Friday, March 29, 2019

This Week's MENU. Active Sushi, Ken Forrester, Kleinood, Banoffee Pie, Kleinood Viognier, Forrester Old Vine Chenin

Fishing on the rocks near Gansbaai, Western Cape

This is wine country and the harvest is near its end. We hear that the quality is generally good because we have had a long, cool ripening time, but we are still in the middle of a drought and the volume of the harvest is quite low. The weather experts are predicting another winter of low rainfall, so don’t think that, because the dams are at about 75% of capacity, we have enough water. Brace yourself for another season of water restrictions along with the promise of more “load-shedding” as people switch on their electric heaters. We have just ordered a truck load of firewood to fuel the little wood-burning stove which warms our house. The carbon emission from that is much less than all the partially operative power stations working with poor quality coal to try and keep up with demand for power. So do your best to conserve energy, water and all the necessary resources, but, Importantly, do your best to have fun, eat well and drink the good stuff. Enjoy the weekend, support your local wine merchant and bistro. They need you

The need for regular intake of Sushi is compelling, so this week we tried a new place in town called Active Sushi. They must have the worst signage we have ever seen - or not seen as you can see from this photo. Yes that white haze is the name in neon. It is in a cursive script that is almost impossible to read from the street when you are driving slowly past. They are in the Portside Building, 4 Bree Street. The wind was howling and we found parking very easily at 7 pm

An invitation from Kleinood Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to visit them and taste their Tamboerskloof wines was happily accepted. We arrived as asked at 11 and were boisterously greeted by three lovely, friendly Bouviers des Flandres, belonging to the owners, engineer Gerard de Villiers and his wife Libby, who is an architect. Gerard de Villiers is famous in the wine industry for the superb wineries he designs. And Kleinood is a Green farm doing everything possible to put back into the earth what they take out. Kleinood means something small and precious and this 12 hectare farm certainly is that. The story of how they do this is on line and is so worth reading….

We received an invitation to visit Ken Forrester Wines in Stellenbosch to see the new tasting facility, taste the Chenin Blancs and then have lunch at 96 Winery Road. A lovely welcome was a glass of their Sparkle Horse Chenin Blanc bubbly, poured for us by Roxanne Martin…

On the MENU This Week. Banoffee Pie
It is frustrating when, after a good restaurant meal, you simply have no room for dessert and you see one of your favourites on the menu. This happened to Lynne recently and it doesn’t happen often, as she rarely orders dessert, unless it’s an old favourite like this. We know you all do a lot of entertaining in summer, despite the hot weather. Lynne thought she would give you a simple but delicious recipe which takes very little time or effort to make, as many of the ingredients could come from your store cupboard or a quick trip to a local supermarket. Might work well at the coming public holidays. And NO, it is not slimming or Banting

MENU’s Wines of the Week. Kleinood 2018 Viognier. 
and a wine we wish you could taste is  
Ken Forrester 2007 Old Vines Chenin
The Kleinood Viognier, we think, is one of the top three wines from that varietal produced in South Africa at the moment. It is hand-picked on different dates to ensure that the wine reflects the full flavour spectrum of the grape. It is wood fermented and now has 11% Roussane added. It is full of peaches and apricots, with perfume and incense from the wood on the nose. Crisp and fruity with some complexity, the Roussanne shows as an added component and is discernible. There is just a golden touch of oak; peaches and cream remain on the palate. Delicious. Definitely a wine for spicy, complex food and with seafood. R156 per bottle or R936 per case of 6 from the estate


At Ken Forrester, we had a huge treat. A bottle of the 2007 Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc was opened to see how well it ages. It was very impressive; we were encouraging Shawn Mathyse, the Cellar Controller, to enter this into major competitions that have vintage awards. We wish you could taste it. It was so good. A nose of golden fruit and golden oak with hints of Riesling and some of Chardonnay. On the palate, richness in spades, truly amazing deep flavours of cooked apple and quince, long and in balance, it is so memorable. We predict it will win new awards and demonstrates how well our white wines can age. Do try the current vintage, it is also a great wine.  




