Salt and Wine pairing
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Salt and Wine Pairing at the “Cellar in the Mountain”

Die Bergkelder or Cellar under the mountain is the home of Fleur De Cap wines. They have a unique tasting that is served on a salt plate – you can lick it, but apparently that would be weird. These plates are mainly used as a hot plate and heated until they are white (normally pink at room temperature) and then food is cooked on them. The food leaches the salt from the plate and seasons itself, how unique 🙂 Moving on to the actual tasting, we are given melba toast with a variety of pate’s/toppings that are chosen to bring out the flavour of the wines that you will taste. Now as we all know, I am no foodie or sommelier I just enjoy both food and wine so here is my go at what the tasting was all about:

Tasting 1 – Unfilterd Savignon Blanc and Sulfuric Volcano Salt

Bikes 'n Wines Blog Post - Salt and Wine Pairing

The 2014 unfiltered Sav Blanc is a very young vintage, the colour is slightly green because of this and it has a slightly high acidity. This vintage is paired with a salty Dolmada that has been soaked in the “fart salt”. This sulphuric volcanic salt from Pakistan has the characterististic sulphuric smell of egg that I don’t think is that bad but apparently I am in the minority with this. The salt is very pungent when tasted but our taster assured us that on popcorn it is delicious. The briney taste of the dolmads works very well to reduce the acidity in the young vintage and when the acidity is reduced the fruitiness of the wine is brought out which for me softened the first taste. My fellow Bikies ‘n Wines colleagues tasted some asparagus notes as well, but I got stuck on the fruity side of things.

Tasting 2 – Unfilteres Charddonnay 2013 and Hawaian black Lava Salt

Bikes 'n Wines Blog Post - Salt and Wine Pairing

The Chardonnay is wooded for 8 months in new French oak barrels, the colour is a lot lighter than the sauvingnon blanc with a much more robust buttery feel to it. Our pairing was with a green olive tapendade made with almond paste (I kept calling it pesto as it seemed like a mix between tampenade and pesto – I’m not a foodie so don’t sue me). The black salt used in this is very interesting to look at and taste as we are so not used to seeing black salt, this extreme colour is caused by the last process of the salt production where it is infused in activated coconut shell charcoal which gives it a more intense flavour. The almonds in the tampenade bring out the wooded quality in the wine and the olives (technically a fruit) highlites certain citrus notes come to the surface at the same time. I couldn’t get enough of this pairing and had to restrain myself so that I could mix and match the wines after the tastings.

Tasting 3 – Unfiltered 2011 merlot and Murray Ruver Pink Salt

Bikes 'n Wines Blog Post - Salt and Wine Pairing

This vintage is barrelled in french oak for 18 months producing a very tannin rich (that bitter dry mouth taste) wine but the tannins are not as aggressive as say the Cabernet which we will taste next (always start with the lighter wines and make your way to the heavier ones or you will destroy your pallat for that tasting). When a wine has a high amount of tannins it generally means that it has a good ageing ability and will “soften” over time.  The chicken liver pate with the sweet caremalized onion made with the Murray River Pink Salt it a very rich pairing that works quite well to soften the acidity in the wine wich then gives the sweeter onions a chance to bring out some of the fruityness in the wine. I always love how all wine is classified as fruity and then realised that it is made of grapes so this really shouldn’t be to surprising. This pairing is had the entire group using their fingers to try and get the utmost out of our little jars of pate – scrumptiouliscious

Tasting 4 – Unfiltered 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Bikes 'n Wines Blog Post - Salt and Wine Pairing

The Cabernet sauvignon is a heavier more substantial wine that is matured in French oak barrels for 16 months, you would expect to have this with a large steak, but Bergkelder has chosen to pair it with a Sundried Tomato and Mature gouda combination that is seasoned with the Red Alea Salt. The sweetness of the tomato is not something that I would readily pair with a red wine but with the sharpness of the gouda bringing down the tannins, the fruity tomato seem so  accentuate the plumy flavours that are hiding really well in the wine.

Tasting 5 – Noble late harvest and Khoisan Salt Flakes

Bikes 'n Wines Blog Post - Salt and Wine Pairing

Fluer de Cap’s late harvest is a noble late harvest, this means that the vineyards have been infected with the botrytis mould, this sounds pretty bad but a wine cannot be called a “noble” harvest if this infection hasn’t happened. The mould leaches most of the water out of the wine leaving the sugar and fruit acid and minerals in a higher concentrate than usual. The noble late harvest from fluer de cap has 186g of sugar in it per litre, this is SUPER sweet, but isn’t as syrupy as you would expect (a dry wine generally has under 5 grams of sugar in it). The first thing you are supposed to know when pairing a dessert wine is that the wine should always be as sweet or sweeter than the dessert in question. The pairing of this decadent sweetness is complimented very well with the bergkelder salted fudge infused with West Coast Khoisan salt flakes. The salt acts as a great way to bring down the sweetness so you can taste the peache and honey flavours hidden in the wine. This is the perfect way to end off a great dinner or just a simple tasting and I may have had to ask for another piece of fudge or two because it is just so more-ish. The overall experience is a decadent one that leaves you ready to sink into a puffy armchair and smile wistfully out the window for the rest of the day.

Join us on tour and mention that you want to go on a Bergkelder Salt tasting and we will happily oblige

Post by: Tarryn Povey – General Manager

Wine and pizza pairing
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Pizza A la Mulderbosch

Pizza travels the world and comes in all shapes and sizes. Round, rectangular, folded over as a calzone or as flat bread, this creation is still one of the most popular dishes in the world and the varieties and toppings are endless. Even though the perfect pizza (or pizzaioli as the Italians call it) is created by the Napoli in the way it was first done in the 17th century, the dish has evolved and migrated with its people. If you eat a pizza in the United States, the dough is rich and the bottom as thick as a car wheel, topped with kilograms of cheddar. We as South Africans have stayed quite close to the original recipe, but our version will be topped with a lot of local ingredients, such as biltong, pineapple or avocado. Most South African restaurants that are famous for their pizzas will also prepare the dish in the same ways as the Italians do, in a wood-fired oven, to keep the same authentic taste as la mama used to make them. Mulderbosch Wine Estate has perfected the art of traditional pizza-making and is one of the best places to taste a wood-fired pizza. Sit on the large terrace overlooking the beautiful slopes of the mountain or crawl together in front of the massive fireplace in winter to nibble on their amazing variety of pizzas. Or, book a Winelands Luxury Tour with Bikes ‘n Wines and experience pizza in a completely different way, paired with specially chosen wines. After we cycled a few kilometers to the top of the hill, some snacks are well-deserved, preferably accompanied by some good wines of course, and this is why we choose Mulderbosch. We were welcomed into the tasting room by the smell of melted cheese and the smile of the friendly staff members that have already started preparing the food for us. Sweaty, thirsty and curious, we slide around the table and listen to the beautiful story of Mulderbosch. The vineyard started producing wine in 1989 and has created some amazing brands since then, including ‘South Africa’s most celebrated Sauvignon Blanc’. Their signature brands are the Faithful Hound Range, the Savignon Blanc and of course an amazing noble late harvest

Wine tasting at Mulderbosch on a Bikes 'n Wines Tour

Mulderbosch has a large range to choose from, we make sure to pick our favourites

The general rule of thumb is to start with the white wines and slowly make your way to the reds and sweet dessert wines. We however, were encouraged to try different combinations with the pizza and decide which flavors WE thought worked well together. It was nice making up our own minds during the tasting.

Mulders

The pairings that were put together where the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (2010) in combination with the Artichoke and Black Olive Pizza, he Cabernet Sauvignon Rose (2013) with the Proscuito, Rocket and Pecorino pizza. A deliscious Portebilini Mushroom pizza with the Yardstick Pinot Noir (2012) – showing that a red wine can be paired wonderfully with a vegitarian dish and a Biltong, Sweet Pepperdew and avo pizza with the Faithful Hound (2012). My absolute favorite however, was the Fig, Blue Cheese and Panchetta pizza, which was paired with Noble late harvest 2011. I am not normally a fan of sweet wine and would never pair a dessert wine with pizza, but the combination was perfect and brought out the sweet flavors of the figs and strengthened the salty taste of the pancetta allowing the wine to show its unique flavors with each bite. Overwhelmed by the explosion of different flavors and beautiful wine, it was time to set off to our next wine and food pairing. But truth to be said, I could have stayed there all day. South African wine and pizza really are the perfect pair!!

