NESTLED in a cosy room at Graze by the River, diners were treated to an exciting five course meal embracing the best of local fresh produce married with the perfect partner, the unique and sensational Vergenoegd vines.
Graze owner Nick Howard hosts a wine and food pairing every few months which have been met with great appreciation by wine lovers and foodies with the latest being last Saturday evening.
Satisfaction was met through each course as diners could taste five different varietals, one with each course with Howard explaining flavour portfolios in each of the varietal that pairs with flavour components of the dish.
Known for their red wine, Vergenoegd Wine Estate aims to embrace a family friendly environment that promotes biodiversity and sustainable farming. Vergenoegd is known for being home to about 1 000 Indian runner ducks that go “to work” each morning, scouring the vineyards for snails and bugs. This allows Vergenoegd to move away from using pesticides and chemicals with regards to “bug control”.
Hungry and curious diners were welcomed with a glass of Terrace Bay, a 2015 vintage, the wine was dark ruby red in colour, with ripe red fruits on the nose and a hint of smokiness and vanilla which allows for an almost caramel like taste supported with flavours of dark berries. The Terrace Bay was a lovely soft wine, although perhaps a bit young for lovers of deep, dark and robust reds.
Howard served the first course, a mouth-watering Kowie prawn salad with a guava dressing which was paired with a crisp and fresh sauvignon blanc- a surprise even for the non-white drinkers. In the Runner Duck range, the sauvignon blanc was delectable and tasted like more. It smelled fresh and grassy with hints of green apple and was smooth to taste with flavours of lemon, guava and pineapple.
Between the prawn salad and the sauvignon blanc, a perfect match was made.
Next up, Howard served a cashew cream of wild mushroom soup. Mushrooms were used dehydrated and then hydrated again and cashews soaked overnight to create nice creamy milk. The soup was delicious and boasted lovely earthy flavours and was paired with an outstanding 2007 vintage merlot with deep, lively red colours. The merlot was complex yet incredibly smooth and soft to taste with juicy red current flavours and hints of spice and vanilla.
Next on the menu was a perfectly cooked penne Napolitano topped with a creamy gorgonzola sauce. Howard paired the delicious full bodied 2007 shiraz with the yummy pasta with fresh tomato and the smokiness of the wine and white pepper flavours bursting through the taste buds.
The wine has a nice firm structure with a well-rounded mouth-feel, finished by a lingering aftertaste. To follow was a seared duck breast served on a bed of polenta with a delicious cherry jus paired with a 2010 cabernet sauvignon. The duck was well cooked; tender and juicy with lovely flavours complementing the cabernet which brought to taste a full bodied dry red with subtle hints of salt or minerals and lasting flavours of chocolate and back cherry.
Then lastly, a delicate yet full flavoured 2007 Old Cape Colony port was married to a devilish delicious chocolate ganache pud served with hazel and honey ice cream.
Graze by the River will host their next pairing only in September after being closed for August. They will host another fine evening with great food and delicious Mellasat wines with winemaker Gizelle Coetzee leading diners through the taste experience.
Featured image: Michael Olivier at Vergenoegd Manor