Pearl Oliver – Bombay Brasserie, Taj Hotel, Cape Town

In this popular series we feature selected sommeliers from top restaurants around the world. Each chooses his or her favourite Creation wine, tells us why and recommends a matching dish. This week we welcome Pearl Oliver from Bombay Brasserie in Cape Town’s 5-star Taj Hotel. She started her career in the hospitality industry at the age of 19 and has since become a household name.

Pearl says:

One of the reasons Creation is so special to me is the memory of my first visit to the farm. They were still working on the Hemel-en-Aarde Road and I was in my tiny car giving it a run for its money. Just as I started regretting driving up there, I reached my destination and the warmth of Carolyn and her team’s reception made the drive more than worthwhile. Today of course the roadworks are something of the past and the drive there is pure pleasure.

I’ve always had a preference for Rhône blends. They remind me of my dad: firm and steadfast yet gentle and understanding when needed. And when it comes to our chef Somnath Rakesh’s signature Lamb Shank, the Creation Syrah, Grenache is the perfect pairing. The meat is braised for 2 1/2 hours and served in a gentle saffron curry sauce which takes four to five hours to prepare and contains onion, tomato and cashew nuts. Then the baby lamb shank is cooked for 45 minutes to an hour before the chef adds saffron, garam masala and cream. I prefer eating it with naan bread, plain or with garlic.

The Creation Syrah, Grenache has gentle notes of black olive and pepper which elegantly complement the luscious ripe plum fruit derived from the Grenache. The undertones of umami caress the palate while the minerality from the terroir adds yet another layer of complexity.

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