I have been driving past Stellenbosch Hills Winery since I first went and lived in Stellenbosch in 1966. In its earlier incarnation it was known as Vlottenburg Co-op. Always delicious wines from the grapes of their surrounding member growers. PG Slabbert, Cellarmaster says “My philosophy is, if you exceed on quality at a reasonable price you’ll earn your consumer’s unfailing loyalty and trust.” Winemaker James Ochse says “Starting the journey out in the vineyard, accompanying the grapes to the cellar and finding balance between classical principles and current influences are my focus.” And so it is with the Stellenbosch Hills 1707 Reserve White 2016, my Advent Calendar #13 2018, part 1.
The grapes used in the blend for this sublime Stellenbosch Hills 1707 Reserve White 2016 are 70% Chardonnay, 20% Semillon and 10% Viognier. These grapes all come from one grower in the iconic Stellenbosch Kloof. The grapes were hand harvested within the ideal ripeness window. Each variety was separately vinified and then matures on its lees in 300 litre French Oak barrels for 10 months. Lees stirring, known as batonnage, took place every 14 days. This builds flavour and texture especially in the mid-palate. The three wines were then blended and prepared for bottling. Only 3000 bottles were produced. The wine is built to last, up to another three years at least if cool cellared.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle closed with natural cork. The labelling is elegant and does the wine great favour. In the glass, it is a gem bright pale golden straw. The aromas coming off the top of the glass are aromatic, ripe white fleshed peaches, soft sun dried apricots, rich fynbos honey, sweet tropical limes and a beautifully applied oak with its concomitant spices and vanilla seeds. The mouthfeel is generous, with a golden thread of acidity passing through from entry to the long and satisfying after taste. Rich and full and round. Elegant and in perfect harmony.
The Stellenbosch Hills 1707 Reserve White 2016, my Advent Calendar #13 2018, part 1. is a ‘built for food’ wine. Good with oriental foods, gentle Kerala Vegetarian Curries, sushi and sashimi. Wont mess around with a good pizza either! Christine Capendale’s Caramelised Pear, Walnut & Haloumi salad is a great match to the wine.
Christine Capendale’s Caramelised Pear, Walnut & Haloumi salad
This salad looks spectacular and can mostly be prepared well in advance which makes it perfect for entertaining. I normally serve this salad for starters or as a delicious vegetarian main course, bulked up with more salad leaves and crisp cucumber ribbons
Serves 8 for starters or 4 as a main course
9 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved
500 ml water
150 ml sugar
100 ml sweet wine
2 cinnamon sticks
Rind and juice of 1 lemon
10 ml coarsely ground black pepper
2 star anise
Mix together all the ingredients and poach the pears until soft but still firm.
Remove pears and reduce the liquid to a syrup
Caramelize the poached pear halves in a frying pan with 30 ml butter and 30 ml of the reduced cooking liquid until golden and then cool.
100 g walnuts
30 ml butter
30 ml sugar
Heat the butter and sugar in a frying pan and add the nuts. Stir for a few minutes until caramelized. Cool.
2 cooled poached pear halves
80 ml olive oil
20 ml Dijon mustard
2 crushed garlic cloves
60 ml red wine vinegar
60 ml reduced cooking liquid from the pears
Blend together all the ingredients and reserve for the salad
Assemble the salad
400 g haloumi cheese
15 ml olive oil
To cook haloumi cheese: cut the cheese in slices and panfry in olive oil. The pan must be hot. If you like – you can dust the cheese with flour before frying
Rocket and/or baby lettuce leaves
Place two pear halves on a plate of baby lettuce leaves and rocket
Add some of the walnuts
Top with 3 slices of pan fried haloumi cheese
Sprinkle with the pear vinaigrette.
Read more about Stellenbosch Hills – CLICK HERE