Posts Tagged ‘Guest’

Red wine and steak

Monday, August 25th, 2008

For the reward given – cooking steak is probably one of the best things you can do to entertain guests. It’s so easy and there’s really no better accompaniment for steak than red .

I like to buy a whole Angus fillet and cook it first before cutting it into fillet steaks, this way you can keep the juices and really preserve a lot of the flavour. It also presents a perfect opportunity to do what any male wine , or any male for that matter – likes most… marinade. Like making hot-sauce, there is perhaps no time more satisfying to a man than when given the chances to marinade something. There’s a certain feeling of alchemy in preparing the meat that really doesn’t come with other pre- chores like peeling potatoes or rolling pastry flat.

The ingredients for getting a steak ready are quite simple: rock salt, English mustard, lemons, pepper, red wine, olive oil, chopped garlic and mixed spices. Adding lemon helps seal the steak and within minutes the pinkish colour will disappear and the fillet will start to gain a more cooked sort of colour. At this point I roll the fillet in a bed of rock-salt before smothering it in a healthy dose of English mustard mixed with spice and crushed garlic. Once done, leave it to soak in a pool of red wine on top of a bed of diced onions allowing the blood and fermented to comingle.

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Posted in Dining, Food, Lifestyle, Millennials, Wine, Wine Review | 2 Comments »

Pinotage Part 2 – Kanonkop Pioneers Pinotage

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Part 2 – Kanonkop Pioneers
by
Peter F May

Pinotage had been developed in in the 1920’s and the first experimental wines had been made by C T De Waal who played rugby football for the Western Province team. His team mates, P K Morkel and Paul Sauer, decided to plant Pinotage vines on their farms – Bellevue and Kanonkop and a few years later Bellevue and Kanonkop Pinotages were the Grand Champions at the Cape Shows of 1959 and 1961. As can be imagined, a new beating all the classic varieties at one show was amazing, but then doing so again caused a sensation and encouraged many farmers to plant Pinotage.

But it turned out that the variety tests a winemaker’s skill to the ultimate. Bruce Jack of Flagstone says ‘Pinotage is the unpredictable, dangerous ride of your life’s work as a winemaker. It can smell fear on a winemaker at 20 paces. But if wine pushes your button, making a good wine from a difficult grape is like pushing ten. It’s an awesome sense of achievement! I am biased, however. I have tasted and drunk wonderful, emotionally rallying small scale, hand-made Pinotage. For those moments of beauty, it’s more than worth the wild ride.’

Unfortunately many winemakers were not up to the challenge and poor, and badly made wines tarnished the early reputation of Pinotage, causing a vicious circle in which little attention was paid to winemaking and vines were over-cropped to produce vast quantities of poor quality wines to go into blends.

beyers.jpg At Kanonkop another rugby player, Beyers Truter, had been appointed winemaker. He took a different approach by treating Pinotage with all the care and respect needed, and – almost unheard of at the time — aged it in small oak barrels. The resulting wines again stunned critics. Truter won the Robert Mondavi Trophy for his 1989 Kanonkop Pinotage and the title Winemaker of the Year at the 1991 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

But there was another obstacle to wide recognition for the variety. South Africa’s government policy of apartheid had resulted in political and economic isolation from the rest of the world. Although a few Pinotage vines had been exported to New Zealand in the 1960’s and were growing with some success there, no-one else outside Africa could grow Pinotage and the variety became completely associated with South Africa.

Peter F May is the founder of The Pinotage Club – www.pinotage.org – an international cyber-based fan club for wines made from the Pinotage variety. Peter was awarded Honorary Membership of the producers Pinotage Association in 2004 and was a judge at the annual Pinotage Top 10 Competition in 2004 and 2005. Peter is a wine writer, educator and author. His book ‘Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape – odd wines from around the worrld ‘ was published in summer 2006.

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Pinotage Part 1 – The Pinotage Buzz

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Ruarri asked me to write some pieces about for this site, and I’m going to look at this variety by focusing on the that is most closely linked with Pinotage – Kanonkop Estate.

