The lunch menu was determined in advance and the three couples attending had to bring wine to complement each of the courses.
As an aperitif, Drappier Quattuor, a Champagne composed of four white grape varieties, these being Chardonnay as well as the lesser known Arbanne, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meslier. Rich and exotic and just the thing to prepare the palate for great things to come.
For starters, herbed panna cotta served with grilled figs and prosciutto. The wines: Alphonse Mellot La Moussière Sancerre 2007, Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2005 and Chateau Smith Haut Lafite 2007. The La Moussière showed heady floral perfume and great fruit expression, the Isliedh was marked by its focus and precision, while the Smith Haut Lafite was rich and voluptuous. Three superlative wines, and given Sauvignon Blanc’s prominent role in each of them, an emphatic riposte to those that argue that this variety is not a noble one.
The main Moroccan-style lamb shanks with fragrant rice and a Waldorf salad. The wines: Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2004, André Perret Les Grisières Saint Joseph 2004 and Peter Lehmann Stonewall Shiraz Barossa 2000 and Stellenzicht Syrah 1994. The two French wines were balanced and elegant, the Australian wine was rich and sweet and not very food friendly, the quite remarkable Stellenzicht was concentrated and textured and still in great nick 17 years after vintage.
To finish, a selection of soft French cheeses. The wines: Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2006 and Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 1999. The Fleur du Cap was poised and delicious, the Paul Cluver sadly a little past its best. Overall, however, a memorable repast and proof once again that South African wine can hold its own in any company.
Tagged Alain Graillot, Alphonse Mellot, André Perret, Cape Point Vineyards, Crozes-Hermitage, Drappier Quattuor, Fleur du Cap, food and wine, Isliedh, La Moussière, Les Grisières, Noble Late Harvest, Paul Cluver, Peter Lehmann, Saint Joseph, Sancerre, Shiraz. Barossa, Smith Haut Lafite, Stellenzicht Syrah, Stonewall