IN DEMAND ...Bay can’t get enough of David!

Cederberg winemaker David Nieuwoudt at his sparkling best
Cederberg winemaker David Nieuwoudt at his sparkling best
Image: Salvelio Meyer

So for this seasoned lifestyle writer it was nearly a case of déjà vu when I was not only exposed to the exceptional company and winemaking genius of David Nieuwoudt once, but twice, last week – and on consecutive nights!

Nieuwoudt was on top form at last Wednesday’s big Ginger bash, but in the same week also impressed guests at a far more intimate but no less astute five-course food and wine pairing at Bocadillos on First’s The Yellow Door.
But this gal is definitely not complaining as one can never get enough of Cederberg’s award-winning wines!

The Yellow Door tasting was a very different experience, allowing more one-on-one time with Nieuwoudt thanks to the small group of diners that also included the likes of wine aficionado Nico Pitsiladi, big boss of Prestons.

Nieuwoudt also made sure the wines selected for this particular pairing were completely different from what was served at Ginger, bar one – the Ghost Corner Pinot Noir.

I was delighted to experience this elegant, modern and beautifully crafted pinot with two such diverse dishes on the two nights.
As Nieuwoudt rightly said, “We South Africans drink too little pinot... and there are also too few good pinots”.

Who paired it best, you’ll want to know? It was a win for both – Nieuwoudt flagged it as his best pairing at Ginger but expressed the same view at Boca, where chef Candy Watson matched it to a rich, silky and deliciously earthy mushroom soup with sous vide chicken (sous vide is the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a water bath) versus the beachfront restaurant’s pulled duck slider.

Eleven out of 10, then, to both Candy and Tim, for masterfully enhancing the ripe cherry and earthy characteristics of the wine!

Were it not for the fact guests at both dinners concurred these were the standout pairings you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s really the wine that Nieuwoudt is most in love with! That honour, however, belongs to the Ghost Corner Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc – a wine every bit as evocative as its name and hands-down my favourite white right now.

“This is probably the best wine I’ve made in my life,” Nieuwoudt confided.

“With its silky mouth-feel I have to say this wine is absolutely kick-ass.”
Candy cleverly served it with salmon and salsa verde, the interplay of rich fish and slightly acidic sauce making for an inspired pairing that fully won Nieuwoudt over.

Red meat devotees in the group also singled out the wagyu beef main course served with roasted root vegetables as a winner.

Candy does not relish attention of any kind and is happiest when creating a hurricane (in the best possible way) in the kitchen. Once again she was completely spot-on when matching the wagyu to the superb Longavi Cabernet Sauvignon.

Nieuwoudt is responsible for the winemaking component at Longavi – his collabortion with Julio Bouchon in the Maule valley in Chile. He told me they’re making the first chenin blanc in clay amphoras in South America and then there’s also a cinsault from vineyards planted before the devastating phylloxera infestation that wiped out colossal swaths of vineyard in 1880 – tremendously exciting prospects indeed!