Once a month we head off from Cape Town to our retreat in the Koue Bokkeveld and to get there I often vary the route to make the trip more interesting. However, a favourite is via the Huguenot tunnel and then on towards Ceres via Goudini and the Slanghoek Pass. The winding pass may slow us down a bit, but it means we can take in the beautiful surroundings of the craggy majestic mountains and the vineyards below.
Slanghoek forms part of the Breedekloof Wine Route which includes 27 wineries from the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River areas, ranging from small boutique wineries to estates and larger cellars.
The region is well-known for its easy drinking, fruity white wines and the styles range from dry to semi-sweet. Their red wines include blends and single variety wines and offer typical red and black berry characteristics along with spicy and peppery flavours with good extract and generally softer tannins.
The wines are known to pair well with food and to prove this the region hosts an annual Breedekloof Food and Wine Pairing Dinner. Each winery in the area is invited to enter a maximum of four wines that they feel will best complement a four-course menu prepared by a celebrity chef.
This year, Cape Town Chef Neill Anthony was brought on board to create the menu and a condition was to incorporate local produce from the Breedekloof region. The menu, which included a twist on the traditional pap en vleis was presented to the local producers who had to enter wines they believed would work best with each course.
A judging panel, headed up by Cape Wine Master Duimpie Bayly, tasted over 50 wines ending up matching what he and his fellow judges thought worked best with each course.
Judges included journalist Maryna Strachan, Manager of The Chenin Blanc Association, Ina Smith and two Cape Wine Masters, namely, Dr Winifred Bowman and Elsie Pells.
The competition helps to promote the fact that the Breedekloof region produces wines of fine quality capable of pairing with gourmet dishes.
"Since its inception the event has been extremely well-supported by the producers as we feel that not only is it an opportunity to showcase some of our finest wines, but also an opportunity to introduce people to the wines of the region in a different light," says Melody Botha, CEO of Breedekloof Wine & Tourism.
The dinner was held in January and overall the wines were well-paired with the food but the best match of the evening for me was the first course of salmon trout tartare on a crisp, flaky pastry disk with fennel and dill and an olive oil mousseline paired with a wine I had not tasted before called De Hageveld White 2011 - a white blend of Semillon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc - from the Deetlefs Estate on the outskirts of Rawsonville.
The Semillon and Chardonnay components were both fermented and aged in wood while the Sauvignon Blanc was aged in both stainless steel and wood.
The result is a beautifully balanced wine with forthcoming granadilla aromas along with hints of citrus which leads you to a palate of full tropical fruit flavours with subtle hints of minerality on the finish.
Expect to pay: R92.50
To order, email Wine Concepts