Advent Calendar #1 2018…

Advent Calendar #1 2018…Quaint Christmas Card I received from a Portuguese Wine Maker Friend

Every day between now and December 24th, I will post an Advent Calendar wine, spirit or beer. Open and read.

Bonfire Hill Extreme Vineyards White 2017

This my Advent Calendar #1 2018 wine is an exciting broad flavoured white wine made from grapes from the Paarl and Voor Paardeberg Wine Appellations. The blend is made up of 70% Chenin Blanc and 15% each of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Whole bunch pressed and then fermented in open tanks. The wine was then prepared for bottling.

From a Burgundy shaped bottle under screw cap. Classy label with fun fonts. In the glass, a pale gold. Generous whiffs of windfall orange, sweet tropical limes and ripe white fleshed peaches. Touch of scrunched fynbos herbs. There is a vanilla creaminess from entry, the aromas are repeated as complex and intense flavours on the palate. Full, sappy, lovely almost crunchable acidity in the long aftertaste.

My Smoked Fish Paté

Good as a sundown sipper, not really a quaffer. These wines have a lovely acidity and are food friendly and easy to drink. This is not condemning it with faint praise – all wines should be easy to drink. My Smoked Fish Paté is a great partner. Click here for the recipe.

Bonfire Hill Extreme Vineyards Red 2016

Rich, fruity and dry, also in the Advent Calendar #1 2018.. A blend of Shiraz 64%, Grenache 22%, Malbec 9%, Touriga National 5% [Portuguese Port Variety]. Overberg Highlands, Cape Point Vineyards 3% and the remaining 59% from Stellenbosch, Swartland, Piekenierskloof and Darling. A real mixed bag to build a mountain of flavours. Between 15 and 50% of the grapes were fermented as whole bunches, using the natural wild yeasts. The cap of skins and fruit which rises to the top was hand plunged 5 to 6 times a day to extract colour, aromas and gentle tannins. At times, the fermenting wine from the bottom of the tank was pumped over the cap. After fermentation, and maturation in oak, the wine was prepared for bottling.

From a Burgundy shaped bottle under screw cap. As with the white, a classy label with fun fonts. In the glass, a rich ruby at the heart which pales out to garnet at the edges. Aromas of red berries, plums and roadside brambles. White flowers, Kerala Masala and the oak and its concomitant spices in undertow. As the notes on this wine say [and I could not put it better], “The palate is surprisingly decadent, rich, with almost creamy tannins. You’ll find raspberries, blackberries, ripe plum and a hint of pepper, spice and leather on the palate. It is balanced, with just the tiniest prod of refreshing, salty acid, like a playful poke of Neptune’s trident.” Love the thought of a trident poke.

Berry Bros & Rudd, London Head Chef Stewart Turner’s Bobotie

Perfect chilled as a pre braai wine, tanking you into the meal. A spicy Bobotie would be a lovely match. Stewart Turner’s Bobotie, is an interesting recipe in terms of method and offers a delicious dish.

Bobotie – Stewart Turner Head Chef Berry Bros & Rudd, London
Serves 6

1 mutton shoulder
2 onions – peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 bunch of thyme
2 tbsp curry powder
1 head garlic – split
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp allspice berries
5 cloves
½ cinnamon stick
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Slash the lamb shoulder on the fat side and drizzle with olive oil. Rub in all the spices, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then leave to marinate overnight.

Lay the onions in a suitably sized roasting tray with the thyme, garlic, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Lay the lamb shoulder on top and cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 160°C and cook for a further 3.5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Once cooked, set the lamb aside but keep any of the onions and garlic that aren’t too scorched, popping the soft garlic from its skins. Discard the spices, drain any of the liquid and skim off any fat. Once the lamb has cooled sufficiently, fork the meat from the bone and strip down to small chunks, discarding the fat, gristle and bone.

Finishing the lamb

2 onions – peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots – peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp madras curry paste
200ml lamb stock
2tbsp mango chutney
50g golden raisins
50g dried apricot – diced
50g cashew nuts – toasted and roughly chopped
Handful of coriander – chopped
I lemon – zest only
6 bay leaves
250ml full-fat milk
2 large eggs

While the lamb is cooking, sweat down the carrots and onions in a good splash of olive oil until softened. Add the curry paste and cook out, then add the lamb stock and simmer until reduced by half. Fold in the braised shoulder, onions that were cooked with the lamb and the reserved cooking liquid. Mix in the dried fruit, nuts, mango chutney and chopped coriander. Season to taste and add the lemon zest.

Place in an oven proof dish and press down, ensuring there are no gaps around the edges. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour the mixture over the lamb and lay the bay leaves on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the egg mix is set and starting to turn golden.

Stewart Turner – Head Chef Berry Bros & Rudd, London

Read more about Berry Bros & Rudd – CLICK HERE

Read more about Bonfire Hill Extreme Vineyard Wines – CLICK HERE


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