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Red wines for winter and their food pairings

Pairing wine and food is not always the easiest thing to do. Picture: Pexels/Megan (Markham) Bucknall

Pairing wine and food is not always the easiest thing to do. Picture: Pexels/Megan (Markham) Bucknall

Published May 26, 2022

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Winter is here! Gone are the days of fresh seafood and light curry paired with crisp chenin blanc and fruity sauvignon.

Pairing wine and food is not always the easiest thing to do. Whether preparing a dinner for a special occasion or just a meal with friends, wine and food pairings can be a challenge.

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So, if you want to plan a special winter meal for you and your family but are unsure which wines to choose, take some inspiration.

Steenberg Five Lives Red Blend 2019

Picture: Roos Nortier

Steenberg Vineyards have recently released an exciting new Bordeaux-style red blend in recognition of the resilience and courage of their pioneering 17th-century founder, Catharina Ras.

Plush and enchanting, the wine embraces the silky elegance of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, a showcase of the farm’s focus on traditional Bordeaux varieties.

Cellarmaster Elunda Basson says with their new red blend, they show their admiration for their remarkable founder, Ras by imagining her life of adventure and zeal into a tale of five chapters, each chronicling a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The red blend is a medium-bodied, lush and structured wine with a smooth, velvety texture and great length. Expect notes of blackcurrant cassis, basil and plum underpinned by an earthy character so typical of Steenberg’s distinctive terroir.

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Merlot (76%) forms the backbone of this wine with clean, bright fruit adding subtle freshness, while cabernet sauvignon (24%) lends structure.

Food pairing: Pulled pork gnocchi, pumpkin gnocchi, red pepper, and heirloom tomato ragout, pumpkin seeds, and smoked Gruberg.

Stellenbosch Hills Merlot 2018

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Paprika mushroom soup. Picture: Ilse Van Der Merwe

Stellenbosch Hills Merlot’s enchanting whiffs of violet and cherry blossom are the first impression. The wine is well balanced and the velvety smooth palate rewards with luscious ripe plum and melting chocolate. It won Double Gold at the 2021 National Wine Challenge and was named Red Wine of the Year in the 2021 Ultra Value Wine Challenge.

Food pairing: A Hungarian-style paprika mushroom soup. Foodie and cookbook author Ilse van der Merwe, aka The Food Fox, says this hearty, earthy, meatless soup is made with Stellenbosch Hills Chenin Blanc. Van der Mwerwe says its crisp acidity just lifts the dish, but also impeccably meets the wine that is served alongside, and on the other hand, the umami flavours conjured up by the mushrooms and paprika really connect with the merlot, thanks in particular to the wine’s oak and spice.

The De Krans Tritonia 2018

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The De Krans Tritonia 2018 is a full-bodied wine with flavours of violets, dark fruit and chocolate, with savoury notes. Using the traditional warm climate grapes of Portugal, this rich and powerful wine is perfect for winter days, wrapped next to a fire, with wholesome comfort foods.

Food pairing: Any delicious rich winter warmers. This is a match made in heaven for easy home dining and one-pot casseroles. The De Krans Tritonia Red has enough power to match hearty oxtail or lamb potjie. It also works beautifully with venison and ostrich steaks or ostrich pies, or beef fillet.

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