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Wines to go with comfort food

12 Jul 2011

Wines to go with comfort food

From IOL Lifestyle Online

Winter has us firmly in her bitter-sweet embrace, so now’s the time to shun austere, crisp whites in favour of more full-bodied wines. Since most people tend to prefer a glass of red at this time, I’m looking at a few reds that pair with comfort foods, and consider some alternatives that are still appropriate for our cooler nights.

Muratie is the country’s original producer of pinot noir and its delicious port is a fireside staple. Yet the estate also produces a fine Bordeaux-style wine, the Ansela van de Caab, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cab franc. The 2007 (an all-round good year) received top scores in Wine Enthusiast in March. With red cherry, plum and raspberry aromas, the wine has a concentrated palate with intense fruit and spice. It retails for R160.

Another Bordeaux-styled wine that is for serious enjoyment is Idiom’s 2006 blend, which has raked in awards from Decanter and Wine-of-the-Month Club.

The estate, owned by the Bottega family, also produces a tomato pasta-friendly sangiovese, a spare-rib-loving zinfandel, a Cape blend (which won double Gold at the Michelangelo’s) and a viognier, which works with aromatic curries.

The Bordeaux blend 2006 boasts cassis, marzipan, dark fruits and a smooth finish. Marketing director Roberto Bottega explains: “The Decanter Trophy-winning 2006, a blend of 43 percent cabernet sauvignon, 31 percent merlot and 25 percent cab franc, is perhaps a bit fresher and better balanced than the previous vintages. I think the higher cabernet franc percentage is doing the trick.”

It certainly is. Sells for R180 ex-cellar.

Hartenberg, another Stellenbosch estate, is one of the country’s oldest shiraz producers. It is renowned for its consistently good wines, no doubt owing to the fact that the estate holds back its wines to mature for four years before release. The 2007 is well structured, with subtle tannins, rich spice and mulberries. Sells for about R130 ex-cellar.

It’s never too cold for a glass of chenin and one in particular deserves a mention. Waterkloof recently won the Regional Trophy for Best South African White Single Varietal over £10 (R108) and a Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards with two wines in the estate’s Circumstance range.

The first was for the limited-release 2009 old bush vine chenin blanc and the gold for the 2008 syrah.

Winemaker Werner Engelbrecht attributes his success to terroir: “The distinctive character of each of our classic wines is defined in part by the unique symphony of fortuitous circumstances including soil, aspect and altitude, which all play a vital role in the making of a world-class wine – hence the name Circumstance.” It sells for R90 a bottle.

Lastly, for those who equate tequila to paint-stripper, premium producer Patrón (renowned for its coffee tequila) has released Silver tequila, an unwooded variety that is light, fresh and elegant. It’s best served chilled. Expect to cough up R399. - The Star


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