29th March 2019


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The new Ken Forrester tasting room; lunch at 96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch

We received an invitation to visit Ken Forrester Wines in Stellenbosch to see the new tasting facility, taste the Chenin Blancs and then have lunch at 96 Winery Road. A lovely welcome was a glass of their Sparkle Horse Chenin Blanc bubbly, poured for us by Roxanne Martin
It spends 9 months on the lees, 9 months in the tank, and 18 months in the bottle
and is full of crisp apple and pear flavours with a zingy mousse
The tasting room renovation is finished and we really liked the feel of the room
It is relaxing, informal and comfortable, with doors open to the outside terrace
Soft colours, lovely terrazzo tiles on the floor and a big leather sofa to collapse into
This was the old barrel cellar, but it has been repurposed to welcome you
The new barrel cellar is now next door
The first thing we spotted was barrels of wines destined to be blended into the 2019 FMC
Officially Forrester Meinert Chenin, but it also has its informal name, F'ng Marvellous Chenin
Caroline van Schalkwyk's intern Nicola, PR Consultant Caroline, Lynne and Shawn Mathyse, the Cellar Controller
We moved outside to a table on the shady terrace with lovely mountain views across the vineyards
We began with the Petit Chenin, their commercial bottling, which you will find in many supermarkets, wine shops
and on many wine lists. It is very affordable and pumps quite a bit above its station. Rounded, crisp and satisfying
A range of home made biscuits, sold in the shop. The biscuits with the herbs are made with butter and cheese
and a little flour....! OMG. Much nicer than water biscuits
Then the Ken Forrester 2017 Old Vines Reserve Chenin Blanc and a huge treat, a bottle of the 2007 to see how it ages. It was very impressive; we were encouraging Shawn to enter this into major competitions that have vintage awards. The 2017 is pale yellow with a perfume of pears; it has a crisp tingle on the tongue, hints of wood and long flavours of ripe apple and plum. The 2007 is our Vintage Wine of the Week. We wish you could taste. It was so good. A nose of golden fruit and golden oak with hints of Riesling and some of Chardonnay. On the palate, richness in spades, truly amazing deep flavours of cooked apple and quince, long and in balance, it is so memorable. We predict it will win new awards
Time to try the FMC. The 2017 has a good balance of residual sugar, balanced by fruit acidity, Incense wood, it has spent 12 months on the lees with selective pickings throughout the harvest, (7 on this particular vintage) The perfume is worthy of a dash behind one’s ears, like good Chanel. It has a lovely mouthfeel, is complex and layered with a touch of honey flavour and texture from the botrytis on the last picking. They then blend different barrels of different pickings, and different zones until they get the final perfect blend of Chenin. The 2015 has a golden nose, hints of oak, more Chardonnay than Chenin at present. It has elegance and incense wood, long deep flavours of lime, lemon and apple and just waiting to mature. A food wine for sure
The 2018 FMC (not yet bottled) is a spicy Chenin with some wood notes on the nose, ripe apples, plums, long & deep with good acidity to balance the sugars, lemon, lime and that wonderful hint of honey botrytis. Can’t wait to see how this matures
Then a preview of the Dirty Little Secret Two. Made from grapes which are sourced from very old dry land vineyards in the Piekenierskloof region, planted in 1965. This wine is a blend of grapes from 8 different vineyards and three different vintages. Made to age, a 20 year wine. So complex with cooked apples, almost a Tarte Tatin on the nose. Round and full on the palate and then an amazing fruit burst on the tongue. The acid/fruit/sugar balance is perfect. And it says loudly "Put me with food, rich, expensive food please." A WOW wine. And it will be costly, the One was around R1000 a bottle
We then were given a taste of the Roussanne 2016. Riesling-like on the nose but not terpened, with hints from wood one new barrel was used. At first, a Rock n Roll wine, a bit wild and naughty, then it turns serious and says "Pay Attention"! A lovely oak hint on the palate, with peach and pale mulberry; hints of herbs and lime. Another of Ken's food wines. Well he is a gourmet, and that is what he and we love