Part 1 – The Pinotage Buzz
by
Peter F May

Kanonkop Estate’s 2004 Pinotage is causing an online buzz. Gary Vaynerchuk of Library TV opened a bottle in his vidcast (Episode 218) on South African wines. He was so impressed that he featured four bottles of it in the following episode to experience the differences that opening times and decanting made.

vayna2.jpgHe first tasted the bottle he’d opened 24 hours earlier which he used in the previous vidcast. Then he compared two Kanonkop 2004’s that he had opened 5 hours previously; one had been decanted while the other had been left in the bottle. The fourth was opened on camera and tasted immediately.

vayner3.jpgGary said “I like this wine, beautiful red cabbage profile, oil & vinegar & olives. Bananas are jumping, (I Iove bananas), structured like Bordeaux, terroir driven, this is essential class Pinotage. Comes from granite soil, you’re getting some of this. It’s really polished, but young, need another three years. Now getting dark liquorice flavour, gets olive & smoky on finish. I highly recommend it, I’m giving it 91 points. If you like extremely well polished and intriguing wines, seek this bottle out.”

The word ‘estate’ has a legal meaning in South Africa; it tells us this wine was made from grapes grown only in vineyards owned by and surrounding the winery. That it was made, matured and bottled in the winery.

kanonkop.jpgKanonkop is a well respected winery on the road to Paarl, just north of Stellenbosch. From the road its vineyards stretching back to a clump of trees in which is the winery. Behind and to the sides of the winery are low hills covered in vines. At the entrance is a cannon. For the name Kanonkop means Cannon Hill and refers to guns placed on hills in olden times that were fired when ships were seen along the coast to alert farmers to load up their wagons with produce to take to the harbour. Sailing ships travelling down around the southern tip of Africa would stop at the harbour to take on fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and water. And wine. The reason the Cape was settled in the mid 1600s was to provision ships and wine was first made there in 1659 because it was known that wine prevented scurvy among sailors.

Kanonkop Estate was established in 1910 and now is considered one of the ‘first growths’ of . It makes only red wines, and just four of them. A flagship Cabernet dominated Bordeaux blend named ‘Paul Sauer’ after the second owner, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, a 100% Pinotage and a second label named Kadette which is a varying blend of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Up till 1973 Kanonkop, as with most other vineyards, sold its grape to co-operatives. Since first making its own wines 35 years ago there have been only four winemakers, owner Jannie Krige, Jan “Boland” Coetzee (now owner of Vriesenhof Winery), Beyers Truter (now owner of Beyerskloof) and since 2002 Abrie Beeslaw.

 

Peter F May is the founder of The Pinotage Club – www.pinotage.org – an international cyber-based fan club for wines made from the Pinotage variety. Peter was awarded Honorary Membership of the producers Pinotage Association in 2004 and was a judge at the annual Pinotage Top 10 Competition in 2004 and 2005. Peter is a wine writer, educator and author. His book ‘Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape – odd wines from around the world‘ was published in summer 2006.

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Posted in Stories, Wine, Wine Review | 4 Comments »

Introducing Pinotage!!!

Friday, August 10th, 2007

petermay.jpgIt is with great pride that Grape Thinking introduces Peter F May as a blogger on our site. Peter is the founder mmerlot3.jpgof The Club, an international cyber-based fan club for wines made from the variety and he has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Producers Association in 2004, and was a judge at the annual Top 10 Competition in 2004 and 2005.
Peter is a writer, educator and author. His book ‘Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape – odd wines from around the world’ was published in summer 2006 to wide acclaim and is available for purchase on Amazon.com. Peter writes two blogs – one on wine labels and another on Pinotage.
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This afternoon we will feature the first installment in a series of 6 articles Peter has very kindly written for Grape Thinking. We are very privileged to be able to feature such a high level of authority on the subject and we hope this will be informative and promote knowledge and interest in this neglected varietal.
Pinotage is part of my ‘front line’ for the wines I will be reviewing as part of September’s World Cup of Wine series. If you know anyone interested in wine – ‘Marylin Merlot and the Naked Grape’ makes for a perfect gift.
Enjoy the series!

Cheerz!

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