There is a saying that a meal without wine is called breakfast – however, this festive season, Slanghoek Cellar is challenging convention by encouraging consumers to indulge in a sweet start to the day by serving wines with brunch! About 2 weeks ago, I was invited for a festive brunch with Slanghoek wines at the Foxcroft restaurant in Constantia. We were treated to a 5 course meal, each paired with Slanghoek wines.
This winery, is situated along the Breedekloof Wine Route, has a focused approach to winemaking which aims to provide wine enthusiasts with top class drinking no matter which wine variety is used or the style it is made in. In line with this mandate, Slanghoek Cellar has been producing a range of highly enjoyable sweet wines – all thanks to a winemaking approach that values balance above anything else. “In the Slanghoek Cellar we always strive to achieve a fine balance between acidity, residual sugar – or sweetness – and fruit purity. This allows for wines with ample finesse that are highly drinkable, and which are delicate enough to enjoy with ‘lighter meals’ – such as breakfast.” – Pieter Carstens, cellarmaster.
This thinking inspired a food-and-wine pairing with a difference, with wines in the Slanghoek range paired to dishes more often associated with brunch – or dessert. “We wanted to showcase that our range of wines, which include sweet wines to drier, more serious styles, can all find a place at your festive table this season,” says Carstens. Slanghoek Cellar paired its wines to dishes at Cape Town’s hottest new restaurant (as voted at the recent Eat Out awards), Foxcroft restaurant in Constantia.
Upon arrival, we were treated to a glass (or two) of the Slanghoek Cuvée Brut (Vonkel), a dry and delicious sparkling wine. After sipping on the Brut and happily chatting away, the waitrons presented us with ‘Vonkel-poached oysters’. I’m at a loss for words to describe the rich, juicy, buttery flavour of these oysters, but they were poached perfectly! I loved the combination of the ‘Vonkel-poached oysters, with the crisp and refreshing Slanghoek Cuvée Brut. The Slanghoek Cuvée Brut (Vonkel) retails for R51.00 a bottle. According to Carstens, the Brut was made to be enjoyed “throughout the day”.
After introducing ourselves and chatting away, we were taken to our table and presented with the rose and coconut panna cotta. The panna cotta was paired with the Slanghoek Vin Doux, an aromatic sweet wine, with a crisp, fruity finish. After starring at the beautifully presented panna cotta, I eventually tucked in and was immediately transported into food heaven. The texture of the panna cotta was smooth, firm, silky and comforting. The Slanghoek Vin Doux helped to balance the sweetness of the rose and coconut panna cotta, all the flavours worked well together. According to Carstens, “this is a delicious sparkling wine that is especially suited to warm summer months, and a fine example of how a finely balanced wine can win over even the toughest crowd”. The Slanghoek Vin Doux retails for R51.00.
Now let’s talk about the confit pork belly paired with the Slanghoek Chenin Blanc. The pork belly was presented with a jus, firepit apples, fennel, onions and sage. We all know apples and pork belly is a marriage made in heaven. Adding the fennel, onions and sage transformed the dish into something magical. I still think about the tenderness of that pork belly. The Slanghoek Chenin Blanc had a rich, complex and well-rounded flavour, and was the best wine to accompany the pork belly. “Although this wine is serious enough to enjoy with ‘heavier’ dishes, this versatile wine will pair equally well with a fresh duck and orange salad.” – Carstens. This ‘flagship white’ retails for R190.
The Slanghoek Vinay Rosé was paired with a deconstructed toasted croissant, mascarpone and compressed strawberries. The dessert was creamy, sweet (not overwhelming sweet) with a hint of acidity from the strawberries. A sublime dessert! The acidity of the dessert complimented the sweetness of the Rosé. According to Carstens, the Slanghoek Vinay Sweet Rosé “is a perfect match with anything with a berry base, as it highlights the sweet delicacy of the wine.” The Slanghoek Vinay Sweet Rosé retails for R32.00.
We ended off the afternoon with a selection of local and international cheeses and preserves, paired with the Slanghoek Private Selection Crème de Chenin and Slanghoek Noble Late Harvest. The Slanghoek Creme de Chenin is an elegant natural sweet wine made from predominantly Chenin Blanc grapes. It is refreshing sweet and crisp on the palette. The Slanghoek Noble Late Harvest has a more balanced flavour with a sweet finish. You will also pick up notes of dried apricots and honey. According to Carstens, “these wines have refreshingly sweet and crisp palates with a fruity bouquet and a lingering aftertaste, the hints of botrytis make them perfect partners for cheese with a distinct flavour – like goats’ or blue cheese.” These wines retail for R45.00 (for 500ml) and R71.00 (for 375ml) respectively.
Slanghoek wines are available to purchase online. You can also purchase them throughout the country at Tops, Makro, Ultra Liquors and Liquor City, to name a few. Each moment with Slanghoek wines and Foxcroft was special, I cannot wait to go back.
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Love and light,