Doolhof Wines launched the newest vintages in its Signatures range as well as of the new Legends of the Labyrinth Theseus, at Dash restaurant at Queen Victoria Hotel in the V&A Waterfront yesterday afternoon. Changes in its wine and accommodation offerings for next year were announced.
Dash was one of my favorite restaurants when it first opened in 2012, and Chef Oliver Cattermole headed up the kitchen. It also has been a favorite coffee stop.
Yesterday we were welcomed with Doolhof Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, both 2016 vintages. Canapés accompanied the wines, being smoked mackerel on an oat biscuit with Cape gooseberry gel; as well as ricotta lollipops, lemon curd, and preserved lemon salt.
Magic 828AM presenter Guy McDonald thought he saw a smile on the lips of Queen Victoria, whose portrait hangs alongside the bar, and he toasted her, having given the hotel her name! (main photograph).
Chef Germaine Esau joined Dash restaurant two weeks ago, having previously worked at Hillcrest Berry Farm, and has proudly shed 40 kg or more in weight, he shared. His restaurant repertoire has included kitchens at Delaire Graff and Makaron at Majeka House.
Doolhof GM Johan Fourie said that Wellington has become a destination and a quality wine area. In the recent Terroir Awards it won the Best Wine region for the second time. It is not a cool climate region, he said, and at Doolhof they have mini pockets of single vineyards.
Winemaker Gielie Beukes said it has been the 25th harvest for some of their fourteen wines at Doolhof this year. Some vineyards are to be uprooted. He announced that they are renewing some of their farming practices, including mulching their soils. He said that they are proud to produce consistent quality from parcels of vineyards on the estate, for their Signatures range. The wines within this range ‘are of exceptional distinction that is unmistakenly Doolhof and what we represent’.
Three of the Doolhof Single Vineyard red wines were paired with three cuisine creations prepared by Chef Germaine Esau and his team.
A colourful curried salmon (for me, and mussels for the other guests) velouté, served with coconut and orange purée, as well as charred cucumber, was served in a beautiful white bowl with a broad rim for the coconut and purée. It was paired with the Doolhof Single Vineyard Pinotage 2014, which costs R145 at the cellar door. The Pinotage was bottled in May.
This was followed by confit pork belly, which was served with gnocchi, bacon, apple, and a cheese sauce. It was served with Doolhof Single Vineyard Malbec 2015.
Ostrich is an interesting ingredient one is rarely served at functions, and it was beautifully plated with pickled roses petals, served with dates, coffee, and coffee butter. The wine pairing was with Doolhof Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2015.
PR Consultant Nicolette Waterford had ordered vegetarian options, and her main course was a colourful gnocchi with roast aubergine and shaved vegetables.
Theseus is a Bordeaux Blend, and the 2011 vintage consisted of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% each Merlot and Petit Verdot. It is the flagship Doolhof wine, and is only made in exceptional vintages, winemaker Gielie explained. It costs R270 at the cellar. Only a small volume is produced. It is rich and full-bodied, with blackberry, black cherry, and cassis on the nose, which follow through on the palate. Surprisingly the red wine was served chilled.
The Theseus 2011 was served with smoked chocolate, dehydrated chocolate mousse, crispy milk, red wine caramel, as well as raisins. A perfectly made strong dry cappuccino accompanied the dessert.
Grand Dédale, the award-winning Country House on Doolhof, is to add another four bedrooms, a Spa, a sauna room, as well as a boardroom, in May next year. The hotel opened seven years ago, after a refurbishment, marrying heritage and modernity. Grand Dédale GM Angelo Casu is collecting an award in London next week, of which he could not reveal details yet. As part of Doolhof’s social responsibility, Johan and Angelo will cycle as a team in the Cape Epic next year, raising funds for Streetsmart, benefiting street children.
Johan told us that Wellington became a ward independent of Paarl in 2012, and Doolhof now is part of the Limietberg ward, bordering the Bainskloof Pass. Gielie said that the new vintages ‘represent the Doolhof philosophy of nature, respect and teamwork and it speaks volumes of the terroir and quality the Limietberg has to offer‘. Gielie is in the middle and Johan on the right in the photograph.
Dash Restaurant Manager Norbert Harms (left in the photograph) has promised to notify me when Chef Germaine has finalized his own menu, currently still cooking the menu of his predecessor. Chef Germaine told me that he will introduce a Tasting Menu as well as an À la carte one.
Disclosure: A holder with Doolhof Signatures Single Vineyard Collection Chardonnay 2016, Pinotage 2014, and Cabernet Franc 2015 accompanied our media pack.
Doolhof Wine Estate, Bovlei Road, Wellington. Tel (021) 873-6911. www.doolhof.com Twitter: @DoolhofWines Monday – Saturday 10h00 – 17h00, Sunday 10h00 – 17h00.
Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 418-1466 www.newmarkhotels.com Twitter:@dashrestaurant Instagram: @newmarkhotels
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein