Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Hangover 3 - The Taste of Joburg turns 'The Wine Oak' into The Wine Whisky Beer Aguardente Gin Jägermeister Oak!

Gray Lounge
You know it’s going to be a good evening when you hit Montecasino. Not only does it have a cool atmosphere which ensures a good night out, but it also doubles up as a great venue for a very well attended event such as The Taste of Joburg. As my buddy and I walk through the Casino towards the Outdoor Event Arena where the event is being held, we jokingly say that tonight is probably going to be The Hangover 3. The night didn’t include either of us getting a tattoo or a finger chopped off and there weren’t any tigers or monkeys, but an awesome night it was indeed.

We start off at the “Gray” lounge, a new Steakhouse of Chef Philippe Wagenführer, formerly of Roots Restaurant, who does things differently and keeps things unique, delicious and interesting. A purist approach to the food has been adopted by Philippe and the majority of ingredients on his menu are hand crafted.
The restaurant manager, West Ngcwabe, presents us with the wines they have on offer on the night, the first being a 2010 Cederberg Sauvignon Blanc and the other a 2008 Cederberg Red blend. Both are really good and West tells us that they will have other wines on their menu, which is made in collaboration with estates in selected regions and deemed to compliment the food on offer. We agree that I must definitely pay Gray Restaurant in Boksburg a visit, in order to try these complimentary wines, sounds good!
The beer, Dog & Fig, is excellent and very different. The intention of the beer is to compliment the food and it comes from a micro brewery in Parys. And I thought beer was just meant for a braai, you will also think differently after you try this stuff.   

Things get interesting and Portuguese-style at the “Wines of the World” stand, where the friendly Marina introduces us to a 2009 Grāo Vasco, a red blend from the Alentejano Region, which is very pleasant and suitable for everyday easy drinking.
Next up, a shot of Aguardente, which means fiery water in English, which the name describes to a tee. Now this drink I know all about, thanks to my Dad who takes great delight in serving it to unsuspecting visitors who do not know that Aguardente is normally added to an espresso and not downed as a shooter. Aguardente is the name of the Portuguese grape brandy. It is distilled from the Vinho Verde grapes and aged in old Port wine casks giving the end product an interesting flavour and smoothness.


Things seem to be happening at the Gordons Gin stand, which pulls us closer like a moth to a flame. I don’t ever drink Gin, but mixed with cranberry juice, it’s quite lekker.  

We try out a few Reds at the Nederburg stand and the 2009 The Winemaster’s Reserve Pinotage definitely stands out especially at the decent price of around R70 a bottle. It has slight Pinot Noir characteristics pulling through.    



One of the Gems of the night, has to be Wedderwill, firstly because I have never heard of the Wine Farm and secondly because their entire range of wines is fantastic. My favourite is definitely the 2004 Wedderwill, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc which is damn awesome. Wedderwill’s marketing strategy is eye catching and interesting, with cool labels and their Shiraz in a square shaped bottle which tastes good too (the wine not the bottle). The 2006 Sauvignon Blanc is drinking beautifully, which is proof that some Sauvignon Blancs can be brilliant with some ageing, particularly those from cooler areas. 

We do a whisky tour at the Johnnie Walker stand and we try out the Black, Green and Red Labels (unfortunately there was no Blue). I have a new appreciation for whisky and the different labels all have very different characteristics just as wine would, but the kick is a lot stronger! By the end of the tour, which is very quick, I take the last sip of Red Label, put down the tumbler and as I leave the stand, the music playing sounds sweeter, people look prettier and I realise I'm actually a little pissed. 3 whisky’s in a row definitely has an effect!
   
We decide to counter the effects of the whisky and head back to the Gray Lounge where I have the steak which is absolutely mouth wateringly (yip it’s a word – well the spell checker didn’t say otherwise) good and I can’t wait till Gray Restaurant and I meet again.

We end off at the Hermanuspietersfontein stand and end our tasting off in style. I have 2 words for you: Die Martha! I don’t care that the show is ending in 20 minutes because my taste buds are at peace and happy. It’s a Rhône-style ‘SMV’ (Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Viognier) blend. I also try the Swartskaap, a straight Cabernet Franc. Cab Franc is usually a blending component in some Bordeaux-style blends and that’s why this is different and enjoyable. “Would you like some more of the 2007 Die Martha” I hear over my shoulder. My answer: “Hell yeah!”

As we head back to the car, we walk through the Casino, having had a cool evening. But wait it gets better... We touch, pause and engage the 1 arm bandit and win 200 bucks! Time to get home to wake up in time, to watch the Bokke play against Fiji at 8am! 
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