Last week, the team had rather a hectic week. The amazing Mourvèdre and Shiraz grapes growing at Kasteelsig vineyard in the Swartland were ripe and ready to be made into intense flavourful wine. At the same time, Jeremy had to be up in Jo’burg for an important meeting. The logistics of coordinating  picking crews, crates, transport and cellar space at harvest time are enough to make the most hardened organizational genius cry, fortunately we have a great team to pull it altogether.

Woman Power

Emma and her grape cargo

While Jeremy, Amanda and Lori were in the air from Jo’burg, Emma had picked up a trailer with our trusty workhorse of a bakkie and driven out to the vineyard to load and transfer grapes all the way from the Swartland to the cellar in Stellenbosch.  The travelling trio zipped straight from CTI airport to the cellar to find most of the Mourvèdre stacked in the cool part of the cellar waiting to be crushed. It was also exciting to see the brand new Painted Wolf barrels, waiting to be filled.

Emma was on her way back with the rest of the Mourvèdre and some Shiraz, so the team took a ride towards Malmsbury and met up with her halfway. Passing motorists must have been slightly bemused by the impromptu photoshoot that took place on the side of the road as Emma’s effort was recorded for posterity.

In one end and out the other – destalking and crushing shiraz grapes

More wine and woman power

Jeremy took over and finished the day’s grape hauling, and prepped for the next day’s labour – getting these grapes through the crushers and into the fermenters.

The woman in the team spent the week meeting and making plans for the tasting room which will be opening soon. Here is a sneaky shot with the most important feature in the foreground.

On Friday the Jo’burg team departed and Jeremy and Emma went on a trip of a different kind – to the neighbouring valley of Franschhoek for a food and wine pairing dinner at Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa.

Singing praises

The chef had planned a beautiful menu for the evening, but as with all plans, there were a few wobbles. Instead of Guillermo Swartland Pinotage, the warehouse sent over Black Pack Pinotage. The Pinotage was supposed to pair with the springbok, but Jeremy switched them around and paired the Pinotage with the pork belly and the Pictus II with the springbok because he felt they were more compatible. The other surprise of the evening was an amuse-bouche of carpaccio, cream cheese and pesto that the chef presented at the beginning of the evening. Jeremy and Emma report that it was beautiful and delicious.

When pressed to name his favourite pairing, Jeremy had a hard time, but eventually chose the Gazpacho with the Lycaon Grenache 2013. He loved the taste and textures of the soup and the scallops and is very happy with how beautifully the grenache has matured in the 5 years since it was made.

About 30 people attended the dinner, most notably, the parents of Jessica Watermeyer, who works tirelessly for the African Wildlife Conservation Fund in Zimbabwe. (Jess, were your ears burning?)

When I asked Jeremy why he didn’t take a photo of the crispy pork belly, he said he was too busy telling the crowd about Simon van der Stel’s gardener – probably very enthusiastically because Emma forgot to take one too!

The menu in picture order:

Amuse-bouche followed by Spanish Gazpacho, grilled scallops and parmesan soufflé paired with Lycaon Grenache 2013

Lobster medallions, fennel mascarpone risotto with a pineapple bisque paired with the Den Chenin Blanc 2017

Marinated crisp pork belly, caramelised pink fig, celeriac and asparagus mousse paired with Black Pack Pinotage 2016 (enjoy the picture of Jeremy waxing lyrical)

White chocolate and orange sorbet (also not pictures – he was probably still talking)

Herb encrusted springbok loin, zucchini blossoms, pink peppercorn and olive jus paired with Pictus II 2010 (Shiraz | Pinotage | Grenache)

Peaches and cream semifreddo, poach peach and marzipan cream with Pictus V 2016 (Grenache Blanc | Chenin Blanc | Roussanne)

Just writing this post has had us all wondering what food we are going to pair with our favourite Painted Wolf wine. What is your best combo?