Pairings | South Africa
If you’ve visited the Cape Winelands you’ll know what an amazing food and drink scene it has but you may still wonder what sort of dishes to order in a restaurant or to pair with South African wines at home.
Like any other red South Africa's Pinotage comes in different styles - some lighter and fruitier than others. When you're matching it with food you take a cue from the sort of ingredients and dishes that go with its two ancestors - Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
Anyone who reckons winemaking is a man’s job should head for South Africa and see the kind of wines that women are making in some of the country’s most exciting cellars.
I was in South Africa back in February - a country that produces more remarkable wines every time I go there - so was really thrilled when Wines of South Africa offered a case of the country’s best red wines as this month's prize. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
Having spent my first two days in South Africa in regions that specialise in Sauvignon Blanc (Elgin and Constantia) it won’t greatly surprise you I’ve been drinking a fair bit of it. The greater surprise, as someone who has become Sauvignon-weary is how much I’ve been enjoying it.
After last week's Muscat pairing my match of the week oddly involves Muscat again, this time a sweet Muscat Petits Grains from South Africa with the romantic name of Heaven-on-Earth. The grapes are apparently dried on a bed of straw and rooibos tea, a flavour I couldn't really pick up in the wine but it was very attractive nonetheless with an lovely quince and apricot flavour.
This week I’m on a wine trip in South Africa (so posting may be slightly more spasmodic). There have been many great matches already but two interesting ones have involved Semillon a grape the country is beginning to handle very impressively.
As those of you who read my Guardian column will know I had a big rant about the quality of Fairtrade wine at the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight. Now on the last day it seems like a good opportunity to explore how it might be improved
After the tradition-bound cooking of the Christmas period (from which the family will never let you deviate . . .) it’s good to branch out a bit with your New Year’s Eve meal and also pick some dishes that will allow you to drink some serious wines. Note you need to start the beef two days in advance.
All discussions on where to eat in Cape Town tend to end up with a recommendation to eat at what is still generally regarded as the city’s best restaurant, The Test Kitchen. Which is not a wholly practical suggestion as it’s almost impossible to get a table.
Earlier this week I was involved in judging a selection of South African rieslings at High Timber in London and afterwards we had a three course lunch that had been designed to match with them. This is what we ate and drank.
Continuing with our series of South African Braai recipes to celebrate the World Cup, here’s winemaker Paul Cluver’s version of beer-can chicken made with apple juice rather than beer.
The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.
My first Match of the Week of the New Year is a classic but none the worse for that: an award-winning South African Bordeaux blend with a slow roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic and rosemary.
Another recipe for your World Cup celebrations from the Van Loveren family. It comes from the new Wines of South Africa cookbook Cape Wine Braai Masters but you could equally well cook it with a conventional oven and grill.
I had a reminder last week of just how good Chardonnay can be with meat given the right accompaniments.
What to drink with a treasured old bottle of wine is one of the most frequent questions I get asked and the answer I usually give is ‘keep it simple’
I only have to look at how many of my matches of the week involve fish to realise that it now appeals to me more than meat. Not that I’m anti-meat by any means it’s just that the sort of wine you pair with it is fairly predictable, well-trodden ground.