“I find Indians remarkably friendly. At all levels people have been so warm and welcoming. You can feel the genuine welcome. Of course I also love that Indians play cricket!” said Charles Withington, Export Director & Wine Consultant for Niel Joubert, South Africa, and a veteran of the South African wine industry, at a wine dinner hosted at Hyatt Regency Pune on 4th October 2012, where SI correspondent Brinda Gill was invited.
Pictured left: Charles Withington, Export Director and Wine Consultant for Niel Joubert, South Africa
On his first visit to India, Charles was in Pune to introduce diners to a selection of Niel Joubert wines over a super, four-course meal at La Terrazza, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. Niel Joubert is a family winery located on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain overlooking Paarl, a town 60 kms northeast of Cape Town, known for its viticulture. The terroir, along with the design of the winery, that maintains as natural a flow of the wines as possible during the production process, with minimum intervention, results in young, fresh, easy drinking wines that are value for money.
“Niel Joubert has been growing grapes and producing wines for more than a hundred years. The winery was able to establish its own family label in 1994 with the lifting of economic sanctions and the opening of the world’s markets to South African wines. We produce 50,000 cases annually, yet are small enough to deal individually with people and take care of the needs of our customers”.
The evening started with appetizers and Niel Joubert, Sauvignon Blanc 2011 served at Single Malt and Co., the hotel’s bar and lounge. The guests then moved to La Terrazza, where Executive Chef Manav Koul, an expert in French cuisine with experience in working with Michelin star chefs in London, and his team presented a wonderful multi-course dinner paired with a wine.
The first course of Vegetable Terrine and Scottish Salmon Terrine served with slow roast zucchini, sun dried tomato, horseradish and cilantro dressing was paired with Niel Joubert, Chardonnay, 2011. The second course of Carnaroli risotto with red wine, radicchio and goat cheese foam was paired with Niel Joubert, Pinotage, 2009; which was followed by Stuffed Mushroom, zucchini, grilled polenta and roasted capsicum, beetroot dressing for vegetarians and Confit leg of lamb, plum, cashew nut, grilled polenta and grilled rack, fondant cabbage, thyme jus for non-vegetarians paired with Niel Joubert Christine-Marie Shiraz 2007.
The enjoyable dining experience was wrapped up with a delicious Apple tarte tatin with salty caramel ice- cream served with a lovely dessert wine, Niel Joubert Christine-Marie, First Kiss, 2007. And fittingly the wine’s label read: This fortified Chenin Blanc exudes raisin and floral characters. The two years in small barrels adds a gentle but clear overture of oak. What a way to end a meal or start a love affair, or both!!
Niel Joubert wines are imported and distributed by Berkmann Wine Cellars India Private Limited. Tel: 022 26176412 / 26179078 Fax: 022 26176412
•Niel Joubert, Sauvignon Blanc, 2011: Almost colourless. Delicate aromas of fresh grass cuttings, hints of lime and nettle. Lively, fruit filled flavours lifted by crisp acidity. Some developing fruit with zesty attraction. Dry, crisp, finish.
•Niel Joubert Chardonnay 2011: Pale with bright yellow reflections. Nose leads with ripe, tropical fruit where citrus, melon and pineapple mingle. Hints of vanilla and some floral notes. Lively mouth where the tropical ripe fruit flavours give an impression of sweetness but great acidity gives fine balance. Some stone fruit flavours appear with time in the glass and add complexity. Lively, fruit-filled finish
•Niel Joubert Pinotage 2009: Medium to light, grainy edge, blue-purple colour. Ripe plum on the nose with light spicy backing. Hints of cherry and light earthiness. Good full mouth with more flavour than the nose suggested. Ripe plum with slight smoky trace. Light, supple tannins with smooth flow across the palate. Dry finish with ripe berry notes and lasting spice.
•Niel Joubert, Christine-Marie, Shiraz, 2007: Opaque to the rim with blue/black reflection. Nose loaded with dark berries, lots of vanilla with hints of anise, violets and some lavender. Big, rich, full mouth loaded with everything the nose suggested and slow, well rounded flow across the palate. Velvet, with mellow tannins.