A real gem for festive sampling and shopping
Buitenverwachting’s signature saugivnon blancs demonstrate the superior characteristics of Constantia wines tabletop
IT’S TIME to look to wineland destinations for festive sampling and shopping – and where better to start than in the cradle of our wine industry, the magnificent Constantia valley?
One of the jewels that draws visitors from around the corner and across the world is Buitenverwachting, with its 18th-century farmstead, and even older outbuildings enclosing a grassy court.
Fluctuating fortunes saw the farm built into a flourishing wine farm, later subdivided and neglected, then reunited by the Louws in the early 20th century.
Nearly 80 years later, modern additions of a wine cellar and elegant restaurant catapulted the estate into the news for superb wines at reasonable prices, gourmet dining and peaceful picnics in a tranquil and timeless setting.
Today, owner Lars Maack, having implemented admirable social conditions for employees, is focusing on green matters, increasing stretches of indigenous vegetation, installing solar panels and reducing energy consumption.
While the popularity of consistent blends like Buiten Blanc is ongoing, it’s the farm’s two signature sauvignon blancs that demonstrate the distinctive and superior characteristics of Constantia. The regular sauvignon blanc 2011 (R70), which is dry, balances green pepper with fruity succulence, and has a long finish. The 2010 Hussey’s Vlei (R90) is powerful and full-bodied, with greengage and lime complementing flint. It attracted double gold from Veritas and gold from the Old Mutual Trophy show.
More winners to sip include winemaker Brad Paton’s innovative white blends. The Batavia 2009 (R80), a more-ish meld of riesling, chenin and viognier (the last two barrel fermented), makes delicious summer drinking. Maximus 2009 (R150) blends sauvignon blanc with 15 percent semillon – grapes that were picked late and enjoyed long barrel fermentation and further ageing – to produce a partner for gourmet white meat and seafood.
Another double gold winner is Paton’s gerwurztraminer, or G 2010 (R100), the characteristic perfume belying the dryness, a wine waiting to complement aromatic fare.
Turning to red, along with the flagship blend Christine, try the cab franc 2007 ( R150), with its chocolate, red pepper and tobacco notes, as a partner for venison, ostrich and more. For more info, see www.buitenverwachting.com.
Diners looking for relaxed fare can opt for high tea, tapas in the courtyard, or book a picnic on the lawns – a popular choice for all age groups, priced at R125 a head and R45 for children under 10.
In the airy and elegant restaurant, chef patron Edgar Osojnik presents an à la carte menu that changes according to seasonal availability of preferably organic ingredients. Expect gourmet creations like first courses of oysters with caviar, scallops with risotto, cold-smoked tuna with soya jelly or quail touched with chilli, orange and asparagus.
Main courses include crayfish thermidor with a citrus ravioli, smoked monkfish, grilled kingklip, and duck breast with grilled melon. Classic presentations of beef fillet, springbok and lamb make red meat choices.
Desserts such as raspberry soufflé, apricot strudel and variations on chocolate reflect the chef ’s Austrian background. To book, call 021 794 3522.
WIN! A barrel of festive prizes from Buitenverwachting awaits winners this week. Two TGW readers will each savour a sumptuous five-course fine-dining dinner, with paired wines, for two. Two readers can each win a five-course tapas meal for two, partnered by Buitenverwachting sauvignon blanc.
And two readers will each win a tutored wine tasting and vintner’s platter for two. There are also two Buitenverwachting picnics for two up for grabs and 10 readers can each win a twin pack of the farm’s quality wines.
To stand a chance of winning one of these prizes, send an e-mail to Sandybailey@telkomsa.net by the close of business on Wednesday, with the answer to this question:
Which two grape cultivars are found in the Maximus 2009?
Include your name, daytime telephone number and put Buitenverwachting/tgw giveaway in the subject line. Only one entry per e-mail address is valid for the draw.
EXTENDING THE RANGE: Winemaker Brad Paton has added exciting white blends to the Buitenverwachting line-up.