Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Belfield wines - ding-dong

The little, family-operated wine estate of Belfield is located in the Elgin Valley, a beautiful area of the Western Cape, renowned for fruit farming and more recently great wine.  I first came across Belfield at the Hermanus Food and Wine Festival in 2012.  I had been getting up close and personal with the regions Sauvignon Blanc's and white blends and was dangerously close to becoming white wined out when I came across Mike Kreft, owner of Belfield.  We chatted for a while and I tasted his wines, expecting to be moderately impressed.  I was wrong.  Belfield has 4 red varietals planted on the estate – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz and from these they have created a Cab, a Shiraz and a blend, all of which are, in my opinion, fantastic.  A few nights ago I got my regular kitchen-itch and cooked up a rich green-bean, asparagus and pea risotto.  I needed something to help it down and decided the Belfield 2009 Syrah would be a good bet.  It was so good that I very nearly forgot all about my risotto. 

I got hold of Mike and asked him what exactly allows him to produce such wonderful red wine. 

"Regarding the terroir, I would say that the soil is a deep iron-stone gravel and is well drained.  The vineyards are on a gentle slope towards the north-east, which makes it a warm aspect.  The Merlot was sited on this same iron-stone, with a layer of clay at about a meter and a half, as Merlot likes to have it's roots in clay.  The Shiraz is in the rockiest area, which helps to reduce the vigour of this variety.  Of course there is the human element of terroir.  This covers the above ground care that we give the canopy in the growing season.  Here we focus on achieving a narrow, sun-friendly canopy.  The bunch-zone is cleaned of leaves at the end of December to enhance skin colour and fruitiness in the grapes.  This also has the effect of providing the vines with strong buds, which gives us a more even ripeness of the grapes at harvest.  Another huge plus when making premium wines."

Well let me tell you Mike and co. you are certainly doing something right.  The Shiraz is a wine that has finesse, a great balance of fruit and acidity that makes it a perfect partner to big flavoursome meals.  Instead of giving you my risotto recipe I chose rather to ask the powers that be at the farm and Mike's wife, Mel, was kind enough to give me one of the family favourites.

Smoked Paprika Beef Steaks
  1. 12 mini beef steaks
  2. 4 Tbsp flour for dusting the steaks
  3. 30 ml olive oil
  4. 10 twists of black pepper
  5. ¼ tsp fresh rosemary
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 5ml salt
  8. 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 250ml boiling water
  9. 125ml red or white wine
  10. 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  11. 125ml sour cream
  12. 2 Tbsp capers
  13. Chopped parsley to garnish
  • dust the steaks with flour
  • heat oil in large pan and fry the steaks lightly
  • remove and pop in a casserole
  • peel and dice the onions and cook in the same pan until golden
  • add the pepper, rosemary, bay leaves and salt
  • add to the steak casserole, cover with the stock and wine and cook covered in a moderate oven for 1 ½ hours until meat is tender
  • remove the lid and add the paprika, cream, capers and parsley
  • serve with mashed potatoes or brown rice

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