Saturday, 30 October 2010

Oat Cuisine

Ok so you can’t have red wine for breakfast everyday in attempts to control cholesterol without the help of Statins* and their evil side effects. Occasionally one has to resort to alternatives like oats but - without serious disguise - Statins can seem quite charming in comparison, particularly if you can’t rid yourself of the image of a horse’s feeding bag.

My early attempts at disguising oats included double cream yoghurt but this – although only at a modest 7% total fat – was living in denial and one's sense of achievement in finishing a bowl of oats quickly faded.

I started making real progress when I tried raisins,  cinnamon and low fat milk but it did not prove that attractive in summer and my daughter tells me the raisins are not terribly low-GI compliant.

For summer, Bircher’s muesli is the route to go and offers the convenience of keeping up to a week so it’s a rare case of healthy fast food made from slow food ingredients although I don’t recommend it while driving.
heavily disguised oats

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wine Mag Top 10 Sauv Blanc '10

When the wine industry started planting Sauvignon in earnest, (now 3rd largest planting after Chenin & Colombar) some commentators may have questioned the trend as heat and light are sworn enemies of many of the varietal’s aromatic pre-cursors.  

Another challenge – considering our soil, climate and topography diversity – is matching the right spot with the right rootstock scion and grape variety, never mind clone, which is a very slow trial-and-error process (without technology) where the Old World has a considerable head start, think Loire's Sancerre & Puilly Fume and New World's Marlborough - the exception that proves the rule.

Terroirists (see saignee, spinning cones and terroirists post link) are opposed to regional blending but surely it’s the answer until we have fully achieved the above? At first glance yesterdays top 10 are multi-regional but if there was a prize for region yesterday it would be Darling and/or Durbanville.

All of yesterday’s wines with one exception have strong maritime i.e. cold Altlantic influence including Anura (Klapmuts) who bought in fruit from Darling, the exception being Cedarburg, but they have altitude (over 1km) to protect Sauvignon's intense but flighty aromas.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Alto Luxury

Modernisation is a powerful force, and no more clear example occurred yesterday at Alto Estate with the launch of MPHS, Alto’s new luxury Cabernet Franc-based blend to celebrate the 4 winemakers – Manie, Piet, Hempies and Schalk – who have crafted wines here since 1920. Surely only a handful of Cape estates can claim such a venerable pedigree?

The warm-up flight comprised Cabernet Sauvignon – 65, 70, 84, 99, 01 and 07. The 65 showed amazing youth for its age including fruit, colour and bright acidity. Back then 5000lt oak vats were used (vs today's minute by comparison 225lt barriques) which, simply stated, means 22 times more oak today (from '84) and although not at all scientific seemed to suggest that oak has tempered all subsequent vintages for it nearly stole the show.

Alto MPHS '07

Friday, 8 October 2010

Relative Value

While value can be relative, everybody loves a bargain. What about uncovering money you accidently hid from yourself long ago? Not as good as finding fab wine at great prices.

And there were more surprises at today’s Wine Magazine Best Value Guide launch (all wine under R60) at Joostenberg Deli – the reds are making a comeback particularly Koelenbosch Sangiovese ’09  out of Koelenhof Co-op – although I think that C word no longer used in polite conversation.

Now, while I did not taste all the wines included in the guide, another stand-out red was sponsor’s Ultra Liquors own brand Secret Cellar Cab Franc Petit Verdot (NV) for its fine grained tannins – ja @ R29.99 - and Openers Occasion (Waterstone Wines) Cab Sauv 2008 for juicy varietal character and astounding value at R20.64 (when the cents start to count) although the Sangiovese was only R28.50!! No wonder Ultra bucked the wine retail trend over the last (depressed) year.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Alchemy Challenge

The Challenge – find the best wine match for the recipe below.
The Reward - a natural high.
The Warning - food and wine matching can be highly addictive.
Warning II – the recipe is easy but it could be easier to find a match for Scarlett O’Hara than this dish. (T&C’s apply)

The Blurb
Complimentary food and wine matching can elevate the result to something quite hallucinogenic if not spiritual while a clash can make you want to fast for at least 5 hours.

I think it was Aristotle who originally coined ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ which later became the mantra for Gestalt psychology, so too with food and wine matching – it’s just more serious.

good time to duck Rhett
yin and yang
The Recipe
Pork (or Veal) Fillet with Caper sauce. It’s better with pork because the richness is cut by the sharpness of the vinegar and the Umami* of the capers. 

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Merging tale of two Auctions

While Nederburg reversed a 5-year downward trend by 41% last month the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild (CWG) auction today came off last year’s all time high – inevitably in tough economic conditions – by 25%.

With 139 buyers spending a total of R3, 867m on 39 wines spread over 19 different types and styles, this year’s auction offered great variety including a record number of 13 white wines which could be a growing trend if one considers that some of the reds displayed big alcohols with jammy notes while some felt that the most expensive wine – Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2007 (unfiltered) - was not without its faults.

Tighter selection of wines was one of the aspects Nederburg's Carina Gous singled out as attributing to their turnaround and one wonders if some lessons will be learned at this year's CWG auction.

Other top selling red wines were Dewaldt Heyns’ Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007 at R4 500 per case followed by Etienne Le Riche’s Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2006 at R3 800. Striking wines include Cederberg Teen die Hoog Shiraz 2008 for its New Zealand-type purity of fruit (from the highest vineyards in the land) and Villiera Mother Earth 2008 (Cabernet Franc) for balance, elegance and restraint so lacking in too many of the reds on auction.