Tag Archives: wine pairing

  • Tried & Tested: Peking duck summer rolls & J.Lohr Wildflower, Valdiguie

    Cravings for a delicious takeaway style treat but want to stay healthy for summer?

    This week I tried and tested a lighter version of the classic Peking duck wraps using plenty of refreshing ingredients, and rice paper over the usual flower coated pancakes; creating more of a summer roll style dish as an alternative.  With the duck being a slightly heavier meat than the chicken you'd usually come across in a summer roll, I thought I'd try a red wine match, as it can never hurt to have a few summer appropriate reds on hand for a change from the white and sparkling we often lean towards in the warmer weather.

    I chose the J.Lohr, Wildflower, Valdiguie, 2014 which, after having been a little chilled in the fridge for just a little before opening, was full of juicy berry flavours (perfect for drinking on its own during the very welcome heatwave we've been having)!

    The wine worked well with elements of the dish, the freshness of the cucumber, spring onion and rice paper wraps, along with the slightly richer element of the duck were nicely balanced by the sweet, fruitiness of the wine.  The hoi sin sauce was a little too thick and sweet for such a light and fruity wine, so I'd perhaps opt for a lighter dressing, keeping the main focus the crunchy and refreshing greens in this light summer snack.

    Food and wine match with J.Lohr wildflower valdiguie

    I went with what I know for this recipe; simple ingredients all thrown together, wrapped up (the tricky bit), and sliced into bite-size pieces.

    To make enough for 2 people as a main, or a few more as party finger food, all you need is: 1/2 peking shredded duck (available in most supermarkets), rice paper, a handful of coriander, 2 spring onions and 1/2 cucumer (sliced to about 10cm in length - just under the length of your rice paper), and Hoisin sauce.  You can make this yourself (see BBC recipe here), but it often comes with the shredded duck.

    The rice paper rolls are the most fiddly but (best to follow individual pack instructions), but as long as you don't over fill your rolls, you can wrap up all of the ingredients quite securely.  Can be served per person as a full roll, but look great sliced up and served as summer garden party miniatures too.

    By Olivia Moore

  • Tried & Tested: Pork Skewers with 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon

    I tend to hit a creative brick wall when it comes to summer BBQ recipes, and always revert to the old classics. There is no harm in this method to be fair - who can say no to a homemade beef burger or chargrilled corn on the cob every now and again?  I did however, want to broaden my horizons and test out something a little different last night, so I played around with my own recipe - using the grill this time but with a combination I will definitely be trying when the BBQ is fired up and the sun is next out...

    I layered together some pork, beetroot and chorizo skewers - packed with flavour, served on a rocket salad with a MAN Family Wines 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon wine match. The ripe, juicy, fruity flavours of the wine were a great balance for the bitter bed of rocket, and added an element of sweetness to compliment the salty dish.

    Pork, chorizo & beetroot skewers with a Cabernet Sauvignon wine match

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    400g diced pork
    225g diced chorizo
    200g diced beetroot
    8 bamboo skewers
    1 bag rocket
    1 bag mixed salad




    Preheat the grill.  Before preparing your dish, soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 15 minutes.  Layer up the beetroot, pork and chorizo along the skewers - this recipe provides enough for two skewers each.  Place under the grill and cook for around 15 minutes, turning every now and again.  Whilst the skewers are cooking, arrange your rocket salad as a bed for the skewers, and when ready, rest them on top, drizzling the beeetroot and chorizo juices around the dish as a dressing.

    I put a very light sprinkling of black pepper over the dish to finish, but very little extra flavour is necessary, as the chorizo and beetroot nicely add to the subtlety of the pork, producing an overall dish full of flavour.

    By Olivia Moore

    Buy the MAN Family Wines 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon for just £7.70 during our South African promotion + 10% off any 12 wines.


  • South Africa meets Bordeaux - an evening with Morgenster

    'I went to South Africa to retire; I found my dream home; I bought the property for the house, not the land; little did I realise how this purchase would be the start of a new dream for me.'  So said Giulio Bertrand, owner of the exquisite, chocolate-box perfect estate of Morgenster, which is nestled among the hills, surrounded by the imposing and towering presence of the Heldeberg and Hottentots Holland mountains.

    And what  an unexpected dream it has been for an Italian business man from Piemonte, who was the 5th generation of a family wool and textile business. Having travelled around the world extensively, he sold the business in 1990, and planned to retire in South Africa, where he felt an emotional connection.  He searched for two years before finding his dream property.

