Vinatics tasting notes for December

All you need to know about our Classical Vinatics combinations this month.

by: Cathy Marston | 04 Aug 2011

Almenkerk is a new kid on the block when it comes to winemaking in this country but you wouldn’t think so when you taste their classy, classic cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc. I was lucky enough to taste an older vintage at lunch the other day – proof that well-made, elegant, citrussy lively wines can last longer than you think.

As per last month, the classic match for Sauvignon Blanc is Goats’ cheese but Caro being Caro, she’s sexed it up with some delicious beetroot as well in this Beetroot tart with goats’ cheese mousse. Luckily the Almenkerk has enough palate-weight to handle the earthy flavours and provides a refreshing zing to the dish.

Haskell Vineyards is still on the high of providing some of the wines for the Monaco Royal Wedding but you don’t need to have a princely-sized pocket to afford their wines when their delicious Dombeya range comes in at such good prices. This Chardonnay is in high demand, selling out every year without fail and offering delicious yellow-stonefruit flavours perfectly balanced by mellow oak and a lively acidity.
The Dombeya has plenty of depth of flavour and will go beautifully with the dessert of Plum tarte tatin with cardamom ice-cream.

I sometimes think that If Nederburg only ever made sweet wines, then cellarmaster Razvan Macici would be a happy man! Mind you, so would I, especially with examples such as the 2010 Winemaker’s Reserve NLH which offers sweet honey and almond notes but without any cloying stickiness and all at an amazingly low price.

Sweet wines don’t just go with desserts – other classic matches include blue cheese and foie gras. Our budget won’t stretch quite as far as that, but a rich, smooth Gorgonzola crème brûlée should fit the bill just as well with the sweet fruit and acidity of the wine off-setting the rich custard to perfection.  

I am gradually getting converted to becoming a Pinotage-lover as opposed to a Pinotage take-it-or-leave-it-er and it is wines such as this one from Middelvlei which have made me such a fan. Juicy black fruit, elegant tannins and endless finish, this is a deeply satisfying wine whatever you drink it with.

For my money, the very best match for an African grape is African game so Chef Caro has gone for lovely Ostrich keftedes where the spice of the meat is more than matched by the spicy notes in the wine whilst the tannins freshen up the mouth beautifully.

I tasted the 2006 Le Riche Cabernet at the Nederburg Auction tasting a couple of weeks ago and frankly, it was the highlight of the morning. All the 2006 is saved for the auction, but the 2008 is tasting equally good with ripe, elegant black fruit, layers of complexity and a soft but positive finish. Wine doesn’t get much better than this.

Classic Cabernet combo is Lamb and Caro hasn’t mucked around with this at all. Her Stuffed deboned lamb is fall-off-the-bone droolicious and when it is matched with this Cabernet, I am confidently expecting an orgasmic experience all round!

I have to admit that I was a little sceptical about the 2008 Boplaas Chocolate Cape Vintage Port when Rozanne Nel made me try it in Calitzdorp recently.  But they haven’t done anything to make the wine taste like this, it’s all natural and actually it’s extremely subtle, quite refreshing and really makes a dessert wine out of a port.

What else could Caro put with a Chocolate Port but a chocolate dessert? Caro says keep things funky and fun and try pairing this with a spoon of Nutella.

Read more on: classic  |  vinatics

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