Friday, September 25, 2020

Zoom tasting with Woolworths of Spier wines

We observed an online webinar this week with Woolworths WCellar, entitled "WCellar: The Braai Episode with Spier". Frans Smit, Cellarmaster of Spier Wine Estate took part with the staff of Woolworths Wine. The Zoom meeting was ably chaired by Rebecca Constable. Frans talked about his wines, his philosophy and his methods while he braaied in the background on his indoor fireplace. It was great fun and good to see the crew on line, many are old friends. And Chef Anda Dlepu, Protein Product Developer at Woolworths, who showed us what he was cooking on the braai, made us very hungry. He gave us advice and recipes for Heritage Day on Thursday, a day when many South Africans do braai. Some of the webcams' quality left a lot a to be desired and the photographs do not flatter the subjects

The Woolworths Wine team. Rebecca Constable, Allan Mullins, Chef Anda Dlepu (Woolworths Protein Product Developer), Rob Gower and Christy Wren and, of course, Frans Smit, Cellarmaster at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch

We heard from Chef Anda Dlepu , while he cooked delicious mouth watering things on his braai, like marinated ribs. He is the Protein Product Developer at Woolworths

After graduating from the South African Chefs Academy, Anda joined Woolworths’ culinary centre before moving into product development. He worked in several teams before joining the meat department. “I’ve always seen myself as the guy looking after the meat on the grill,” he says, “so I’m exactly where I always thought I’d be!”

So good to see Allan Mullins looking so fit.  He is part of the Woolworths wine buying team. He talked about how he consulted with Frans and Spier to create the wines they sell in Woolworths, most especially the Signature Collection Merlot

There were other media and members of the Woolworths Wine Club watching on line
and we could post questions to Rebecca, which the team then answered
Rebecca showing us one of the Spier wines sold at Woolworths. there are several: Spier Creative Block 5, Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Spier Merlot,  Spier Cabernet Sauvignon,  Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc, Spier Peachy Chenin Blanc, Spier Chardonnay, Spier Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Spier Vintage Selection Sauvignon Blanc , a range of Light wines, white and red varietals for those of you wanting not much alcohol and two Natural Sweet wines, as in the photo, a red and a white
Rob Gower was also contributing to the discussion
He  seems to have been in the Knysna area and sitting in full sun on what looked like a really great terrace

“Respect what the vineyard hands you,” is Frans’s mantra. This passion for creating wines that authentically express their terroir has seen him amass an impressive list of awards. Under his guidance, the Spier team earned six double gold and nine gold awards at the 2017 Veritas Awards.  They score very highly each year in Platter's wine guide and in many competitions, like the old Mutual Trophy. He spoke about his wines and cooked some skilpadjies on the fire behind him. And several are favourites in our house, such as the Cabernet and the complex 21 Gables Chenin Blanc. Skilpadjies are a traditional South African delicacy. They are sheep liver wrapped in a sheer layer of caul fat – the fatty layer that surrounds the kidneys. The liver minced and mixed with chopped onions, coriander, seasonings and Worcestershire Sauce (every chef has his or her own recipe) before being wrapped in the fat and grilled over the coals

We had two bottles of Spier wine open to taste during the webinar, the Spier Peachy Chenin Blanc which we buy from Woolworths and is one of our favourite summer refreshers. It is a good fruity chenin blanc, with lovely rich peach flavours, good acidity and goes very well with fish and seafood dishes and with spicy food. And from our cellar a 2009 Spier Inspire Cabernet Sauvignon which was magnificent. This wine has aged really well. It is a fruit forward wine, cassis, raspberry, cherry and strawberry on the nose and palate, silky on the palate, the fruit delights and stays. There is some warmth from the 14% alcohol and it ends with salty licorice wood.  Not a fault in sight and showing no age at all. And 2 days later, even better. We have a couple of bottles left and will probably drink one on Christmas day with our dinner. Yes, it is that good.  It is impossible to watch others drink good wine and not join in

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