    Morgenster means ’Morning Star’, as depicted by the star in a scallop shell, the estate’s logo, seen on each and every bottle of their wine.  The Morgenster Estate is to be found in the Somerset West area of the Cape, about 35 minutes west of Cape Town, and south of Stellenbosch. Situated just above False Bay, it’s close to the South-facing Ocean, with its sea breezes, and glittering waters that are far warmer than those on the Eastern bays close to Cape Town. The 300 year ‘Cape Dutch’ manor house is one of the  most beautiful and historic private properties in the Cape, surrounded by 200 hectares of vineyards.

    The fairytale continues... 'I found out that my land comprised some of the best terroir in the Cape' he told me 'back in the 18th century, Dutch pioneers had owned this prized land to produce wine, and produce, which surpassed all other.'  Having realised how lucky he was with this unexpected gem, ever the entrepreneur, Giulio set about a new career – as a wine and olive oil producer.

    He renovated the house in 1993, then as all true professionals would do, he set out to do his research, and bring in expertise for this newest of business projects.  He started with the olive groves, as he wanted to produce his own oil, rather than having to import what he wanted from Italy; he enlisted the help of experts, and made his first harvest in 1997. Morgenster now produces 250,000 bottles of olive oil per year.

    Giulio set off to France to learn more about wine, and in a fortuitous meeting, carved a bond with legendary winemaker Pierre Lurton, of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem fame. The results of this now long-standing friendship and sharing of passion for wine are illustrated by the wines that Morgenster is now producing. Lurton visits twice a year, and works closely with Morgenster’s young and gifted head winemaker Henry Kotze.

    Fuelled with determination, passion and excitement, Giulio returned and set about planting vines. But not just any vines. As a passionate Italian, it’s a bit of a given that he would want to plant his native Italian grapes, and, of his 40 hectares of vines, 3 of those are given over to his beloved Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.  But the driving focus of his vision has been to produce Bordeaux-style wines in the unique terroir of his land.

    Chris Staines

    He first planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot in in 1994 and  first harvested in 1998, following a massive investment, which was unique in South Africa at that time. ‘Many people thought I was crazy’ he told me’ but my focus is on quality, quality, quality. We produce the very best that the vintage and the terroir can offer. And then we leave the wines to rest, and evolve’.  A big investment indeed. Slumbering in French oak, the wines are left until full maturity before release (and it’s not cheap to do this!). Showing classic Bordeaux elegance, but made in a New World style, these wines are stylish, unique, and much prized.

    I was fortunate enough to taste them at a recent dinner at the Allium Restaurant, in Bath, where culinary genius, Executive Chef Chris Staines, created sheer stardust-sprinkled magic in the inspired dishes he brought out to complement a selection of Morgenster wines.

    Morgenster Estate WhiteEver one to celebrate the latest in seasonal produce, since this was in May, Chris first showcased a salad of new season English asparagus, with peas, wild garlic and goats curd. Pretty as a picture, vibrantly colourful, and packed with the freshest of flavours, this was served with Morgenster Estate White 2013. A classic Bordeaux Sauvignon/Semillon blend, the smooth, creamy, yet lifted, citrussy fruit had a richness and peachy ripeness that married deliciously with the intense but super-fresh flavours in the dish. Combining the soft, yet salty creaminess of the goats cheese, with the al dente, charred asparagus, tang of lemon,and a crisp little parmesan biscuit, this was a thing of beauty, and showcased both the dish and the wine to perfection.

    Next up was what I can only describe as ‘Chris Staines on a plate’.  Referencing his skill and passion for adding an Asian twist to many of his signature dishes, we found ourselves looking at a stunningly dressed plate of utter delight – a petite, glistening, tender piece of soy-glazed quail, balancing atop tiny, pale, shemiji mushrooms,  and crunchy Spring Cabbage. But of course, because it’s Chris Staines, this also had his trademark mix of brilliant textures and flavours – from the tender, succulence of the tiny quail, to the soft, earthy texture of the mushrooms, and the crunch of the vegetables, mingled with coriander and five spice.

    Morgenster, Lourens River Valley I was slightly worried that the exotic flavours might overpower  many wines, but  I should have trusted in the fact that Chris is one of those relatively rare chefs, who has a passion for wine, and an instinctive knowledge of what to pair. He builds the dishes around the wine, not the other way round. We were treated to an 14 year old Morgenster Lourens River Valley Red 2001, full of mature, cedary, tobacco and dried fig scents and flavours – still elegant, and sprightly. I particularly enjoyed the, by comparison, youthful Morgenster Lourens River Valley Red 2003, which is the current vintage, having waited a mere 11 years for release. The dominance of the super-ripe, fleshy, plum and blackberry-stashed Merlot grape in this blend gave the wine a glorious exuberance and youthful vigour, choc-full of ripe, sweet blackcurrant and dark chocolate scents and flavours, enhanced by a waft of aromatic cedar. This picked up perfectly on the sweetness of the quail, the aniseed whack of five spice and the earthy fleshiness of the mushrooms.

