It’s no secret I love the South African Winelands. It’s an amazing place to visit, from the stunning, breathtakingly beautiful landscape to the amazing historic and modern wine farms and of course outstanding wines and delicious food. While an international trip to the Cape Winelands is sadly not on the horizon, I am consoling myself tasting through some of the fantastic wines comping from the southern tip of Africa. It’s not quite the same you know, but still way better than not doing it.
A frequent visitor to the amazing South African Cape Winelands for way over a decade, I still have a long list of local wineries I want to visit to explore first-hand their vineyards, cellars and of course the many different wine tasting options.
With more than 800 wine farms – and still more being added as the winegrowing region across the Cape continues to expand and new areas are added – you can imagine there is still a lot to explore for this wine-loving person.
Since I had to cancel my trip to the Cape Winelands last year, and none is on the cards this year either, I am trying to take a tiny bit of consolation by popping open a nice bottle of South Africa wine every now and then. Preferably one I am not yet familiar with.
Fleur du Cap is one of the wine farms that’s been on my list for quite a while, and I’ve been trilled to see some of their wines are available here in Germany too. Needless to say, I could not resist buying a bottle of Chardonnay from their unfiltered range.
South Africa’s major white wine variety is actually Chenin Blanc but thankfully for all Chardonnay lovers out there, production of Chardonnay is on the rise. It’s a relatively young variety for South Africa, with the first Chardonnay grapes planed only in the mid-1980s. Nevertheless, many local wine farms now have at least one Chardonnay in their wine range, and South African Chardonnays are starting to get recognized across the world.
Typically, they will lean on the full-bodied side and produce aromas and flavours rich in tropical fruit (notably peach and citrus) and spices.
Since this is just the right type of wine to be paired to a delicious smoked salmon and spinach tart, opening a bottle of oaked South African Chardonnay was definitely on the cards last weekend. And it’s been pure indulgence.
About Fleur du Cap
The story of Fleur du Cap starts in 1968, after the opening of the famous mountain wine cellar of Die Bergkelder in the Papegaaiberg area in Stellenbosch. Bergkelder translates into ‘cellar in the mountain’ and this amazing – and locally quite famous – underground maturation cellar has become the home of Fleur du Cap wines.
Die Bergkelder is one of the wine estates of the Cape Winelands historically taking the lead in growing international grape varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They were also among the first South African wine estates maturing wines in new French oak.
Fleur du Cap is inspired by the Cape Floral Kingdom, the wildflower region at the southern tip of the African continent acclaimed for its stunning scenery and rich biodiversity. The wines draw inspiration from nature and rather than coming from a single vineyard or specific winegrowing area, Fleur du Cap sources the grapes for their wines from the best vineyard locations across the whole Cape Winelands.
Using only hand-selected grapes, no blending is needed to support the quality of the wines. In addition, grapes are not pressed by filtration. Instead, gravitation is used which results in rich, complex wines that burst with fruit and flavour.
The Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay convinces with a bold character. Aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango and notes of peach and apricot. Also hints of vanilla, honey, and nut. Nicely balanced acidity, fruit and oak.
Recipe: Smoked Salmon-Spinach Tart
150 g all-purpose flour
80 g cold butter
50 ml milk
200 ml crème fraiche
1 large tablespoon butter
300 g spinach
200 g smoked salmon
Add flour, a pinch of salt and butter to a food processor. Knead together until obtaining a fine crumb. Slowly add about 100 ml of water (not all at once, you might not need all of it) and mix until obtaining a smooth dough.
Shape the dough into a ball then slightly flatten it, wrap with a cling film and refrigerate for 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 225°C.
Butter and lightly flour a 12×35 cm rectangle tart tin. Roll out the pastry to fit the tin. Pinch the pastry several times with a fork. Line the tin with baking paper, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and baking paper and put back into the oven. Lower the temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 5 minutes until the pastry is a light golden brown.
In the meantime, wash the spinach, remove the stalks, and roughly chop.
Whisk eggs, milk, and crème fresh together. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, heat one large tablespoon of butter. Add the spinach and stir to wilt, for about 2-3 minutes. Once the spinach is soft, take from the heat and drain well, squeezing as much liquid from the spinach as possible. Add spinach to the egg mixture.
Pour into the baked pastry. Roughly chop the smoked salmon, keeping some aside for topping, and add distribute over the egg-spinach mixture, pushing it slightly down so it is partly covered.
Bake for another 25 minutes until the mixture is well set and lightly golden.
Top up with the remaining roughly chopped smoked salmon.
Serve while still warm.
The Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay is a wine I will definitely enjoy again. A serious Chardonnay that is perfect to be enjoyed even on its own but works well with a wider range of dishes including poultry, pasta, and rich fish like the smoked salmon in the salmon-spinach tart. Also, a very good value for money.