Next we moved to the restaurant owned by Ken and his brother Allan, 96 Winery Road, which is just down the road from the wine farm. The good news is that 96 Winery Road is one of the Winelands restaurants taking part in Restaurant Week 'Autumn Edition' 2019 (18 April - 5 May). Don’t forget to book, you will love this food
Meat being dry aged in the fridge; Wagyu prime rib on the left and Chalmar sirloin on the right
So you now know where to go for great meat in the Cape
The Menu
You can choose the tasting menu and it is very good value
The Chef's Specials of the Day
and on the table, The Barrel 2017, 100% Mourvedre made in two American oak barrels, fined with egg white, and not filtered. They bottled 170 x 1.5 litre magnums and 10 x 3 litres double magnums, one of which was served to us. Perfumed dark fruit with spice on the nose, full-on dark fruit on the palate, vanilla oak, a little chocolate, wildness, mulberries, rhubarb, cherries and good warm alcohol 14.5. So good with meat dishes and amazingly approachable for such a young red wine
The back of the bottle - story of its naissance
Freshly baked mosbolletjies with good olive oil. Perfection
The New Style Sashimi in a sweet, hot, sour Asian sauce topped with mayo, sesame seeds. spring onions and ginger
Refreshing and very good fish
You should have seen the envy in the eyes of those of us who did not order the starter of Pork Belly. Look at that crackling!
Lynne ordered the crisp Panko calamari, with cous cous and a Parmesan cream, So tender inside the crisp coating
Louw Strydom, Ken Forrester’s Commercial Manager with Allan Forrester
The Venison Carpaccio topped with rocket and Parmesan cheese
A main course of the fish of the day, which was oven baked kingklip on a bed of mixed vegetables
Lynne went against her usual choices and had the 200g Hollandse steak with a pepper cream sauce and those really irresistibly crisp chips. Cooked medium rare as ordered, it was tender and the aged beef was so impressive in flavour, as was the rich peppery sauce
Another envied dish was John's Duck and Cherry Pie, a fixture on the menu. He has been eating it for years (first at Ken’s previous restaurant Gatrile’s in Johannesburg) and he cannot resist ordering it each time we come to 96 Winery Road. The chef has changed it slightly in that now it is a stand alone pie, which resembles a wine amphora. Previously, one was served a slice from a much larger pie
The pastry is buttery, crisp and flaky and the contents just as expected, rich duck and sharp cherries
No one could manage dessert, but coffees were ordered before we departed, very replete

Thursday, March 28, 2019

MENU’s Wines of the Week. Kleinood 2018 Viognier, Ken Forrester 2007 Old Vines Chenin

The Kleinood Viognier, we think, is one of the top three wines from that varietal produced in South Africa at the moment. It is hand-picked on different dates to ensure that the wine reflects the full flavour spectrum of the grape. It is wood fermented and now has 11% Roussane added
It is full of peaches and apricots, with perfume and incense from the wood on the nose. Crisp and fruity with some complexity, the Roussanne shows as an added component and is discernible. There is just a golden touch of oak; peaches and cream remain on the palate. Delicious. Definitely a wine for spicy, complex food and with seafood


R156 per bottle or R936 per case of 6 from the estate

At Ken Forrester, we had a huge treat, a bottle of the 2007 Old Vine Reserve Chenin blanc was opened to see how well it ages. It was very impressive; we were encouraging Shawn Mathyse, the Cellar Controller, to enter this into major competitions that have vintage awards
We wish you could taste it. It was so good. A nose of golden fruit and golden oak with hints of Riesling and some of Chardonnay. On the palate, richness in spades, truly amazing deep flavours of cooked apple and quince, long and in balance, it is so memorable. We predict it will win new awards and demonstrates how well our white wines can age

