker at Starke Condé and 2018 Young Winemaker of the Year, here in conversation with Nitída Sales & Marketing Manager Jacus Marais
We sat at a table in the tasting room and had a really good tasting of almost their entire range
We began with the two MCCs, both honouring owner Bernhard Veller’s late mother, who helped them buy the farm 20 years ago. It was then a sheep farm, now a very successful wine farm. The Matriarch is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the Chardonnay to the fore in taste. Golden on the nose, clean lemon and lime flavours, nice and dry and very elegant with a good mousse. R140.
The Grande Matriarch is, unusually for a bubbly, 100% Pinot Noir and it so impressed and surprised us that we have made it our Wine of the Week. It has cherry and raspberry on the elegant nose and on the palate the best expression of cherry ever, so quaffable. It has good length and depth and lovely maturity from 39 months on the lees. So exciting and so delicious. R225
The 2018 Wild Child wooded Sauvignon Blanc is barrel fermented with wild yeast. Gentle pyrazines on the nose, soft silky and full on the palate with tropical granadilla and ripe peaches, big with some elegance
The 2017 Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc spends 10 months on the lees and has a golden nose with figs - leaves and fruit and green peppers, On the palate, full on nearly ripe figs with peach nectarine, sea salt and caramel in layers. Superb. It inspired Lynne to make a salad of these flavours with goat’s cheese
The 2017 Semillon has a rich nose of sesame and linseed. It’s lovely and smooth on the palate with white pepper, fig and lemon with a hint of spice
The Tinkery this year 2017 is 100% Viognier which spends 10 month in older barrels. Peaches, nectarines and honey on the nose. The balance of fruit acid and honey is on-going and there are wood notes on the end
Coronata Integration 2016 is a 51% Sauvignon Blanc and 49% Semillon. A sophisticated white blend with crisp limes and sesame on the nose. On the palate, it is nutty with pears and lime, a long finish with salt on the end. Great elegance, it deserves putting down
Then the 2018 Riesling which has golden honey and herbs on the nose and palate, it is off dry with herbs on the end with thick honey, but is waiting a bit to reveal all. It needs some time. Thankfully, no terpenes as yet
On to the reds. The 2016 Pinot Noir won the Best Pinot trophy at the 2018 Michelangelo Awards. It is perfumed with roses and fruit, light juicy fruit, supple with warm alcohols. The 2017 Pinot Noir has a ruby nose with good berries, soft and gentle at first, then complex and warm
Their top of the range 2015 Calligraphy is a classic Bordeaux blend: 50% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon 21% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petite Verdot. Green herbs, leaves and dark berries, then the Cabernet Franc shows; incense wood and then the Petite Verdot peeps through with violets. On the palate, liquorice, umami, salty rich with plum pudding fruit, cherries and soft chalky tannins. Wow!
Shelley is a great asset in the tasting room and is very attentive. This was a really great tasting of some superb wines
And then it was time for some lunch. The Durbanville farm restaurant we had wanted to go to is, for some reason, closed on a Wednesday, so we made a booking at Durbanville Hills, where we had not been for a long time. This is the favourite restaurant of the diners in Restaurant Weeks and we could see why. The views are spectacular
We ordered two wines with lunch and chatted while we waited for the food
The menu
We enjoyed the renamed Rhinofields 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with our starters, now labelled The Cape Mist
The rich and spicy High Noon Shiraz 2016 went so well with the meat dishes
We ordered by the glass and the glasses were generous
They served some cheesy ciabatta slices with a dip
The Beetroot Tart Tatin topped with reconstituted dried figs was inspiring. Great for vegetarian friends
The fish cake had good texture and lots of fish and was not filled with potato or breadcrumbs.. Not sure it was smoked salmon, it looked like white fish. Topped with a guacamole sauce, one prawn and served with orange and lemon segments
Crusted and seared venison tataki, with small butternut pancakes and a sticky sauce
This was the Venison Skewer. Incredibly tender almost as soft as fillet steak, which it tasted like and very generous
On a caramelised onion and butternut tart, a good meat jus and sprinkled with dukkah
The nicely pink beef sirloin on pappardelle pasta, with shimeji and other mushrooms and a tomato sauce
John's without the mushrooms was not as medium rare as he ordered
Our bill
And then off for one of the best views in Cape Town and some wonderful wine at De Grendel
We were shown to a table in the shaded terrace room. We began the tasting with the Koetshuis 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, one we often buy. Grapefruit and lemon on the nose, a nice mouthfeel, fresh fruit acidity with good pyrazines, figs and green peppers, with long flavours. This is still rather young and needs time
Then the delicious 2018 Chardonnay Op die Berg. Golden fruit, summery peaches, apricots, lime and light golden oak
The 2016 Pinot Noir is light red with an integrated berry nose, red berry on the palate but a little too much oak for us. Some crisp freshness and an umami soy on the end. Both of these wines are made with grapes from the cool, high altitude Ceres Plateau
Douglas Swanson, the Sales Manager, came and took us through some of the wines. The 2017 Shiraz is from the Firgrove area in Stellenbosch, pepper and smoky on the nose; sweet, warm fruit, plums, blackcurrants and nice chalky tannins
The 2017 Viognier has a very pretty nose, like the Armani perfume Lynne wears. White fruit, gooseberries, lovely warmth, good balance of acidity and long. It finishes dry, which we like, rather than too sweet
The 2017 Pinotage has balsamic notes, spice and pepper, very aromatic with plums, rhubarb and cinnamon on the nose. Plum fruit, dry tannins, more rhubarb and spice; it needs time. But then, for us, Pinotage needs 10 years
And then the pièce de resistance and we had none to this fantastic wine. Rubaiyat is a Bordeaux Blend without Malbec. It has the classic Bordeaux nose too, complexity and elegance, some wood supporting and dark fruit. On the palate, silky soft fruit, then liquorice, lovely soft chalky tannins, red plums, black and red cherries and it ends on cassis. So beautiful. Some went home with us, as did the Chardonnay
and gave us a short cellar tour
In the barrel cellar
And explaining how they do things at de Grendel
Thank you so much Douglas
Topping up the red wines in the French oak barrels, replacing the Angels’ share
And a view of the goats on the other side of the dam
Trees, lots of grass and a few ducks and geese
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