On Saturday I attended the elegant black and white dress launch of the maiden vintage of the Klein Sering Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2016, on the 1,2 hectare property on which the grapes are grown in Noordhoek, just off its main road.
Wine is the passion of cardiac and thoracic surgeon Dr Willie Koen, who works from the Vincent Palotti Hospital, where he is a leading international heart transplant surgeon. He bought the surrounding plots to his house in a cul de sac, on which vines were planted in 2013, 65% being Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon. In February this year 4,2 tons of Sauvignon Blanc and 1,9 tons of Semillon were harvested. The wine blend was kept on the lees in stainless steel tanks for five months. Andre Rosseau of Rosseau Wines was the winemaker, using the cellar of Steenberg Winery under the guidance of its JD Pretorius (and Chairman of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group).
I asked Lienie Koen about the origin of the Klein Sering name. She wrote that Willie’s late father had owned a farm called Sering north of Pretoria. ‘Sering’ is the Afrikaans translation for syringa, the name of a tree within the olive family.
Cape Wine Master Allan Mullins wrote an introduction to Klein Sering in a pamphlet which each guest received on arrival. He described the two Klein Sering base wines as Bordeaux blends, which are different in character, flavour, and texture. A good blend of the two wines results in a wine which is better than that of the individual components, the Klein Sering blend consisting of 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44% Semillon. It has a pale yellow colour with tinges of green, and a bouquet of greener flavours such as grapefruit, capsicum, and lemon, with riper flavours of yellow gooseberry, melons, and passion fruit. The wine is Unwooded.
Mullins writes about Klein Sering as follows: ‘The palate excites. The Sauvignon Blanc gives a pure, racy sensation with flinty minerality and a wet-stone element, while the Semillon rounds it out adding weight and texture. The fruit promise of the nose fills the mouth. There is an enticing salty tang from the Noordhoek sea breezes. The acidity is clean and refreshing. A wine to drink now or in the next two or three years, although it will develop interesting nuances if aged for longer. Enjoy with oysters, freshly caught fish grilled with lemon butter, summer salads with smoked salmon, asparagus, avocado and freshly baked bread, poultry, with creamy white sauces’. The impactful corporate identity was designed by Howard Deary.
I was invited to attend by event co-ordinator Anida van der Spuy (below). The event was held in an open-sided marquee, with comfortable tables and chairs, and pedestals for the flower arrangements, a lovely combination of flowers and vegetables, including artichokes. The decor was done by aCREATE’s Eduan Roos, and my eye caught a stand with white napkins, flapping in the breeze, an unusual way of making them available. A Latino Band played music non-stop. As the wind became chilly, a number of guests sat on the steps of the Koen family home, soaking up the sun. I chatted to a lovely guest, also called Chris, who pointed out all the specialist colleagues attending the function. Staff of The Aleit Academy were the servers, and were well-informed about the food they were offering on boldly designed black and white trays.
Anida had brought in Slippery Spoon Kitchen for the catering for the 300 guests. Chef Johnny Hamman won the first Kokkedoor cooking competition in 2014. On the website Johnny describes himself as ‘a creative character with a helluva passion for dinner parties’. He studied at the Institute of Culinary Arts, and has worked at Mount Grace, and for the event co- ordinator Aleit Group. Slippery Spoon Kitchen is a bespoke catering company which specializes in preparing creative food for events. Slippery Spoon is a conceptual pop-up eatery and unconventional restaurant. Chef Marius Uys (right) has a diverse background in hospitality and travel, combined with online leisure and accommodation management, and entered Kokkedoor in 2014, on which set Johnny and Marius met.
The food offering was praised by the guests, plump West Coast oysters available as one arrived, presented on frozen Himalayan salt slabs. Alongside these were glass containers with colourful accompaniments to the oysters, including lemons, limes, pomegranate pips, pickled ginger, coriander yoghurt, and lime and ginger powder. The oysters were in never-ending supply. The other food dishes were presented on trays non-stop, and included the following:
# Kingklip ceviche with fresh lime, mango, and green chili
# Cones with crumbed calamari-frito-misto with a red pepper and wild mushroom ketchup
# Smoked Salmon trout, pistachio, and watercress Vietnamese summer rolls served with ginger honey and coriander dipping sauce
# Sauvignon-poached pear and goat’s cheese croquettes with fresh petit pois and pea shoots.
# Crisp watercress and wild rocket posies wrapped in paper-thin Parmesan, and Gran Padano, splashed with extra virgin olive oil and sour dough crumbs.
# Wagyu Beef Tataki, pomme frites, and kimchi salsa
# Prawn kebabs
# Coronation chicken with fresh raspberries, toasted almonds, served on crisp Chinese prawn crackers, enhanced with coriander leaves.
# Petit gourmet steamed bun prawn and miso ‘hot dogs’ served with Japanese nori mayonnaise
# Hot steamy meatballs with Caesar salad and dressing
# Fresh blanched asparagus with a red grapefruit and red onion salsa
A special ending to the canapé treats was specially-made Sauvignon Blanc and elderflower ice lollies by Las Paletas.
In great trust one could take a case of six bottles, costing R960, home with one, and EFT the payment. A part of the proceeds goes to the Heart Transplant Fund, reflecting another part of Dr Koen’s passion.
Koen Family Wines, Noordhoek. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website under construction.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein