Peter Morrell makes his BBQ food sparkle with this exceptional wine from the Western Cape, as he follows Cooksister’s Barbecued Salmon Recipe
One of your bucket list essentials must be to visit the wine growing area to the east of Cape Town in South Africa. You will find neat villages like Stellenbosch, dramatic scenery, and vibrancy in the wine growers’ community.
I recently tasted the Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV, and the experience of sipping this sparkling Rosé and eating Barbecued Salmon made the memories of vibrancy, scenery, ‘terroir. and weather in the Western Cape flood back, this was literally the essence of South Africa.
Graham Beck founded the vineyard in 1983. Graham’s ambition was to make sparkling wine the flagship of the operation. A combination of weather, and the rich limestone soil were the perfect combination to grow the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that are used to make the wine producer’s range of Cap Classique sparkling wines. Graham has sadly departed, but his family continue to maintain the high standards set by the founder. This has resulted in the signature white Graham Beck Brut NV being served at both Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and to celebrate Barack Obama’s presidential nomination.
The Brut Rosé NV is produced using the ‘Traditional Method’ where the bubbles are created by a second fermentation in the bottle. During this second fermentation the wine sits on the spent yeast for a lengthy period which gives it a subtle brioche flavour. This is the same method used to produce Champagne.
The grapes used in the Rosé are 2 thirds Pinot Noir and one third Chardonnay. The wine pours a light salmon pink, and tiny fast-moving bubbles create a fine mousse on the surface.
The bouquet is bursting with aromas of ripe raspberries and cherries, and hints of citrus. On the palate there is a lively display of soft summer fruits combined with a yeasty background and a soft minerality. This combination makes it ideal as a pre-prandial treat or paired with food. The finish is bright with persistent fruit flavours.
Graham Beck Brut NV and Graham Beck Rosé NV are RRP £15.99 each from Majestic, North South Wines and Simply Wines Direct. Graham Beck Brut NV is also available from Waitrose. For more information, visit www.grahambeck.com
To help you create the essence of South Africa in the UK here is Graham Beck’s Recipe for Barbecued Salmon with Blood Oranges, Capers and Dill created in collaboration with @cooksister. Wine pairing: Graham Beck Brut NV and Graham Beck Rosé NV
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
- 4 salmon fillets (240-250g each) or 1 side of salmon – skin on
- 80g butter
- 1 small bunch of fresh dill, 2 tablespoons finely chopped and the rest as whole fronds
- 4 teaspoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons grated blood orange zest
- 2 blood oranges sliced into rounds, peel on
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- OPTIONAL: Heat a ridged frying pan over high heat and brush the orange slices with olive oil. Fry the orange slices in batches, turning once, until there are char lines visible on both sides. Set aside.
- Prepare a fire in your kettle barbecue – you will need 15-20 charcoal briquettes. When they are mostly grey and ashed over, spread them evenly under the centre of the grill and close the barbecue lid, leaving the top and bottom vents open. Give the barbecue about 10 minutes to get to 150-180°C.
- While the barbecue is heating up, lightly oil a large foil roasting dish, big enough to accommodate the fish in a single layer. Lay the fish skin side down in the oiled roasting dish and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Melt the butter, capers, chopped dill and zest together until the butter is just melted. Mix well and add a good grind of black pepper.
- Tuck the orange slices and half the remaining whole dill fronds around and under the fish (reserve the rest of the dill for garnish). Baste the fish liberally with the seasoned butter and place the roasting dish uncovered on the barbecue grill directly above the charcoal.
- Close the lid and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Try not to open the lid during cooking as this will cause the temperature to drop.
- After 15 minutes, check the thickest part of the fish to see if it is done (it should flake easily with a fork).
- Once the salmon is done, carefully lift it off the skin using an egg lifter or fish server and serve decorated with the orange slices and the remaining dill fronds.