Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018, good with Christine Capendale’s Lamb Meatballs with Herbed Burghul, Lime Yoghurt & Pickled Tomatoes…

Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018

2018 was the year in which the worst drought in living memory was broken, though this only happened in the winter well after the harvest. So this wine is a child of the drought and part of the smallest per ton per hectare yields. Cool weather during ripening resulted in smaller, quality berries with a more intense flavour resulting in a greater punch in the wine.

Old Bush Chenin Blanc Vine

The grapes for the Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018 were harvested off 30 to 40 year old unirrigated bush vines in the Swartland Wine Appellation. Picked at dawn the grapes were packed in 18kg lug boxes and swiftly transported to the Delaire Graff Cellar. Here Morné Vrey and his team do careful bunch string to ensure that only the finest grapes go through to the wine making process. The grapes were whole bunch pressed, with no sulphur added during the fermentation in barrel. The maturation took place 60% of the wine in 400 litre French oak barrels and 40% in 2500 litre Foudres. No stirring or malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then prepared for bottling.

Morné Vrey, Delaire Graff Wine Maker & Cape Wine Makers Guild member

From a vine leaf green Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. The label is classical simple Delaire Graff. In the glass, the wine is a pale wheaten gold. All the classical aromas and flavours of a fine Chenin are there. Picked with apple, guava, melon and honey almond Halva. There is an undertow of smooth river stones [c’mon, you sucked them as a child] and the beautifully applied supportive oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. Perfect harmony and balance as it makes its way from entry to the long satisfying aftertaste. The wine has all the necessary attributes to be cool cellared for a year or two, to reward you later.

Christine Capendale’s Lamb meatballs with herbed Burghul, lime yoghurt & Pickled Tomatoes

The Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018 is a serious food wine. No quaffer, rather a gentle sipper as an aperitif to take you into a meal. I always think of chicken with Chenin, though this one has the body and fullness of flavour to tackle a broader choice of dishes. The menus of the two Delaire Graff Restaurants are full of dishes which are a perfect match to these wines. And if you live in the Cape or are visiting there, both should be on your bucket list. If you are not able to get there, I suggest you give Christine Capendale’s Lamb meatballs with herbed Burghul, lime yoghurt & Pickled Tomatoes a whirl. Burghul or Bulgur is a cereal food made from cracked, parboiled Durum Wheat.

Christine Capendale with her book Meals

Lamb meatballs with herbed Burghul, lime yoghurt & Pickled Tomatoes

You can prepare this dish in advance – even a day before! It will be equally delicious served hot or cold. In winter – dish it up into large, warm bowls and eat curled up in front of the TV – watching a good movie. In summer this can be enjoyed outside as an al fresco meal, served with a green salad. You can serve all the components on a large platter and everybody can serve themselves too!

Serves 4

30 ml olive oil for frying
500 g lamb mince
1 small onion, chopped
5 ml salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60 ml chopped mint
5 ml ground cumin
5 ml barbecue spice
5 ml dried chili flakes
1 egg
Zest of I lemon
80 ml dried breadcrumbs, soaked in a bit of water

200 g burghul, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
125 ml chopped herbs (flatleaf parsley, coriander, mint)
40 ml lemon juice
40 ml olive oil

Lime Yoghurt
100 ml Double Cream [Greek] yoghurt
100 ml crème fraiche
2 garlic cloves, crushed
15 ml lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
30 ml olive oil
30 ml chopped coriander

Pickled Tomatoes
200 g halved baby tomatoes
40 ml lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2,5 ml sugar

For serving
60 ml butter
5 ml chili flakes

Mix together all the meatball ingredients, season very well, roll into small meatballs (about 30g each) and fry the meatballs in the olive oil until golden brown and cooked on both sides. Use medium heat. Keep warm and aside. Mix together all the ingredients to make the herbed burghul. Keep aside. Blend all the ingredients to make the lime yoghurt – using a stick blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Make the pickled tomatoes by adding all the ingredients together and leave for at least 15 minutes before use for flavours to blend. TO SERVE: Divide the burghul between 4 serving bowls, top with the meatballs, add some lime yoghurt and pickled tomatoes. Scatter with more chopped herbs. Lastly melt the butter in a small pan, add the chili and drizzle over the meatballs.

Read more about Delaire Graff Wine Estate – CLICK HERE

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