Post by: Myrna Van Pinxteren – Marketing

Biltong
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Biltong and Red Wine Pairing, the Taste of Africa

Biltong is a truly South African Experience and a trip to the Winelands would not be the same without it. At La Bri in Franschhoek they offer a sweet (chocolate) and savoury (biltong) pairing I only managed to stay for the biltong pairing but that just gives me an excuse to go back and experience the other tasty delights this charming winery has to offer. We spread out on the luxurious leather couches while the wines where explained to us: The pairing consisted of 3 red wines with 3 different “biltongs” 1. La Bri Merlot 2012 paired with Angus Beef Biltong La Bri merlotGood beef biltong is always great and beef is the general accompaniment to a good red. The salty taste of the biltong brought out a few of the flavours in the merlot that I would not normally have picked up in this subtle vintage. To be honest I seem to have moved away from Merlot as a red wine. I feel the problem with tasting so many delicious wines as a “job”, I am struggling to find a merlot that has a sharp enough taste for it to be very memorable. This is by no means an insult to the wine. I feel it is a great wine that I would be able to drink all evening on a chilly winters night or even slightly chilled in summer (have I become one of those people?) and the salty beef managed to pull a few of the nuances out that enhanced a bit of the flavour for me.   2. La Bri Syrah 2012 paired with Droewors La Bri Syrah Droewors is generally quite a fatty snack, I really liked this with the rich tannins in the Syrah. The mild flavour of the wors did not have a huge effect in the wine itself, it was more the fatty, buttery taste of the droewors that softened the wine and as soon as that tannin was removed, one could linger a bit more of the berry rich tastes (instead of feeling like you have been sucking a dischcloth).     3. La Bri Affinity (Bordeaux blend) 2012 paired with Ostrich Biltong La Bri Affinity I am a huge Bordeaux blend fan and a huge ostrich biltong so I only have praise for this wine. I love looking at everyone else’s glasses after a tasting. You can see which wine was everyone’s favourite by seeing what they drank the most of – every single perosn had finished of this one. The Salt of the biltong brought out the almost cherry sweetness that I have come to love in a bordeaux blend, one that you can almost always find if you look hard enough, the richness of the biltong also worked very well with the richness of the wine to ensure you weren’t completely overwhelmed by either taste and that the wine and biltong complimented each other perfectly.   My review of the La Bri biltong tasting is a short and sweet one, although we did arrive at the wine farm early-ish to start on the red wines, the atmosphere was inviting and the staff friendly, so we did not feel rushed and when you are tasting red wines this early you need to take your time. This was the perfect start to a day in the winelands, and a great way to enjoy 2 of South Africa’s favourites – Red wine and Red meat 🙂

Post by: Tarryn Povey – Operations Manager

Wine and food pairing
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4 Golden Rules to Food and Wine Pairing

Being involved in the wine and wine tasting industry Bikes ‘n Wines is relishing in the fact that our wine farms are slowly starting to catch on to the huge appeal of food and wine pairing tasters. The reason we pair wine with food is to enhance both the flavors of the food and of the wine itself. One should never overpower the other. The relationship should be mutually beneficial and work together to create deliciousness. A number of the wine farms that Bikes ‘n wines visits, offer a variety of decadent pairings. These pairings are all unique to the farms we visit, and all offer something different to learn and take with you to your next wine tasting/drinking experience (Plus you get to taste some amazing wines).