On the MENU This Week. Banoffee Pie

It is frustrating when, after a good restaurant meal, you simply have no room for dessert and you see one of your favourites on the menu. This happened to Lynne recently and it doesn’t happen often, as she rarely orders dessert, unless it’s an old favourite like this. We know you all do a lot of entertaining in summer, despite the hot weather. Lynne thought she would give you a simple but delicious recipe which takes very little time or effort to make, as many of the ingredients could come from your store cupboard or a quick trip to a local supermarket. Might work well during the coming public holidays. And NO, it is not slimming or Banting
Photograph courtesy of Blog do Sidnei Coelho
1 packet of plain digestive biscuits – 120g melted butter – 3 bananas – half a lemon - 1 tin of Caramel condensed milk, Nestles Treat – 250 ml of whipping cream – optional: 1 or 2 t of whisky – chocolate curls – pecan nuts
Put the biscuits into a food processor and break them up to a rough crumb. Or put into a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin. Put into a bowl and pour over the melted butter and mix well. Take a loose-bottomed cake tin, approx 20 cm, and line with a disc of baking paper. This makes it much easier to cut later. Press the biscuit crumbs firmly onto the base. Then slice the bananas and make two layers of them at the bottom of the pie. Squeeze over a little lemon juice to keep the banana white and to add a little contrast to the very sweet caramel. Pour or spoon on the caramel and cover the bananas. Put it into the fridge to set. Just before serving, whip the cream and top the pie. You can add a little whisky to the cream if you like and you can sprinkle over some chocolate curls. Some people like to add some nuts to this pie, but these are all optional extras and are not traditional
For a dinner party, you could make individual pies. Make them in soufflĂ© dishes so that they don’t have to be turned out and sliced
You can make your own caramel by boiling tins of condensed milk for hours, but save the planet's resources and just buy the ready-made one

Active Sushi supper

The need for regular intake of Sushi is compelling, so this week we tried a new place in town called Active Sushi. They must have the worst signage we have ever seen - or not seen as you can see from this photo. Yes that white haze is the name in neon. It is in a cursive script that is almost impossible to read from the street when you are driving slowly past. They are in the Portside Building, 4 Bree Street. The wind was howling and we found parking very easily at 7 pm
We had reserved a table and the restaurant was busy; 
we suspect from office workers eating before going home at this time of day
We like the quirky decor of modern and old mix. A 'mural' of old decorated plates and a Persian carpet, good chairs,
a plush sofa bench and very plain but serviceable tables. And bamboo plants on the tables and in the windows
We took along this wine which we had been sent by Groote Post to sample. It’s the new vintage of a wine we had already made our Wine of the Week in a previous year. SeaSalter is another superb Sauvignon blanc from Darling (with about 10% Semillon) and, if you want the perfect wine to pair with sushi, this is it. We enquired if they charged corkage and it is R60 a bottle. We were not very impressed with the wine list and, as they charge R45 for a glass of quite ordinary white and R55 for a glass of red wine, we were happy to pay it. One very nice touch is the frozen grapes to cool down your wine instead of putting ice blocks in it and suffering the dilution, not that we would. The staff were fairly friendly and efficient but anonymous. We really like it when they introduce themselves. They were busy so we didn’t get a chance to ask them. We discovered, from the bill that our waitress was called Sanele
The drinks menu. We'd not heard of many of the wines, but the selection of Bubblies is very good!
Tablecloths are sheets of white butcher’s paper, so you can have fun doodling while you wait. Service was reasonably quick.
We had a Hyperli special, a platter of 32 mixed sushi for R165. If you count, you can see we were treated to an extra piece. We asked for no cucumber and they were happy to oblige. The salmon was very fresh on the sashimi and roses. We liked the modern sushi with the drizzle of a warm chilli sauce, which was filled with what tasted like pork loin. Perhaps chicken? And the prawn inside/outside rolls were fine. However, they really let themselves down with the rice. Some of it seemed like it was hours, if not a day, old and was a sticky mush that felt as though it would glue our teeth together. It so spoils things like salmon roses and other pieces. We always look for nice fresh pearly rice with sushi
Our bill for the corkage and service for the total with the voucher

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tamboerskloof wines at Kleinood Wine Estate, Stellenbosch

An invitation from Kleinood Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to visit them and taste their Tamboerskloof wines was happily accepted. We arrived, as asked, at 11 and were boisterously greeted by three lovely, friendly Bouviers des Flandres, belonging to the owners. Engineer Gerard de Villiers and his wife Libby, who is an architect. Gerard de Villiers is famous in the wine industry for the superb wineries he has designed. And Kleinood is a Green farm doing everything possible to put back into the earth what they take out. Kleinood means something small and precious and this 12 hectare farm certainly is that. The story of how they do this is on line and is so worth reading. 

