I love seafood – it’s healthy for me, has much less fat than meat, takes no time whatsoever to cook (if any at all) and really makes me feel good about myself when I eat it. As long as it’s SASSI-approved – you can check it out here to make sure – then I think we should go for it with gusto and a great glass of wine. Here are ten recommendations of different types of wines for five different kinds of seafood – one reasonably-priced for everyday and one as a splash-out special occasion option. Enjoy.
Woolworths Simonsig Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2010 R99.95 from Woolworths
This is the second vintage of this wine and what distinguishes it from other fizzes is that no sulphur dioxide was added during the winemaking process. They had to take extra care that the fruit didn’t oxidise, but the result is a wine of elegance and finesse, delicate strawberries and a long finish – all with the added kick of being a little bit better for you. Perfect with decadent oysters.
Steenberg 1682 Pinot Noir MCC 2008 R270 from the farm
No shortcuts when it comes to this wine – it’s had pretty much the best of everything from handpicked grapes at low sugar-levels, delicate cellar-handling and then 3 years sat in the bottle with the yeasty lees. The result is a fabulously rich and elegant wine, with layers of complexity, tingling acidity and lively bubbles. Pricey – but hey, you and the oysters are worth it.
Kleine Zalze Gamay Noir 2010 R40 from the farm
This is an unusual grape with only one other producer in the country choosing to use this signature Beaujolais variety. Which is rather a shame because it does make a tasty, lively, fresh and fruity unwooded wine which is perfect for sticking in an ice bucket and enjoying in summer. Lots of strawberries and red cherries with soft tannins – try it with oriental-type marinades on your tuna steak.
Haute Cabriere Unwooded Pinot Noir 2011 R80 from selected retailers
I love a good Pinot Noir but man, they’re expensive! This is a new one, launched this year, from MCC-specialists Haute Cabriere and because it’s unwooded, they’re able to keep the costs down to produce this fruity, lively red which is almost a dark rosé. Definitely one to be chilled, its robust, earthy flavours are a winner for a seared tuna steak on a braai.
Hillock Wines ‘The Barrel Roll’ 2011 R62 from the farm
This is a brand-new winery out in Ladismith in the Little Karoo. Made by Mark Carmichael-Green, who has made plenty of top wines over the years, it’s a blend of Chenin, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. I really liked this wine – it has interest, complexity, depth of flavour and excellent balance of fruit, oak and acidity. I think it would be a great partner to all kinds of seafood, not just mussels and it has definitely made me think again about this up and coming region!
Nederburg Ingenuity White 2010 R160 from selected retail outlets
This is a right mix of grapes and no mistake! Mainly cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc, it also contains a further 7 different varieties, some wooded, some unwooded, all blended together to make a rich and complex, yet still elegant wine. This could easily handle any kind of mussel sauce from a simple Moules Mariniere to a fragrant Thai Green Curry. Delicious wine.
Bilton 'Matt Black' Sauvignon Blanc 2011 R50 from the farm.
The Matt Black red has been a great little glugger for the past few years and gives Bilton a bit of swashbuckling style! This new white partner wine seems destined for similar success – it’s a very well-made example of SA’s favourite summer grape, offering lots of tropical and citrus fruit with enough lively acidity to cut through the richest cut of salmon.
La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2011 R100 from the farm
This is La Motte’s premium range and is made from organically-grown grapes 10kms from the sea in Walker Bay - they don’t promote it as organic because there is quite a palaver to get it all stamped and certified. It’s got everything you’d expect from a classy, cool-climate wine – limey flavours, bouncy acidity and lots of balance and poise. An elegant wine for sushi.
Rhebokskloof Viognier/Shiraz 2011 R62 from selected retail outlets
Blending white Viognier with red Shiraz is a common occurrence in the Rhone where these grapes are from – but it’s generally as a red wine with just a tiny amount of Viognier to perk up the perfume. This is 98% Viognier, harvested early to keep the acidity and fresh apricot flavours and then turned into an onion-skinned blush with just 2% of Shiraz. Interesting and unusual, it’s a great match for a traditional snoek on the braai.
Seven Springs Chardonnay 2010 R114 from the farm
This is the first release of this wine from this tremendously social-media-savvy new winery in Hermanus. Their maiden Sauvignon last year was an instant success and I can easily see this wine following in the same footsteps. Only 30% went through malolactic fermentation which has helped preserve the fresh lemony flavours. Creamy and rounded and showing a beautiful balance between fruit, acidity and gentle oak, this is a winner with a smoked snoek pate.