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Bobotie, Anyone?

Defending champion Trevor Immelman showcases the wine and food of South Africa at the Champions dinner

By: David Bova

Wine GolfThe Masters is my favorite tournament, and I have the same dream every year. It's not about sinking a putt on the final green to win. It's about food and wine--what I would serve at my Champions dinner. (Although I wouldn't get to host the dinner without making a winning putt, so I guess the dream involves that fantasy as well.)

My Champions dinner would have universal appeal:  grilled veal chops, sautéed broccoli with garlic, risotto and ice cream. With that I would serve a delicious 1997 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Rochioli Vineyard.

Started by Ben Hogan in 1952, the Champions dinner is one of golf's unique traditions. On Tuesday, the defending champion hosts other Masters winners. He gets to select the menu, and selections have ranged from haggis (Sandy Lyle, 1989) to cheeseburgers (Tiger Woods, 1998) to lobster ravioli (Phil Mickelson, 2005).

Champions with less adventurous palates don't have to partake of the defending champ's offerings--they can order off the regular menu, a provision that no doubt came in handy during Lyle's dinner and for Mike Weir's elk and wild boar in 2004.

I'm sure the regular menu received some serious consideration this year, when Trevor Immelman served his South African-themed dinner: bobotie, chicken sosaties and melktert.

Bobotie is similar to shepherd's pie, but it has curried minced meat and a very thin layer of egg on top, instead of potatoes. Chicken sosaties are simply grilled chicken and vegetables. Melktert is a traditional South African dessert, a custard with the same consistency as pumpkin pie. Made from milk, eggs and sugar, melktert is prepared in a pastry shell.

Immelman served a selection of South African wines, and since he had access to Augusta National's renowned wine cellar, he shouldn't have heard any complaints about his choices.

South Africa is an “emerging” wine growing region, which means the wines are inconsistent and very diverse in style. There are five prominent grape varieties: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah are the most promising. What to serve with bobotie? I'd recommend a nice Syrah.



Best Reds
2004 Glen Carlou Syrah, $20 per bottle
2007 Ernie Els Shiraz, $15 per bottle
2007 Cape Indaba Shiraz, $7 per bottle
Best Whites
2008 Thelema Sauvignon Blanc, $18 per bottle
2007 De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc, $15 per bottle
2008 Raats Family--“Unwooded” Chenin Blanc, $12 per bottle

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