The People's Guide: Splattered frogs and Sauvignon blanc

Friday, 11 December, 2009
Michael Olivier and Neil Pendock
Neil Pendock kisses a frog this week and discovers a Sauvignon blanc princess while Michael Olivier decides to take on  environmentally friendly Oak Valley with a Grappa cured salmon.
Neil Pendock's Wine of the Week
Cape Point Vineyards Splattered Toad Sauvignon Blanc 2009

The price: around R38 for a 750ml bottle.

First Impression: One kiss and it turns into a Sauvignon princess.

The Story: Cape Point Vineyards is excellent terroir for both grassy Sauvignon Blanc and Western Leopard Toads who play Russian Roulette on the roads at night. Some pay the ultimate price and get splattered which explains why this adventurous amphibian is on the endangered list. Which prompted CPV owner Sybrand van der Spuy to name a new froggie brand after the beast and pay R1 for every bottle sold into his CPV Sustainability Fund.

The Taste: The green ones in a punnet of Woolies sours sweets. Acid pear drops.

Michael Says: The big kerfuffle going on with the Advertising Standards authority about truth in advertising between Cape Point Vineyards and Two Oceans means little to the drinker who enjoys the wines from Cape Point Vineyards as much as I do. Love the fun packaging!

Neil Says: The first rule of animal labels is that quality is inversely proportional to the ferocity of the beast depicted. When did you last see a toad throw a tantrum?

Did You Know? The Western Leopard Toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus) is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family. Endemic to South Africa, its natural habitat is shrubby vegetation, swamps, freshwater lakes and marshes, urban areas and ponds. It is threatened by habitat loss and careless motorist

The Small Print: One of the approved health warnings for bottle back labels is "don't drink and walk on the road, you may be killed." Even if you don't drink and you're a toad.

Contact details: Cape Point Vineyards 021 789 0900,,

Michael Olivier's Wine of the week to go with the Cured Salmon
Oak Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009

The price: R75 for a 750ml bottle at the cellar door.

First Impression: Bright, limey & mineral.

The Story: Sir Antonie Viljoen whose successor Anthony Rawbone - Viljoen now farms the estate founded Oak Valley in the closing years of the 19th century. Flowers, deciduous fruit, Wagyu Beef and Spanish style jamon from home grow pigs that feed on the acorns of the immense oak forests on the estate.

The Taste: Soft tropical fruits and lime curd.

Michael says: Ticks all the cool climate Sauvignon boxes. Superbly made by Pieter Visser. Delicious pineapple and granadilla, rich and creamy

Neil says: Oak Valley recently won the inaugural Nedbank Green Awards. Great for the whites, but there is nothing "green" about the Oak Valley Pinot Noir either. Red, rather - red fruits ready to drink but will reward the patient with many years of elegant drinking ahead. The Sauvignon Blanc will also happily lie down for a couple of years.

Did You Know? Wagyu beef is the name used for the famous Japanese beef with beautiful marbling of fat. The acorns fed to the pigs contain an enzyme that promotes intra muscular fat - the very reason that the Iberian style hams are so luscious.

The small print: Alcohol: 13.0%, residual sugar: 2.0 g/l

Contact details: (021) 859-4110, email or visit

Fresh Norwegian Salmon cured with Grappa

Salmon is such a perfect starter for a summer meal taken outdoors or on a picnic. It's usually cured with dill, salt and sugar, here's another way to do it. You need to start the day before you wish to eat it. I quite like this way as it reminds me of Giorgio Dalla Cia one of the Cape's foremost distillers of Grappa. Serve it with slices of brown bread and a salad into which you have sliced a head of fennel.

You'll need:
  • 1 kg fresh Norwegian salmon - preferably the centre of the fillet
  • 2 tbs fennel seeds
  • 2tbs coriander seeds
  • 1tbs white peppercorns
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns
  • 160ml flakes of sea salt
  • 75ml light brown sugar
  • 75ml white sugar
  • 125ml Dalla Cia grappa (you can also use Absolut Citron vodka)

Prepare the salmon by slicing just through the skin in lines across the fish about 3cm apart - don't cut to deep. Have ready a large platter with sloping sides on which to cure the fish. In a small frying pan heat the seeds until warm and then give them a good bashing in a pestle and mortar with a little of the salt to break them up. Stir in the remaining salt and the sugar. Sprinkle a little of the spice mix onto the skin side of the fish and onto the platter. Give the platter a sprinkling of grappa and place the fillet on top. Cover the fish with the remaining spice mixture and sprinkle over the grappa. Cover with clingwrap and place a board on top with weights on it (a couple of tins is fine). Leave in the fridge for about 8 hours, then turn the fish over, cover and weight it again, and leave for another 8 - 10 hours. When ready to serve remove the clingwrap and wipe the excess spices off the fish. Slice very thinly onto a platter and serve with brown bread and the fennel infused salad and glasses of chilled grappa.

Serves 8

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