• Wine Club Recipe – Q3 2021

    Coq Au Vin – Adapted from the New York Times (Melissa Clark)

     

    1.5kg chicken legs and thighs

    Salt & Pepper

    750ml red wine (any half decent wine will do, save the good stuff for drinking!)

    1 bay leaf

    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

    100g lardons, pancetta or bacon, diced (about 1 cup)

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

    1 large onion, diced

    1 large carrot, peeled and diced

    1 punnet white or brown mushrooms, halved if large, and sliced

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1 teaspoon tomato paste

    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

    2 tablespoons brandy

    3 tablespoons butter

    200g peeled pearl onions (about 12 to 15 onions)

    Pinch sugar

    ¼ cup chopped parsley, for serving

     

    1. Season chicken well with salt & pepper. In a large bowl, combine chicken, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, even better, overnight.
    2. In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid, cook lardons over medium-low heat until fat has rendered, and lardons are golden and crisp, Remove, leaving rendered fat in pot.
    3. Remove chicken from wine, reserving the marinade. Pat chicken pieces with paper towels until very dry. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (Add oil if the pot looks a little dry.) Transfer chicken to a plate as it browns.
    4. Add diced onion, carrot, half the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned, about 8 minutes, stirring up any brown bits from the pot.
    5. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then stir in flour and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, push vegetables to one side of pot, pour brandy into empty side, and ignite with a match. (If you’re too nervous to ignite it, just cook brandy down for 1 minute.) Once the flame dies down, add reserved marinade, bring to a rolling boil, and reduce for around 10 mins.
    6. Add chicken, any accumulated juices and half the cooked lardons to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour – you can also put in a pre-heated oven at 180*C for 1 hour instead.
    7. Meanwhile, slowly sauté onions in butter with a pinch of sugar for around 15 minutes until tender. Turn up the heat, add remaining mushrooms, and sauté until browned and cooked.
    8. When ready to serve, add pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes to reduce liquid. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining half of the cooked lardons to finish. Enjoy with mashed potatoes, a crisp salad and plenty of (good) wine!

     

  • The Seasons are Changing… And So Are We

    While in our minds it is still only autumn (summer was only last month, was it not?) we are less than two weeks away from our Winter Solstice.  The rains have been good so far, and we are excited to see what Spring and Summer have in store for us soon.

    While it might quite often leave us breathless, running to catch up, the changing of the seasons is relentless and incessant. Sure, it may be a week or so ‘late’ or ‘early’, but the passage of time is truly the most constant thing in an ever changing world.

    We as a business must also change and adapt with the times.  

    We have realized that our season of free tastings on the Estate, has come to an end.  We have always wanted our customers visiting the farm to be able to experience and discover all the wines in our range. Back in the day, it used to be possible to chat to each visitor for hours on end, and explore the range with them. 

    In recent years, however, we have experienced a high influx of visitors, which we are of course so thankful to be able to welcome to our winery. We have realized, however, that many are not even interested in hearing about the wines, rushing to make sure they can taste as many as possible in the short time they have allotted for their visit – rushing to get a bit buzzed before their next stop down the road. This is all fair and well, but it does also mean that we no longer have the time to chat and connect with the customers who really care about the wines we make. 

    When we withdrew from the Wacky Wine festival, it was because we could not give our customers an authentic Springfield experience amidst the crowds. For this same reason, we will no longer be offering free tastings as of  Saturday 12 June 2021. 

    Going forward, our tastings will be R80 for any 5 wines. 
    Tastings are payable at the counter upfront, and will still be conducted in the informal, friendly manner you all know and love. You are still welcome to buy a bottle of wine to enjoy outside on our lush lawns, as there is truly no better way to spend a sunny Saturday than on our deck with friends and family. Our cellar tour, offered on weekdays, will remain free of charge and are a wonderful way to explore the Springfield way of doing things with even more depth.

    Wine Club members, going forward you will receive a voucher for a free tasting in your wine club box every quarter, starting with Q3 which kicks off  on the 24th of July.

