This event held special interest for me, not because it was Meerlust wine, nor because I would be staying over in the lovely vineyard hotel, but because I had assisted with the development of the pairings.
This is the first time I have had the opportunity to do this and I found it really interesting. There were several people involved, the chef, restaurant manager, sommelier, general manager, wine maker, and a few more. The table was covered in different types of food, prepared in various ways. The range was broad, from fruit and desserts through to curries and fish. We then tasted each wine and tried everything with it to determine what matched well and what didn’t. Everyone threw in suggestions and recommendations and the chef took notes. Only after tasting all the wines did we start to decide which course we would pair them with.
A few weeks later I had the opportunity to enjoy the final product. Before dinner the guests mingled in the foyer and enjoyed a glass (or two) of Meerlust chardonnay 2006. After a short welcome and introduction, we were seated and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first course. The courses went as follows:
– Mussel & saffron veloute scented with lemongrass, sesame & prawn ravioli and a smoked paprika foam – paired with the chardonnay 2009
– Chicken ballotine stuffed with portobello mushrooms wrapped in pancetta with herbed polenta cake, creamed spinach & a pomegranate jus – paired with the Meerlust pinot noir 2010
– Slow cooked lamb rump with blue cheese potato gratin, onion & prune compote and a white bean puree – paired with the cabernet sauvignon 2009 & Rubicon 2007 (this was paired with two wines so the guests could decide for themselves which pairing they prefered – an interesting departure from the norm)
– Bitter chocolate marquise, merlot & cherry sorbet – paired with the 2007 merlot (the chocolate marquise, a mousse cake, was amazing)
The food was fantastic and most of the pairings worked well. It was such a treat to be able to enjoy the Meerlust range, and they were not shy with the pourings. This event is really a steal at R250. There a four more pairing evenings left in the year, you can find the details here.
The dinner happens in The Square, which is the hotel’s restaurant. It has had a revamp since I ate there last and with the clever use of high backed chairs and interesting light fittings, they have done a good job of eliminating the ‘hotel feel’. We also had a pianist which is uncommon these days, and that is a shame as it really helps to set the mood.
The hotel is also trying to be responsible and allowing people to stay the night at a ridiculously cheap rate so that they don’t have to drive home. The dinner is R250, and for an additional R300 (per person sharing) patrons can stay over and enjoy breakfast at the hotel too. Considering the breakfast is usually charged at R135, you are in fact paying only R165 to stay the night, which is unbelievable value.
(I will review the accommodation in a separate post)
To book one of the wine evenings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021 657 4500