Pretty in pink for Valentine’s Day

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IN the spirit of love, romance and my favourite colour – pink of course – I’ve compiled this list of Valentine’s Day treats, and rosé wines and bubblies…although I do believe these things can and should be celebrated every day of the year. Keep that spark(le) alive, people!

Here goes.

Chef Marvin Robyn at Grande Provence in Franschhoek has planned a four-course Valentine’s menu on Friday, following oysters and bubbly on guests’ arrival. For starters is a tempting choice between compressed watermelon, feta cheese, confit tomatoes and kalamata; or beetroot tagliatelle, burrata, dukkah spice, honeycomb and beetroot potpourri.

There are more oysters in the next course, paired with kimchi, fresh plums, oyster kaiings and sweet lime mayo. If, like me, you can’t (or won’t) do oysters, the heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella, basil pesto and Kalamata crumb is quite delicious. For mains, choose between springbok loin, fire roasted beetroot, pickled onions with beetroot gastrique; or line fish, grilled gem lettuce, sweetcorn and smoked snoek croquettes with chilli caramel. For dessert there is vanilla panna cotta with raspberry sorbet and dried meringue; or frozen chocolate mousse, red velvet cake and dried strawberries.

If you’ve got the time and prepared to take a chance with a weather forecast which changes by the hour, picnic baskets will be available all day, packed with seasonal fruits, a tomato basil and feta tartlet, assorted arancini, estate-made hummus, local cheeses and charcuterie, and a decadent chocolate brownie. The basket comes with a bottle of the estate’s popular Angels Tears wine as well as still or sparkling water.

The cost per person for dinner is R800, and the picnic is R600 a person until 4pm. Dinner guests can book for three different sittings at 6.30pm, 7.30pm or 8pm. Pre-paid bookings are essential. Call 021 876 8600 or email events@grandeprovence.co.za

Middelvlei’s Rooster Rosé 2019 is made from 100% Cinsaut grapes. According to winemaker Tinnie Momberg, the conditions for the optimum growth and ripening of the grapes from September through to December were perfect. This has resulted in a superb dry wine with delicate summer berry and watermelon flavours; Tinnie describes the wine as a pale salmon pink colour with a delicious fruity finish.

Available directly from the tasting room or select outlets nationwide at R95 a bottle, the Rooster Rosé 2019 is best served chilled. Enjoy on its own or pair with grilled seafood or chicken dishes. This wine also pairs perfectly with a black olive tapenade, or seasonal inspired salads such as a Niçoise. The Rooster Rosé can also be enjoyed with grilled lamb chops with herbs or lamb burgers with Moroccan spices or sweet and sour salmon teriyaki.

So, pretty much anything then.

From Friday, February 14 until Sunday, February 16, Middelvlei will be serving a platter perfect for two to share – freshly baked potbrood (which I would choose over my boyfriend for if it came to that, just saying), homemade snoek pâté, fig preserve, farm butter, fresh grapes, melba toast, a cheese selection of Brie and aged English cheddar, olives, corn fritters, biltong and caramelised paptertjies, mini chicken kebabs, peppered steak skewers with a spicy relish and caprese skewers. Ending off on a sweet note are mini milk tarts and dark chocolate truffles. It costs R340 and excludes wine.

For more information, visit www.middelvlei.co.za

I’ve had the Roodeberg Classic Rosé 2019, and it’s rather delicious. The PR promise is that it will work its magic over an intimate dinner, which is a great fringe benefit, whichever way you want to interpret that.

Fresh and crisp with a lingering fruity finish, this enchanting salmon-pink rosé shows subtle aromas of strawberry, candy floss and raspberry intertwined with hints of rose petals and Turkish delight making for pure indulgence. With a gold medal from the 2019 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirit Awards, the captivating Cabernet Sauvignon driven wine is best enjoyed in good company.

It’s available countrywide, at R89 to R95 a bottle.

I’m not a conventional V-Day person at all but when the 2016 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique pictured at the top of this story is delivered to my front door on Friday, I will be as cute and happy as any hopeless romantic, and this is why:

They tell me that while refreshing, the 2016 vintage offers plenty of dimension and secondary aromas such as the yeastiness of freshly-baked bread, buttery nuts and beautiful ripe pear. Indulgent and creamy on the entry, the sparkling wine lingers with exceptional freshness and finesse. Which all sounds just fine.