Tarryn’s 4 golden rules to Food and Wine pairing

There are a few things to keep in mind when pairing food with your wine:
1. Start with an open mind There are no hard fast rules to food and wine pairing. We drink wine to enjoy it, not because we are following a manual so when pairing foods with your wine you are allowed to be daring. Sometimes you will get it horribly wrong, but then you probably have some great food and some great wine, so in the end you are still winning, even if they don’t pair as well as they should.
2. Think about the food your are pairing AND the wine as a whole and not just the taste I know I know, I also thought it was all about the taste, but it seems there is more too it than that. Of course the flavour is a huge component in a pairing but also the way the food and the wine is made, taking into account weight, structure and bouquet. For example a delicate appetizer would pair with a delicately structured wine rather than the fuller bodied “robust” vintages. With regards to taste, remember that opposites attract as well as similarities attract. A sweet does not always have to be with a sweet, so have some fun and mix it up.

Food and Wine Pairing Tips The racey acidity of sparkling wine and the rich texture of a meat pate is an example of a contrasting pairing.Pairings with Bikes 'n Wines The proteins and fats in cheese can soften the perception of tannins in wine, making a wine seem less bitter and more fruity.

3. Know how to taste the food with the wine This is the only time I will tell you what you should do. This is how I was taught and some people do it differently so it is only a suggestion. A suggestion that works for me though

  • Take the wine, have a good sniff and take a sip.
  • Think about what you taste, not what the bottle told you, you should taste.
  • Think about what you smell, some wines smell wonderfully fruity and sweet and then are surprisingly dry on the pallat, notice these differences
  • Now try the food, think about it in the same way.
  • Try break down the flavors a little (see tastes below and embellish on these if possible).
  • Notice if you recognize any of the same flavors that you thought about in the wine.
  • Now try the wine again, has the addition of the food flavors in your mouth changed anything about the wine? (Hopefully for the better if not, try a new wine).

4. Know your 5 basic tastes: Knowing the 5 different tastes can really help you to identify hat you are getting from the wines, these are of course the BASIC tastes and there are many more subtleties that we can add to it, but i am not a lecturer so you can discover those on your own.I will not go as far as to tell you what goes with what because that’s the fun of it isn’t it?

  • Sweet
  • Sour/Acidity
  • Salty
  • Bitter/Tannins
  • Umami (Savoury)

How do you put your newly learnt skills to test? Join us on a tour – especially our Winelands Luxury tour and use these skills when tasting some great combinations lovingly paired by the resident wine makers.

Post By: Tarryn Povey – Operations Manager

Neethlingshof_Pairing
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Neetlingshof Everyday pairings

The first thing we were told when we sat down for this tastings was that the point if this pairing was not only to find food that brings out the flavors of the wine but to pair the wines with food that everyone has access to. It is easy to appreciate wine pairings when paired with uniquely crafted gourmet meals, but what about when we are at home cooking everyday, normal people food – its also possible and not too hard. This pairing menu is the winter pairing menu at Neethlingshof, so it uses traditional and typical meals that we would eat at home during winter Neethlinghsof Premium, Chenin Blanc – Creamy Tomato Soup  

Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate HistoryspacerThis Chenin is classed as a Fresh and Fruity Chenin Blanc and its light green hue when poured mirrors this classification. I found the first sip quite acidic but then again it was noon on a work day and I think my brain hadn’t got itself around the fact that we were wine tasting.When it comes to white wines and winter I find I have a palate that tends towards a more wooded style so to join this light wine with a hot soup was a little strange to me. Tomato soup can be quite acidic so pairing these two acidic tastes in my head was not going to work too well. I was proven wrong, as at first, the initial sour taste (acidity) of the wine brought out the sweetness in the tomato fruits whilst the cream in the soup worked with the wine to balance out the sharpness of its acidity. I think this is a good example of how a food and wine should work together to bring out/soften characteristics that will compliment each other. Good Job