We were warmly welcomed by Marisca van Zyl, their Marketing and Sales Manager
A rill runs from a pond at the owners’ house, down to another pond in front of the tasting room. The dogs were focused on the three white ducks, who know how to keep just out of reach
Freedom. Libby de Villiers came to take the dogs for a walk and the ducks could relax
Inside the tasting room with its tall front doors, which were sourced in India and adapted for this room
The stairs lead to the offices above and the upper gallery of the winery
A vineyard view
and the old oaks along the entrance road
A sculpture of a worker and two of the premium Kleinood wines
While we waited for the other invited guests to arrive, we took a walk through the vineyards,
the gardens and then the winery. Bottles waiting to be packed in boxes
Every label is applied by hand
The bottling and packing area
Harvest is happening: it’s a busy time on the farm
Beautiful trusses of ripe Shiraz waiting for the pickers
Taking off the leaf cover so that the grapes can be harvested quickly and easily
The Stellenbosch mountains
The family home
They kept the old oaks which grew alongside the old wagon road and have created lovely gardens on the property. Anything that is aromatic is planted, we were told, and Libby de Villiers makes her own perfume, which is for sale at the tasting room
Intensely herbal and floral in note, it is very attractive and quite intriguing
The approach road alongside the vines
A gardener hard at work
They have their own water management system with a dam; a natural filtration system
which cleans the water so that it can go back to be used on the vineyards and in the property
Geese are very good for the ecology and for keeping down the snail population
They are also very good at guarding property and make a very loud noise if there are intruders
The view across the dam. It is filled by the river and by grey water
A beautiful place to sit and relax and contemplate the natural environment around you
The vineyards lead down to the river and the woods; on the left you can see part of a very well maintained olive grove
Teasels
This is the barrel cellar, full of all those lovely wine and oak aromas
They have a modern circular wine 'tank' which Lynne described as a hand grenade
It looks as though it is made of some sort of ceramic
The freshly picked grapes coming in from the vineyard are all hand sorted and selected
Imperfect grapes, leaves and other detritus are removed before the grapes go into the destemmer
Here you can see them going into the destemmer
A tank of grapes fermenting, viewed from the top gallery. Those heady smells of harvest are so good
Time to sit down and taste. We began with the 2018 Viognier, which we think is one of the top three wines from that varietal produced in South Africa at the moment. It is hand-picked on different dates to ensure that the wine reflects the full flavour spectrum of the grape. It is wood fermented and now has 11% Roussane added. It is full of peaches and apricots, with perfume and incense from the wood on the nose. Crisp and fruity with some complexity, the Roussanne shows as an added component and is discernible. There is just a golden touch of oak; peaches and cream remain on the palate. Delicious. Definitely a wine for spicy, complex food and with seafood. The RosĂ© 2018, which is 100% Syrah, is named Katharien after the de Villiers’ daughter. 85% is fermented in tank and 15% in French 5th fill oak barrels. Pale salmon in colour. Strawberry and cherry on the nose and palate, where it shows the Syrah character as a soft and fruity black berry and cherry Shiraz; just lighter in weight. Another super food wine
Tamboerskloof Syrah. Mostly made from the farm's Syrah, with a little Mourvedre and a dash of Viognier. A pretty, perfumed nose with some balsam, black pepper with cassis, mulberries and black plums. It is spicy with initial tension, some chalky tannins, soft black plum and black cherry fruit, with spice and pepper, long flavours and the potential building blocks to age very well. A wine for game, duck and charcuterie, and also Asian dishes

The Tamboerskloof John Spicer 2015 is the estate's premium wine and is named for their son. 100% Syrah, this is fermented in 15% new, 35% second fill and 50% third fill oak for 18 months. 
The other two guests arrived and it was time for a later lunch, so we walked down through the vineyards and the olives
past the series of ponds
and into the woods where they have this table which can seat 10. If you are interested in doing something here you can hire the space. Contact Marisca. But only 10 people. And you need to hire your own caterer
Who knew that wasps liked meat? Go to the farm's website to see how they are combatting these pests
We were served platters of cold chicken, charcuterie, cheeses, Banting crackers, wonderful sourdough bread, butter, raisins, nuts and salad leaves and of course the three wines we had tasted earlier, as our companions had not yet tasted them
Aslan in the woods
The olives grown for Kleinood's Boerin Extra Virgin Olive oil are Favlosa, Leccino and Coratina
They have these informative granite 'milestones' at the edge of each vineyard and olive grove
A few ripe olives on the tree
An urn on a pedestal marks the beginning of the olive orchard
A decorative window. A lovely experience. Thank you all at Kleinood