When you combine my most beloved winelands district with my most beloved red wine varietal, you get the Zandvliet Shiraz 2017 from Robertson, a gratifyingly rich and complex wine. Add glassesful to a hearty ostrich sausage pie and you’ve unlocked the direct path to most people’s hearts.
I’ve never been quiet about my love for the Robertson wine valley and it’s luscious and vibrantly complex wines. But, it’s more than that – very often it’s the people behind the wine that contributes to the exuberance of the memory.
Just as with a good meal, when shared and enjoyed in the right company, it becomes so much more than just sustenance; a wine becomes more than just a glass to enjoy. It becomes a treasured souvenir of togetherness and abundance.
My wanderlust was re-awakened from its pandemic sleep with a gift of two bottles of Zandvliet Shiraz 2017. Every bit as beautiful outside as in, this Shiraz is an absolute winter staple in The Little House. To celebrate the pending throes of winter, I decided to serve it alongside my weeknight dinner cheat’s ostrich sausage pie.
Zandvliet Wine Estate straddles the Cogmans River, with the great Langeberg Mountains throwing a giant arm around it from the north and disappearing to the south-east. A small range of low limestone hills lie on Zandvliet’s southern half, bringing the special magic to its kalkveld (calcareous earth) terroir. Only 130 kilometres due south is the southernmost point of Africa, Cape Agulhas, dynamo of the breezes that cool our hills in summer (https://zandvliet.co.za/about/).
Zandvliet Shiraz 2017
Tasting notes: Ripe complex nose showing flavors of plums, blackcurrants and pepper with hints of mixed spice. These deep flavors follow through to a seamless, supple, and complex palate with added hints of dark chocolate.
In the vineyard: 100% Shiraz
In the cellar: Matured in seasoned French and American oak barrels for 18 – 24 months.
Awards and accolades:
Old Mutual Trophy wine show – Gold 2015
WINE MAGAZINE CHRISTIAN EDES 91/100 – 2016
Tim Atkin 92/100 – 2017
NATIONAL WINE CHALLENGE Double Silver – 2020
PLATTER’S WINE GUIDE 4*
Cellar door price: approx. R125 – R130 per bottle
Cheat’s ostrich sausage pie
As the name suggests, this wintery pie is a little bit of a cheat, as it relies on only two core ingredients: a roll of frozen puff pastry and a sausage. Any sausage – you can use beef, pork, boerewors or even venison, but for this occasion, I decided on the rich base of ostrich.
Starting off with a classic French mirepoix flavour base, this is probably the fanciest part of the recipe. I slowly fried onion, carrot and leafy celery in a glug of EVOO until golden and translucent. Adding garlic, fresh herbs and spices for another level of flavour, it’s all about building up the layers of complexity in the dish slowly, much like the Zandvliet Shiraz. I finish off the vegetables with a trickle of balsamic reduction, stirring slowly with a glass of moody red in my hand.
Once lovingly wrapped in a pastry blanket, cooked to golden deliciousness and cut into generous slices, it’s a meal on its own. My serving suggestion, however, most certainly includes a couple of glasses of Shiraz and candle light. Easy to make in advance and just as delectable served at room temperature, it doubles up as the perfect loadshedding meal.
Ostrich sausage pie
- 1 roll puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
- 1 tray ostrich sausage (I used the Woollies one)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced (or you can use a handful of leaf celery)
- 2 carrots, diced or grated
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or diced
- handful of fresh herbs, like rosemary and thyme
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar reduction
- 4 tbsp fruit chutney
- 1 egg
- black sesame seeds for topping
- vegetable oil for frying
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare/line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- In a little bit of vegetable oil, slowly sautee your garlic, onion, carrot and celery until translucent.
- Add in your herbs. You can use dried or fresh herbs to taste. Also add any seasoning to taste. I added salt, pepper and a bit of braai spice.
- Add the balsamic vinegar reduction right at the end and cook for a few more minutes, so that the veggies become sticky and glossy. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, un-case your ostrich sausage until you only have the minced meat filling left over. Discard the casing.
- Mix in the slightly cooled veggies, but try not to break up the mince too finely when mixing.
- Flatten out your puff pastry and roll it out slightly so that it's even.
- Put your ostrich filling down the centre, forming a sausage shape with spoons or your hands!
- Spread your chutney on the sides of the pastry and also drizzle a generous dollop all over the sausage filling.
- At this point, you can just roll it like a sausage roll, making sure the seam is at the bottom and that you overlap the two edges slightly, or you can cut slits into the pastry on both sides and braid it over the sausage filling. Take care to cover all the filling as best you can so that it doesn't leak!
- Transfer gently to the baking sheet. Brush with egg and sprinkle seeds on top.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden and crispy. If it cooks out a lot of moisture / oil, feel free to pour it off in between cooking.
My wanderlust momentarily satiated by the Zandvliet Shiraz 2017, it’s a destination I’ll return to time and time again. The perfect gift for a loved one or for yourself, nothing heralds the start of winter like a good, spice-driven Shiraz. And for me, winter should be celebrated as often as possible.
Thank you, Zandvliet, for helping me round off a special heartwarming meal as we huddle inside against the creeping chill with the addition of your Shiraz 2017. Everything I love about the winter season is captured perfectly in this bottle; warmth, moody darkness and just a hint of self-indulgence.
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