Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vineyard Hotel - Wine Paired Dinners

What a privilege it was to be invited to help create the four course dinner for the Villiera Tasting Experience at The Vineyard Hotel.

It was one of the most exciting moments I've had to date. I met amazing people, such as the wine maker, Jeff Grier and the chef at the Vineyard Hotel, Chris Law. The wines and MCCs we tasted were exceptional and the way we unravelled the flavours in the wines and the foods, in order for Chris to use his mastery to come up with something unique and spectacular was in effect, "a paint-by-numbers-extravaganza."

Seeing our bantered-efforts come to life in actual dishes, on the night, was priceless.

Smoked salmon orzo with wild rocket, apple, toasted almonds and citrus emulsion
Paired with Villiera Tradition Brut Rose NV

Chris surpassed all my expectations with this first plate - the flavours were singing in my mouth! Such a beautifully executed and well balanced dish. The saltiness from the salmon, the slight sweet tartness from the apple, the toasted creaminess from the almonds, all brought out the flavours in the Brut Rose, but the textures of the apple, orzo and almonds were a delight. I was taken on a journey in this dish and I didn't want it to end!

Homemade blanc fromage, deep-fried with dukkha, artichoke, mango, pineapple salad and korma dressing
Paired with Villiera Tradition Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010

The gentle curry flavours of the korma married perfectly with the Villiera Barrel Fermented Chenin as did the sweetness from the mango and pineapple and the nuttiness from the dukkha. Once again the textures in this dish and the balance of flavours made me happy: the crunchy salty exterior with the oozing richness of the cheese ball, accompanied by the crisp sweetness of the salad, a perfect combination.

Peppered beef fillet with rosti potato, creamed spinach and a bitter chocolate jus
Paired with Domaine Grier Crusade 2006

Whenever I see chocolate and steak together on a menu, I get nervous because the balance is very rarely right. But this bitter chocolate jus was delightful and a faultless accompaniment to the Domaine Grier Crusade, one of Villiera's overseas offerings. The earthiness of the spinach also complimented the wine well as did the umami from the steak, which was cooked to perfection!

Apple and pear tart tatin, roasted rhubarb ice cream and honey rooibos gel
Paired with Villiera Inspiration Noble Late Harvest 2010


I could have eaten bucket loads of the roasted rhubarb ice cream; its slight savouriness cut through the sweetness of the tart and worked wonderfully with the Noble Late Harvest. As did the honey, which was mirrored in the wine.

I would highly recommend treating yourself to one or more of these wine paired evenings, which are very reasonably priced at R265 for the four-course and R315 for the five-course. A wonderful night out with a group of friends or if you are wanting to be romantic, why not indulge and stay over. Exclusive stay-over packages have been designed specifically for these evenings, at a greatly reduced price.

The wine flows, live music sets the mood and the food is a treat for the taste buds. I couldn't think of a more enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.

 For more info go to The Vineyard Hotel's Website, or contact 021 657 4500 or e-mail

No comments:

Post a Comment