Newsletter - November 2005

“Where can one find Stellenbosch Hills wines?”. This question recently got an answer – and a good one.

“Where can one find Stellenbosch Hills wines?”. This question recently got an answer – and a good one.

And this may be a good time for some historic background.

Until the cellar’s name and image change, Stellenbosch Hills wines were mainly sold from cellar premises. The cellar door remains a good point of sale since we obviously want the public to pop in, taste our “house” wine and chat a while.

Now that more wines are available under the Stellenbosch Hills label, it’s important that the wines are available at restaurants, supermarkets and liquor stores. The growing number of brand names in the local wine market requires a good wine distributor. After a long search, Stellenbosch Hills recently appointed Distinctive Choice to distribute our wines locally, as well as in southern African countries.

This is an exciting chapter in the cellar’s history. The label will now for the first time really be in the public domain.

We believe that the same commitment to quality and affordability that brought Stellenbosch Hills where it is today, will make our wines competitive in the new markets – with the assistance of Distinctive Choice obviously!

Any questions in this regard can be directed to me at the cellars, (021) 881-3828.

Exciting news from the cellar is that the second harvest year of our popular 1707 Bordeaux-blend will soon be ready for the market. The 2002 harvest year of this wine is once again a 50-50-combination of merlot and cabernet, and has a somewhat fuller structure than the 2001-harvest year that’s done well by grabbing more than 4½ stars in this year’s John Platter wine guide. There are no shortcuts with the 1707. I personally select the grapes. And they age only in new French oak.

The wine’s other friendly quality – the price – should once again be around R70 from the cellar.

I’m sitting with a few barrels of petit verdot, a cultivar that’s new to us. The spicy flavour of this new grape will get a chance to develop even further before I decide what to do with it next – maybe in the next 1707? The wine will tell when it’s ready.

Another wine that’s doing well is the Stellenbosch Hills Chardonnay 2004. It seems to me as if the decision to retain the fruit by restricting wood maturing, was a good one – the wine was chosen for SAA business class. The only problem is; we can’t keep up with SAA’s demand for the wine!

There are two new developments at the cellars. Those who drove past recently would have seen the bright flags. They signify the cellar's international trade partners, and make our numerous international guests feel right at home.

And then there’s the biltong ...

Since many of our members are keen hunters, and also keep a few heads of cattle, Stellenbosch Hills decided to offer something no other cellar has – a taste session matching certain wines with a specific biltong. And believe me, it was quite a difficult task pairing the right wine with the right biltong, since the wine/ biltong combination is darn delicious!

We have a variety beef and game biltong to taste with shiraz, pinotage and chardonnay. The taste sessions include five generous portions biltong and wine. Nobody leaves the experience thirsty or hungry!

The biltong is made at home by Lise Beyers of DrieDoringBiltong in Paarl and she delivers on a weekly basis. The taste sessions take place in November.

Enquiries can be made at the cellar number above.

PAELLA

Paella is basically rice cooked with spices and lots of delicious things. There are hundreds of recipes and methods, but here’s one for six people:

Make a fire, coals, and find one big pan.

Put the pan on the hot coals and add a quarter cup of olive oil. Wait till warm and add one chopped onion and three chopped garlic cloves. Fry until it’s soft and transparent. Add 6 boned chicken breasts in bite size blocks, as well as 4 Chorizo sausages chopped in one-centimetre slices. These are the delicious red Portuguese sausages that can be found in most shops these days. Fry everything, including the chicken, till brown. Take the meat and sausage out and keep aside.

Now add 6 handfuls of ordinary white rice in the hot pan. Stir the rice through the oil for three, four minutes.
You’ve prepared 1½ litre chicken stock beforehand didn’t you? Two blocks in boiling water should do just fine then.
Cover the rice in the pan with the stock. It should start simmering straight away. Stir slowly until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
Add the following: two chopped green or red sweet peppers and three tomatoes (peeled and chopped).

Then follows the most important step – your paella spice that will add colour and flavour to your dish. I use four strings of saffron, one teaspoon paprika and a teaspoon turmeric. Add to the rice with a pinch of salt, stir well and add more chicken stock to cover the mixture. Do not stir much now. Once the rice had again absorbed the liquid, put the fried sausage and chicken back and stir into the rice.

Now simmer for only about ten minutes. Add stock if the rice gets very dry, but the dish must not be too watery and the grains should stay loose.

Once the rice is almost cooked – and for this you use the trusted old taste method - add a few small shrimps or mussels, whatever you feel like. These require only three, four minutes cooking, and then it’s time to eat. Just before you dish up, add a handful fresh parsley and stir.

Serve with Stellenbosch Hills Pinotage or Cabernet Sauvignon.

PG Slabbert
Cellarmaster and Manager

Stellenbosch Hills Wines
+27.218813828