• Wine Knowledge Series – What Vine am I looking at?

    Impress your friends and family next time you visit a wine estate by showing them how to tell the different vines apart by their leaves. The study of vine leaves is known as ampelography, and that alone is a pretty cool quiz-night fact to know.

    But now that we’ve got that technical word out of the way, we’d like to keep the rest of this article as simple as possible. Below, we’ve listed all the wine grapes grown at Wildekrans Wine Estate, and tried our best to describe the different leaves in the easiest way possible, and included pics for easy reference.

    One thing to note is that each vineyard almost has its own personality, and becomes so familiar the winemaker / viticulturist that it is difficult for them to describe. They just instantly recognize the varietal, and whether everything is well, or not, with the vines.

    Each vine, and leaf is slightly unique, just like a thumb-print. You learn to recognise them just as you would a loved one in a crowd, yet to describe them to others becomes somewhat difficult as it’s difficult to capture the ‘essence’ amongst the slightly dry sounding visual characteristics.

    We’ve added some literal descriptions to ours to make it easier to remember, as no-one wants to read a textbook on a wine estate website!

    To start, one quick interesting way to distinguish whether the vine is a red grape vine, or a white wine variety is to look at the overall shape. In most cases, red grape leaves have an almost classic “maple leaf” shape, while white wine grape leaves are more rounded.

    Then a few other things to look out for are the lobes and teeth on the leaves. If the leaf were a hand, the lobes would be the fingers. Some leaves have prominent lobes, other leaves have none. The teeth are the serrations on the outside edge of the leaf. Some are jagged and sharp while others are rounded.

    You will see us mention sinuses a fair amount below. This has nothing to do with hay-fever, but rather a term for the spaces or gaps between each leaf-lobe. To be specific, there are two main kinds of sinuses to look out for on vine leaves:

    Petiolar sinus – Refers to the empty spaces surrounding the stem from the leaf (so the ‘main’ sinus at the ‘top’ of the leaf).

    Lateral sinus – deep notches between the lobes (the rest of the sinuses that separate the lobes).

    Let’s take a look at some examples below:-

    Cabernet Franc

    Dark green 5-lobed leaves, slightly open and overlapped with sharp, pointy teeth on the tips. Think of the maple leaf on the Canadian flag if you will.

    Cabernet Sauvignon

    Mid green leaves with 3-5 lobes with u-shaped sinuses between the lobes. The lobes overlap slightly, giving the sinuses the impression that they have been cut out. Jagged, uneven, slightly rounded teeth on the tips. Think of this one as the leaf with bullet-holes.

    Chardonnay

    A medium sized leaf composed of five lobes that give a pentagonal shape to the leaf. Very shallow sinuses and short, broad teeth. Think of this one like a cross between and ivy leaf and the Castle of Good Hope…

    Chenin Blanc

    Medium-sized, round leaves, generally three-lobed and dark green. Resembles jagged angel wings.

    Grenache

    Medium-sized, mostly entire leaves with a shallow main sinus. Lateral sinuses are narrow and U-shaped. Teeth are short and sharp, and the upper leaf surface is very smooth and waxy. This one looks a bit like a flapping angel.

    Hanepoot

    Dark green, medium-sized five lobed leaves that are almost entire. Rounded, jagged shape with a very narrow main sinus. Smooth, frilly, dark are the key ingredients to this appearance.

    Merlot

    Large-sized 5 lobed leaves with well-differentiated lobes that are slightly overlapped. Pentagonal shape with a deep, rounded petiolar sinus. Another maple leaf, but with the texture reminiscent of a mint leaf.

    Pinot Noir

    Medium-sized, pentagonal shaped leaves, consisting of 3-5 lobes which are slightly overlapped. The lobes face each other towards the lower side of the blade in a coxcomb shape, with short teeth, and a twisted, strongly blistered leaf blade. A bit like a flapping butterfly this one.

    Pinotage

    Wedge-shaped, oblong large thick leaves, with five lobes, open sinuses with a fairly frequent tooth inside. Short teeth on leaf edges with straight sides. Finely blistered leaf blade with undulation between the veins. The chewed maple-leaf… this one looks like someone has feasted very neatly in the sinuses, and almost left the shape of two bunny ears behind.

    Riesling

    Small 3 to 5-lobed leaves with lobes often overlapping to appear entire. Closed U-shaped sinuses. Blistered leaf surface, and short, rounded teeth. Think of a pretty frilly rosette when you look at this one.

