Michael Olivier and Neil Pendock will be publishing 'The People's Guide - navigate the winelands in a shopping trolley', later this year. WINE.CO.ZA will offer a weekly glimpse of wines which are Michael and Neil's finds of the week, together with one of Michael's home tested recipes using fresh seasonal ingredients.
Vondeling Erica Shiraz 2007
The Damage: around R80 for a 750ml bottle.
First Impression: did someone hijack Schalk Burger's winemaker and force him to make crackerjack Shiraz on the Paardeberg?
The Story: Vondeling is an up-and-coming new producer in the up-and-coming new Voor-Paardeberg (or Poor Vaarterberg as a Wine Spectator hack hilariously malapropped it). While the Paardeberg has been rightly hailed as the source of the best Chenin blanc in the country, Vondeling winemaker Matthew Copeland has been demonstrating that the appellation is no one-trick pony. While some UK pundits savage South African reds for burnt rubber pongs, this cannot occur in Paardeberg fruit as the mountain has not been burnt for 21 years. Matthew has a simple explanation - there is no public access. The mountain is surrounded by commercial farms whose owners know better than to play with matches.
The Taste: This wine has it all: width, length, depth, intensity and penetration as Iggy Pop noted.
Michael Says: Paardeberg was named after quaggas, so try this meaty wine with marinated game.
Neil Says: This wine is so good, it's a miracle it's not called Vondeling Erica Syrah. I'm still trying to find out how Erica Platter got Matthew to name this wine after her.
Did You Know? Matthew may have added some Mourvèdre to this wine as happened in 2006 if a rogue troop of baboons had not raided the Mourvèdre vineyard and snarfed all the berries. This troop are so notorious, a farmer at nearby Kersfontein reports he saw them riding his cows, bareback.
Anorak stuff: Although the label may say Shiraz, winemakers are allowed to add up to 15% of other cultivars and still call it Shiraz.
The damage: R100.00
Michael's wine to go with the Quince Bredie is the Grangehurst Pinotage 2001
First Impression: Masses of red berries and plum
The story: Every Cape farm had a quince hedge, a pomegranate tree, some lemon trees, a cape gooseberry creeper and a loquat tree. So what better than a traditional Cape wine like Pinotage to go with my Quince and lamb knuckle bredie?
Michael says: Dark ruby red with garnet flashes round the edges, sappy berries and plums with vanilla and oak spice. Drinking wonderfully now.
Neil says: The elegant Pinot Noir face of Pinotage.
Did you know? Jeremy Walker started making wine on his father's squash court on Grangehurst with mainly bought in grapes.
Anorak stuff: The wine has an 11% splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. 18% of he barrels used were of American Oak. 14.6% Alc by volume, Residual Sugar 2,0 grams/litre, pH 3,51.
Quinces have been grown at the Cape for over 350 years. They were planted and mentioned in his diary by Jan van Riebeeck's gardeners in the Company Gardens in Cape Town shortly after the settlement at the Cape by the Dutch to create a fuelling station for their ships sailing to Batavia. Quinces were popular right up to the turn of the 20th Century but with the urbanization of rural peoples they have become less and less known.
Michael's Quince & Lamb Knuckle Bredie
However there is hardly a farm which does not have its quince and pomegranate or cape gooseberry hedges - all of which have been at the Cape since the early Dutch settlement. Quinces are a most nostalgic fruit for me as we ate them each year as they came into season. They were also turned into jelly which cooked slowly on the Aga stove in our kitchen producing a ruby red clear jelly which we ate with roast leg of lamb instead of the ubiquitous mint sauce.
Quinces look a bit like large fluffy knobbly yellow-skinned apples and are firm fleshed. The core and the area around it is particularly hard. There is a variety which Leipoldt called the borrie quince which was more yellow fleshed than the better known white fleshed quince and he suggested they were better for a bredie. When cooked - they can be poached in a sugar syrup or baked in the oven - the quince turns a most beautiful ruby pink colour.
Quinces are never eaten raw except in a sambal usually served with tripe by the Malay peoples of the Cape. The quince was peeled and grated and mixed with grated onion, lemon juice, salt and chopped chili. As children, we used to take quinces to our beach house and take them into the sea, wash the fuzz off them and eat them dipping them into the sea water.
Leipoldt also talks of a quince bredie, though his recipe is quaintly very basic and gives little direction in terms of quantities and in my opinion the ratio of quince to lamb is too high.
For my version, you'll need:
- 3 kg lamb knuckles
- flour - seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, sweet smoked paprika, ground ginger, pinch ground cloves
- extra virgin olive oil (Morgenster or Vesuvio are my favourites)
- 3 onions - finely chopped, 3 fat cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic
- 2 large carrots - diced
- 2 sticks celery - diced
- 3 bird's eye chilis - finely chopped (leave out seeds and membranes if you want a milder taste)
- 3 large quinces - peeled and cut into eighths, seeded and cored and kept in acidulated water to prevent oxidation
- 250ml fruity dry red wine
- 100ml brandy
- generous sprig thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 blades mace
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 litre beef stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the lamb knuckles well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dip them into the seasoned flour and slow fry them in a little oil a large pan over medium heat until they are well browned on the outside. Do not do them all at once otherwise the meat will stew rather than brown; rather do them in three batches. When done, transfer them to an oven proof casserole. Wipe out the pan and pour in a little oil, slow fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until it is just starting to colour, add the carrot celery and chilis and cook together for a short while. Pour in the red wine and cook over low heat until the wine is almost completely reduced. Heat the brandy, ignite it and pour it over the lamb shaking until the flames die out. Place the quinces on top of the lamb. Tuck in the thyme, bay leaves and mace. Mix the tomato paste with the beef stock and pour over the mixture.
Cook in a 180 oC oven for two hours. Remove form the oven and season for taste. Good thing to leave it overnight at this point for the flavours to mature. If you are not able to, cook for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. If you are able to keep it overnight, next day remove any of the solidified fat which has risen to the top, add a little more stock if necessary and reheat gently for about 30 minutes, stir the quinces through the meat.
Serve with plain steamed Basmati rice. Basmati rice was the chosen rice of the Malay peoples of the Cape, according to Cass Abrahams.
Pendock Uncorked in the Sunday Times by Neil Pendock.
NoshNews by Michael Olivier.
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