DINNER AT DELAIRE GRAFF ESTATE’S INDOCHINE RESTAURANT IN STELLENBOSCH SOUTH AFRICA
Our first wine experience in South Africa’s famous Stellenbosch wine region is a dinner with wine pairings at Indochine, the fine dining restaurant at the magnificent Delaire Graff Estate.
Our reservation is at 8pm, but we arrive early to have some time to visit this ultra-luxurious Relais & Chateaux property.
Owned by Laurence Graff OBE who made his fortune in the diamond trade, the Delaire Graff Estate is another type of jewel … a knock-out of a world-class property with Mr. Graff’s signature of elegance and rare beauty everywhere, and perhaps no more so than in the fabulous art collection throughout the property and the architectural setting which features strikingly beautiful views over the vineyards of Stellenbosch and the surrounding mountains from a multitude of vantage points.
Watching the sunset from the apex of the Delaire domaine is a truly magical experience, enhanced by the anticipation of an outstanding gastronomic evening.
This past year Delaire Graff has placed first in South Africa’s premier wine competition, winning the title of Most Successful Producer Overall in the 2016 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show that recognizes the best local wines and wineries and honors excellence in the industry.
Plus, Delaire Graff Estate also won two top awards this year for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Could the evening be any more spectacular than we anticipated? Yes, when Indochine’s Head Chef, Virgil Kahn, comes over to introduce himself and offers to prepare some of his signature dishes for us in a special food and wine pairing built upon our individual preferences and showcasing Delaire Graff’s award-winning wines. The sun continues to set, the views are extraordinary from the floor-to-ceiling windows of this stunning restaurant, and the very attentive sommelier pours two glasses of pale lemon, award-winning Sunrise Brut, Method Cap Classique. Zesty and fresh. More magic!
The waiter arrives with a most delectable trio of amuse-bouches … Fish croquette with Yuzu emulsion, sweet Indonesian Dal with Falafel, and Thai Beef Mahor with pickled Plum.
It becomes crystal clear that Chef Kahn works wonders with Asian-inspired food, enhancing with his highly skilled French technique and his personal South African twist.
The lightness and freshness of the food and the little bursts of flavor in our mouth are very appealing as we enjoy an assortment of appetizers showcasing the fresh Asian herbs, micro greens and vegetables of the Estate’s own greenhouse. Prawn Vegetable Salad with kakiage, avocado purée, pickled ginger, pickled daikon, lemon soy dressing is simply spectacular and pairs fabulously with the Estate’s crisp and dry Cabernet Franc Rosé with its under notes of red fruit. The Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc, thanks to its tropical fruit flavors and crisp acidity, pairs beautifully with the Pickled Beef tongue with mustard greens and the Fermented Cabbage and Kimchi salad.
Next is an entremets of Pear and Passion Fruit Sorbet, perfectly accompanied by Delaire Estate’s elegant, award-winning Chardonnay Banghoek Réserve 2015 with its hint of vanilla and honeycomb.
The alternative pairing of a Shiraz with lots of personality, thanks to its hint of spicy white pepper and aroma of dark red fruit, is the perfect wine to sip while we savor and reflect upon the creative new combinations of flavors and textures we are experiencing.
For the main course, our sommelier arrives with Delaire Graff’s unique 2014 Botmaskop, an awesome blend of red grapes with notes of dark berry fruit, spice and cassis, along with the Estate 2014 Merlot, classical and smooth.
Although I prefer the extraordinary depth of flavor of the Botmaskop, both wines pair beautifully with my Balinese Duck … pan seared breast accompanied by carrot and cumin purée, charred carrot and onion, confit duck leg, duck sausage, all cooked to perfection … and Denis’ Beef Bobotie, a South African specialty prepared by Chef Kahn for maximum flavor with sirloin mince, apricots, raisins, almonds, yellow rice and fruit chutney.
The stunning meal is complete with a trio of desserts, our favorites being the Lime and Yuzu Tart and the Beetroot and Chocolate. A bold multiple-award winning Cabernet Sauvignon with a smooth velvety texture and rich aromas of cassis and spice accompanies them. We are mellow and we linger to enjoy our wine. We have been served like royalty for more than three hours … but the memories of Delaire Graff’s Indochine and superb wines will last forever.
P.S. To be able to enjoy our tour of the Stellenbosch wine farms (that’s what they call vineyards in South Africa), and to taste the wonderful wines of Delaire Graff Estate without any worries, we used the services of a chauffeur and car (both supplied by First Car Rental of Stellenbosch), something that we highly recommend to all visitors.
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