This year sees a huge 100 years since South African wine brand KWV started creating beautiful wines and I was honoured to be able to celebrate with their Chief Winemaker Wim Truter recently. There isn’t a better venue than Tast and wines were paired with their L’Exquisit 8 course menu. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the evening so much that I took NO photos of the wine bottles. That said, I’m not one to judge a bottle by its cover so I can certainly tell you what they tasted like and how they paired with the food.
We were welcomed with the gorgeous KWV Cruxland Gin which is infused with Kalahari truffles. It’s a fairly earthy gin yet still smooth and slightly sweet with juniper heavy on the nose. It was the perfect start to the spectacle to come.
The first dish was oyster, salmon eggs and codium. I’m usually not a fan of oysters but these looked so inviting that I decided to give them another go. They were also paired with KWV Earth’s Essence Chenin Blanc 2018 which brought out the freshness of the oyster whilst slightly dulling the fruit of the wine and bringing out the vanilla notes.
Next was wagyu beef tartare, pickles and potato, with rich and earthy flavours it was hard to see how a wine would stand up to the tasty morsel but the KWV Earth’s Essence Shiraz 2018 did this perfectly. The beef brought out the fruit of the wine and lowered the tannins, making it perfect for none heavy wine fans like me. Reds are not usually my wine of choice but, served this way, I’ll be trying more.
Another dish I wouldn’t usually pick is the tuna, vinegar and carrots. I’m not a huge fan of raw fish but the slices in this dish are small and perfectly placed alongside sweet pickled carrot. It creates a light and fresh dish that is beautifully presented. Paired with KWV Big Bill white 2016, the dish brings out the freshness of the wine and you can also taste the sea air in the mineralness of the wine. I know that is not a word but, you know what I mean.
My favourite dish and wine pairing of the night started with lobster, potatoes, egg and lobster mayo. Goodness, those potatoes. Slightly salty, wonderfully crispy. The lobster, fresh and meaty. It was an absolute delight as was the KWV The Mentors chenin blanc 2014 it was paired with. The lobster brings out a softness in the wine whilst the deep fried potatoes let an almost beeswax flavour seep through too. Such a different pairing but a delicious one.
A very surprising dish for me was the Wagyu brisket fricando, mushrooms and bao bread. I am a huge hater of mushrooms but served this way in a stew they just added flavour and more earthy notes. The bao bread was incredible and the best I have ever tried. Soft, fluffy and bouncy. I will definitely be back for these and I never thought I would say that about a dish containing mushrooms! Wine wise, the KWV The Mentors petit verdot 2016 was perfect. The same rich and earthy flavours to smooth out the wine and provide a velvety finish.
A classic on the Tast menu is their unmistakeable octopus served in octopus shaped pots. Soft octopus with a slightly spicy romesco, potato and oloroso wine for a touch of sweetness. It is a staple on the menu for a reason. For this night it was paired with the KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2015 which, let me just say, is an incredible wine. It is creamy in the mouth and the flavours of the octopus somehow bring out the nuttiness of the wine. Just gorgeous.
The last of the savoury dishes was another Tast classic and their baked rice, this time rice, boletus, padron pepper and beef sirloin. The beef was soft and rare which worked well with the slightly sour peppers and the nutty rice. Paired with KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2014, the cherries and vanilla in the wine were heightened.
Dessert was something a little different, to go with the ‘something a little different’ port. The dessert of almond and hazelnuts arrived wrapped in a cheesecloth to be dressed with chopped nuts and drizzled with Manchester honey at the table. Without the honey, the dessert is quite savoury but the honey sweetens it beautifully without being too much. It is the honey which also brought the KWV 1949 port to life. It allows the floral tones to shine through the sweetness and was just delicious.
We were also treated to a glass of the KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz 2000, which is my new favourite red wine. It has an almost sticky blackcurrant jam taste with low tannins, just the way a wine should be in my opinion and according to my palate. A stonker of a wine and a lovely way to try a wide range of the wines available from KWV.
You’d think after 100 years KWV would be slowing down but they are far from it and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
I was invited to the KWV and Tast wine dinner as a guest and was not asked to pay.