It’s our favourite time of year – the time of celebration, gathering, love, and plenty of delicious food and incredible beverages.
That said, let’s delve into the world of food and beverage pairing. Below, Elena Venzo, who is the general manager at boutique liquor outlet and e-commerce supplier Dry Dock Liquor, shares some of her delightfully delicious ideas that you can try this holiday season.
You cannot have a festive season without a good MCC. My pick for this year would be Genevieve' Brut' Blanc de Blancs Cap Classique 2016. This is also an exquisite and sophisticated glass of bubbles — 100% chardonnay grapes from Bot River and aged on the lees for three years. The effects are undeniable in that this is an MCC that you can drink a lot of, but it also has a bit more depth and complexity if you want to engage with it in that way.
MCC's like this, especially Blancs de Blancs, which are 100% chardonnay, pair incredibly with oysters. But this as your only pairing option is risky, so my other options would be some lovely battered white fish cubes, like hake or cod with a tangy fennel tartar dip, or a beautiful smoked trout salad; with bay rocket, fennel, and fried capers of course.
Swerwer Chenin blanc! One of my favourite chenins from Swartland! It is a focused and lovely expression of the grape variety from Swartland, an area becoming increasingly famous for the Chenin that it is producing. This wine has excellent acidity and superb balance! I love the texture and minerality and the intensity of flavours that comes from this wine.
I would pair this with croquet's de Jamon Serrano (ham and chicken croquettes)! A lovely crispy crunchy outer encasing a beautiful creamy cheesy inner with subtle sweet paprika flavours and cubes of cured meat, preferably jamon to top it off.
Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon, I have to put this wine forward; it impressed me this year. As a cooler climate cabernet sauvignon, I couldn't believe its elegance and nuanced flavours – the red fruit of cherries and other stone fruit being more prominent than the darker fruit spectrum. Being South African and loving my red meat (on a braai), I would pair this with a lovely dry-aged T-bone with salt, pepper, and really, really hot wood fire.
A sorely misunderstood category of wine, my pick for the end of the evening would be the Boschendal Vin D`Or Late Harvest 2018. I think that the reason people are afraid of these fortified or sweet wines is that these wines are designed for food - we don’t always allow them to stand out properly.
By not pairing these wines with the correct ‘desserts’ - the wines don’t have a chance to shine. This is a combination of Weisser Riesling from Durbanville and Viognier from the Elgin Valley, both un-irrigated vineyards. This beautiful natural sweet wine is fabulously balanced with an incredible intensity from an extended hanging time on the vines. I would pair this with a good old-fashioned cheese board. Make sure that your cheeseboard has a combination of different textured cheeses.