Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Glen Carlou celebrates 30 years of wine making with the release of their new wines from Johnnie Calitz’s first harvest

We were invited to celebrate this 30th anniversary over lunch, which was paired with the new wines. Glen Carlou is on the Simondium Road in the Paarl vineyards, at the foothills of the renowned Simonsberg Mountain; the road you travel down to get to Franschhoek. Owned for many years by the Hess family, the farm has recently been sold to the Pactolus Consortium, whose chairman is Wayne Pitout, a leading figure in the mobile data industry. We were told, "Today begins a new season at Glen Carlou"
We were from collected the V&A Waterfront by bus, which departed from the V&A Hotel near the Cape Wheel. It was a glorious day
A popular event, especially when they provide transport, which is much appreciated
Glen Carlou's restaurant and tasting room is in a lovely building, built when Walter Finlayson owned the farm. Glass panels in the floor give a view of the underground barrel maturation cellar
Inside this lovely thatched building, tables were set for the event
Ah, twin minds. Neil Pendock and Greg Landman in matching shirts. And no, they didn't consult each other
Time to taste the wines. We began with the Unwooded Chardonnay which has pears and white peaches on the nose and palate, with limes and good minerality. And the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with an almost muscat perfume on the nose, full of tastes of tropical fruit, guavas and limes from Darling fruit and a long finish. Here Fiona MacDonald, Greg Landman and Sue Wardrop get their first pour
The canapés were superb. Fresh salmon gravadlax with salmon caviar and marinated shaved fennel
Lorna and Dave Hughes enjoying the day and the wine (um, Dave ... is that a beer in your glass? Recovering from last night's Tribute dinner?). It was a beer, from CBC Brewery across the valley
Very fresh oysters and there were also lamb crostini
Time to begin, with MD Johan Erasmus welcoming us. Time to celebrate the 30th Vintage, which is also the first vintage for the new shareholders and winemaker Johnnie Calitz, who joined in December 2016. Today begins a new season at Glen Carlou
An attentive audience
The menu
We had the 2017 Curator’s Collection Sauvignon Blanc next. This was served with a fish rillette topped with radish and served with pressed cucumber and a beetroot ketchup
Next came a small salad of tomato, strawberry and bocconcini mozzarella - the dressing of tarragon and tomato water seemed to be missing as was the seasoning?
It was paired with the delightful 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé which has a nice tongue tingle and lots of strawberries, light and refreshing, a very nice summery wine. It made a good dressing for the salad
Next, a Spring pea soup, poured at the table with a piece of chicken thigh, some crisp chicken skin and some cured bacon bits. Before the pour
and after. A really lovely PPPPP soup. This was served with the six month wooded Curator’s Collection Chenin Blanc, full of golden fruit, tropical flavours and some oxidative lees character at the end
Winemaker Johnnie Calitz talked us through some of the wines. He says that the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is primary fruit, uncomplicated, to enjoy. The Rosé goes with everything except, perhaps, cocoa pops and the Pinot Noir is made to age in the bottle
A line up of the bottles
The next wine was the Quartz Stone 2016 wooded Chardonnay with wood notes on the nose; it is a lively wine with good peaches and limes, rounded off with wood, an excellent Chardonnay
Our next course was a twice baked Parmesan and gorgonzola cheese soufflé, light as air, with good deep cheese flavours and served with a walnut pesto, dill and an apple and leek slaw
Thank heavens the courses were small, as there were so many of them. The kitchen was doing a sterling job. Next came the slices of beef fillet with grilled asparagus, horseradish, unctuous bone marrow and a lovely jus. It was paired with the 2011 Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon, with incense wood and cassis on the nose, rich berries, cherries and warm alcohol on the palate. Not long
Dessert was a wobbly and mousse-y lemon cheesecake , served with lemon curd, frozen lemon yoghurt, candied lemon, a nutty crumble .... and olive oil. Served with a glass of 2015 The Welder, Natural Sweet Chenin Blanc. The wine was really good with the lemon sweetness of the dessert. The olive oil got a bit in the way, especially of the sweetness
The end to a marvellous day of great wines, and lovely food. We were able to salute and thank the chefs and the kitchen staff and our serving staff. We can heartily recommend the wines, the venue and the Glen Carlou restaurant
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