On Saturday 26 April 2014, two long-time customers, Jonathan Westaway and David Eagle and their families arrived at the winery to the happy realisation that they were our first official visitors on our first day of being open to the public. A steady stream of curious visitors followed, despite the miserable weather and we were hopping around trying to look after everyone.
The three evening dinners prior to our Saturday Opening were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Peter Goffe-Wood, a Masterchef SA judge and Kitchen Cowboy fame, produced some stunning food in a relaxed atmosphere on the Wednesday and Thursday nights. His menu was as follows:
- Smoked Yellowtail, Caper & Orange Salad, Aioli with Sijnn White 2012 and 2010
- Warm Duck Salad, Livers, Chorizo, Confit of Leg, Savoy Cabbage with Sijnn Saignee’ 2011 and 2009
- Braised Lamb Fillet on “Bourgignon” Risotto Cake with Sijnn 2009 and 2010
- Local Cheese Plate with Sijnn Touriga Nacional 2011
- Hazelnut Panacotta, Citrus Biscotti with De Trafford Straw Wine 2006
Rita had a tough act to follow on Friday, but rose to the occasion with aplomb with the following menu:
- Mary’s Smoor Snoek Pate’ with Cucumber Pickle and Farm Bread with Sijnn White 2012 and 2010
- Leafy Greens with Salted Sesame Seed and a Dash of Flax Seed Oil.
- Cheating Risotto with White Pepper, Peas and Cream with Sijnn Saignee’ 2011 and 2009
- Beetroot Bits, Fennel Bits & Dried Fig Bits Salad.
- Very Local Slow Cooked Lamb Knuckle and Roasted Root Vegetables with Sijnn 2009 and 2010
- Sijnn Touriga Nacional 2011
- A Jar of Baked Cheesecake with Swellendam Berries with De Trafford Straw Wine 2008
One of the highlights for us, was the way our staff, who live on the estate and with no real catering experience, handled the pressure in the kitchen. Thanks in particular to Magrieta and Elisabeth, who will be helping with our regular Saturday tastings.
The evenings were punctuated by a celebratory glass of Champagne, Egly-Ouriet Brut Ambonnay Grand Cru 2002, which Simon Farr had brought with from England. The wine, he felt, being in keeping with the handcrafted, naturally made, thoughtful approach of our Sijnn wines – although, of course, completely different to anything we produce.
Sunday was really dedicated to our Renosterveld initiative with guided walks by Dr Odette Curtis of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust on our newly constructed Renosterveld Trails on the estate. We’ve committed to preserving approx. 40ha of pristine Renosterveld as well as trying to rehabilitate a large area of previously ploughed lands. Renosterveld is one of the most diverse and critically endangered plant biomes in the world with less than 6% of the original areas remaining (mainly due to grain farming).
For all who could not attend, we hope you brave the gravel roads to Malgas soon – we’re open every Saturday 10.00am to 3.00pm. We’ll also keep you posted on the few exciting events we plan during the course of the year.
David and Rita Trafford and the Sijnn team.
Newsflash: We’ve just installed our solar panels, which on an average sunny day, will be able to provide all our power needs for the farm and winery. Thanks to Quentin Hurt who has been driving all our eco-friendly initiatives.