While we were overseas I received an email inviting me to the launch of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria range of wines. I requested that Dave be allowed to join me and I was so glad he could as I got to really taste the amazing wines from this new range.
Leopard’s Leap was conceptualized in 1999 to supply wines to the UK market. However, the supply to the UK market has shifted and now this region only covers 5% of their total distribution. The focus of the Culinaria range is food and wine and the wines have been developed specifically as food pairing wines. The labels are inspired by the French wine regions and the wines are influenced by the terroir. These wines, made in a South African style, showcase the elegance one would expect from a French wine. The grapes are outsourced from various regions around the Western Cape. When pairing food to wine it is important to consider the weight of the wine and the weight of the food and ensure that they match. It is also a good point to use similar flavour profiles in the food that exists in the wine. We started our tasting with the Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Méthode Cap Classique (R95 per bottle) which was served with a tuna sashimi and horseradish salad with bubbly vinaigrette. The grapes come from the Franschhoek region and the bubbly is made in the same style as Champagne. The MCC is a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It is soft and dry and high in acidity and is best served very well chilled.
We then moved on to the 2012 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc (R65 per bottle) which was served with West Coast mussels with café de Paris butter. Neil Jewell, the chef owner of Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant was given this recipe by his head chef in London when he worked there. I was so taken by this dish that I managed to get a second helping and the wine was so good I had more than 1 glass. Influenced by the Loire region, the grapes come from Voor Pardeberg. The wine is light on the nose and slightly acidic, with a hint of sweet. It is floral and that is complimented by the fresh herbs in the dish which help break the flavour chain.
Our next course was a pan roasted duck breast served with red wine duck jus served with the 2010 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Grand Vin (R89 per bottle). This Bordeaux style wine is a deep berry colour. The grapes are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot and come from the Devon Valley. It is a smooth, well balanced food wine and not heavy at all.
The Rhone style wine followed and is the 2010 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Shiraz Grenache (R89 per bottle). It was served with a lamb tagine. The grapes are sourced from Bot Rivier and the wine is made up of a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Cinsaut, the latter coming from the Perdeberg. The wine is light on the nose and exhibits a medium palate. This is due to the fact that these grapes ripen at a lower alcohol level.
The 2012 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Pinot Noir Chardonnay (R69 per bottle) was paired with a lemon marmalade polenta cake. This Burgundy style wine is made from grapes from Elgin and is a very light, coral coloured wine. As with the Bot Rivier grapes which are right next door, these grapes ripen at low alcohol levels. The wine can be served at different temperatures and needs acidic food.
Our last official tasting was the 2013 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan (R69 per bottle). The grapes are sourced from Bonnievale and the wine exhibits Turkish delight in the nose as well as rose water. This is an extremely versatile wine and it was paired with an apple, cranberry and almond pudding.
Speaking to Eugene van Zyl, the winemaker, I was pleased to learn that the wines can be enjoyed straight away or they can be left to lie down for a bit. I think the red wines will benefit from some resting and they have been put aside for us to drink in the future.
Now, on to the Café de Paris butter. Neil told us he adds egg yolks to the butter but I could not find that ingredient in the recipe. Also I was a bit worried about dry frying the onions but it worked! Neil recommends adding 4 egg yolks to 500g butter when making a flavoured butter – I only read this point after I had made the butter. I am going to have to try this again – any excuse really for me to enjoy this for a 4th time! I made the butter first and used it at home with whole calamari and some mussels. I then wrapped up the left overs in cling film, rolled it as tight as possible, secured the ends and stuck it into the fridge to use with crayfish. Last night I cooked off some onions with garlic and ginger in white wine and added a generous amount of the butter. I then pan fried two crayfish tails in the butter and served them with fresh basil, coriander and chives on a bed of pak choy. I have some left over and tomorrow night I am going to roast a chicken with the butter rubbed in under the skin.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 20mls garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 15mls grated ginger
- 2,5mls curry powder
- 60mls white wine
- 200g soft butter, cut into cubes
- 1 gherkin, finely chopped
- 5mls capers, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 30mls flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in a saucepan until soft and translucent
- Add the curry powder and dry fry for 1 minute
- De-glaze the pan with the wine and leave to cook until dry
- Set aside to cool
- Place the butter, gherkin, capers, anchovy, parsley and onion mixture in a food processor
- and blend until combined
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Disclosure: Dave and I were invited to attend this event. I was not required to write a blog post about it. This post is in line with my blogging policy.
What I blogged:
- one year ago – Amarula Cured Ostrich Carpaccio
- two years ago – Baked and Delicious
- three years ago – Foodbuzz 24×24