Crowne Plaza Hotel

Christmas is around the corner and the hunt for good libation is on . My search took me to the Sikia Lounge at the Crowne Plaza hotel, in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area, at the invitation of Slater and Whittaker.

We are blessed in our wonderful city with a plethora of great eating out options. But this venue is new to me. Gourmet fine dining at our doorstep; but more about that later.

Sikia Lounge

Sipping award winning South African KWV wines, I can only say the whole experience was worth the time spent at Sikia Lounge .

Slater & Whittaker, in their 69th year, is now a third generation business specializing in wines and spirits. Today, they were showcasing KWV wines for whom they are agents in Kenya.

With Andri Le Roux

Andri Le Roux a wine maker with KWV, which was established in 1918, was on hand to explain the wines introduced.

We were started off upon arrival with a sparkling wine, the Laborie Brut MCC (Methode Cap Classique).

Laborie Brut MCC

I found this bubbly refreshingly fruity with hints of melon. The mousse, light yet creamy was easy on the palate. The finish lingering, crisp and dry. Two flutes whilst mingling with other diners served as a fabulous aperitif.

Terrine of Duck Liver

The first course, a beautifully presented Terrine of Duck Liver, was paired with KWV’s 2014 Grenache Blanc, from their Mentors range.

KWV Grenache Blanc

Though more a dinner wine than a party wine, the Grenache Blanc was smooth and easy to drink, with a light fruity flavour and aromas of citrus and oak. I could have sipped this wine all night long.

But then there was the next course to be tried. A Veloute of Red Bell Pepper . No picture could do justice to this creamy soup which went exceedingly well with the Laborie Sauvignon Blanc.

Laborie Sauvignon Blanc

This was a most exciting wine. Very fruity, clean and fizzy, the Sauvignon Blanc cut the palate very well. The strong tropical flavours were predominantly passion fruit and guava. And I was told that the grapes came from cooler coastal regions.

With such distinct aromas, we wanted to understand how the ‘infusions’ are done. So we dragged Andri to our table. He explained that there were NO infusions of fruit at all and that the aromas were a result of esters, created during the fermentation process. Apparently up to two hundred such esters are created. A whole subject that can be perused at your leisure at

Lamb Loin Roast

A palate cleansing lime and tree tomato sorbet later we were ready for the main course. And a new wine, the KWV Mentors Shiraz.

KWV Shiraz

The Shiraz has spent a month in casks, 15 % American oak and 85% French oak .

I thought the wine wasn’t very smooth until my hosts advised me that the best temperature to serve red wine was 17-18 degrees. In Nairobi the ambient temperature is 22-23 degrees making the wine more volatile, taking some of the smoothness away. And so we threw a couple of ice cubes onto the glass.
Immediately smoother. And more flavorful . The Shiraz, now exceedingly drinkable was perfect with the red meat. I also learned that the ideal temperature for storage of red wines is 15-18 degrees, and 10 for white.

Chocolate trilogy

No meal can be complete without a dessert , and we were served a delightful Wild Cream Chocolate Trilogy. And a dessert wine.

KWV Cape Tawny

Bring on the KWV Cape Tawny. Can’t be called ‘port’ because it’s not made in Porto in Portugal. But hey, it was a fabulous accompaniment to the dessert served. My host challenged me to try the Tawny before the dessert and then again the other way round . Believe me the taste of the dessert is altered most pleasurably.

I’m writing this the next day, and I can happily report that in spite of all that paired wine, I woke up without a headache. That tells me the wine was ‘good’ .
Slater and Whittaker apparently have a retail showroom in Westlands . I’ve never been, but I think I’ll pay them a visit . You can find them through the link below.