    Sauvignon Blanc

    Contorted, medium-sized, leaves with a rounded shape. 3-5 lobes only slightly obvious, with convex leaf that does not lie flat, but is rather ruffled at the edges. Leaves have rounded teeth. U-shaped petiolar sinus. This one is very definitely disc-shaped and frilly…

    Semillion

    A medium-sized, round leaf, with five lobes. An open or slightly open petiole sinus, short teeth compared to their width at the base with straight or convex sides. Leaf blade is slightly twisted and very regularly blistered. This one looks a lot like a surprised face with a beard!

    Shiraz

    Medium, mostly 3 to 5-lobed leaves with reduced inferior lateral sinuses, U-shaped petiolar sinus and short, sharp teeth. Leaf surface occasionally blistered and puckered near petiole junction. This one almost looks like a set of angel wings, albeit clumsily asymmetrical at times.

    Tempranillio

    A large-sized leaf composed of 5-7 lobes which are slightly overlapped, forming a pentagon. Large, sharp teeth. The flame… This one reminds us of the fire emoji.

    One of the handiest tips to keep in mind while impressing your friends (and learning) is if you walk around long enough, you’ll eventually find the signage for the particular vineyard block, proudly displaying the varietal and age of the vines in each block. A good way to double-check!

  • Food & Wine Pairing Recipe – Barrel Select Reserve Chenin Blanc

    Lamb Rib Chop Korma, Saffron Potato, Chargrilled Cauliflower, Mint Yoghurt, Coriander & Lime Chutney

    A nice recipe to rustle up after work on a week-night, this one works really well with either our new Estate Chenin Blanc, or our Barrel Select Reserve Chenin Blanc.

    “This is my take on Korma. One can substitute the Lamb for Chicken, or even a fresh Line fish. They will all work beautifully with the Wildekrans Chenin Blancs. You can also feel free to change it up a little. You might just want to use the Korma recipe and have this with some fluffy Basmati Rice. This will work great, but please remember to have enough Wildekrans Chenin Blanc to quench your thirst!” – Gordon

    Lamb Rib Chop Korma (Makes 6 portions)

    Ingredients

    1 White Onion, sliced

    2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

    2 Teaspoon Grated Ginger

    12 Lamb Rib Chops, cleaned bone (Keep trimmings for sauce)

    1/3 Cup Korma Curry Paste

    400g Can Diced Tomatoes

    400ml Can Coconut Cream

    Coriander leaves, to serve

    6 Cauliflower Steaks, 1 cm thick

    6 Pieces of Potato, cut 1 inch thick

    1 Red Onion, finely sliced

    5 Strands of Saffron

    2 ml Turmeric

    1 Cup Vegetable Stock

    Seasoning to taste

    INGREDIENTS for Korma Curry Paste

    1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds

    55g (1/3 cup) Raw Cashews

    60ml (1/4 cup) Tomato Puree

    1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Coriander

    2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

    2 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut

    1 Tablespoon Garam Masala

    3 Teaspoons finely grated fresh Ginger

    2 Teaspoons ground Coriander

    2 Teaspoons Sweet Paprika

    2 Teaspoons ground Turmeric

    60ml (1/4 cup) Vegetable Oil

    METHOD for Korma Paste

    Place the cumin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.

    Blend the cumin seeds, cashews, tomato puree, fresh coriander, garlic, coconut, garam masala, ginger, ground coriander, paprika and turmeric in a blender until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and blend, scraping down the side of the blender occasionally, until a smooth paste 

    INGREDIENTS for Marinade for Lamb Chops

    2 Cups of Plain or Greek Yoghurt

    1/3 Cup Korma Curry Paste

    METHOD for Marinade

    Mix the yoghurt and Korma paste together in a bowl. When mixed well, spread over the 2 Lamb Chops and Marinade for at least 1 hour.

    METHOD for Saffron Potatoes

    Peel and slice the potatoes to 1 inch thick and boil in salted water until soft. Remove from the water and chill. Add some vegetable oil to a heavy based Saute pan and add the finely sliced red onion and fry for a minute, then add the saffron strands and turmeric and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and simmer until reduced by half. Turn the potato and place back on the heat until all of the vegetable stock has cooked away. Remove from the heat and keep the potatoes and onions for plating. 

    METHOD for Grilling Lamb chops and Cauliflower

    Season the marinated lamb chops and cauliflower steaks and place on the wood grill and grill until the cauliflower is cooked and the lamb chops are cooked to the desired temperature. We cook our lamb Chops to medium. Rest the lamb chops until service. 

