Nativo Red Blend 2009 & Ian Bergh’s Smoorsnoek with crispy potato Röstis, basil pesto, crème fraiche & watercress – 14.12.2016

Nativo Red Blend 2009

Billy Hughes has created organic heaven on Kasteelsig Farm on the old Piketberg Road, Malmesbury.  He set out to create an organic vineyard growing grapes for wine production and over the years he has just moved slowly towards his goal.  The latest addition is an underground cellar made up of old containers and gum logs from surrounding trees.

Shiraz, the lead grape of this blend

The blend of the Nativo Red Blend 2009 is made up of 56% Shiraz, 16% Grenache Noir, 13% Merlot, 9% Mourvèdre and 6% Pinotage, all grown on Kasteelsig under organic viticulture.  The grape varieties are individually hand harvested into small lug boxes to protect the integrity of the fruit.  The grapes are separately vinified and then blended after 8 months in small 225 litre French Oak Barrels.  Destemmed and crushed, they are cold soaked for four days before the natural vineyard yeasts start the fermentation.  Regular punch downs take place for maximum colour and flavour extraction.  After fermentation the wine has skin contact for four days.  After the initial oak maturation, the different components are then blended and the wine goes through a further four months in barrel to knit together.  The wine was then prepared for bottling.  It is a laster and if properly cellared will keep for at least 8 – 10 years. From the 2013 vintage, this wine will be organically certified – the Nativo White Blend has been so since that date.

Billy in his Vineyards at Kasteelsig

It looks like
Bottled under cork, itself a natural product, in a Burgundy shaped bottle.  The label is all white with a look of a piece of origami about it.  In the glass, it is an opaque dark plum at the core which pales out to ruby garnet at the rim.

It smells like
Predominantly black berries and ripe bloodplums, supported by oak and its concomitant spices.

It tastes like
Warm full fruit flavours on entry which unravel layer for layer in the mouth.  Nice complex wine, broad mid-palate and then a lovely tail which fades away gently.

Ian Bergh’s Smoorsnoek with crispy potato Röstis, basil pesto, crème fraiche & watercress
Recipe by Ian Bergh, Styling by Shelly Bergh, Photograph By Shane Powell

It’s good with
A red wine like this is good as a glass on its own.  It begs for a braai with spicy sausages, apricot and lamb kebabs and meat marinated in a flavoursome marinade.  Excellent with north African tagines, made from lamb, chicken or beef on indeed vegetarian ones.  Ian Bergh’s Smoorsnoek with crispy potato Röstis, basil pesto, crème fraiche & watercress is a great match when you serve the wine slightly chilled. The recipe comes from a year of Seasonal Dishes, read my post about it here.

Ian Bergh, Chef at De Grendel Wine Estate

Smoorsnoek with crispy potato Röstis, basil pesto, crème fraiche & watercress.

Serves 4, easy, 30 minutes

The flavour combinations Röstis
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1 large egg, whisked
15ml (1 tbsp) cake flour salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15ml (1 tbsp) oil

125ml (½ cup) caramelised onions
400g smoked snoek, shredded and bones removed

60ml (¼ cup) basil pesto
60ml (¼ cup) crème fraiche, watered down slightly to form a sauce

spring onions, sliced, to serve tomato cubes, to serve
80g watercress, washed and dried, to garnish

How to do it
For the Röstis, grate the potatoes and squeeze out all of the liquid.
Add half of the egg, all of the flour and seasoning to the grated potato.
Discard the remaining egg.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add 15ml (1 tbsp) grated potato mixture. Flatten this a little with the back of a spoon and fry on each side until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Set the Röstis aside and keep warm.

Mix the caramelised onion and snoek together.

Place the Röstis on serving plates. Spoon some snoek mixture over and drizzle with the pesto and crème fraiche.

Garnish with sliced spring onions, tomato cubes and watercress and serve immediately.

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