Did you know that Tsogo Sun was the largest single bidder at the Cape Winemakers Guild and Nederburg auctions last year, with a total spend of R3 696 800? This was the third year that Tsogo Sun has taken the top spot, and now the group has a collection of 90 wines. Luckily for all of us, they’re sharing these glorious wines! The wines are available at selected Tsogo Sun hotels and restaurants and can be purchased from Café Cru at Montecasino in Johannesburg via their off sales license, and soon online, giving wine-lovers the opportunity to purchase auction wines to enjoy at home.

And what’s even better is that the wines have only marginally been marked up above the auction price – “You won’t find these wines at a better price anywhere else,” says Tsogo Sun Group Sommelier Miguel Chan. “We want our guests to be able to enjoy a great bottle of wine, at the best price which is only marginally higher than the spend on the bottle.”

At a recent tasting, we were lucky enough to sample five of these wines, each specially paired with tapas conceptualised and created by Southern Sun Hyde Park’s Luce Restaurant’s Chef Gareth Jordaan. The wines on the menu were Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2012, Nederburg Private Bin R 181 Merlot 2006, Groot Constantia CWG Chardonnay 2015, Strydom The Expatriate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, and the Nederburg Private Bin D 252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011.

Commenting on Tsogo Sun’s white wine collection, Chan says, “The wines in our portfolio prove how well South African white cultivars age. A perfect example is the Nederburg Private Bin D 252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011, a six-year-old white wine that has aged to perfection. The Tsogo Sun collection clearly highlights the strength of South African wines and how well they age in comparison to the best wines from around the world. Not many restaurants serve aged white wines, but we are serious about older wines and we believe in the potential of South African winemaker’s in crafting great wine.”

“The Tsogo Sun auction wine collection adds depth to the dining experience for our guests. It’s about how great a certain wine will be with a meal and how it highlights the dishes and the dining experience,” concludes Chan.

How Chef Gareth Jordaan paired the wine with food:

Says Executive Chef of Lucé, Gareth Jordaan, of the pairing of winter tapas dishes with the five auction wines, “It’s a very exciting process to be able to develop dishes based on ingredients that pair well with certain wines, and to draw inspiration from the wines. I enjoy the challenge of pairing food with wine because you start off without a plan and create your dishes around ingredients that bring out the flavours in the wine.”

Over many years of creating food and wine pairings, Chef Gareth Jordaan has created his own dictionary, if you will, of what goes well with different varietals. He then uses this template to first decide which ingredients to not use, but then he gets to the exciting part – which ingredients work well with each wine. Gareth then builds up each dish, selecting ingredients in each category (such as protein, vegetables and spices). “It’s taken years of experience,” says Jordaan.

Once the dish is put together, it’s fine-tuned and tested. The sommelier, in this case Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, will then run through the menu and make suggestions such as lowering the amount of lime in a certain dish or adding extra elements which will enhance. “Perfecting the dish so that it goes together with the wine requires experimentation; it’s trial and error,” says Jordaan. While there are certain ingredients which go with each wine “the way you cook an ingredient can come out completely different from chef to chef – the possibilities are endless.”

Take a look at the menu to see which ingredients Chef Gareth Jordaan paired with each wine:

  • Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2012 paired with
    Panko-crusted Prawn, Ginger Peach Dipping Sauce
  • Nederburg Private Bin R 181 Merlot 2006 paired with
    Duck liver Pate, Cinnamon and Merlot Jelly, Coffee Foam, Pickled Walnut
  • Groot Constantia CWG Chardonnay 2015 paired with
    Croquette – Macaroni and Cheese, Crisp Pancetta, Emmental, Rosemary Béchamel
  • Strydom The Expatriate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 paired with
    Deboned Sticky Pork Rib, Mustard Chevre, Coriander Smoked Aubergine Puree, Lentil Salsa
  • Nederburg Private Bin D 252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011 paired with
    Sous vide Chicken, Ratatouille, Squash Puree, Walnut Broccoli, Basil

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