Homage to blue: Laborie honours its Franco-South African roots 

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ALTHOUGH Laborie is a proudly South African wine brand, harnessing the unique qualities of South Africa’s terroir in the making of its elegant wines, this brand’s heritage has a proud French connection – one that dates back more than 300 years. This jubilant historical link is evident in Laborie’s mantra, “Le Grande Vie”, a commitment to the vibrant life inspired by French culture, and the active pursuit for beauty and that which pleases the senses.

To honour its unique Franco-South African heritage, Laborie launches a fresh new appearance onto shelves this spring, which includes a delicate gold design printed on luxurious, uncoated labels, fittingly accompanied by a French-blue closure. Blue is one of the three colours in the French flag, or tricolore and it symbolises the life of George Martin of Tours, an empathetic and humble saint – and officially the Patron Saint of South Africa. Appropriately, Saint Martin is also often credited as the Patron Saint of Vintners, as he played an important role in spreading winemaking and facilitated the planting of many vines.

With blue featuring so prominently in the French flag, it is perhaps not surprising that artists exposed to France have, wittingly or unwittingly, honoured this colour through their works – becoming a universal favourite for many. Perhaps most famous of these is Picasso’s blue period, created and inspired during his time in Paris, and Yves Klein, a French artist so obsessed with the colour that he created a deep blue hue, now recognised as International Klein Blue. Klein used blue to illustrate how aesthetics trigger unique emotions and reactions in people – not unlike wines, which on the surface might appear the same, but which would appeal to wine drinkers’ senses in completely unique ways.

Inspired by Laborie’s French heritage, and guided by South Africa’s patron saint, Paarl-based chef Mynhardt Joubert took his own metaphorical blue paintbrush to the kitchen to create something that aptly reflects Laborie’s French connection – in a suitably South African fashion.

“Laborie’s wines really impress with their generous, jubilant character. These are wines that are fully sensory and therefore memorable,” says Mynhardt, who was spoiled with choice when seeking wine partners for his recipes. “I was really inspired by the generous, full-bodied character of the Laborie Cabernet Sauvignon, which I opted with a côte de boeuf with lavender and olive marinade served with stacked ratatouille – a beautiful range of complementary flavours drenched in French and South African character.” 

Laborie’s range of elegant wines includes a Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Merlot-Cabernet blend, and will now all be available at Laborie’s tasting room at the estate in Paarl. Additionally Laborie’s range extends to four lovely Cap Classiques and a unique fortified wine.

“We are very excited to continue the spread of Laborie’s unique joi de vivre with wines that are exceptionally flavoursome and engaging. Nurturing your roots by actively engaging your senses is something French culture shows a certain, natural, propensity for,” says Tanya Blokdyk, brand manager for Laborie Wines. “To the French, the active pursuit for beauty, or that which pleases the senses, is a way to augment life, a joyful concept which permeates French culture:  from one’s surroundings, to the food one serves, and yes, the wine one pours. With Laborie, every act is an opportunity to engage your senses, to activate the grande vie.

]Those seeking a full engagement of the senses, are encouraged to visit Laborie’s online shop or alternatively visit the Laborie Estate in Paarl.

CÔTE DE BOEUF WITH LAVENDER AND OLIVE MARINADE AND STACKED RATATOUILLE 

Serves 4

Prep time: 45 min

Baking time: 20 – 25 min

Oven: 180 degrees celsius

Lavender Marinade

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 10 crushed heads of lavender
  • 2 grated garlic cloves
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt
  • Pink pepper corns

Method

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together and brush over your cuts of côte de boeuf and allow the meat to marinate in the marinade overnight or for 2 hours minimum and grill over hot coals till medium rare – let it rest and gently warm before serving.
  • This marinade is great to make ahead and can be stored in a glass jar.  Keep in the fridge until required.

Ratatouille

Ingredients

  • 2 large aubergines sliced, salted and rinsed
  • 3 handfuls of vine tomatoes
  • 6 baby marrows sliced lengthways
  • 4 grated garlic cloves
  • 75 ml of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Toss the aubergine, tomatoes and baby marrow in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Roast individually on a griddle pan, let it cool and stack before serving – warm in a hot oven and serve with lamb fat potatoes fries.

Côte de Boeuf

Ingredients

  • 1 large piece of rib eye on the bone of 2.5 kg or 4 individual pieces
  • Lavender marinade
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Rub the meat with the pre prepared lavender marinade overnight or for at least 2 hours.
  • Warm up a griddle pan till it is piping hot and grill the meat on each side for about 3 minutes – also grill on the fat side to render off most of the fat for about 4 to 5 minutes – let the meat rest for a good half an hour.
  • Warm in a hot oven of 200 degrees just before serving for about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Serve with ratatouille and lamb fat potatoes.

BASQUE LAMB 

Serves 6 to 8 

Prep time:  25 min

Marinating time: overnight

Oven:  160 degrees celsius

Baking time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder cut into 2-inch strips
  • 250 ml of Laborie Chenin Blanc
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Tablespoon of butter
  • 2 large chopped onions
  • 3 large chopped leeks  
  • 8 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 5 large roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of chopped parsley 
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • Grated rind of two lemons
  • 1 tin of whole peeled tomatoes – chopped 
  • 500 ml lamb stock
  • 500 ml Laborie Merlot

Method

  • Marinate the lamb overnight in the fridge by seasoning the lamb with salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, cover the meat with the Laborie Chenin Blanc and add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
  • Strain the juices from the meat and keep on the side.
  • In a large pot heat the olive oil and brown the meat in the oil, deglaze the pan with the leftover marinating juices and reduce. 
  • Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan juices, melt, let it bubble and add the onions, leeks and garlic, sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the meat back to the pot and add the sweet paprika, red bell peppers, bay leaves, parsley, basil, lemon rind, tomatoes, lamb stock and Laborie Merlot.
  • Stir through and bring to the boil. 
  • Place the pot with lid in the 160-degree oven and bake for three hours until soft and tender.

ROASTED FISH STUFFED WITH CRAB MEAT 

Serves 4 

Prep time: 45 min

Baking time: 20 – 25 min

Oven: 200 degrees celsius

Ingredients

  • 4 x 300 g fresh whole fish like Cape Bream or Silver Fish
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb and leaves roughly chopped or sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of butter and a dash of olive oil
  • 200 g of cooked shredded crab meat 
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Fresh lemon
  • 12 large shallots, cleaned 
  •  3 tablespoons of butter
  •  500 ml of Laborie Chenin Blanc
  • 8 heads of garlic

Method

  • Pat the fish dry with a lemon-soaked dish towel, rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the chopped fennel in butter and a dash of olive oil until golden brown, season with salt and pepper, set aside to cool down and mix with the shredded crab meat, the pinch of saffron and season to taste. 
  • Stuff the fish with the crab meat stuffing and tie up with kitchen string, place on an oven tray.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice and a dash of olive oil over and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cleaned shallots to a skillet and sauté gently in the butter till golden brown, add the wine to the pan, lower the heat and let the juices reduce.
  • Bake the fish in a hot 200-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
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