On a day that started with a misty chill and brightened to crisp winter perfection, I joined the select group of media dining at Terra del Capo at Anthonij Rupert Wyne on the L'Ormarins Estate in Franschhoek to sample their new tapas-style winter antipasti menu. Get those taste buds ready! This is definitely one to add to your Winter to-do list...
We met the shuttle bus at the Waterfront’s Radisson Blu Hotel, making the day all the more of an adventure. Following complimentary flutes of bubbly while gazing at the ‘must snap that’ view over the harbour, Aylmer Manko of La Rochelle Tours/SA Travel Desk ensured all were comfortable before we slowly meandered out of the Cape Town CBD where it’s traffic all day every day, especially on a Friday, through the sheet of grey cloud into the country greenery of Stellenbosch itself, with vines and plump cows everywhere we looked.
Passing through the heavy gates through the impressive vintage front door, we were presented with flutes of the L’Ormarins Brut Classique N/V to sip and wooden personal name tags to adorn, then wandered around the impressive woodsy Terra del Capo space, with gorgeous floral touches everywhere. This is one of Franschhoek’s best-kept secrets, with an upstairs tasting area as well as the glass-walled tasting room dining area with a view over the wine production pressing room.
I heard it through the grapevine… Estate history
We were in for not just a taste treat, but one in theory too, as all hands were on deck were keen to share how and why the Anthonij Rupert offering became the special experience it is today. First, estate hospitality manager Gidi Caetano introduced us to chef Harvey Pieterse and the team that put together the carefully curated menu. Marc Van Buuren of the winemaking team, responsible for the white wines, was also on hand to talk us through the various pairings and their provenance.
L'Ormarins wine estate, a brand within the Anthonij Rupert Wyne portfolio, has installed South Africa's most advanced technology for the production of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), which places the brand at the head of local MCC production.
9 Oct 2013
Caetano mentioned that Italian cuisine offers “such delicious vegetarian things,” most of which go very well with cold extracted, extra virgin olive oil – the Anthonij Rupert crop was impressive this year, resulting in 3,500 bottles of olive oil which are boutique produce sold from the estate.
Van Buuren then explained that the Rupert family originally bought L’Ormarins back in 1969, and in 2011 acquired the former Graham Beck Stable. The buildings have been restored over the years with two more wineries added since then. One more wine note: We tasted five of the terroir-specific Anthonij Rupert wine brands over the course of the afternoon, so thank goodness for the shuttle!
A glassy highlight among these was the fruit-driven Protea wine range, and Anthonij Rupert is the first large-scale wine farm to adopt its innovative helix cork closure, which 100% eliminates the risk of cork taint. Van Buuren pointed out that this is especially handy for on-consumption bottles at restaurants as it also eliminates the need for a cork screw.
Tasting Terra del Capo’s tapas
Wonderful wintery wine farm tales told, it was time to eat. We started with a selection of fresh baby breads, moreish porcini truffle butter and that olive oil, which was hard to resist, despite knowing we had a four-course menu ahead!
'Artichokes sultana chutney', all images supplied.
'Crudite anchoaide', all images supplied.
'Salmon ceviche with ginger and honey', all images supplied.
First up, the antipasti uno. Bowl after bowl of beautifully plated winter-warmer ‘starter size’ tapas hit the table, and we only realised once halfway through that what we thought was to be shared by four was actually for two, so there was ample chance to savour the flavours.
Savour the flavours we did, as there was something for every taste, and you could plate up as much as your heart desired, from a beautifully bright baby vegetable crudité – right from the garden, if you please, with garlicky anchoiade; all-the-way-from Italy grilled artichokes with the sweetest sultana chutney; a Franschhoek-trout ceviche with pretty citrus pops of gooseberry, honey, lime and ginger that’s said to have tasted even better than it looked; and the star of the show – the cutest carrot arancini, dressed to look just like a crumbed carrot with a warm cumin-boerenkaas filling.
Antipasti tapas group shot, all images supplied.
