Referencing the weather is normally the safest way out of a socially awkward situation. It’s the obvious conversational filler we hastily grab onto when you bump into an acquaintance you vaguely remember, but for the life of you can’t place – or worse – can’t name…
It was with this thought lingering in the back of my mind that I caught myself chatting away about the weather when I arrived in Joburg for our Mid-June CWWU event. You see – when I touched down in Joburg, I was joined by the very capable cold front that hit Cape Town earlier that week. Seasoned as I am to the winters in Cape Town, you’d think this would be like a storm in a teacup for me. This train of thought would however seriously underestimate the nature of cold on the Highveld. You see, the cold here comes with personality added to the mix. A Personality aimed at turning you into an ice-maiden. One that would make the creators of ‘Frozen’ turn green with envy…
So, it was with this happy environmental challenge that we set out to hold our mid-winter CWWU Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve wine event. Not that cold is a problem when you think in terms of wine. Winter, fire & wine are basically joined at the hip anyway. The challenge lies in the optimal coupling of these elements!
A truly breath-taking aspect of the shivering cold nights in Joburg is that it often makes for crystal clear nights, allowing you to see forever – and unlike the same phenomenon in the Free State, Joburg actually has more than Windpumps to focus on. The problem with profiting from this climatic gift is finding a Joburg venue actually allowing clear cold nights to become a welcome part of the evenings’ ambience. We have previously elaborated on some of the negative thoughts the fine residents of the Cape Province nurture when thinking of Joburg – mostly unfair, since there is a plethora of beauty in this City. The sad truth is however that the architects of the city didn’t think it necessary to profit from the available beauty. Let me hastily clarify this statement (before I get thrown before an angry mob of architects, armed with drawing pencils & rulers). You see, in Joburg views are mostly visible from car-parkades. Subsequently, what was left to venues like restaurants & coffee shops was to look onto – you guessed it – car parks. I guess the positive aspect of this is that you at least get a stunning view, whilst dropping a load of cash into the parking metre.
This reality was however firmly brought to an end when Tsogo Sun opened their new hotel on top of the luxurious Hyde Park Corner shopping mall. The setting provided by this amazing hotel became my immediate choice for the next CWWU event when I saw the exceptional views from its infinity pool. The city views provided the perfect way to profit from the cold, clear nights and would add a very dramatic setting for the CWWU Nederburg event.
The evening of the event held on the 17th & 18th of June eventually arrived – and the weather didn’t disappoint in any way. The guests arrived to a cold, crystal clear night, enveloped by the glass casing of the Hotel – and warmed by the many open fires that gave the evening immediately an extra sensation of cosy comfort. This was just right for sampling excellent food, coupled with exquisite Nederburg wines. And the guests didn’t have a long wait to start the evenings journey. On arrival everyone was served a great Nederburg Riesling – a wine that over the past few years has grown in popularity. Riesling is made from one of the most aromatic grape varieties in the world. This one specifically was a brilliant green with a lime tinge, and its bouquet can best be described as floral, fruity with pineapple & spicy notes intermingling. Truly a great start to the evening!
As everybody started to settle in, the CWWU journey started. The Nederburg winemaker Kristen Basson shared some very impressive fact around the Winemaster’s Reserve wines, also chatting about all the wines on the tasting menu – entertaining everybody with interesting and fun things about making wine at Nederburg. This wonderfully informative chat was followed by Sommelier Prince who then gave the guests an introduction to the art of tasting and nosing.
The Nederburg wines for the evenings tasting comprised of a Sauvignon Blanc; Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz & a Pinotage.
The Winemaster’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is pure brilliance, both in characteristics & colour. I couldn’t help but admire the greenish tinges that swirled around in my glass. The bouquet consisted of melon and herbaceous nuances with fresh gooseberries and a hint of green figs. The second wine, being the Cabernet Sauvignon showed up beautifully in my glass. It has a dazzling ruby red colour, and the bouquet can be best described as consisting of aromas of blackcurrants and cherries with violets and nuances of vanilla oak spice in the background.
The deep ruby red Shiraz definitely held its own. Spicy notes of cinnamon & clove swam to my nose, rooted in a ripe berry flavour. A majestic wine if I might say so. Last, but certainly not least was the Pinotage. What pure joy in one glass! Ruby in colour, tasting of ripe plums & prunes with a suggestion of liquorice. Added to this you could sense some oak flavours lingering in the background. Personally I found this delightful wine to be one of my favourite wines of the evening.
After the tasting was finished, everybody was more than ready for the food to arrive, all courses again accompanied by fabulous Nederburg Wines.
The starter was a sweet potato rosti, cured salmon gravalax and persimmon salsa, served with Chardonnay. This was an excellent pairing choice, with the wonderful lime & apricot aromas of the wine blending wonderfully with the delicate flavours of the starter.
The main course consisted of deboned lamb shoulder, rolled & stuffed with olives, sun dried tomato & roasted garlic. This was then served with crispy polenta triangles and paired with Nederburg’s wonderful Merlot. The Merlot’s subtle vanilla undertones and rich, strawberry & blackcurrant undertones coupled with the lamb was a top choice.
Closing the delightful evening, spent high up in the night sky, was the dessert of gorgonzola & preserved fig mousse filled phyllo cups, lightly drizzled with wild rocket pesto. The dessert wine, a Nederburg Noble late Harvest with its brilliant yellow & hints of gold colour made for a perfect end to this spectacular event. I can still taste the honey aftertaste, coupled with hints of tangerine, apricot & peach. ..
Whilst the guests were leaving, I couldn’t help to think how this evening, with its wonderfully clear night-sky was a uniquely Joburg one. And the dreamily romantic winters ‘eve was perfected by Nederburgs’ excellent wines, and the Tsogo Sun, Hyde Park’s stunning setting…
Written by: Etienne
About Winemaster’s Reserve Collection wines
Nederburg’s core super-premium wines are accommodated in The Winemaster’s Reserve ensemble, named to honour the long-established tradition of winemaking excellence. These classic wines treasure the integrity of our grapes in every step of the wine-growing and winemaking journey. Every glass demonstrates an unwavering commitment to world-class vineyard and cellar skills.
Read more on www.nederburg.com
As a premier Johannesburg hotel tucked away in one of the most exclusive parts of the city, it is no wonder that Southern Sun Hyde Park Sandton has been listed as a 2013 Certificate of Excellence winner by leading travel authority TripAdvisor. This is, after all, a hotel hailed for its perfect mixture of comfort, luxury and sleep design.
From its infinity pool and city views to its excellent selection of dining choices, the hotel delivers a high standard in its facilities, service and overall ambience. For business travellers, the Sandton Convention Centre and CBD are within easy reach, while for leisure travellers, a host of attractions lie minutes away.
Read more on www.tsogosunhotels.com