Pinot Noir is juicy, delicious and is great with cheese, but what other secrets does this favourite red wine harbour?
#1 Ceres is the perfect place to grow it
The "Op Die Berg" (on top of the mountain) in the name of De Grendel's Op Die Berg Pinot Noir refers to the continental growing conditions in the unique Witzenberg in Ceres, 950m above sea level, where we source our grapes for this wine from. Sculpted by the cool growing conditions, the slow ripening fruit produces wines of consistently distinctive character and expressive style. This results in a Pinot Noir that has a light, bright red ruby hue and the nose is filled with luscious red cherry, blackberry and pine needle notes that carry through on the palate, balanced with a well-structured freshness.
#2 The French Call It Red Burgundy
We know they're pretty precious about their wine regions, and what they call their grapes, but truly this must have been designed to confuse us all! Indeed Pinot Noir was born in the Burgundy region of France, but unless they're grown in this region they have to be referred to as Pinot Noir. The name means 'pine black' because of the pine shape a bunch makes on the vine and the dark colour of the berries.
#3 It's Cousins with Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a natural crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc (a near extinct variety). Like its famous relative, its used to make Champagne. Grapes used for Champagne must usually be the white Chardonnay, but the dark-skinned Pinot Noir is given a gentle pressing without skin contact during fermentation, which yields a white base wine.
#4 It Made South Africa Famous
True story. This is because it gave birth to a unique South African variety, Pinotage. Pinotage is a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault and began its life in the lab of Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University Abraham Isak Perold, who developed it in 1925, in the hope of developing a grape that was stable and easy to grow.
#5 It's The Ultimate Food-Loving Wine
A Pinot Noir is the ultimate food-loving, and versatile wine, known to be drinkable with most dishes. We love it with pasta, duck and other game birds, casseroles or, of course, stews like beef bourguignon. Also, be sure to try it at the De Grendel Restaurant paired with our pork belly!
Serves 6 as a starter
500g beef fillet, trimmed
1 TSP fresh, chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
Warm Mushroom Salad
1 kg mixed, fresh mushrooms
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP soy sauce
Salt and pepper
3 TBSP of red wine vinegar
2 TBSP full cream sherry
1 TSP tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Truffle oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Generously sprinkle salt, pepper and the thyme onto a chopping board and roll the fillet in the mixture.
2. Heat up a skillet until it is smoking hot and pour a dash of olive oil into the skillet and sear the beef fillet on all sides. This should take no more than about 60 seconds to 90 seconds in total. Remove from the pan and let cool.
3. Chop the mushrooms and place in a bowl and toss in the lemon juice. In a frying pan, melt the butter with a dash of olive oil and when it starts to turn brown add the mushrooms. Sautée the mushrooms and when all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are a golden brown add the soy sauce and cook for a further 2 mins. Keep warm.
4. Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until you are about to serve the dish.
5. Slice the beef fillet as thin as you can using an extremely sharp knife and arrange the slices onto the plate to cover the entire eating surface. Then share out the rocket leaves evenly on all of the plates.
6. Now, take the frying pan with the mushrooms and place on the heat and pour in the vinaigrette. When hot take off the heat and place an equal amount of mushrooms in the centre of each plate and drizzle the warm vinaigrette over them.
Garnish with generous amounts of shaved parmesan and a couple of turns of black pepper and serve immediately with a bottle of De Grendel Pinot Noir 2013.