Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wine tasting and lunch at Groot Phesantekraal, Durbanville

We had an invitation to visit Groot Phesantekraal wine farm in Durbanville and taste the food of Chef Juan van Deventer, known as 'The Shy Chef'. So last Friday saw us taking a great trek around the outskirts of Durbanville to avoid the closure on the N1 motorway. It was very hot out on the plains; our car registered 39ºC on arrival. It is harvest time and it was an appropriate opportunity to taste their Chenin blanc and Pinotage grapes, which had just been picked
We arrived at 11.40.  We were offered the choice of tasting the wines out in the courtyard or in the Tasting room
We chose the latter where it was lovely and cool
It’s an old (1767) farm building which has been tastefully restored
Wine tastings can be held in the old hen house
We love this chandelier made from old decanters
The wines for sale and tasting. The wine is made by Etienne Louw
We began with the 2018 Sauvignon blanc, which has figs fynbos and green pepper notes. Lovely full mouthfeel, with a slight grapefruit bitterness on the end
The 2018 Chenin Blanc has apricots, peach and guava with racy acidity, and a flavour of wood on a non wooded wine. It is buttery, almost like a Semillon, different and complex
The 2016 Anna de Koning wooed us. It is their flagship Chenin, winning many awards and high points. The grapes are from trellised and bush vines. It is matured in big old barrels for 6 months. Nougat on the nose (unusual but really nice), it is nutty, clean and full of green melon; then the wood adds its finishing notes. Long warm flavours and lots of complexity
The tempting 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is rich, sanguine, spicy with balsam wood and dark cherry and cassis. On the palate, cassis comes to the fore. Rich full flavours, some liquorice and cherry appear and it has nice fruit acid and soft tannins - all indications that this is one which is made to last
The 2016 Berliet Pinotage (named for the owner’s restored 1923 vintage Berliet motorcar) is matured in French and American oak 1st, 2nd and 3rd fill barrels for 12 to 13 months. Pretty, perfumed fruit, prunes and vanilla on the nose, grippy tart tannins with sour plums on the palate; it needs time to settle
They do have a Shiraz, but we didn’t get to taste it
Some of the old farm buildings are intriguing. Was this a pigeon loft?
The holes seem to have been sealed by centuries of whitewash and plaster
Time to go and eat in the cool restaurant
We loved these pots and wondered how they got the cascading plant to grow without water. They are very realistic plastic!
The menus: Breakfast
and a light lunch menu
The Lawn Menu for Saturdays
Desserts and drinks
We ordered wine by the glass ....
and plumped for the Anna de Koning
Lynne ordered the Asian spiced belly of pork, which comes dressed with an orange caramel sauce,
a crisp fried minced pork wonton, a fresh pea purée and is topped with a raw beetroot, apple,
red cabbage and radish coleslaw. Sadly, no crackling and it was rather fatty, but had good flavour
John had an excellent medium rare Sirloin steak; very good flavour and very tender, which is rare these days
Dressed with a rather fishy herb butter (Café de Paris?), crisp wedge chips and heaps of crisply fried onions
The dish was topped with fresh rocket and grated parmesan cheese
This is not the same as the plates we saw at La Motte last week
It is a modern replica and actually relates the history of Groot Phesantekraal
Lynne ordered the Chocolate brownie and received a full on dessert: a rich, solid chocolate brownie
topped with nectarine slices and strawberries; accompanied by cookie crumbs and nuts, topped with a raspberry sorbet
John had the Treat of the Day. A chocolate and coffee cake with chocolate cream icing, topped with flowers,
strawberries and two meringue stars, a raspberry coulis and some honeycomb pieces
The double espresso was very good AND properly served with a glass of iced water
You rarely find this in the Cape, very normal in Italy
All the servings were generous. Durbanville does not do Nouvelle Cuisine
The Shy Chef, Juan van Deventer. He has worked in London and in Florida
and at the Showroom Restaurant in Cape Town with the late Bruce Robertson, the Marine Hotel with Peter Tempelhoff
and the Birkenhead House Boutique Hotel – both in Hermanus. His wife Maret is Front of House and runs the restaurant
A pair of very Dutch wooden clogs to decorate the foyer
The heat haze over the very distressed vines
Looks like rain was on the way. It didn't arrive
The restaurant building from the rear - note the date above the doors
The main farmhouse with its classic Cape Dutch gable which shows the dates 1720 and 1810
Two experienced gardeners maintain these amazing bushes in their perfect hemispheres. The soil is so hard and dry
We had a lovely visit. We recommend that you try this farm for its wine, food and friendly service
Thank you all at Groot Phesantekraal

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