A couple weeks ago I attended one of Azure's Food & Wine Pairing Evenings hosted by Stellenzicht winemaker, Guy Webber and Azure Executive Chef, Christo Pretorius.
After being shown to our table with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand, I found myself luckily placed next to the winemaker. He explained that the Golden Triangle wines that we were tasting got their name from the "golden ratio" (2:2:1), which indicates perfect balance, which he feels is also reflected in the wines he makes. We also spoke about his love of Pinotage and he was determined to change my not-the-biggest-fan-of-Pinotage mind. He succeeded.
After our amuse bouche and delightful breads (yes, they have gluten-free breads available!!), the chef introduced the rest of the meal and Guy got up to talk a bit more about the wines.
We started with a sous vide salmon trout with oyster soup, which was paired with the Stellenzicht Sémillon Reserve 2009. It was probably my favourite wine of the night! You don't often find a 100-percent Sémillon and the wine had a lovely complexity and full-mouth flavour that had me asking for a second glass in, well, seconds.
Next up was the hanger steak tartare with sourdough toast, mustard mayo, egg yolk, crispy capers and pickled onion. This was paired with the Stellenzicht Rhapsody 2007, a Cape Blend (Yes, that means it contains more than 30-percent Pinotage), which was a rich, robust blend. Spicy and fruity.
We then had a rather impressive palate cleanser (just look at this pic!), before moving on to the Char Sui Blesbok with barbecue glaze, mushroom ragout, potato espuma and gremolata sauce. This was paired with the Plum Pudding Hill Syrah 2009. I'm a big Shiraz-lover, so I was looking forward to this one! An elegant, fruity, spicy wine that left me wanting more... But it was a pretty even toss-up between the Rhapsody and the Plum Pudding.
Our dessert consisted of a black sesame cake with port ice cream, coconut crumble and cured lemongrass. Paired with this was the Cellarmaster's Release Chardonnay, which contains no sulphates – something else Guy is very passionate about. The wine was buttery, yet fresh and clean. I thought it worked nicely with the dessert, but it was a bit tricky for my palate to go from two big reds back to a white and perhaps I didn't appreciate the Chardonnay as much as I would have if I'd tried it before the reds.
We left soon after the petit fours were served as we were tired and had probably had too much wine at this stage! All in all it was a fantastic evening and I definitely recommend it for anyone who has an interest in food and wine pairing – and great conversation.
The next one: Friday 29 May: Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate
Based in Somerset West and dating back to 1711, Morgenster produces internationally acclaimed Bordeaux-style wines and award-winning extra-virgin olive oil, with four Bordeaux cultivars grown on the Estate: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
For more info on Stellenzicht wines, visit https://www.stellenzicht.co.za/
What else is new at Azure:
The Dinner & Movie nights make for an ideal winter date night or evening out with friends or family. For only R475 per person, movie fans get to combine the pleasures of a three-course menu at Azure with a VIP silver screen experience, courtesy of the hotel’s very own 16-seater cinema. The hotel’s monthly movie schedule meanwhile features something for everyone, from recent blockbusters (The Hunger Games – Catching Fire) and comedies (The Internship), to classics (Casablanca), dramas (Black Swan) and chick flicks (Sex and The City).
Visit http://www.12apostleshotel.com/ for more info.