RE•CM (standing for ‘Regarding Capital Management‘) is a wealth management company based in Cape Town, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Wine writer Christian Eedes encouraged the company to celebrate this anniversary with a ten year old wine awards competition. Out of the top three entered finalist wines, Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003 achieved the highest rating by the judges.
The event was held at The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenhort on Thursday evening, a hotel that is Relais & Châteaux certified, but has the most inefficient ‘boomsman’ who ultimately allows one to drive through anyway after a long story, does not offer enough parking for larger functions, has ineffective signage as to the whereabouts of the different buildings and venues inside them on the property, and has staff that has no interest (nor knowledge) in directing one to the function venue. A pre-dinner glass of sparkling wine on the manicured lawn, and a few canapés that did not reach many of the guests, highlighted that a large number of the guests were writers. We discovered later at the table that the other guests were clients of RE•CM who had supported the company since its inception, as well as staff of the investment company. I sat next to Daniel Malan, Investment Director of the company, who shared two or three sentences throughout the whole evening! A charming table neighbour and client guest on the other side was Chris van Wyk, once a top executive at Sanlam, and who has more recently been involved with PSG Consult in its Hermanus branch. RE•CM is a ‘privately-owned, independent asset management company that follows a bottom-up value approach based on thorough, fundamental research’, the brochure we received states. Commendably there was no hard sell during the dinner at all, and the focus was purely on the 10 year old wine awards.
After welcoming the guests, RE•CM Executive Chairman Piet Viljoen quickly handed over to Eedes, who provided the background to the competition. He said that like investments, wine requires patience for its quality and value to emerge over time. He deplored that wine libraries do not exist in South Africa, in which the top wines are stored. For the competition wine estates were invited to submit their best ten year old wines, and had to be able to provide 24 bottles for the tasting and to be served at the dinner. A total of 73 entries was received from 39 wineries. Judging was done blind by wine educator and entrepreneur Nkululeko Mkhwanazi, sommelier Jörg Pfützner, and Eedes, pictured here with Boekenhoutskloof’s Marc Kent. All wines were scored out of 20. Eedes writes in his report about the wines of 2003: ‘2003 was a cracking vintage, described in Platter’s 2013 as “(o)utstanding, especially for reds – concentrated and structured, and often slow to show their best”’.
Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003 was the only wine that achieved a 5 star (‘extraordinary, profound‘) score from the panel, and Eedes describes it as follows: ‘From a single vineyard in Wellington. Matured for 27 months in only used French oak. Hugely complex showing red and black fruit, floral perfume, crushed herbs, spice and some pepper. Pure and fresh with fine tannins. Still remarkably primary with great flavour intensity – a very precise offering’. After the judges had tasted this wine, there was a ‘moment of silence’, and it was the most impressive wine of all, Eedes shared.
Rudera Syrah 2003 achieved a score of 4,5, and Eedes described it as: ‘From Faure and Koelenhof vineyards. Matured for 11 months in French oak, 20% new. The nose shows red and black fruit, some floral character but also earthy, malty notes. Pleasantly sweet on entry but offset by fresh acidity. Has a noble rusticity about it – powerful but not at the expense of complexity’. Equally Remhoogte Estate Wine 2003 achieved a 4,5 rating, and it was described as follows: ‘59% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Pinotage. Matured for 22 months in French oak, 40% new. Upfront red and black fruit (cherries, cassis) offset by some herbal and spicy notes. Oak smartly used adding just a hint of dark chocolate. A carefully assembled wine which appears medium bodied with well integrated acidity and fine tannins’. Other 4,5 score wines were Tokara 2003, Morgenster 2003, and Chamonix Troika 2003.
The food at Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant The Greenhouse is always a treat, and assured the hosts an excellent attendance. Chef Peter Tempelhoff was in attendance in the kitchen, we were told, but he did not come into the restaurant. The menu had been prepared to pair with the three top ten year old red wines. A bread basket was brought to the table, with a variety of bread styles, with two tiny glass bowls with soil, avocado, and miniature vegetables from the hotel garden, to share amongst a table of twelve. The amuse bouche was a West Coast lobster and bisque poured into the plate at the table, which was served with a sweet corn and roast garlic espuma, and crispy leeks, paired with Villiera Monro Brut 2007.
Springbok tataki was served with a fig and almond pesto, honey roasted figs, almond crumble, celeriac remoulade, and a shiraz gel, and was paired with the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2003, which everyone at our table wanted more of. A course of Beetroot Risotto was served with cepe purée, mushroom fricassee, fresh baby peas, and a parsley and pecorino sauce, and was paired with the Rudera Syrah 2003.
The main course was a combination of lamb loin and braised shank, which was accompanied by artichoke dauphinoise, smoked aubergine purée, black olive jam, and tomato fondue, which was paired with Remhoogte Estate Wine 2003. The tiniest dessert/palate cleanser was a pineapple compote with foam, and buchu ice cream, sprinkled with chocolate. We loved the petit fours that were served with the coffee, and how they were served, our table ordering seconds because they were so delicious, being chocolate truffles and nougat.
The evening ended far too quickly, and the reality of a working day lying ahead sent us home. Good food (although quite uncharacteristic of The Greenhouse I felt, but perhaps they have special menus for corporate functions and to assist the kitchen with a small pass in coping with preparing the food for close to 60 guests), excellent wines, and the good company of Chris van Wyk and his wife and Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert of Batonage Blog made it a special evening.
Disclosure: We received a bottle of Remhoogte Estate Wine 2007 with our media pack.
RE•CM, Tel (021) 657-3440. www.recm.co.za Twitter: @RECM_Online
The Greenhouse, The Cellars-Hohenort, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia. Tel (021) 794-2137. www.collectionmcgrath.com/cellars/the-greenhouse/ Twitter: @GreenhouseCT
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage