Last week Ellerman House hosted Cape Wine’s first all female group of winemakers in their state of the art Wine Gallery. Chef Kieran expertly paired a twelve-course dinner with twelve wines created by these formidable women in wine.
The collaboration was a fortuitous meeting of minds, with Chef Kieran looking to laud female winemakers in a culinary celebration, and the timeous formation of “By Popular Demand.” Twelve ambitious winemakers joining forces ahead of Cape Wine to shine light on women in wine.
On The Menu
Renche Van Aarde – Cou Cou Grenache Rose 2019
Goat’s Cheesecake | Porcini Marmalade | Wild Mushroom | Sage
This elegant dry grenache rosé set the tone for the evening with enveloping yet delicate flavours of red fruit and aromas of roses complimenting the immaculate gardens that surrounded us. The crisp acidity cut through the creamy goat’s cheesecake with the sage elevating a slight savoury line.
Renache is married to Nic Van Aarde, the winemaker at Oldenburg. Her newly launched brand CouCou, is a product of the pandemic and evenings spent around the kitchen table enjoying wine with her husband. Renche wanted to make wines she enjoyed drinking in a lighter, more elegant style. “CouCou” is an informal greeting in France, merged with the nickname for wine ‘vino’, which can also mean “let’s drink wine” – making this wine the perfect welcome sip and start to the evening.
Christa Von la Chevallerie – Filia Old Vine Chenin Blanc MCC 2015 – Lagoon Oyster | Kelp & Champagne Vinegar Mignonette
For the second course, we were escorted downstairs into the Dom Pérignon Champagne Cellar, home to a 2-ton piece of chalk from Champagne in France, rare and special vintages of Dom Pérignon and on this occasion, a platter of smoking oysters and a magnum of Filia Old Vine Chenin Blanc MCC 2015. The wafts of sea air and cellar aromas culminated and set the stage for the Filia, which exudes liner minerality and chalky notes. A fine mousse allures you into a palate of fresh apples, zesty Chenin characteristics and whole wheat shortbread biscuits. Made by Huis Van Chevallerie, who has been producing truly South African sparkling wine in The Swartland since 2011. Filia meaning daughter in Latin, paying homage to Christa’s father, who planted the 42 year old vineyard from which this wonderful Kap Klassiek is made, as well as the Paardeberg. Growing up amongst the neighbours, she was considered (and still is ) daughter of all; FILIA, daughter of PAARDEBRG.
Moving upstairs, we were seated for the remainder of dinner. The following wines and dishes were served in flights.
Clarise Sciocatti – Langeveldt – IL Geco Fume Blanc 2021 – Langoustine | Kombu Dashi | Wakame Rice Salad | Yuzu Butter
Clarise’s love of Pouilly-Fumé inspired the first wine, an oaked Sauvignon Blanc. The fresh and generous aromatics of this wine played beautifully with Asian flavours in the dish; beautiful savoury and mineral notes compliment the umami seafood elements, while the characteristic texture of Fume Blanc envelops the langoustine. An articulate harmony of flavour.
Clarise’s day job is the winemaker at Hazendal, and IL Geco is her passion project and side hustle. Her fascination with geckos and her Italian heritage is the inspiration behind the name. Also, look out for the IL Geco Cap Classique; the 2017 is about to be released and was recently awarded GOLD at The Amorim Cap Classique challenge.
Jolette Steyn – The Vineyard Party ‘I m Your Huckleberry’ Semillon 2019 – Braaied Yellowtail | Curry Leaf Dressing | Green Pepper Romesco.
Jolette, aka Platters 2022 Newcomer Winery of The Year, is a skilled ‘aromatician’. The bellowing blossoms emerging from ‘I’m Your Huckleberry’ Semillon should be captured in a ginger and citrus Jo Malone fragrance. Semillon loves a bit of spice and holds up to bolder dishes, so Huck loved the charred aromatics of the yellow tail and its accompanying fragrant dressing. “The name ‘I m Your Huckleberry’ comes from a line in an old Western movie, Tombstone. The phrase signifies acceptance of a challenge, saying I’m the one you’re looking for, I’m game, I’m it. It’s basically a conversation between Sémillon and myself for our maiden vintage, saying “let’s go for it” explains Jolette. The crop was already small coming up to harvest, but of particular impact to harvest was the arrival of baboons, who’d decided before their picking date that the fruit was looking too good to resist. Aside from simply eating grapes, they ran up the vineyard channels, pulling and jumping on the shoots, having their own vineyard party!
Lucinda Heyns – Illimis Riesling 2017 – Tuna Sashimi | Chirizu Sauce | Goma
Continuing the seafood journey, this unconventional, dry Riesling added complexity to the salmon and accentuated the subtle Asian spice in the Chirizu and Goma. A low residual sugar but with a lively acid, this wine charms with distinctive floral aromas and has a dry and fresh finish. Illimis, the Latin word for clarity, signifies Namibian born winemaker Lucinda Heyns’ crystal clear winemaking philosophy. Wine should be a window to where its vineyard is rooted. Being a viticulturist at heart, she believes that everything starts with the vines. All wines are made from single vineyard sites, specifically selected with the finished wine in mind. The result is wines which show restraint and elegance.
Kayleigh Hatting – Rebel Rebel Old Vine Colombar 2021 – West Coast Abalone | Abalone Liver Sauce | Garlic | Spinach
Did you know Abalone had a liver? Neither did I, but it does, and it’s very good for you, full of iron, vitamin B 12, Vitamin C and D! So now you know. Back to the ‘course’ in hand ~ Rebel Rebel Colombar is sourced from dry-farmed vineyards planted in 1986. Beautifully spiced and elegantly textured, layered with bright citrus and fresh apple acidity. Good weight and depth in the wine allows it to stand up to the flavoursome dish.
It would be easy to assume that since Kayleigh works at Kaapzicht in the same subregion of Stellenbosch where she grew up that she hadn’t travelled far. But once she had completed her viticulture and oenology degree at Stellenbosch, she travelled the world gaining experience internationally before the love and familiarity of home, of her soil drew her back. And in the chaos of 2020, Kayleigh founded Rebel Rebel with two wines made from exceptional vineyards in Bottelary Hills. The wines are a transparent and fluid expression of terroir, Kayleigh, and the cultivars.
Ginny Povall – Botanica Mary Delany Pinot Noir 2019 – Cured Duck | Red Cabbage | Star Anise | Cherry
Sometimes a classic pairing is the best pairing. There is something so comforting about Pinot Noir and duck, a match made in wine pairing heaven. The supple tannins didn’t overwhelm the delicacy of the duck, the acidity and freshness cut through and balanced the fat, while the layers of cherry, wild raspberries and red fruit complimented the flavour of the meat. The intricate spice in the dish is mirrored perfectly in the wine. The grapes are sourced from Stellenbosch, Hemel en Aarde and Overberg. It’s a wine of poise and elegance with good fruit purity.
Botanica Wines was founded in 2009 by owner and self-taught winemaker Ginny Povall, an intrepid American who fell in love with the beautiful Cape Winelands, purchased Protea Heights farm in Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley and relocated to the southern tip of Africa in 2008.
Iberico Pork Chashu | Bamboo Shoots | Shitake
Alexandra Mcfarlane – McFarlane Wines Tuesdays Child Cinsault 2018 –
‘Tuesday’s child is full of grace’ – and this Cinsault certainly is. Delicate aromas of red fruit, dried cranberry, cherry, rose water and pink peppercorns. The bright fruit palate is interspersed with some savoury mulling spices and fine grippy tannins. The fruit of the wine and the smokey character of the Asian pork interact beautifully. The bright acidity illuminates the dish and cleanses the palate. This wine is “Best served chilled and in good company.” The Mcfarlane Wines is a family-owned producer who specialises in small batch, unpretentious wines. After a decade of working at other estates, Alexandra set out for independence.