  Neethlinghsof Premium, Gewürztraminer – Samosa and homemade fruit chutney  

Bikes 'n wines Wine Estate HistoryspacerThe first thing that struck me about this tasting was the smell of the Gewürtzraminer it is a very aromatic wine that is super deceiving. It smells very sweet and fruity, but when you taste it, it is an off dry wine. This definitely took me by surprise, you have NO idea what you are tasting when comparing it to the smell. The pairing with the samosa is an interesting one, the curry lowers a bit of the acidity in the wine and brings out a few of the fruit flavors I found the chutney to be a bit more complimentary than the samosa itself, I think because I was still searching for the fruity taste that I’d smelt – I personally tasted a hint of peach but my entourage tasted more litchi and pineapple coming out. We did do this tasting in winter so obviously the warmness of the curry is a great choice for Cape Winters, showing you that you can drink a white wine, even when its pouring outside. I myself would like to pair this with a sushi dish as I would love to see what the freshness of the fish would bring out in the wine, this is not a recommended dish if you search what to pair with this wine, but to be honest almost all other Gewürtzraminers I have tasted have been sweeter. I say this because on the nose you get very strong fruit flavors that don’t come out as easily in the taste, I would like to see what a delicate fish would bring out in it.

  Neetlingshof Premium, Malbec – Meatballs on Rocket Leaves  

Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate HistoryspacerAs someone who does not drink a lot of Malbec (unless it is in a bordeux blend.. yum) I don’t really have a starting view point on this one. this specific vintage had quite soft tannins which I believe is strange for a Malbec. Pairing this with the meatballs is an easy one, as we all love our medium bodied wines with some meat – but what I like best here was the rocket, the meatballs had a little bit of spice and the spicy rocket flavors added to it worked really nicely to ring out the sweetness of the fruit in the wine (like when you sprinkle pepper over strawberries, if you haven’t tried it – please do). I found this wine very more-ish and could easily see myself getting through a bottle or two way to easily.

  Neethlingshof Sort Story Collection, Owl Post Pinotage – Steak Sandwich with caramelized onion and chocolate shavings  

Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate HistoryspacerThe Owls Post is a single vineyard pinotage, so the management of the vineyard that is used has a huge role to play in the wine-making process and the winemaker is often a lot more involved.A single vineyard wine, means that all the grapes for this wine are grown on one estate. Neethlingshof strategically plants the Pinotage grapes on there estate to ensure they get what they want from this varietal (ie. using dryland vines on westerly facing slopes 120m above sea level in soil originating from decomposed granite). Steak with chocolate shavings is the classic choice for pinotage which has become synonymous with chocolate and coffee in South Africa. The chocolate was dark and bitter and the caramelized onion not too sweet, this let the undertones of fruit (stewed prunes is what I think of) come out a little in the wine. The small roll and steak provide a nice hearty base to match the robustness of the wine. I did not enjoy this as much as I normally do, which for me is strange as I usually love my pinot’s but I think this just means that i will have to go back and try it all over again 🙂

  Neethlingsof Short Story Collection, The Maria Noble Late Harvest – Malva Pudding  

Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate HistoryspacerDessert, dessert oh how I love dessert, and with almost 220 grams of residual sugar in this vintage I got all the sweet I could handle. The Maria NOBLE late harvest uses grapes planted between 140m above sea- level. Why am I telling you this? These vineyards are on a hill that are exposed o the cooling mists of False Bay, and these help to create the right conditions for the botrytis fungus to flourish (needed to leach the water from the grapes and enabling it to be called a “Noble”wine) – interesting? – well I thought it was 🙂 I realize that Malva pudding is a South African favorite and a winter favourite but too be honest I was a little overpowered by the sweetness of the sticky pudding and the wine together in the beginning. I found a solution though, eat and drink slower (I think I am a gobbler). First tasting the VERY sweet Maria gave the malva pudding a lot more characteristics and I found that the sweetness of the wine allowed me to taste the different nuances, and flavors in the pudding that if I was eating on its own I may not have noticed (ie. the saltiness that compliments the buttery flavors). Having very small sips of the wine would keep these tastes working, and you ended up with a few more sips when your pudding was done to enjoy at your leisure. I personally would like to enjoy this wine with something sharp like a cheese platter or some savoury nuts which I think would definitely bring out some of the hidden flavors in the wine as well.

 

Lets just say that after this meal I walked out of he wine cellar feeling well warmed inside (needed, because it was a chilly day) and had a pink glow to my cheeks. I can’t wait to come back in Summer and try the new menu – why don’t you join us on a tour and try it for yourself!

Post By: Tarryn Povey – Operations Manager