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Lunch at Eikendal

The modern cellar/restaurant/tasting room complex at Eikendal Vineyards, seen from across one of the limpid trout dams that grace the estate, the back slope of the imposing Helderberg Mountain in the near distance

An email arrived in my mail box on Monday, which offered the alluring prospect of lunch with a lovely lady at a wine estate with spectacular views, and a couple of trout dams in situ.

Those who know the area will recognise it as Eikendal Vineayards, just  a short distance from Somerset West on the R44 to Stellenbosch. I  accepted with alacrity, knowing that the food would be cooked by the engaging and talented Mark Radnay, the exec chef at Bayede!, Eikendal’s recently relaunched eatery,  that the wine would be something intriguing from the Eikendal cellar, and that the company would be divine.

The day had started badly, with lengthy telephone calls in pursuit of the next week’s lead delaying my departure for the gym, which in turn made me late for my lunch date: an unpardonable sin when a lovely lady awaits you. To crown it all, I was unsuitably dressed for the unseasonably warm but most welcome weather that day, so I had to rely on pulled back cardigan sleeves in order to be comfortable, as we sat out on the lawn in front of the tasting room and cellar, in the balmy sunshine.

My lunch companion was Corina du Toit, who looks after Eikendal’s marketing, and other than chewing the fat about a number of industry issues, we enjoyed a most delightful lunch, and also had the opportunity to sample the 2010 Eikendal Rosè.

at Corina’s suggestion, I had the lamb curry with onion rice and zucchini. Spicy and complex with succulent lamb chunks, it was mildly hot, with the zucchini adding an interesting flavour dimension. The piquant onion rice perfectly complemented the curry. It is in itself, a good enough reason to visit Eikendal.

The 2010 Rosè worked fabulously with the curry. The colour is deeper red than I am accustomed to in a Rosè, indicating longer time on skins, perhaps.

The nose speaks of sumptuous red berries, with prominent strawberry and cream aromas.

It is a 50/50 blend of Merlot and Shiraz, and it benefits from the best of both varietals. The Merlot lends sumptuous red berry fruit notes, and the Shiraz adds a tiny hint of spiciness to the palate. The fruit is well balanced by sufficient acidity to avoid it appearing sweet. The finish is lingerlingly fruity.

A steal at R33 a bottle at the cellar door. The bottles were still unlabelled when I tasted it, but expect that to change very soon.

The wine is of course afkomstig from Nico Grolber, who took over from Henry Kotzè when he crossed over the Helderberg and settled on the slopes of the Schapenberg at Morgenster. Now, I’ve tasted Nico’s remarkable 2009 Eikendal Chardonnay, so I’m not in the least surprised that he has produced a Rosè of this calibre.

Unfortunately, (almost) midweek lunch dates must eventually come to an end, so it was with regret that I took leave of my gracious lunch companion, and headed for home and the real world.

But I’ll be back for some of that Rosè as soon as its labelled, believe me!

Categories: Food, Travel, Wine
  1. June 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Norman,

    Is the trout at Eikendal on a catch-and-release basis? Would not mind going for a spot of fly fishing and put one on the smoker and eat it with a glass of that Rose.


    • June 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Werner,
      As I recall, you pay a rod fee for the day, and they you pay per kg for what you catch. During the upcoming Stellenbosch Wine Festival, you can fish for free if you’ve bought a ticket to the Festival, and whatever you catch, chef Mark Radnay will prepare for you in Bayede!. You may have to pay per kg for the trout that you catch.

  2. corina du toit
    June 7, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Dear Werner,

    Indeed – we do have a catch and release option, or you can buy the fish by the Kilogram. For the festival we will be doing fish preparation and smoking workshops at 16:00 from the 1st – 5th of July and free fly fishing demos at 12:00 and 14:00 on the Saturday and Sunday. Please contact Phillip at Fly Talk on 021 855 2646 for more info.

    Hope to se you soon!

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