    INGREDIENTS for Coriander and Lime Chutney

    1 Cup Desicated Coconut

    1 Cup Roughly Chopped Coriander, Stalk included

    2 Limes, Zest and Juiced

    METHOD for Coriander and Lime Chutney

    Place the coconut, roughly chopped coriander and zest of the Lime into a blender and blend until quite fine. Remove from the blender and add the juice of the limes.

    METHOD for Korma Sauce

    Place a large saucepan on high. Sauté onion for 4-5 mins, until tender. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 min. Add the lamb trimmings and cook, stirring, for 3-4 mins until browned. Add in curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 min until fragrant.

    Stir in tomatoes, coconut cream and simmer for 20 mins. Remove . Simmer the lamb trimmings and blend the sauce with a hand blender. Correct the seasoning. (We like to add a splash of lime at the end to peak the flavour).

    Assemble your dish, pour some more wine and enjoy!

  • Food & Wine Pairing Recipe – Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz

    Grilled Beef Fillet with Smoked Sweet Potato Mash, Wild Mushroom and Truffle Cream

    This is a quick 30 minute recipe, to pair with Wildekrans Barrel Select Shiraz (Serves 4 people).

    Ingredients

    800g Beef Fillet, Trimmed and cleaned

    20 ml Wildekrans Olive Oil

    1 Small Onion, Diced

    1 Clove of Garlic, crushed

    300g Wild Mushrooms

    4 Thyme Sprigs

    2 Generous Sprigs of Rosemary

    ½ a Lemon

    10 ml Truffle oil

    2 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 equal pieces per unit

    500ml Cream

    100 g of Butter (Preferably unsalted)

    4 Rooibos Tea Bags

    Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

    Method

    Place the sweet potato into a sauce pot and cover with salted water. Place the pot on a medium heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart. Strain the potatoes trying to keep them as intact as possible.

    Then, empty the Rooibos tea bags into your most undesirable oven tray (at least 1 inch deep), and add 2 sprigs of thyme. Then place a wire rack on the top of the tray, making sure that there is some clearance between the tea and the tray. Add the potatoes onto the rack and add 1- 2 drops of water. Cover the tray completely with tinfoil. Place the tray on a high heat for 2 minutes. You will have this delightful smell of burning Rooibos and Thyme filling your kitchen. Remove the tray from the heat and carefully remove the sweet potatoes.

    In a separate sauce pot, place 80g of the butter and 250ml cream and heat over a moderate heat. Use this liquid to mash the sweet potato and season. You might not need all of the cream mixture, this all depends how you like your mash.   

    Heat a cast iron grill pan to smoking point (or even better, use a charcoal grill). Cut the Fillet into 4 equal portions. Season generously with salt and cracked black pepper. The pepper brings a nice spice element, which works very well with Shiraz.

    Place the fillet steaks on the grill, taking care not to move the meat too much – you want to retain all those lovey juices. Then add the olive oil to a sauté pan with the rosemary sprigs, clove of garlic and 20g of Butter, and heat for 2 minutes on a moderate heat. Then set aside, to be used later. Once the fillet is cooked to your desired temperature, remove the steaks and let them rest in the olive oil & butter liquid. Turn the steak every few minutes to distribute the meat juices through the whole steak.

    Place a saute pan on a high heat , add some of the olive oil and butter mixture, and saute the diced onion until translucent, then add the wild mushrooms and fry over a high heat. Run your fingers through the 2 sprigs of thyme and let the leaves fall into the mushrooms. Add the cream and simmer the sauce until the cream has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper, and you are ready to go.

    Top Tip: “I usually squeeze some juice from half a lemon over the steaks, give it one more turn and the steaks are ready to go. And if you really want to pimp the sauce up, then add some more of the juice that is left from the meat resting liquid. You are now ready to plate your 4 dishes and open your second Bottle of Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz.”

  • Lockdown Cooking with Chef Gordon Manuel

    We all know the necessary lockdown period is pretty tricky. We’re all adjusting to new routines and adapting to new ways of doing things. During this time, it’s important (and comforting!) to eat properly, and make the most of every item in our pantries. Gone are the days of dashing to the shops every five minutes for that item we’ve forgotten, and frankly that’s actually quite nice…!

    Gordon has decided to share some tips and recipes to feed your family during this time. All hearty, good, wholesome and easy, realistic dishes that anyone can make. There are no fancy deli-type ingredients needed, so don’t fret – this series has been designed around basic, standard household ingredients that are a general standard in most kitchens, lockdown or not. In some cases, Gordon couldn’t find his usual must-have ingredient, and he shows you some substitutes.

