Wednesday, May 13, 2020

La Petite Ferme 2013 The Verdict, Franschhoek

An anniversary dinner during COVID-19 lockdown? Here’s how we handled it.

The Verdict with stuffed pork tenderloinA Milestone Event During A Crisis

Celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary and a coronavirus lockdown don’t go hand in hand. Normally we’d be jetting to Paris and eating at an exclusive restaurant while I shower my wife with expensive gifts. Hmm, not quite, but we certainly would go out to a nice eatery for dinner. We also had planned a tour through national parks in Utah for this timeframe. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci couldn’t save this year’s celebration, though.

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Although confined to our home, we had a balmy day -- just perfect for a romantic dinner on the patio. The Green Dragon, my lovely and talented wife, started preparations for a wonderful meal. For hours she worked singlehandedly in the kitchen on this culinary masterpiece.

Meanwhile, I did the really hard work. I grated several tablespoons of cheese and had the all-important assignment of picking the wine. To my credit, I did procure a very nice bouquet of roses and bought the very last anniversary card in the store.

Pork tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms and spinach, three cheese potatoes gratinA Menu To Savor

The menu was a masterpiece. The entree was pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach and mushrooms topped with a sherry cream sauce. Accompanying the meat was a perfectly crisped three-cheese potatoes gratin. For dessert, we enjoyed a beautiful vegan Berry Blackout cake with a chocolate strawberry sauce.

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The tablecloth was spread and the sun was shining as I uncorked our selected wine: The Verdict, 2013 vintage, from La Petite Ferme winery in Franschhoek, South Africa. We bought the wine during a tour of South African winelands five years ago.

After heading up winding mountain roads and navigating down a steep, narrow driveway, we came to La Petite Ferme. La Petite Ferme is a winery known not only for its wine but its fine cuisine. We were surprised to see we were the only car in the small parking lot.

We later learned that tastings were by appointment only. Graciously, the cellar manager agreed to do an informal tasting for us. What luck! The wines were inspired. We learned inside tales of making wine in South Africa, including how baboons would sneak down the hillsides to eat Chardonnay grapes. Apparently, they have refined taste.

La Petite Ferme 2013 The VerdictAnd The Verdict Is…

There were many well-crafted wines, but we decided on The Verdict when Sonja, our host, told us this was a wine that can “take it all through the night.” We carried it back from South Africa (along with many more) in a checked bag.

The Verdict is a luscious blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged 17 months in oak. Five years of aging turned the wine into an even more amazing treat. The Cab Franc contributed spice and pepper to dark fruit and deep cherry flavors. It is soft and silky on the tongue. The wine is lively and vibrant, a testament to quality South African winemaking.

With meals like this, we just may make it through this crisis after all. Stay safe, everyone.

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