Guardian Peak Merlot 2019, good partner to my Curried Pork Shoulder Chops with Apricots & Green Beans…

Guardian Peak Merlot 2019

Guardian Peak is in the foothills of the Helderberg, one of Stellenbosch’s prime wine growing areas. Guardian Peak Wines was conceived in 1998 by Jean Engelbrecht, who combined his knowledge and understanding of international wine markets with his experience and involvement at his family wine estate, Rust en Vrede. The objective was to create a range of wines that should be accessible to the consumer in both style and price. Grapes for Guardian Peak are sourced from the Breedekloof and Stellenbosch Wine Appellations where the winery enjoys long-term contracts with respected growers.

Merlot Grapes ripening on the vine

Once in the Winery, the grapes were vinified in a combination of open & closed top stainless-steel fermenters to preserve the fresh fruit flavours. After fermentation the wine was transferred to seasoned French oak barrels for further maturation. In the case of the Guardian Peak Merlot 2019, the maturation time was 6 months, before being prepared for bottling.

Jean Engelbrecht, Owner of Guardian Peak

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle closed with a screw cap. The label is simple and elegant. In the glass, the wine is plum red at the heart and pales out to a translucent ruby at the rim. The aromas a classical Merlot, red and black berries, mulberries and roadside brambles and plums. The palate from entry is medium of body with a line of bright fruit acidity running through to the satisfying aftertaste. The fruit is rich and generous, and soft. The tannins are gentle, and the palate has an undertow of fennel and the oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla and a gentle savoury buzz. Satisfying glass of ‘drink me now’ wine.

My Pork, Apricot & Green Bean Curry

It is a good idea to serve the Guardian Peak Merlot 2019 chilled for about 30 minutes or so in the fridge or in an ice bucket. Excellent for a glass of wine on its own for gentle sipping when called for. Good partner to a number of foods and food styles. My Pork, Apricot & Green Bean Curry is a good match.

Pork, Curried Shoulder Chops with Apricots & Green Beans 

Serves 4 – 6

What you’ll need
4 Tbs Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tbs butter
2 kg pork shoulder chops, trimmed of excess fat before weighing
3 onions, two chopped and one sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
150g carrots, finely chopped
150g celery, finely chopped
4 Tbs Medium Curry Powder
2Tbs Turmeric
1 tin 400gm chopped Italian Tomatoes
1 tin 400gm Coconut Milk
250ml Chicken Stock
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 Tbs scrunched dried curry leaves
6 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
250g Soft-dried Turkish Apricots
250g fine Green Beans, steamed to al dente

What you’ll do
In a large oven proof casserole, heat over medium heat the oil, when hot add the butter. Season the chops well and brown them on both sides in the oil and butter mix. You may have to take several times, but patience is a virtue. Remove the pork chops to a plate, they will throw off some liquid, you can add this when you add the chops back to the curry mix.

Now, add the onions and cook slowly over about 15 to 20 minutes until the onions start turning golden. Add the garlic and stir fry for a while.  Add the carrots and celery and stir fry to heat them through.  Add the curry powder and the Turmeric. Stir fry for a couple of minutes to release the aromas. Add the tomato, coconut milk and the chicken stock, the tomato paste and the leaves. Season to taste with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rather under-season, you can adjust the flavours later. Return the pork to the casserole. Please a heat mat under the casserole, drop the heat and when simmering gently, place the lid on top and cook for two hours, checking in every now and then to ensure that all is well and that there is no burning on the bottom. Check for seasoning. Add the apricots and the beans. Allow to simmer for another hour. Leave the lid aslant if you want to reduce the sauce.

When ready, serve with steamed Basmati Rice, Fruit Chutney, Desiccated Coconut and sliced bananas sprinkled with lemon juice.  You may like to include a tomato and onion salsa, both chopped finely, seasoned and a slug of lemon juice and olive oil.

This recipe works as well with lamb, or chicken.

Read more about Guardian Peak #winwineforayear competition, now extended to the end of August, CLICK HERE.

Read more about Guardian Peak Wines and its Restaurant – CLICK HERE


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