Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Esona - the very (good) one

The husband and wife owned wine estate of Esona is serenely perched on the banks of the Breede River, between Robertson and Bonnievale.  All of the grapes on the farm are hand-picked and end up in their 'Frankly my dear' Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir, and their 3 single vineyard wines, the Chardonnay, the Sauvignon Blanc and the Shiraz. 

A little while ago I was lucky enough to attend the Friday night event at Esona during the Slow Festival. Seventeen guests started with an atmospheric vertical tasting in their old, underground, candlelit kuip (20,000 litre cement tank) that not only gave us an appreciation of their vintage variation but also the importance of having wine in glasses that are designed to show them off.  We then moved upstairs and enjoyed a 3 course, home-cooked meal with their superb wines.  Owners Rowan and Caryl were our hosts for the evening and when I say they got pretty hands-on that's exactly what I mean.  Caryl prepared all the food and Rowan was MC, waiter and reserve dish-washer.  The whole team that took care of us on the evening did a great job but Heinrich, who has a special talent when it comes to looking after guests, deserves special mention.  A truly unique experience at one of South Africa's great boutique estates.
Rowan and Caryl

The springbok loin (the main) was so good that I got hold of Caryl and asked her for the recipe.  Here it is:

Caryl's springbok loin   

  1. a good sized springbok loin, cut into steaks
  2. a pack of streaky bacon
  3. oil
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. a squeeze of lemon juice
  6. 1/2 to 1 cup of red wine (preferably Esona)
  7. 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. some herbs, whatever you like
  9. a good sprinkling of black pepper
  10. 250ml cream
  11. 1 Tbsp chicken stock
  12. a few cloves of garlic, crushed
  • quickly sear each steak in hot oil and set aside to cool
  • retain pan juices
  • when the meat has cooled a little, wrap each piece in 2 strips of bacon
  • place on a foil-lined baking dish, shiny side up
  • just before you are ready to eat put the tray of meat in a 180 C oven, and cook for 5 minutes each side, no longer if you're wanting it rare (as it should be)
  • use the pan that you could the meat in (with juices left)
  • brown the onion, add lemon juice, the red wine, the Worcestershire sauce and the herbs
  • add a good sprinkle of black pepper, a little garlic, some chicken stock and allow to reduce and thicken
  • you can add a little corn flour to help with the thickening
  • before serving add the cream and heat through, don't let it boil at this stage
  • enjoy with mash, rice or cous-cous and some vegetables    

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