    In true lockdown style, where what we referred to as ‘normal life’ and human interaction is a precious commodity that we all miss, we have purposely left these videos as raw and natural as possible, so enjoy the realness of Gordon’s kitchen, and stay tuned as we upload more as we go!

    Stay safe, stay well, and eat well!

    Butter chicken is a firm favourite for many people – but it often seems intimidating to make, as many recipes seem so complicated and filled with a long list of ingredients. Once you’ve watched Gordon cooking his version, you’ll be making this confidently and quickly in no time – with just a few key pantry staples.

    What about the flat-bread that was in the butter chicken video? Here’s how to make it – with only two ingredients!

    The flat breads are so incredibly versatile (and easy), that Gordon shows you how to make a delicious lunch with them, starting with some home-made guacamole.

    And no guacamole is complete without a nice zesty salsa to add a bit of crunch to that perfect lunch-time treat. Bon appetit!

    The next recipe Gordon shows you is a dish he is making for dinner for his family. It could also work really well as a nice lazy weekend breakfast – and when we said simple, we meant simple…! See how he brings two cans of baked beans to life with some basic pantry staples.

    We’ve had some amazing savoury dishes from Gordon so far, but lockdown certainly doesn’t mean that a nice dessert is forbidden! Take a look at what you can do with a pineapple, yoghurt, and any biscuits you might have in your stash…

    With Cape Town getting its first cold spell of the season, it was definitely time for a hearty, warming plate of comfort food. With lots of veggies, Gordon’s Coq au vin is a dish packed with goodness, and not too fussy or fiddly to make.

    There are few things as bad as running out of wine during lockdown, but one of them is running out of mayo… Watch how to make your own with Gordon today. (And yes, we know the thought conjures visions of needing a fancy machine and patience to add oil one drop at a time). Our version is nothing like that, we promise!

    While it’s really important right now to stay at home and avoid unnecessary trips to the shops, we know that Easter is a time when we are used to certain treats. Therefore, Gordon has decided to show you how to make your own hot cross buns to enjoy with your family this weekend.

    If any of you are planning a braai (barbecue) this weekend, then these two salads are for you! Remember the hot/cold rule that Gordon mentions for maximum flavour…

    With the sudden, unplanned lockdown extension, many of us are ill-prepared in terms of grocery essentials. It looks like Gordon is going to need to head out to the shops after all – but see how he makes a huge and tasty meal for his family using the last items in his pantry…

    Nothing beats a warming and comforting plate of delicious lamb curry on a chilly autumn’s evening. Don’t worry too much about duplicating every single ingredient here. This is a simple and versatile dish and you can substitute items if you need to!

    Who can resist a good home-made pea soup! This video shows a nice, simple recipe with some great ideas for serving, plus a tip to bring out the flavours at the end. This is another recipe that can stretch really far to feed a hungry family. Enjoy!

    The perfect pan-toasted sarmie using left-over curry… Yes please! This one was extremely difficult to watch and upload as now we are obsessed with making and eating one of these, and it’s not anywhere near a mealtime yet! To be enjoyed with a bowl of soup, a side-salad or some crispy fries – this is a great way to turn some leftovers into a gourmet sandwich of note!

    Pap is an extremely popular porridge-style side dish in South Africa that goes well with meaty dishes and forms a staple diet for many people. By special request, Gordon shows you how to make a version inspired by Welsh Rarebit – creamy, cheesy, with the nice sharp flavours of mustard and beer / cider coming through.

    For the next batch of videos, Gordon is going to arm you with some restaurant tricks – tips on how to make certain oils, sauces and sides that will dress up even the simplest meal. Today, we’re going to take a look at the colourful sauce that has most meat-lovers going crazy – chimichurri sauce. There are a few variations of this recipe. Gordon has made this version with what he had in his pantry and garden, so don’t worry if like him, you need to improvise too. This is lockdown cooking after all!

    Another winner on any table is some tasty herb oil to use as a dressing. Watch Gordon’s super-easy method to make a vibrant oil very quickly without having to wait out a lengthy infusion process. This recipe is a great way to use up any soft herb leaves before they start spoiling.

    Remember not to discard those beautiful herbs that you strained off, as we’re going to need them when we make our lemon and herb aioli below. This is a versatile sauce that goes so well with fish, steaks, fatty meat dishes – and even wraps and baked potatoes. Absolutely delicious!

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