    We hope you understand our decision and the motivation behind it. We want our visitors to remember where they have been – what they have tasted, how the light reflected on the water that day, if the leaves were green and shiny or turning copper and bronze – and we hope that your time spent visiting our tasting room will be memorable as ever.

  • This Time Last Year

    Today, exactly a year ago, the South African government lifted the 9-week long alcohol ban for the first time. 

    Can you remember the CHAOS that ensued? Queues outside liquor stores, panic buying, and of course, the total collapse of the national courier system under the incredible weight of the sheer amount of alcohol you all had ordered online. 

    We, like many other small wine farms, were completely blindsided by the number of orders streaming in, on one side so greatful for a revenue stream that had been so sorely missed the past few months, on the other side, warily eyeing out the backlog our couriers were accumulating.

    On the farm’s end, we were quick – working 18 hour days to process and pack each order within two days of receipt. It was when the wine was collected by our couriers, that the wheels started to come off. After two weeks of broken promises and missed deadlines, we took matters into our own hands.

    The rest is well documented history – we uplifted all the wine in Gauteng, got a new courier, and flew up to JHB ourselves to repack and re-dispatch each order, along with a complimentary case of Miss Lucy. It took us a week just to untangle the mess that we had on our hands, and another week more just to get the last of the lockdown orders to their rightful owners. 

    In Cape Town,  we enlisted the help of dudes with vans, crowdsourced delivery drivers on Twitter, and rounded up students to help with our deliveries. 

    What have we learnt since then? Our parcels are now all individually labeled with barcoded stickers, and we now work with a courier that scans each parcel, every step of the way. We have upgraded our online system so that you now receive tracking information as soon as your wine has dispatched, and with one click you can now see exactly where your order is – no more phoning the farm for updates or us paging through 26 different ringbinders to find your order number!

    What has stayed the same? Well, our hardworking team, for one, is still standing (after this time last year we were worried about a mass mutiny) and recognize almost every one of you by name when your order lands in our inboxes. Our prices have also stayed consistent, with no price increase in 2021 in solidarity with an industry and country already on a backfoot. Our courier fees have also stayed the same, despite the many upgrades and rising costs incurred – and we are still offering a 50% saving on our regular courier fees by absorbing half the costs for you, so that you can stay safe and shop from the comfort of your own home. 

    On a grey, miserable day like today, when one feels a bit hopeless in the face of a third wave, loadshedding and corruption, it is important to look back at where we were a year ago, and to recognize how far we have come despite it all.

    That being said, infections are rising once again, and an alcohol ban is never off the cards – so make sure you are stocked up in time, this time around.

  • When It’s So Good, It’s Gone

    If this past year has taught us anything it is to be thankful for your blessings, no matter how obscure – and while we are sad to share that our 2020 vintage of the Life from Stone has sold out, we know that it is thanks to your incredible support that we have had such a successful vintage – selling through in less than 8 months despite numerous alcohol bans and restrictions to trade.

    The bad news is that nothing lasts forever, but the good news is that nothing lasts forever, either. This week we finalized the blend of the 2021 vintage which we will be bottling soon – meaning that after a couple of months of rest, it will be ready for release. Having tasted it we can assure you it is worth the wait – it is shaping up to be a spectacular vintage.

    In the meantime, we can highly recommend our Special Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc as an alternate option – it is made in exactly the same way as the Life from Stone, with the same care and utmost devotion to perfection. It grows next to the Life from Stone vineyard, and the only difference between the two is the slightly sandier soil in which it is rooted. Tasting a bottle of the 2020 again yesterday, it is clear that it has developed into a spectacular wine – Abrie and his team could not stop singing its praises.

    As an Estate, we cannot produce more than our farm allows, as we do not buy in any grapes or wines – which in turn means that all our wines are limited in their volume. There are only a limited number of cases of Special Cuvee left,  so we would recommend that you do not wait until it is too late.

    While we are on the topic of sold out wines, our Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2019 has also sold out from the cellar – however, we will be going straight over to the 2020 vintage. The new vintage is showing beautiful notes of pineapple and pear, with a supple, full body, and we are so excited for you to try it.

    Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience or unhappiness caused – just remember, nothing lasts forever and one of these days you will be opening a bottle of your favourite again soon!