Monday, 27 May 2013

Nederburg wine is put to the test



I used to hate wine. Loathe it and file it under ‘for old, snobbish people’. Smelling it stimulated my gag reflexes and tasting it, well, I’d rather have vinegar any day.
Now I stand corrected and honestly can’t get enough of the stuff.  It took me two years and a lot of wine farm visits to hone my taste-buds and alter my previous perceptions.
One of the reasons I enjoy it, perhaps the main reason, is the relationship it has and can have with food. My love for cooking was sparked around the same time as my desire for wine. The two, in my mind, go hand in hand. I am now on a mission to convert all my friends and try and hold food and wine pairing evenings as often as we can.

Mr. H and I want to take this further and are redesigning our kitchen so that we hold more pairing evenings, as part of our Grape Teasers brand….gosh, I hate the word brand…..club….gang?

Anyway, whilst we’re working on the kitchen design, we’re also working on our pairing menus and so yesterday, we did some serious cooking in the attempt to find some killer combos for future guests.

To start with, we had 3 bottles of Nederburg wine masters reserve Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. (That’s just one bottle each, don’t panic).
We then had 4 lamb noisettes and 3 pork chops. The menu was as follows:

Mint roasted lamb on a bed of beetroot and spring onion couscous
Because of the sweetness of the beetroot, I assumed it would go well with the Merlot which in turn brought out the herbaceous quality of the spring onion.
The Cab Sav loved the mint sauce.

Pork on a bed of balsamic lentils with a cranberry jus
The Cab Sav loved the lentils, perhaps because of the earthy, nutty, taste
The Cranberry jus was divine and the Shiraz worked beautifully with it which was my prediction.

Rosemary crusted lamb with roasted carrots, thinly sliced  roasted potatoes with gravy
Cab Sav and lamb are the perfect partners. They’re like Romeo and Juliet - minus the tragic ending - they just can’t stay away from each other.
The salt on the potatoes was too much for these reds which didn’t have the acid to cope

Apricot drenched pork with pan-crisped potatoes and buttered spinach
The veggies were loved by both Shiraz and Cab


Thyme and olive pork with pea puree, carrot puree, roasted onions and potato dauphinoise.
This was my favorite dish (although by that time, you could have put eel in front of me and I doubt I would have been able to tell.)
Cream and Cab Sav is a winner. The cream in both the purees and the potato dauphinoise slipped casually into Cab Sav’s arms and had a bit of a wedding in the mouth.
Pork and Merlot are another good pairing, despite what you throw over the pork.

To finish off with, Jc le Roux's La Fleurette with meringues and a passionfruit coulis. It was glorious.

p.s, as you can imagine, the photos became less and less identifiable - but honestly, I cooked everything and we drank everything.

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