The technical stuff: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are from the farm in the Franschhoek Valley, fermented separately before blending in the ratio of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with 15% of the base wine was from the 2015 vintage, matured in French barrels. Secondary fermentation was in the bottles and the wine matured on the lees for 36 months. Zero dosage was added during degorgement, resulting in a style that is Brut Natural.

The 2016 La Motte MCC was degorged in May 2019 and 3 500 bottles were released.

Champagne-style sparkling wines such as the South African Méthode Cap Classique can be exceptional with food and the same goes for the 2016 La Motte MCC. It shines with luxury seafood, decadent pastries, creamy breakfasts such as Eggs Benedict and desserts with apple, caramel and pastry such as  Chef Eric Bulpitt of Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant’s traditional apple tart with vanilla ice cream (pictured).

I’ll have one of everything, please.

From Waterkloof in the Helderberg comes the charming Cape Coral 2019 Mourvèdre Rosé – marking the 10th harvest milestone for winemaker Nadia Barnard-Langenegger. “The Cape Coral Rosé was one of the first wines I tasted from Waterkloof. When I did, I just knew I’d ended up at the right farm,” she says.

The delightfully pale-coloured Rosé shows delicate aromas of pomegranates and raspberries with a prominent flintiness. There’s finesse and elegance on the palate with lingering fresh acidity on the aftertaste.

The wine is splendid when served chilled, on its own, but also marries well with a variety of dishes including spicy, tuna-based sushi. It sells for around R118 a bottle. For more information or wine orders, call 021 858 1292 or visit www.waterkloofwines.co.za

Van Loveren’s Perlé de Jean Pinot Grigio rosé was launched last year and is perfect with prawns (also pink, so winning), whether they’re flame-grilled on a stick, marinated, spiced, curried, or served in pasta or smothered in paprika aioli. The 2019 vintage has aromas of ripe, fresh red berries, citrus zest and melon. Every sip is a bracing, summer kiss delivered on a featherlight bed of tiny, pearl bubbles.

The source of the wine’s title is more than just a story. Perlé de Jean gets its name from the late and effervescent matriarch to the Retiefs of Van Loveren. The beautiful label design is a loving tribute to her and the magnificent garden she and husband Hennie established with the estate in 1939.

Many of the trees they planted together over the years commemorate special occasions and historic figures, including intimate family events such as the births of 11 grandchildren. Now a lush paradise, the garden at Van Loveren in the Robertson wine valley is open to visitors. If you’re in the area, I recommend a visit; it’s really lovely.

Perlé de Jean Pinot Grigio is available at Checkers, Makro, Food Lover’s Market and selected Spar and [email protected] stores for around R70 a bottle.

Haute Cabrière in Franschhoek launched its maiden Pinot Noir Rosé in 2019. “We are very passionate about Pinot Noir and the harvest resulted in the creation of this fabulous addition to the Haute Cabrière portfolio,” says second-generation Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim.

Grapes were harvested with full-fruit in mind, so you can expect an elegant, dry rosé on the palate with strawberries and rose petals on the nose. “The elegance and structure of this wine is evident in each sip,” says Takuan.

This rosé is best served chilled (who are the monsters who serve it warm??) and pairs particularly well with salmon, oysters and sushi, or simply on its own (my kind of wine).

It’s available online, from the tasting room at R79 a bottle, and leading retailers and liquor stores nationwide.

South Africans are known for their sweet palate, and over the past few years I’ve noticed an increase in off-dry, demi-sec and “nectar” bubblies from top producers where there were none before. One of these is the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Satin Nectar Rosé 2017, meeting the demand for a quality pink bubbly that is softly sweet, and even those who favour the drier bubblies will find this has a place.

The bright pupils will know Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel was the Cape’s first bottle-fermented sparkling wine released in 1971 and is well known for its Brut, Brut Rosé, and Cuvée Royale.

“Extended lees contact adds to the finesse of the wine, delivered by a delicate string of fine bubbles. The colour of the Satin Nectar Rosé is equally classy, more copper than bright pink, with a palate perfectly balanced by fresh acidity and fruity flair. This is a very attractive MCC, both visually and on the palate,” says Johan Malan, head of production at Simonsig Estate.

“The beauty of pink bubbly is not only about how it tastes, but just as much as how it makes you feel,” says Cape Wine Master, Heidi Duminy. “It’s impossible not to fall for its gorgeous blush colour before it even touches your lips with a softly sweet taste of utter joy and euphoria. All this care in the crafting presents in an exuberant glass of happiness that is effortlessly tantalising. Expect vibrant expressions of crushed summer berries, candied apples, pink peach and whimsical Turkish delight.”

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Satin Nectar Rosé is available from most supermarkets and liquor retailers for an average retail price of R159.

Zandvliet Wine Estate has a Shiraz Rosé which, within days of release was awarded double gold at Rosé Rocks, the dedicated championship for South African rosé wines. It is gold-pink in colour and displays a distinct bouquet of rose petals, melon, strawberries and raspberry coulis. The palate is well rounded though refreshingly vibrant, packed with red fruit flavours and a long, floral finish.

Zandvliet Shiraz Rosé sells for around R85 and is available from the farm and selected wine retailers countrywide. Zandvliet is near the village of Ashton, off the R60.

Krone Vintage Rosé Cuvée Brut 2018 from Tulbagh is a blend of 87% Pinot Noir and 13% Chardonnay. An enchanting salmon pink colour with a gracious mousse, a floral bouquet of rosewater meets the sweet-sour-salty scent of coastal sour figs. Fresh red fruits—pomegranates and cranberries—take centre stage on the full, soft palate, unfolding into candied orange and white-fleshed nectarine. The vivid acidity is cushioned in a fine, creamy mousse, finishing with lingering notes of toasted hazelnuts.

Drink it with a simple picnic with slivers of charcuterie, crusty sourdough bread and ripe, melty Camembert; or salmon with crispy skin crackling and wild black rice to rolled porchetta, and duck with cherries. Available nationally, it’s about R150 a bottle.

Robertson Winery’s Brut Rosé is delightfully pink and dry with a vivacious sparkle, elegantly refreshing, charmingly drinkable and vibrantly packaged. What more could a girl want?

Since you ask (yeah, I know you didn’t): “with a strawberry blush, enticing floral and candied fruit aromas, juicy wild strawberry flavours and a generous aftertaste, this enchanting pink sparkler leaves your taste-buds calling for more. It is refreshingly fun, decidedly fruity and very easy to love!”

It retails between R60 and R65 a bottle. It’s not an MCC.

At the other end of the spectrum, how about some French champagne? Bollinger Rosé is a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier from 85% Grand or Premier Cru vineyards of exceptional quality. It has a beautiful salmon pink colour, a velvet mousse and fresh, pure redcurrant, cherry and strawberry aromas, the palate is rich and refined, perfectly combining power with freshness.

In a gift box, it’s available nationally for about R1230 a bottle.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte is the number one selling Champagne in France and the third biggest-selling Champagne brand in the world. Now explain to me why I’ve never had a bottle of this?

This Rosé Champagne, bursting with red summer fruits, is made in a Brut style and is composed of 45% Pinot Noir for roundness and structure, 45% Meunier for fruitiness and soft, supple character, and 10% Chardonnay, for elegance and finesse. A gorgeous pomegranate pink, a delicious cavalcade (I did not write this) of redcurrant and raspberry notes combine with a hint of strawberries. It is fresh and vibrant with a touch of floral enchantment, perfect for infusing joy into everyday moments. Lively and refreshing, it is perfect for alfresco sipping, for picnics and delicious with Japanese cuisine.

Exquisitely adorned with the delicate pink petals of the iconic cherry blossom set against a beautiful blue sky (not my words either), the Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Brut Rosé retails nationally for around R780.

If you’re still with me, maybe reading this will give you an idea of why I love the pink stuff…all the pretty words make me smile, and salivate just a tiny bit. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a glass of wine and some prawns waiting for me.

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