Oldenburg Vineyards Merlot 2015, perfect partner to Christine Capendale’s Fillet with Rocket & Horseradish Sauce…

Oldenburg Vineyards Merlot 2015

Oldenburg Vineyards up in the Banghoek Valley has some exciting stuff happening – again! The new winery is coming on like a dream, the roof is on, now the interior work is taking place. and will be ready for the Estate’s new winemaker Nic van Aarde. The Estate has recently created new livery for their bottles, of which I thoroughly approve. Excellent design by White Space Creative Design. The staff on the Estate have also done great work during Breast Cancer Awareness Month with fun activities which they put up on Social Media. Great stuff guys.

Merlot Grapes ripening on the vine

The Vineyards from which the grapes for the Oldenburg Vineyards Merlot 2015 were planted on Vilafonté and Cartref soils in 2005, so had reached a good age by the time this harvest came around. Harvested by hand in the early morning and taken to a contracted cellar nearby, the bunches and berries were sorted, and then bunches destemmed and the grape gently crushed.  Pump overs took place regularly to extract colour and soft tannins during fermentation. This was followed by a cold soak before pressing. 19 months was then spent maturing the wine in 300 litre French oak barrels, of which 40% were new. The wine was then prepared for bottling. A fine Merlot from a great vintage year. One of South Africa’s Top 100 Wines, and a Gold medal at the IWSC in London and the Merlot Trophy at the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.

Oldenburg Vineyards’ New Cellar

It looks like
Bottled under natural cork in a Bordeaux shaped bottle with the elegant new livery. In the glass, it is a dark ruby at the heart which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges.

Nic van Aarde, Oldenburg Winemaker

It smells like
Rich dark berries and ripe bloodplums. Undertow of the fine oak and its concomitant vanilla and spice.

It tastes like
From entry, rich and full. Big mid palate with a long and gently waning tail into which the soft tannins, oak and acidity are all perfectly interwoven. The fruit is just so generous. Black berries, mulberries and roadside brambles. Big sweet ripe dark plums.

Christine Capendale’s Fillet of Beef with Rocket & Horseradish Sauce

It’s good with
This is a food wine par excellence. Christine Capendale teaches us how to cook fillet for a group of people and offers her Rocket and Horseradish Sauce recipe.

Christine Capendale

Christine Capendale’s Fillet of Beef with Rocket & Horseradish Sauce

Doing steak for a group of people can be very challenging and can also be disastrous! BUT – getting it right is GREAT and once you gain confidence – not so difficult at all!

I will share my tips with you – see if it will help and adjust it to how you would like your steak to be done.

OK! I normally buy a whole beef fillet (work on about 300g per person). Ask your butcher to trim the fillet for you (remove any sinew, fat and normally the thin tail end of the fillet). I find serving the steak MEDIUM suits most people – but of course you can cook it longer for WELL DONE or shorter for RARE.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C. Rub some olive oil and crushed garlic on the fillet and place it in a roasting pan – DO NOT COVER THE FILLET. Pre-cook/roast the whole fillet for 15 minutes in the oven. Cool, cut into portions, brush with a little olive oil and grill on the fire or use a griddle pan to cook to your liking. Rest the steaks, brush with a bit more olive oil or melted butter and season with salt


Rub olive oil and black pepper on a whole fillet. Heat a griddle pan on medium heat till hot and grill the whole fillet, turning/browning, for about 6 minutes until browned on all sides.
Transfer the fillet to a roasting pan and roast for 10–15 minutes in the preheated oven (200°C) until cooked to your liking. Rest the meat for 10 minutes, season with salt and cut it into thick slices. Drizzle with the pan juices.

ALWAYS: bring your steak to room temperature before cooking it – remove from fridge at least one hour before you want to cook it!

ALWAYS: rest your steak for a few minutes before serving it and seasoning it with salt.

A GREAT sauce to serve with steak (other than the normal mushroom, cheese or pepper sauce):

Rocket & Horseradish Sauce

30g wild rocket
50ml cream
80ml Greek yoghurt
60 ml creamed horseradish
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50 ml good quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Place the rocket, olive oil, garlic, horseradish and cream into a blender and blend till smooth. Gently stir in the yogurt. Season to taste and keep in fridge. It will last for 3 days

This sauce will taste even better the next day! It is also delicious served with leftover, cold, rare-roasted fillet, sliced thinly and served on crusty ciabatta.

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