(22 January 2016, Cape Town) The Vineyard Hotel kicked off their 2016 culinary season in grand style this evening by hosting the much anticipated second annual Tri-Nations wine-pairing dinner with UK-based, Michelin Star chef Roger Jones.
The dinner was held in the hotel’s flagship restaurant the Square. The guests participated in a blind tasting competition that pitted South African wines against some top up-and-coming New Zealand wines. These were paired with a seven course menu, designed specifically for tonight by Jones.
Says the Vineyard general manager, Roy Davies, “It’s been a great pleasure to have Roger Jones back at the Vineyard for the second annual Tri-Nation’s wine-paired dinner and we are pleased to see how our guests have entered into the concept. As wine is such an integral part of the Vineyard Hotel’s history and identity, this was the perfect ‘battle of tastes’ for our guests.”
The evening officially began with a bubbly and squid ink macaroon with caviar and Namibian soft shell crab. This round saw New Zealand take the prize with the Nautilus NV Brut, winning over South Africa’s Stellenrust Clement de Lure NV.
The second course – a 5 citrus cured Norwegian salmon – was paired with Sauvignon Blanc and was won by the South African, Cape Point Reserve 2013.
The third course was Chardonnay, and saw New Zealand’s Neudorf Moutere 2013 win over South Africa’s Glen Carlou Quartz Stone 2014, taking it with 55 points to 30. Says Ndaba Dube, Square restaurant manager, “South African’s aren’t used to a heavily oaked Chardonnay, so put it alongside something as elegant as the Neudorf Moutere, and the slightly oaked wine is more likely to appeal. Both good wines, just different styles.”
The rest of the evening saw South Africa’s Crystallum Curvee Cinema Pinot Noir 2014 take 52 points to New Zealand’s Felton Road Pinot Noir 2014’s 30 points. South Africa’s Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah 2012 also won over New Zealand’s Trinity Hill Syrah 2013.
Last, but not least the Cabernet Sauvignon – pitting South Africa’s Waterford Estate with New Zealand’s Craggy Range 2013. The wines were paired with a classic Welch rarebit cigar with cep dust, a debut dish for Jones. The winner for this final course of the Tri-Nations battle was New Zealand’s Craggy Range 2013 Sophia, meaning the final result was a tie.
Says Matt Deitchman, the hotel’s Food and Beverage Manager, “It was as close as we expected it to be. Going into the last wine, when South Africa was three/two up, we hoped we would pip it at four/two, but clearly the New Zealand wines are extremely good quality. Rather a draw than a loss”.
This seven course meal was developed by Chef Roger Jones, in conjunction with Carl van Rooyen, the Executive Chef of the Vineyard Hotel, and his team.
Combining the rich food and wine history of the property with Jones’ Michelin training and 40 years in the hospitality business, this dinner was a delight for food and wine aficionados alike.
Says Jones, “Last year’s dinner at the Vineyard Hotel was a huge success, thanks to their dedicated team who value both fine cuisine and exceptional wine. This menu was carefully planned and like last year, showcased the marriage between British and South African tastes.”
Following on from the huge success of this Tri Nations dinner, plans are underway to make it an annual event at the hotel – alternating wines of South Africa with New Zealand and Australia on an annual basis.