There were also individual grapefruit salads and the accompanying sips of Terra del Capo Pinot Grigio were suitably fruity on the nose and refreshingly light yet zesty on the tongue. Delicious!
Conversation, wine and food flowing strongly by now, we were excited for the antipasti due -a Shiraz-charcuterie flight to showcase how well these Terra del Capo menu staples work together.
Rich, ruby-red Shiraz and charcuterie
Caetano explained that Shiraz in general pairs with charcuterie in general, so they left us to choose our own favourites from a trio of Shiraz glasses– the Protea Shiraz, Southern Slopes Shiraz and Anthonij Rupert Shiraz.
Shiraz and charcuterie, all images supplied.
The charcuterie was equally appealing, with incredible balsamic olives, sweet-and-crunchy tiny pickled onions, wafer-thin ciabatta crisps, and a selection of Italian and local charcuteries - Napoli salami, as well as coppa and Parma ham. This was served per person, so no polite ‘sharing behaviour’ needed.
Warmed by the red wine but in need of warmer food, the antipasti tre was again served ‘sharing tapas’ style, and more than met our need for comfort.
The 'polenta fries with truffle aioli', all images supplied.
The 'salsiccia with cannelini al fiasco', all images supplied.
The 'gnocchi guanciale', all images supplied.
Think creamy, cheesy potato gnocchi with guanciale and black garlic butter; homemade salsiccia sausages on cannellini al fiasco; truffled polenta chips with parmesan aioli presented as a towering hashtag; and a personal ‘mini’ lasagne, made popular on Chef Pieterse’s previous menu. These all paired beautifully with the Terra del Capo Sangiovese, a spicy red with cocoa afternotes – it rolled off the tongue with Italian elegance.
Having sufficiently savoured the savoury it was time for my favourite part of any meal – dessert!
This was a chocolate lover’s dream, with most of the “I don’t like dessert” set (who are these people?!) exclaiming over the dark chocolate cream pot, with amaretto syrup and soft-chewy tiramisu macarons, tender raspberry and edible yellow flower. By no means overly sweet, this tasted like the glow you get when warmed by a fire, especially when paired with a cappuccino.
The 'chocolate tart amaretto tiramisu macaron', all images supplied.
Speaking of ‘warmed by fire’, once the main meal was done, Van Buuren treated the group to a sample of another exclusive estate sell – the craft L’Ormarins Eau de Vie digestif.
It warms the insides so best sampled in tiny sips and swirls, my favourite was the litchi for the delicate aromatics on the nose followed by that dragon-fire burn, but apple and pear were equally delicious, just with stronger scent. I can just picture them starring in artisanal winter cocktails.
Full to the brim and firm friends (in real life and on Instagram) by then, we linked arms, swept back out through those majestic doors and vowed to return, holding on tightly to our gift bags of Terra del Capo Pinot Grigiot and Sangiovese.
The opportunity to experience the taste sensations of Shiraz and charcuterie will be presented at this year's Shiraz & Charcuterie at Anthonij Rupert Wyne in Franschhoek, which will be held on Saturday, 28 May, 2016, from noon to 5pm.
5 Apr 2016
This year’s Shiraz & Charcuterie Festival is also just around the corner – set for 11am to 4pm on Saturday, 26 May. You can sample Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s range of Shiraz wines, including the limited release Anthonij Rupert Syrah, site-specific Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Shiraz and Protea Shiraz, as well as a showcased selection from 18 of the country’s top Shiraz producing estates.
Those with a sweet tooth can head directly to the macaron bar, offering flavours such as salted caramel, chocolate cherry and milk tart.
The Terra del Capo Antipasti Bar is open from Tuesday to Sunday (lunches only) and, as the estate operates on a ‘by appointment only’ basis, pre-booking is essential. Contact the Anthonij Rupert Wyne tasting room on 021 874 9074 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make your booking, and for more information, follow them on Twitter and Instagram. You can also download the Terra del Capo Winter 2018 menu.
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