Dear Me teams up with Groot Constantia

Instead of my usual dinner of Woolworths canned soup, On Wednesday last week I was treated to an evening of gastronomical delights and glorious Constantia wine at Dear Me.

Vanessa Marx had teamed up with a close friend (and winemaker of Groot Constantia) Boela Gerber, to present a charmingly intimate evening in The White Room.  Our small group that had been gathered, spent the evening in convivial repartee while Boela entertained with his anecdotes and Vanessa wowed us with her culinary magic.

First up was an aperitif of Groot Constantia MCC 2009 served with oysters done 3 ways:

Poached oyster with truffled hollandaise and lumpfish caviar
Tempura oyster with and Asian dipping sauce
Raw oyster with pickled cucumber, pink shallot dressing and trout roe

The wine was a lively, nicely balanced fruity but dry MCC made from white grapes and it really injected a burst of freshness in my mouth after tasting the oysters.

Once we made our way to the table, our glasses were filled with Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blancs. (Yes – two vintages) – a 2008 and a 2012, were served with:
Kob, fennel and passionfruit. A real tantalizing combination and in my opinion, a beautiful pairing with the 2012.

The 2008 was quite herbaceous which complimented the fennel in the dish, while the 2012 had many more tropical flavours that matched the passionfruit. The portion of kob was tender and light, making it a wonderful contrast to the attractive wines.

The Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2009 was paired with: A cauliflower and chevre ravioli, hazelnut butter and lemon zest. (Please excuse the images – lighting in the White Room at night is not very conducive to photographs). The Chardonnay was lightly oaked and had a beautiful rich texture. The small hints of oak creates worked to compliment the hazelnut butter in the dish, while the acidity played along nicely with the lemon zest.

Two wonderfully spicy Groot Constantia Shiraz’s  (2006 and 2010) were served alongside a generous portion of smoked springbok with walnuts and cherries. The game meat and cherries were a wonderful combination however some people at the table said it was perhaps too sweet for the wine.

Smoked springbok, walnuts and cherries

Two glasses of Groot Constantia’s Gouveneurs Reserve 2005 and 2010 made their way to the table to be married with Vanessa’s braised free-range beef cheeks that came with sweetbreads, bourguignon sauce, barley risotto and bone marrow.

Onto dessert wines and cheese…

Groot Constantia’s Grande Constance 2010 arrived with a Pepe Charlot Buche Affinee and moskonfyt made from the same grapes that went into the wine. Very cool! The wine is a natural sweet wine made from Muscat grapes.

The other cheese was featured with Groot Constantia Muscat Essencia  which is one of the components that makes up the Grand Constance.  Boela hand selects the grapes and presses them resulting in a very sweet “syrup”.  The farm only makes 30 – 40 liters a year. It is too labour intensive to make into a commercial venture  (and the sugar content is probably enough to make you diabetic after just tasting a drop!) but it was fabulous with a dangerously rich Le Petit France Camembert. Vanessa arrived at our table and theatrically poured the wine over the cheese. Indulgent? You bet!

The dinner came to a flourishing finale when our waiter presented a plate of Valrhona Dulcey macarons and Valrhona truffles.

Vanessa, Boela, Ilze and everyone at Dear Me, Thank you for an unforgettable evening!