    But the summit of this particular climb to culinary heights was yet to be reached, and it was not long before guests were sighing and smiling blissfully at the simply celestial combination that followed. Here we were on safe ground – Bordeaux style, New World red and the best of British beef. However that simple description is almost an insult to the sublime partnership that was served to us.

    Out came two very special, very prized reds from the Morgenster stable, perfectly mature, poised, aristocratic and at their peak. The Morgenster Estate Red 2001 demonstrated the sheer class, poise and elegance that cleverly crafted, top notch South African Bordeaux blends can reach. Aristocratic, yet generous, with a seamless streak of silky smooth, complex, mature fruit, with hints of mocha, it retained a sprightly vigour, combined with a luxurious soft richness.

    The Allium and Chris Staines excelled themselves with one of the best pieces of beef I have tasted in a long time. Chargrilled treacle cured fillet of Black Angus Beef, with smoked Grelot onions, mash and bone marrow, was how the menu described this dish.  Chris has always been great at the understatement.  The beef was melt-in-the-mouth tender, delectable with its tarry, sweet molasses marinade, and a bitter-sweet edge, further enhanced by tiny, indulgent dabs of bone marrow, and the most indulgent of creamy mash – all bolstered by crunchy little charred baby onions and a spiky sauce.

    Morgenster Estate RedMy favourite match of the night was the opulent, seductive Morgenster Estate Red 2003, winner of a prized gold medal in last year’s much lauded International Wine Challenge. The blend in the Morgenster wines varies from year to year, between Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and merlot, and is determined by what the vintage dictates. In this particular year, Cabernet Sauvignon dominated, and is showcased by the vibrant, pure and intense scents and flavours of blackcurrants and wild mint. The wine is incredibly youthful, elegant, balanced, with lots of power, and an admirable restraint, showing its thoroughbred pedigree.  In 2003, 31% of the fragrant, raspberry-scented Cabernet Franc was added, and this adds a distinctive perfume, and lifted freshness, which simply enhances the overall experience of this plush, opulent, and complex beauty. Every element of its richness and balance matched the lusciousness of the beef dish.

    Morenster Tasting

    The menu and the wines seemed to reflect the personalities of the evening. Giulio Bertrand, and the Managing Director of Morgenster, Judi Dyer, were utterly charming, engaging, poised, assured and passionate about their estate, their wines and their vision. Chris Staines did what he does at his brilliant best – put out stunning plates of food that simply bring out the very best in the wines on show. As Giulio said:’ it takes a very special palate and a very special chef, to match and contrast the flavours in the wines and the food’.

    It also takes a very special vision to create an estate so distinctive, showcasing wines of such style and class.  It’s also very unusual to find wines of such maturity on wine shelves – and wines which will last a good few more few years.  I can’t wait until Giulio agrees to let the next vintage out of the cellar and into our glasses… but we may have to wait awhile.

    By Angela Mount

    Photos by Paolo Ferla


  • Tried + Tested: Thai Style Prawns with Thelema 'Sutherland' Riesling 2014

    If you're looking for a quick, easy and delicious dish for summer then this is the one to try. With temperatures due to reach 30 degrees this weekend, why not make the most of the heatwave and relax with a refreshing glass of wine and a 'throw it all together' dish that works as well on the BBQ as it does in a pan!

    “The zesty, limeyness of this refreshing Riesling (Thelema 'Sutherland' Riesling, 2014) is a brilliant match to Thai style prawns. The saltiness you get from the splash of soy and fish sauce is complimented by the subtle sweetness in the wine” - Olivia

    Thai Style Prawns + Pak Choi

    Ingredients (Serves 4)

    600g jumbo king prawns
    4 lemongrass stems, bruised
    For the marinade
    1 large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp Thai fish sauce/soy sauce
    2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
    2 tsp grated ginger
    1 tsp ground cumin





    Mix the marinade ingredients and add to the prawns. Leave for 5 mins.

    To cook on a BBQ: thread the prawns on metal skewers, place in the centre of the grill on the lemongrass and cook for 2-3 mins, turning once until opaque. Discard the lemongrass before eating.

    To griddle: Once the prawns have sat in the marinade, through all ingredients in the pan and cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes.

    Serve with sticky rice, pak choi + a sliced lime. Cook rice according to pack, steam pak choi for 3 mins.

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