Versatility and quality in Stellenbosch Hills’ flagship range

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THE award-winning Sense of Place wines take the headache out of shopping this festive season in a new campaign that offers wine-lovers the go-to solution for every occasion. Whether it’s a top-quality gift that’s required, a refreshing all-rounder, or a bold food-wine, this flagship range from premier vineyards of Stellenbosch has it all.

Sense of Place by Stellenbosch Hills comprises three wines: an exceptional red, white and bubbly. To promote their excellence, the winery recruited celebrated foodie Ilse van der Merwe aka The Food Fox to devise a special festive season recipe (see below, editor’s note: so beautiful, three pics are not too many).

“This year, for the first time, we’ll all hopefully be able to take a break without fear of last-minute cancellation,” says Ilse. “Goodness knows, we can do with a little time with those close to us; to enjoy time around a table; and, to treat each other. This is the rare quality we all pursue, like these wines – a sense of place.”

The range is made exclusively from the best individual vineyard components at the winemakers’ disposal and is made with the focus on showcasing the quality of the terroir to which the winery has access. As such, quantity is limited by what the vineyard provides and the quality of the growing season.

The latest vintage of the Sense of Place range is the recently released 2021 Kastanjeberg – a wooded, single vineyard Chenin Blanc. The wine is rich and complex, displaying sublime aromas of stone fruit, honey, dried apricots, violets and vanilla oak spice. The palate is full, balanced by creamy texture and crisp acidity, and characterised by notes of pear and peach with hints of vanilla and almonds. Only 2 700 bottles of the wine are available.

The 2017 Suikerboschrand Cape Blend is voluptuous, with abundant aromas of ripe berry fruit, dark chocolate and cedar wood. The choice of barrels is reflected in this beautiful wine and supports its structure. Elegant tannins linger in the finish along with a hint of fresh spice.

The 2020 Anna Christina Cap Classique is made entirely from Chardonnay. Enticingly elegant, it shows fresh Granny Smith apples and citrus blossoms with a nutty yeastiness on the nose. Crisp acidity tingles the well-balanced palate while a delicate mousse delivers a satisfying, mouth-filling explosion of bubbles with every sip. Just 3 000 bottles were made.

It is the Cap Classique that inspired The Food Fox recipe of a pavlova wreath for Stellenbosch Hills. “To me, pavlova is one of the best summer desserts. It’s light, always popular and can be decorated to be the showpiece of your table. The dry Anna Christina Cap Classique is an ideal partner for fresh seasonal berries like strawberries and cherries. It brings balance with the fruit and the sweetness of the meringue.”

Notably, Ilse has an extra special understanding of Sense of Place. “We live in the Vlottenburg Valley, surrounded by the vineyards from which the wines are made. The Suikerboschrand vineyard is actually right behind our house. Earlier this year I had the privilege to visit the other Sense of Place vineyard blocks to get a feel for their terroir. It’s a unique portion of Renosterveld and fynbos, where large swathes are untouched and magnificently beautiful.

“I drive past the Anna Christina vineyards almost every day on my way to town. The wines are absolutely representative of the best of the area – top quality, balanced and outstanding.”

The property from which the fruit for the Anna Christina bubbly is sourced, also farms berries, which makes the use of berries in the festive season pavlova recipe most appropriate. Sense of Place wines are available at selected leading wine specialists and restaurants around the country as well as from Stellenbosch Hills’ online store.

For more information about Stellenbosch Hills, click here, call 021 881 3828/9, or, email [email protected]. Stellenbosch Hills is on Facebook (StellenboschHills), Twitter @STBHills and Instagram @stellenbosch_hills. Stellenbosch Hills is at the intersection of the R310 and Vlottenburg Road, just outside Stellenbosch. It is open Mondays to Fridays 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays 10am to 3pm; closed on public holidays.

SENSE OF PLACE PAVLOVA WREATH WITH SUMMER BERRIES

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 5 XL egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 10ml lemon juice
  • 15ml corn flour
  • 5ml vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • 25 ml fresh cream, whipped to medium stiff peaks
  • a selection of fresh seasonal berries (2-3 cups)
  • a few tablespoons passion fruit pulp (fresh or canned)

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 150°C (regular convection) with rack on the middle shelf. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer with balloon whisk, whisk the egg whites in a big, clean bowl until soft peaks form.
  • Gradually add the castor sugar to egg whites while whisking, a tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture is stiff and glossy.
  • Add the lemon juice, corn flour.
  • Draw a circle on the back of a piece of baking paper – about 23cm in diameter. Draw another circle in the middle, about 10cm in diameter.
  • Turn the paper over and stick it to a baking sheet using small amounts of pavlova mixture, then use two large spoons to spoon the mixture into a wreath shape on the paper.
  • Transfer it to the oven, immediately turning down the heat to 110°C, then bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool completely, without opening the door (about 2 hours).
  • Remove pavlova from the oven and keep in an airtight container until ready to use (keep it on the baking paper as long as you can).
  • When ready to serve, carefully remove the baking paper from bottom of pavlova and carefully put it on a serving dish – if it cracks here and there, don’t worry, you can patch it with the whipped cream.
  • Dust lightly with icing sugar (optional), then top with whipped cream, fresh berries and a few drizzles of passion fruit pulp. Serve at once.
  • Note: The pavlova can be made a day ahead (undecorated), if kept in an airtight container. Once decorated, it must be served immediately.
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