Tag Archives: rosé

Pancake and Cupcake Tastings at Delheim

Delheim Logo

When I first received our itinerary for Stellenbosch, a pancake and cupcake pairing at Delheim Estate immediately caught my eye. Were they serious? A wine pairing with cupcakes? What crazy mind had conceived this idea? The pancakes somehow seemed more doable, but these cupcakes really made me scratch my head. In any case, being the wine explorers we are we were excited to give it a go. Unfortunately, both pancakes and cupcakes were not for Nina due to her food allergies, so this review is all on me…

Delheim Estate sits on land up in the hills that was first turned into agricultural land in the 1800s by Jan Andries, who purchased parcels of land over a 50 year period to create one farm. In 1938, Hans Otto Hoheisen bought the 200 hectares which he wanted to use as his retirement home. By 1940, he had decided on parcels of land that he wanted to cultivate vines on, cleared the scrub and got going. In 1951, the German nephew of the owners, Michael Sperling, also called Spatz Sperling (Spatz meaning sparrow, Sperling being a synonym for sparrow), joined the operation and worked at the winery for 60 years, establishing it as a leading winery in the region.

The wine that made Spatz famous is his “Spatzendreck”, which was conceived in 1961 when he poured this newly developed wine (a sweet dessert wine with a brownish color) into the glass of a friend who exclaimed “Now, Spatz, this really is just ‘dreck'”, Dreck meaning dirt. Spatz’ sense of humor is expressed in the name of the wine, and he also created a hideous label that won Decanter’s prize for worst label of the year in 1970.

The day we went to visit the winery, we met with its national sales manager Johan van Dyk in the winery’s restaurant which is located in the midst of its sprawling holdings. Johan explained to us that Delheim is particularly proud of its family-friendliness, which was not only shown by all sorts of certificates attesting it, but most vividly by the children’s birthday party that was held at another table in the restaurant: The kids were digging into the cupcakes served to them while the parents enjoyed a glass or two of wine. All this happened in a great, relaxed atmosphere. If you have kids, this is definitely your winery to visit first and foremost.

Delheim's delicious pancakes

Delheim’s delicious pancakes

I started lunch with the pancake pairing. The genius of this dish is that it comprises a starter, a main course and a dessert in three small portions of pancakes which were delicious. The menu starts with a salmon and cream cheese pancake, is followed by a lamb shank pancake and then crowned with a pickled butternut squash pancake for “dessert”. The pairings were the 2014 Pinotage Rose with the salmon, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon with the shank, and the 2013 Edelspatz dessert wine with the squash.

The pairings really worked: The Pinotage Rose had some residual sugar with aromas of raspberry and strawberry as well as some cream and was very tasty with good acidity. Combined with the salmon pancake, it accentuated the salmon and its acidity cut through the cream cheese. We ended up taking a couple of bottles of the Rose because it was so tasty! I wish I could drink this every day on a sunny day.

The Cabernet Sauvignon, which had aromas of cooked red fruit, some cinnamon and was mostly fruit-driven, was made even fruitier by the lamb shank which also brought out more vanilla aromas in the wine. I thought the Cabernet Sauvignon was very drinkable (which, as you know, is quite the statement by me!) and the pairing did work.

Lastly, the Edelspatz with its strong aromas of canned peaches and apricot, was definitely enhanced by the butternut squash. The wine lacked some acidity for my taste and was too sweet tasting on its own. But combined with the pickled squash it was an eye opener: There were now aromas of nutmeg and cloves and the wine seemed way drier. Well done!

After the pancake pairing, Delheim Estate served us a lunch (I know, I know…I did gain tons of weight on this trip). One thing I want to mention about the lunch is how accommodating Delheim’s kitchen was to Nina’s food allergies. The kitchen had not received the memo that contained information about her allergies and so was completely unprepared, but the chef immediately came to our table, discussed Nina’s needs and came up with a wonderful curry dish which she whipped up in no time. This is a commitment to service that is rare to find worldwide, but a defining feature of our time in Stellenbosch.

I was so excited, I ate the first cupcake before I remembered to take a photo...

I was so excited, I ate the first cupcake before I remembered to take a photo…

After lunch, it was time for the cupcake pairing, which pairs four cupcakes with four of Delheim’s wines. The cupcakes were a Roiboos (which is a South African tea) cupcake, a pomegranate cupcake, a Makataan (an African melon) cupcake, and a pumpkin cupcake. These cupcakes were paired with (in order) an unwooded Chardonnay, again the Pinotage Rose, a Chardonnay Sur Lie (a Chardonnay that spend time on the lees), and the winery’s Pinotage.

Again, the pairings were interesting and accentuated different aspects of the wines and the cupcakes. For example, the Chardonnay Sur Lie, that had a bit too many bitter aromas for my taste and was a tad too alcoholic, definitely worked with the melon cupcake. The Pinotage Rose brought great acidity to the pomegranate cupcake which alone lacked that freshness. But most striking was the pumpkin cupcake and the Pinotage. The Pinotage and the cinnamon in the cupcake made for a super interesting combination that made my day…

All in all, Delheim’s line up of wines is mostly fruit driven for easy and mostly early drinking. The wines were very tasty and also quite affordable. The pairings are 70 Rand (which is about $7), so definitely, go and try it out. Great fun, you learn about your tastebuds, you get surprised by what pairings actually are capable of, and you will enjoy the leisurely atmosphere.  Make sure you make a reservation, though! The place was packed, despite this being low season.

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Because of the gorgeous summer weather: Two Rosés I liked…and a bonus wine

The wines were received as samples from the winery or a marketing association.

We’ve been spending the whole week in London and Oxford, and the weather has been startlingly gorgeous: temperatures in the high 20s Celsius, barely any rain. I don’t think I have ever seen the UK like this…with temperatures like this, I find myself reaching for Rosés, fulfilling every Rosé stereotype: that they are only really good when it’s warm and you can drink them very well chilled. In fact there are a lot more uses for these types of wine, and I acknowledge them, but to me a Rosé still tastes best in the summer…

Over the last months, I received a couple of samples and I was particularly impressed by these two:


Piattelli Premium Malbec Rosé

Piattelli Premium Malbec Rosé

2013 Piattelli Vineyards Premium Reserve Rosé of Malbec

Piattelli Vineyards is an Argentinian winery with holdings on the Eastern side of the Andes in Mendoza and Salta whose head oenologist is Valeria Antolin. This particular wine was made with 91% Malbec and 9% Torrontés (a white grape) grapes and has 14% ABV. I tried it as part of #BevChat, a Twitter tasting, in May. The wine poured (as you can see) in a bright red that I would describe as watermelon color.  The nose offered roses and melon aromas, and was enticing. On the palate, this presented itself as a serious wine, pretty heavy with not much acidity. It felt much more like a light red than a heavy white, if you know what I mean. It had pretty good balance and not much fruit.  The main reason I like this particular wine is that it pairs great with a BBQ, THE summer food. It has the heft to stand up to these charred aromas, and is still fresh. Someone else tried it with a sausage and mushroom pizza and was also seriously impressed. This is not your easy-peasy Rosé you can grab for a few bucks at the liquor store, but it shows what Rosé can be capable of. Retails for between $8 and $14.

Cline Cellars Rosé

Cline Cellars Rosé

Cline Cellars 2013 Mourvèdre Rosé Contra Costa County

I tried this wine as part of a #WineChat hosted by Protocol Wine Studios and received the wine as a sample from Cline Cellars. Cline Cellars has a reputation for producing Rhone-style wines in California, and as it happens, Mourvèdre is a standard Rhone grape but is rare to find in California. The wine has 13.5% ABV and 8.1 grams of residual sugar per liter. The special thing about this Rosé is that the grapes come from vines that are a century old, which is not normally material for a Rosé. It shows that Cline Cellars takes this wine seriously. The way the wine is made is as a blanc de noir, basically a white wine made from red grapes. Let me just say that I loved this wine. It was wonderfully full of raspberry aromas with some floral elements, and it was just super fresh and great. Nice acidity keeps it lively, and the hint of sweetness makes for great drinkability. Retails for between $10 and $14.

And while we’re talking Cline Cellars, let me add a non-Rosé to the mix:

Cline Cool Climate Pinot Noir (Photo credit: www.wine-searcher.com)

Cline Cool Climate Pinot Noir (Photo credit: http://www.wine-searcher.com)

Cline Cellars 2012 Cool Climate Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

This wine was part of the Cline Cellars tasting, and if you know me, you might have picked up on my weariness when it comes to California Pinot Noir, which I often find too strong, too intense, too fruity. Well, not this one, let me tell you. At 14.5% ABV it is definitely a tad higher than I would wish for in a Pinot Noir, but the wine’s aromas totally made up for it: In the glass, this Pinot Noir was prune colored. The nose gave away raspberry, cherry, white cake batter, and was slightly perfumy. An intriguing mix of aromas. On the palate, the wine was a bit smoky, showed aromas of cocoa and cherry and just great acidity! Someone wasn’t shying away from it in a very good way. There was also enough forest aromas in the wine to make it recognizable as a Pinot Noir, but it wore its New World colors proudly. A great mix, in my book. This should work really well with a BBQ and was a great surprise! Retails for between $15 and $20 and is a great value!


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The Food and Wine Hedonist: While The Winegetter is Beyond The Sea…

Somewhere, beyond the Sea

Somewhere, beyond the Sea

This is the final post in my summer guest blogging series “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea”. I am happy to present to you my friend John, The Food and Wine Hedonist , whom I was able to strongarm/pester/lure into writing something for this series. John,despite never writing about wine, is definitely a wine hedonist, at least given what I have seen of his cellar. He has been one of my earliest blogger friends and him residing in Ann Arbor has made us hang out a number of times already. He is definitely one of my coolest friends in A2. John’s blog, for those unfamiliar with his writing, is sometimes loud, mostly hilarious, often thoughtful and at times disgusting (Like when he talks about some of his man crushes or boy band choices). It’s a cornucopia of fun for sure…and he did not let me down with this post. Thanks, John! I’m already looking forward to seeing you soon….

The Winegetter asked if I’d be interested in submitting a guest post for him while he’s on vacation. In the two years that I’ve been blogging I’ve had a few people guest post for me but, oddly enough, I haven’t done any guest posts for anyone else. So when he asked me to do a post about wine based on the theme “Beyond The Sea” I jumped all over it. Well, as much as one can define responding 5 weeks later as “jumped.”

My immediate thoughts went to waxing eloquently about how I began my love affair with Rose wines at our very favorite beach destination in the world – St Barth’s. It’s a French-owned island in the Caribbean with gorgeous, undeveloped beaches. There are no cheesy tiki huts , shysters harassing you to go jetskiing, or people selling trinkets. In fact, there was only one beach on the island that had a hotel on it. The food there is absolutely divine with its strong French-influenced cuisine modified to tropical ingredients.

The island itself is accessible only by puddle jumper or ferry from St Martin.

I took this picture of Colombier beach from the puddle jumper

I took this picture of Colombier beach from the puddle jumper

Or if you’re like Jay-Z and Beyonce who, along with many of the rich-and-famous who frequent the island, you take your pimped-out yacht.

But it’s expensive. VERY expensive. Like, we’re still paying off our trip from a few years ago expensive. For example, we had lunch at Eden Rock with a few drinks and walked away with a 180 Euro tab. But that’s also the beauty of the place. You won’t find ANY rubes in cut-off jeans and wife-beaters or pasty Midwesterners with fanny packs and white sneakers. And since everyone has money and they (in our case WRONGLY) assume you do, they don’t try to flaunt it. So you can be hanging out with Italian billionaires (which we did) and they didn’t care what you did for a living.

It was there that I gained my appreciation for Rose wine. We had it with every meal and it went perfectly with the weather, all the tropical ingredients, and even grilled meats. One day, Boom Boom (my wife) and I went to the beach with a new friend and proceeded to swig down six bottles of French Rose. I’d show pictures from that day, but this is a family blog. Maybe someday I’ll go into detail in my own site.

Fast-forward to present day…

With my kids away at camp for two weeks, we were planning on making a return trip to our paradise. But we also just bought a new house, so any well of money that would go towards the trip has completely dried up. And you wouldn’t believe HOW PISSED I am that I can’t go.

So while the Winegetter and his lovely bride are on a whirlwind tour of Asia, and I’m a little bitter about not being able to take a whirlwind tour of St Barth’s again, I figured I’d take a whirlwind tour of…

The Winegetter’s place.

WG Door

The first thing you encounter when entering Casa de Winegetter is the kitchen.

Dude, you gotta wash dishes before you on vacation.

Dude, you gotta wash dishes before you on vacation.

Then I had to go to the bathroom as the previous night’s Indian food was coming back to haunt me. I’ll go ahead and spare you guys the picture of that mess. But I did get inspired by Geraldo Rivera’s recent foray into Tweeting a selfie. So here’s that picture.

WG selfie

I did find his stash of beloved Schofferhofer –

You don't mind that I vanquished the last three, do you?

You don’t mind that I vanquished the last three, do you?

All that breaking-and-entering was exhausting, so I figured it was a good time to chill out and catch some rays!
WG relax

Later that night we decided to have a few friends over to sample The Winegetter’s Reislings.

If the neighbors ask about the donkey, just play dumb...

If the neighbors ask about the donkey, just play dumb…

Anyway, thanks Winegetter for giving me this opportunity to write this . And for leaving town!

PS – Ollie, you’re out of toilet paper.

PPS – Maybe this is why I don’t get asked to do many guest posts.

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