Thursday, June 20, 2019

Robertson Wine Valley's Wacky Wine Weekend 9. Mimosa Lodge, BluVine Restaurant

We set off from McGregor at 5.30 for Mimosa Lodge in Montague where we were invited for a tasting and dinner at their new restaurant. We allowed lots of time as its a fair old way and the road works are still on going on the road to Montague, We were told by locals there were two "stop and go" traffic lights for one way access. Luckily we got through reasonably quickly. We arrived at the Hotel at a quarter to 7, and were warmly welcomed by the Barman to their new bar; he remembered us from our stay there a couple of years ago. He poured us a lovely glass of Chardonnay which we sat enjoying when we saw Fida Hess, wife of Bernhard the owner/chef who said, "What are you doing here?" "We came to see your new restaurant" we replied. It turns out that it is nowhere near the hotel and we had not been told it was separate or been given its address. "They are waiting dinner for you, you must hurry" she said, and with some instructions, we managed to find the new restaurant which is on the right as you enter Montague from Ashton. It is called BluVines
From the road, it looks like an old Farmhouse building with broekie Lace on the stoep; from the back it is very modern. You park at the back and walk in here. On their website, they say it is a "glamorously refurbished old farmhouse". Very glam and quite sexy with the blue lighting. They have lovely seating for the summer and the windows of the restaurant all fold back to give an inside/outside feel. There are lovely mountain views. The night was perishingly cold at about 7ºC, so we were happy to be inside
The kitchen is open and they have a coffee station and a good selection of the Mimosa wines
There is a separate tasting room in another building which is also the wine cellar
Apparently we had missed the tasting, but were given our table and the evening began
We did explain that we had not been told it was in another place and apologised for any inconvenience caused
The restaurant has been a long held dream of owner Bernhard Hess and had taken three years to open because of
the usual planning and other building restrictions. He and his partner are very happy and relieved to have finally got there
The waitrons are alumni from the Rural Arts Development (RAD) Foundation, a Montagu-based registered non-profit organisation that introduces all forms of visual and performing arts to rural youth in an endeavour to inspire, engage and educate the children of the community. And they certainly are well trained as waiting staff and they entertained us very well during the dinner. Mark Stalmeester has a lovely voice and sang one song à capella on his own with a backing track. He had written this himself; he is very talented
We chose a glass of the Mimosa 2017 Chardonnay, as we had not been able to finish that poured for us at the hotel,
and we enjoyed it very much with the starter. It's a classic, soft Chardonnay, with lots of ripe apple, limes and lemon notes
The wines are made by Lourens van der Westhuizen of Arendsig
We really liked the glass bead chandelier, which gives a good diffused light, not easy to capture on the camera
The starter was three large prawn and chive wonton dumplings served with two dips,
a Teriyaki with Hoisin sauce and a Ponzu - a citrus flavoured soy. Very enjoyable and a good pairing with the Chardonnay
The main course was served with an accompanying salad of small sliced Roma tomatoes with fresh red onion
and was a flame grilled, perfectly seasoned Picanha steak, cooked medium rare. It was fire charred, so full of flavour, with succulent crisp fat and very, very tender. It is our favourite cut of steak. This came with a mélange of fresh vegetables, "Hurray, Vitamins" we exclaimed, so welcome, the first we had seen all weekend, a baked potato and servings of crisp frites (French fried chips). We so enjoyed the first proper meal of the weekend, and the first food we had which was not in some sort of bun!
With it we had glasses of the 2017 Mimosa Cabernet Sauvignon with incense wood, rich cassis and berry fruit on the nose
It has rich, complex dark fruit in layers with some licorice and dark chocolate on the end, a perfect match for the steak
Chef James Mulligan came to see if we were enjoying the meal. He also sings for the diners!
Our neighbours across the way were from Switzerland and it was their first time in South Africa.
They were camping in the area! At this time of year.... so brave to endure the cold nights
And a chance to meet Sous Chef Sean Bassett
More glasses were supplied for the dessert course
We took a short pause and John went to take some photographs. Another view of the terrace and the restaurant
Inside the tasting room they have these large concrete wine fermentation "Eggs"
Wine will be stored here
Lynne was told by the manager Jonine Erasmus to go and check out the toilets
and there she found this waterfall wall! Very unusual, it certainly does encourage a visit
Happy staff in the restaurant
Manager Jonine Erasmus told us about dessert and the wine that would be served with it
The Mimosa Reserve Natural Sweet 2018 (500ml) is made from Gewürztraminer and has rose petals and muscat notes on the enticing nose with hints of honey botrytis. An R/S of 162, it is sticky and sweet with honey and spice, Turkish delight and some nougat on the palate, with good citrus acidity to balance the sweetness, and a little pétillance. 11% alcohol and only 3000 bottles made
Dessert was a very sweet chocolate lava cake with vanilla whipped cream, raspberry syrup, ice cream and topped with a fresh strawberry. John enjoyed it, but it much too sweet for Lynne, especially with the wine. No criticism, just no sweet tooth. John enjoyed a very good double espresso.
Chef James gave us a spirited version of "My Way"; he has a good voice
We thanked all the staff and they sang "It's so Hard to Say Goodbye" to us
We loved the evening and hope to be back in the summer to try out the normal menu

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