Hubby and I had a fabulous evening at the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel’s 40th birthday celebration at the wine estate in Stellenbosch.
They had four weekends of birthday celebrations in October from which we could choose one to suit us – we chose the last weekend – 29th Oct. Click onto the link above, then onto 29th Oct .. that’s the evening that ‘we were there’ !!!! The prize included our flights to and from Cape Town, a night stay at the nearby Devonvale Golf Estate and the birthday celebration evening at Simonsig, which was fantastic!! (Will do a separate post on Devonvale – I took a stroll through the Estate, while hubby was napping, taking photos of the housing and golf course!)
On our arrival, there was plenty of bubbly flowing served with platters of oysters and crumbed prawns. Now .. I’ve never had the courage to have an oyster! The thought of one bite and slippy-sliddy down the throat had never appealed to me !!! I had to try one now! Not too bad but won’t have another .. ever! After the slippy-sliddy bit, the after-taste is like having swallowed a mouthful of sea water! I’ll stick to prawns!!
Kaapse Vonkel, for all non South Africans and people like me who have lived here for 35 years and who shockingly enough don’t speak or understand Afrikaans (!!!) means Cape Sparkle (which I only found out on Saturday!) In his bi-lingual speech, one of the three Malan brothers, the middle one, he said!, gave us a short history of the wine estate, wines and especially the sparkling wine (which in our eyes is champagne but is not allowed to be called champagne because champagne only comes from France!)
Soooo .. I got the jist of the speech by listening to the English bits! Simonsig is one of four original wine estates in the area and the Malan brothers’ father, Frans, was the “first producer of Methode Champenoise in South Africa when he pioneered Cap Classique in 1971.” It was very interesting listening to their boyhood tales growing up on this award winning farm, helping where they could, and now running this successful estate.
He then said we would all be taken into the cellars to disgorge our own bottle of bubbly!!! A new word for me!! For those who don’t know, disgorge means to release the sediment from the top of the bottle. The fermentation process takes place in the bottle hence the need to remove the sediment before it’s corked.
We were made our way into the wine cellars, passing displays of some of the old bottles of Kaapse Vonkel and into another cellar, our glasses topped up with more bubbly and platters of canapes and asparagus wrapped in parma ham were served. A tall slender girl in a red dress played an electric cello in the dim light with flickering candles in candelabras. Wow .. what an atmosphere!!
Then in small groups, it was time to disgorge our bottles!! Reminder for next time I traipse in a dimly lit wine cellar .. don’t wear heels!!! We all had aprons to put on and a card with our names.
Waited our turn at the trough, I suppose it has a proper name but it looks like a trough! Holding the bottle in your left hand and placed for support on your knee, you open the top of the bottle with a bottle opener .. not away from you like opening a beer bottle … you do it the other way round .. towards you. One …( or two … or three tries like me!) .. it bursts open and the sediment and bubbles spray out! You then have to put your thumb over the top otherwise you lose a lot of bubbly!!! I lost a little as I forgot to put my thumb over, but the chappie who was helping was quick and hastily stopped the flow … then my thumb went on the top!!
Bottle is wiped, put into a machine/conveyor belt thingie where it’s corked and our label with name on it is placed round the neck of the bottle, so they know whose is whose!
Scrumptious dinner followed served with Simonsig wines and bubbly in the Cuvee Restaurant, serenaded by a chappie playing a saxophone, while our bottles were labled and personalised ready for us to take home …
Dessert – jelly made with Simonsig’s pink bubbly loaded with fruit and served with sorbert made from the Kaapse Vonkel – yummm !!
What a special and memorable evening!! Our sincere thanks go to Simonsig for a fantastic competition and our special thanks go to Lindie for organising our flights and accommodation and making our weekend perfect! Lindie is such a lovely girl with sparkling personality and is getting married shortly – we wish her all the very best for her future happiness !!
We came home with 3 bottles of 2009 Kaapse Vonkel Brut – 1 complimentary bottle and the 2 which hubby and I disgorged ourselves !! With our 40th Wedding Anniversary coming up .. guess what we’ll be celebrating with ? !!!