The monthly Unwined & Dine dinner experience at The President Hotel showcases the best of the Cape’s wine estates, paired with expertly prepared dishes created by the skillful hands of executive chef, Jacques Swart.
This month, Cederberg Wines had been invited for the second time to delight guests with fresh, crisp and full-bodied bouquets. I was eagerly looking forward to experiencing this for myself.
Cederberg Wine Estate is known for their high-laying, continental climate that has produced wines that have scooped up accolades such as double gold at the Michaelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.
If you’ve never been to the President Hotel, I would suggest you go just to sit by the pool and sip a cocktail. The hotel is absolutely beautiful, with breathtaking views of Bantry Bay, and every corner is set to welcome you in style.
I was warmly greeted by the hotel staff and offered a glass of Cederberg Blanc de Blanc Methode Cap Classique 2014 champagne. It has been rated the best Blanc de Blanc from the new world at the UK World Champagne Awards, winemaker David Nieuwoudt proudly told us in his opening speech. They produce only 4000 bottles every year – by hand.
The affair was an intimate one and hosting only 16 guests. After an informal run-through of the menu and various wine pairings for the evening, we were encouraged to sit back, relax and have fun. It didn’t seem like it would be a very hard thing to do.
After a bread course of soft, yet crunchy pretzel and salted butter lollipops dressed with mushroom dust, we were served our first course of passion fruit duck prosciutto, with fennel praline and a hearty parsnip puree. This was paired with Cederberg Sauvignon Blanc 2018, delightfully fruity and crisp. The fennel was an interesting twist to an otherwise light and easy to eat dish and the passion fruit wonderfully offset the richness of the duck.
Next we were served a palate cleanser of grapefruit and pink peppercorn sherbet, with full cream plain yoghurt. The slight bite of the sherbet was toned down beautifully by the creamy yogurt, which had been prepared to have an almost jelly-like consistency. This was paired with a voluptuous Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2017. David intermittently talked us through the pairings with the ease of an old friend and the atmosphere was one that you would expect at a family gathering, where the conversation flowed as freely as the wine.
Our main course was a tender cherry stuffed quail with roasted aubergine, onion, finely chopped beans and an au jus, which rounded off the meal in a hearty manner without being at all heavy. Keeping with the reds, we were served Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, with layered tones of blackcurrant and a hint of smokiness and tobacco leaf – a complex wine with a lovely velvety finish.
Before dessert, things took a different turn with a cheese course of Tete de Moine with kumquat preserve, guava leather and a goat’s cheese emulsion. This was delightful. The cheese was creamy but broke delicately beneath my fork with an almost crumbly consistency and was beautifully embraced by the sweetness of the guava. This was paired with Cederberg Bukettraube 2019, a surprisingly sweet white wine with apricot and floral notes on the nose. It pairs superbly with spicy dishes, like curries, and baked fruits.
The course I was most looking forward to was dessert and it didn’t disappoint – aromatic panna cotta, spiced with star anise and cloves and accompanied by subtle saffron ice cream and Forelle pear sponge. The easy drinking Five Generations Chenin Blanc 2017 was a lovely wind down from the Bukettraube and the dessert boasted hints of sweetness without being overwhelming, exactly as a dessert should be.
Book your seats to the last Unwined & Dine Evening at The President Hotel
The President Hotel’s unforgettable Unwined & Dine dinners are drawing to a close in November, so be sure not to miss out on a chance to experience an evening of star-quality food, the best wines in the Cape and warm, delightful company.
Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards will be joining as the wine partner for the evening. The leading estate home to Franschhoek Valley produces some of the best vintages in South Africa and enjoys a reputation for easy-drinking Cape wines that are perfect for all occasions.
A seat to the last wine & dine evening of the year at The President Hotel will cost you R450 per person all inclusive. Book via Dineplan or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions to The President Hotel
4 Alexander road
021 434 8111