Advent Calendar #14 2018…

Kunjani Shiraz 2015, one of my Advent Calendar #14 2018 wines

Kunjani is isiXhosa for ‘how are you’. It is a traditional greeting. Kunjani Shiraz 2015 is made by consultant winemaker Carmen Stevens, long a well-known and award-winning winemaker on the Cape. The grapes come from Kunjani, in the Devon Valley Ward within the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. Only just over a year ago, Kunjani opened its doors to the public.

Kunjani Consultant Winemaker Carmen Stevens

Made in one of the great vintage years for Cape Wine this Century, the Kunjani Shiraz 2015, was hand harvested onto flat 20kg grapes to retain the integrity of the grapes. The grapes were hand sorted in the cellar and then tank fermented. Processes known as rack and returns give aroma, colour, soft tannins and texture to the wine. Once fermented the wine is transferred for malolactic fermentation in a combination of 13% new French Oak barrels and the balance second and third fill French Oak barrels for a year. The wine is then prepared for bottling.

This Advent Calendar #14 2018 wine is in a weighty Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is quirky with two people’s fists giving what are known as fist pumps. In the glass, it is an opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges. Carmen’s description of the wine is perfect here – “An inviting nose of white pepper and paprika spice fuse with black olives and a savoury soy sauce aroma.  The soft palate entrance flows to an elegant tannin structure filled with spice and juicy fruit. The depth of the palate is enhanced by a sweet liquorice root impression whiles the touch of lime keeps the palate refreshed.” I think the recommended retail price of The Kunjani Shiraz 2015, available directly from the farm at R115 per bottle is a very even handed one.

Ina Paarmans Naan Pizzas

This is a serious food wine. In summertime, it benefits greatly from being chilled for 30 minutes before serving. It will grace your Sunday Roast Lunch with real gravy and rustly roast potatoes as well as it will your Friday Night Pizza Supper with Ian Paarman’s utterly delicious Naan Pizzas. Click here for her recipe.

Ina Paarman, our National Living Treasure

For more information visit

Franschhoek Cellar Last Elephant 2015

Franschhoek, the little town in the heart of its eponymous Wine Appellation, was formerly known as Oliphantshoek – Elephant’s Corner. There is something very poignant and sad about the label of the Franschhoek Cellar Last Elephant 2015, it has an illustration of an elephant rather forlorn looking leaving Franschhoek for the last time in the late 19th Century. Their path over what is now the Franschhoek Pass was used for centuries as they came to and from their winter and summer grazing.

 Overnight at Protea Cottage Franschhoek Cellar

The Franschhoek Cellar Last Elephant 2015 is a blend of some of the finest barrels produced in the winery in any given year. The 2015 is a blend of Stellenbosch Merlot 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%. Cabernet Franc 10% and Petit Verdot 5%, all grapes from the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. Hand-picked grapes were brought to the cellar where they were fermented in closed fermenting tanks. After fermentation, the grapes were allowed 35 days of on skin maceration. Once  the malolactic fermentation was complete, the wine was taken to all new French oak barrels for 22 months. The wine was then prepared for bottling and kept for two years before being labelled and released.

Franschhoek Cellars

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed under natural cork. In the glass, the wine is a dark bloodplum at the heart which pales out to the edges. The aromas coming off the glass are all black currants, roadside brambles and red cherries. These aromas then present on the palate with red berries, oak and its concomitant spices and vanilla. Rich round and full mid palate, a big boy this with its tannins, nice and firm and enclosed in a cashmere glove. This is a serious wine which will age well if cool cellared, for future reward.

Lamb Ribs, great for any kind of lamb casserole

A big wine like this needs big flavours. A real South African Tomato Bredie with a well reduced tomato sauce is a great partner.

Here’s Maddy and my recipe

Michael & Maddy’s Tomato Bredie

The better the stock, the better the bredie.  We often use the NOMU stocks with great success.  Using mutton rather than young lamb adds to the flavour as well.  Louis Leipoldt is a great believer in shaking the pot quite often, this helps the sauce to emulsify.

You’ll need: 1.5 kg Lamb [1/3 thick rib bone in, 2/3 boned shoulder is a good combination], 3 medium onions, chopped, 2 fat cloves garlic, sliced, a 2cm piece of fresh green ginger, peeled & finely chopped, 1 Tbs sunflower oil, 2 cardamom seeds, crushed in your hand, 4 coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 2 tsp fresh crushed thyme, 1 tsp fresh chopped marjoram, 2 small chilis red or green, seeded & chopped – leave the seeds and veins in for extra heat, sea salt, freshly milled black pepper & fresh-grated nutmeg to taste, 500ml demi-glace, or rich NOMU lamb or beef stock, 750ml tomato juice from the tin below, 500g medium potatoes – peeled & quartered, 1250g net weight with juice of Italian canned peeled tomatoes, 1 Tbs mild fruit chutney, 1 Tbs soft brown sugar.

NOMU Stocks, of the finest available

Method:  In a casserole, on top of the stove, brown all the meat, a few pieces at a time in the oil over medium heat. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Fry the onions very slowly in the oil for a while, then add garlic and ginger and fry until golden. Add a little more oil though only if necessary. Just before they are done, add the cardamom, coriander, peppercorns, fennel, thyme, marjoram and chili. Stir-fry for a short while. Pour off any excess oil before continuing.  Return the meat to the casserole and season lightly with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg.  Add the demi-glace or stock and the tomato juice and cover. Braise gently over low heat, checking for burning or in a 180C oven for an hour and a half.  Remove from the oven.  If you have the time, cool quickly and refrigerate overnight.  This is an important step to mature the flavours.  It also gives you the opportunity the following morning to remove the cold solidified fat of the top and helps to tenderise the meat and makes it cook faster the next day.  Next day, reheat the casserole gently in a 180C oven before adding the roughly chopped tomatoes and potatoes. Simmer gently for one and half-hours or until the meat is tender.  Stir gently to mix through well. Add the chutney and brown sugar; reseason with salt and freshly milled black pepper if necessary. Serve this with a Pilaff of Basmati rice.  Basmati rice was the rice used in the 18th and 19th Centuries in the Cape.

Serves 6 people.

Read more about Franschhoek Cellar – CLICK HERE

Share this story, choose your platform


Recipient of Eat Out Lifetime Award