Yes – I know that traditionally, we all drink beer with a braai but there’s nothing wrong with breaking open a few cheeky South African wines as well. Here’s a little selection of lovely tipples which have come my way recently and some suggestions of what to drink with them this Wine Wednesday.
De Krans Chardonnay 2013 (R49 cellar door)
This is a new range from Calitzdorp port-specialists, De Krans, and is aimed at the everyday, easy-going drinking market which describes me to a ‘T’! There’s also a red and an unusual pink made from Tinta Barocca and all three wines share the same good price and easy-drinkability. This Chardonnay is unwooded and is light and fresh, uncomplicated and friendly and I defy anyone not to enjoy glugging down a bottle or two on Wednesday! Try pairing it with a classic snoek braai and see how well the wine goes with the apricot sweetness of the fish.
Bosman Walker Bay 47 Varietal Ros (R70 cellar door)
Yes, this isn’t a typo – there really are 47 varieties of grapes in this wine! Admittedly, some of them may only have a few grapes in the final blend which is made mostly from Cinsaut, Carignan, Durif, Grenache Noir and Shiraz, but still, they’re all in there, making for a truly interesting and exciting wine. It comes from the Bosman’s vineyard nursery in Walker Bay and is the perfect Spring wine, being fresh, zesty, fruity with a lovely herby/strawberry core. Try it with this Mediterranean-inspired boerewors roll for a delicious Heritage Day feast.
Leopard Spot White 2013 (R75 cellar door)
Proudly South African with some Italian flair – that’s Ayama Wines, owned by Italians Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz who were delighted to find leopard on their Paarl farm after buying it in 2005.There are two wines in the range which celebrates their elusive guest and the white is a great wine for a braai. It’s a combination of old-vine Chenin, Chardonnay and Viognier making for a fragrant wine with plenty of body and lovely refreshing acidity. Try it with sticky chicken on the braai - you’ll find the orange and cumin is an inspired combination!
Nederburg Heritage Heroes ‘The Motorcycle Marvel’ 2011 (R120 cellar door)
I like this range of interesting blends and it certainly seems appropriate to recommend one now, with Heritage Day looming large. This is a Rhône blend of Grenache, Carignan, Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Cinsaut and is named in honour of Gunther Brozel, the legendary winemaker of Nederburg who first started their tradition of amazing sweet wines, amongst other achievements. This is a generous wine with lots of upfront fruit and a sweet-edged tone to it. Try it with Asian Pork Belly.
Strandveld The Navigator 2012 R168 cellar door
Another Rhône blend, this time of Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier, comes from the Southernmost tip of South Africa – Elim. Exciting soils and hectically-windy conditions make it a tricky place to grow grapes but Conrad Vlok has had ten years of practice and is seriously hitting his straps at this point in time. Elegant and perfumed with chewy black fruit, I can recommend no better combination than the one Conrad himself suggests – “Springbok back fillet. Mix coriander, black pepper, crushed chilli and cumin to make a lovely spice crust for the meat. Wet the meat with olive oil and soya sauce, coat the meat with the mixture and braai either whole on the coals.” Perfect!