2021 AA Badenhorst, Secateurs, Chenin Blanc, Swartland, South Africa
When we think of Chenin Blanc thoughts of The Loire Valley, Late Harvests and South Africa amongst others may immediately come to mind and up until now it’s probably safe to say that Scallop Slaw isn’t the first thought… or second. This may be about to change, as this pairing is absolutely stunning. On the evening that we tasted the 2021 Badenhorst, “Secateurs” Chenin Blanc from the Swartland in South Africa; it was the first wine of many and the start to a very fun talkative late night with many conversations and plenty of humor. What struck all of us were the pronounced aromas of Lemon Cream, Passionfruit and Apricot with the subtle hints of Vanilla, Yeast and Lemongrass. This dry Chenin Blanc has some residual sugar and bright acidity. It showed pronounced flavors of Passionfruit, Tahitian Vanilla, Candied Lemon and a Minerality (like Slate or granite). The grapes were hand harvested off the granite slopes where they are grown (clearly the reason for the minerality we all were getting) and the wine itself spent time on the lees in old casks (the lees would explain the yeasty notes).
WARM SCALLOP SLAW
Candied Turnips ~ Pea Shoots ~ Coriander Oil
Passion Fruit Sauce ~ Truffle Vinaigrette
When we tasted this wine it was clear that we knew two things; We are going to bring out the bold flavors of this super great Chenin Blanc so elegantly and we were definitely not going to hold back. As the course started to take shape: Our thoughts were with Searing Scallops in Olive Oil & hitting them with Aromats and Lemon Zest, letting them rest and while still warm slicing them into small batons and placing them in a bowl and gently tossing them with baby Spinach until the spinach lightly wilts, adding our vibrantly green Coriander Oil that’s made with blanching Cilantro and blending it with Toasted Coriander Seeds and Grape Seed Oil, adding in our naturally spicy sliced Caramelized Turnips whose Light Buttery Caramel that they are stewed in will soon be playing well with the Sweet Salty Scallop, Robust Passion Fruit Sauce and Blood Orange Truffle Vinaigrette. This is one of the fun parts of what we do; pulling flavors from a wine and pairing those flavors with food while highlighting with different oils, herbs, and textures such as the Truffle Oil Powder that we finish the course with when we plate.
What The Wine Tastes Like With The Scallop Slaw:
Above is the description of the wine before the food and it is a wonderful wine, but for me this is when things get fun. The course is beautiful and smells so good: Warm Scallops, Tropical Fruit, Truffles… the stage is definitely set.
Up until the Friday after we tasted this I had not ever made a Scallop Slaw and come to think of it I had not ever even heard of Scallop Slaw, but that all changed the moment I tasted this Chenin Blanc. This process could easily be used as one of Ronna and my examples of when all of the flavours and textures come together, play off of one another and bring out the incredible flavors in a wine… to me this is harmony and I welcome this happening and am always so pleased when it does. Allowing the aromas, flavors and the mouthfeel of a wine to dictate what possibly should… or to be more boundless, what possibly could enhance this wine to expose flavours only imagined is something that absolutely thrills me and thinking up these components, making them edible and arranging them all on a plate and tasting them together is something I absolutely love and this course made it all seem effortless.
This Chenin Blanc played into and off of each of the components of this course with wonderful results. Each bite that had slices of scallops; the Chenin Blanc wrapped itself around and echoed the ethereal flavour of the scallop. Normally when one eats a scallop they get to taste it once, this let us taste each bite of scallops twice (it was like two for one scallops… so great) but this time with bright flavours of citrus and tastes from the tropics intermingled with the earthiness that came from the ever so gentle pea shoots while continually echoing the sweet saline richness that encapsulates this warm scallop slaw. The truffle vin plays into the outer edges of the wine with the minerality and keeps the wine focussed, the caramelized turnips play right into the center of this wine and each sip produced this distinct dynamic of sugary crystals. Having the incredibly vibrant passion fruit sauce accented with fruity coriander & earthy citrusy truffle that brings a balance to this wine with heightened acidity, bursts of bright candied lemon & apricots into one big cohesive South African Chenin Blanc.
A Bit About The Winemakers
Reading the info on their website I thought it would be great to share their link as these are the real stories of the people and their history and their upbringing that make these flavors possible to us today: AA Badenhorst Family Wines are grown, made and matured on Kalmoesfontein farm in the Swartland appellation of South Africa. The 28ha of old bushvines grow in the Siebritskloof part of the Paardeberg mountain. The property is owned by the baie dynamic and good looking cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst. They are originally from Constantia. Their grandfather was the farm manager of Groot Constantia for 46 years. Their fathers were born there and farmed together in Constantia, during the days when people still ate fresh vegetables and Hanepoot grapes, drank Cinsault and there were a lot less traffic lights and hippies still had a presence. Together these two have restored a neglected cellar on the farm that was last used in the 1930′s to make natural wines in the traditional manner.