Mary – Lou Nash Black Pearl “The Mischief Maker” SGM 2021 – Tomato Arancini | Artichoke | Olive | Parmesan
This smokey, meaty and opulent, dark fruited Shiraz based blend is an excellent ally for the arancini; with notes of tapenade and a backbone of herbs, the flavours in the dish and wine sing in harmony. Many years ago, Mary-Lou arrived in South Africa with just a backpack and little interest in the wine. After her father bought a farm on the slopes of The Paarl Mountain, Mary-Lou was thrown into the deep end, running it and harvesting their Chenin Blanc. Three decades later, she is a Cape Wine Master, a self taught winemaker and grape grower. Her winemaking philosophy is as little as possible but as much as necessary. She wants the fruit to shine with minimal interference. If you meet Mary Lou, be sure to ask her the story behind the name “The Mischief Maker” – it’s one that needs to be heard but is not appropriate to be broadcasted 😉
Callan Williams – The Garajeest ‘Bruce’ Cabernet Franc 2017 – Karoo Lamb | White bean | Gremolata.
Callan is a creative spirit inspired by her rock and roll heroes. With grit, determination and ambition, she launched The Garajeest and a couple of years later earned her seat in the Young Guns class of 2017. Bruce is a handsome wine, as charismatic and powerful as its namesake. It is made in an oxidative style, characteristic roasted red peppers come through along with tomato paste, warmly spiced dark chocolate, and poached plums lifted by a granite mineral core. The wine, a cool climate Cabernet Franc, and the lamb unite on a savoury foundation, a classic pairing.
Stephanie Wiid – Thistle and Weed Nastergal– Kalahari Wagyu | Smoked Mash | Green Peppercorn
For this deliciously dark blend of Tempranillo, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Souzão and Touriga Francesa grapes are blended to ensure plenty of enticing aromas such as mulberries and intense spices are preserved. A big wine ideal for big moments, like this flavoursome Kalahari Wagyu dish. Both seriously impressed yet managed to meet in the middle without overwhelming one other. Thistle and Weed is a collaboration between Etienne Terblanche (Viticulturist) and Stephanie Wiid (Winemaker). Inspired by the encroaching weeds found amongst the vines grown in the Cape, Etienne and Steph draw parallels between thistles and weeds and the uncompromising tenacity and survival skills of grapevines.They are working with Portuguese cultivars, which they hope will be able to withstand and even thrive within climate change.
Tierhoek Straw Wine – Honey Crème Brûlée | Saffron Ice Cream | Apricot | Almonds
The grapes for this delectable straw wine are from 35 year old Chenin Blanc vines, which sit 760 meters above sea level on the peaks of Piekenierskloof Mountain. The bunches are dried naturally on straw mats for two weeks. Those which survive the rapacious baboons are then pressed and racked into old French-oak barrels where the wine matures for many years in a solera system. Unctuous in mouthfeel, this wine has a great fruit concentration reflected by the honey and apricot elements in the dish. Perfectly balanced acidity breaks the sweetness and offers a clean finish. A perfect sweet ending for the culmination of this gastronomic feast.
If you are going to Cape Wine – find these wonderful ladies and taste through their wines – stand l181 & l182 – follow them on instagram
The most Exquisite Ellerman House
A landmark Cape Edwardian mansion dating back to 1906, Ellerman House was acquired by current owner Paul Harris, the founding member of First Rand Group Ltd, in 1988. An extensive restoration and renovation project followed before the grand dame opened as a hotel in 1992. This year it celebrates 30 years of exclusive luxury hospitality.
Ellerman House is situated in Bantry Bay, one of Cape Town’s most lustrous suburbs. Not only does it offer sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, an extensive South African art collection, but it’s also home to The Wine Gallery, a state-of-the-art space dedicated to wine, housing some 10,000 bottles. A literal oenophile haven.
Recently appointed Head Chef Kieran Whyte is almost as passionate about wine as he is about food. Working alongside Manuel Cabello, the former Head Sommelier and now Operations Manager at Ellerman, you can anticipate some more exciting epicurean collaborations in the not so distant future at Cape Town’s most exclusive hotel. Kiran spoke under hushed breath about an upcoming intimate champagne festival.
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