See you later, white wines and pink drinks. Thanks for the memories. Much love. It’s May, so understandably we’re in need of comfort that goes beyond sweaters and binge-watching Netflix favourites. We need wine! These are out top five recommendations that make ideal pairings for warm oven-roasted foods and chilly weather. Put down the pumpkin spice lattes and try one of these.
Constantia Glen THREE 2016
This classic Constantia red wine shouts elegance. A blend of three bordeaux (pronounced ‘bore-doe’) red grape varieties, this a medium-bodied wine with aromas of expressive dark fruit flavours of blueberry, blackcurrant and plums. There’s also a complex collection of savoury dried herb and peppery notes and an underlying red raspberry perfume. The velvety tannins grip the palate in a vibrant intensity of flavour, while the wine’s inherent freshness brings about a long, well-defined finish. It’s bold with powerful dark fruit flavours yet possesses old-world charm with its delicate herbal fynbos notes and fine-grain tannins.
Pair it with: The options are endless! Crostini of thinly sliced prosciutto with cream cheese and rocket, slow-cooked lamb shank with roasted vine tomatoes and sautéed carrots, Asian-style crispy duck pancakes infused with cherry, chilli and miso or barbeque pulled pork sliders.
R280 from the cellar door
Steenberg Nebbiolo 2016
Nebbiolo (pronounced ‘nebby-oh-low’) is a full-bodied red wine more famously known by the two production regions of Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy. On appearance, this wine is slightly brick red with a clear yet bright hue. The bouquet displays notes of savoury strawberry compote, aniseed and truffle, along with notes of leather and red cherry. The wine has the natural tart acidity and grippy tannins of Nebbiolo, accompanied with hints of sour cherry, raspberry and tobacco leaf. It shows beautiful fruit and floral characters in youth, but will develop well over the next seven to 10 years. This fascinating, almost deceptive-tasting wine is a must-try!
Pair it with: Nebbiolo is traditionally paired with Italian foods – think salad with fresh burrata or pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano, béchamel sauce or shredded beef ragu. However, also goes well with Asian cuisine with brown sauces and Asian five-spice sauces.
R295 from the cellar door
Tokara Reserve Collection Noble Late Harvest 2017
Autumn isn’t just red wine season. It’s dessert wine season too. Made from 100% botrytised sauvignon blanc grapes, this inspiring golden nectar is adorned in a shimmering gift pack. ‘Noble Rot’ or botrytis basically does two things to wine: It intensifies the sweetness level and adds flavour and complexity. This wine is the perfect balance between sweetness and acidity: It teems with honey, dried fig, apricot and quince with hints of lemongrass and spicy notes typical of botrytised grapes. Surprisingly, it’s dry on the finish, enhanced by a slight grip of tannins imparted during fermentation on the skins and in oak barrels.
Pair it with: Just because Noble Late Harvest is a dessert wine doesn’t mean you can only enjoy it with pudding. This wine is also a classic match for blue cheese where the sweetness calms the umami flavours as well as rich liver pâté or parfait.
R350 exclusively from the Tokara cellar and delicatessen (includes the gift pack)
Roodeberg Reserve 2017
This wine that was previously only available in selected international markets can now be enjoyed by local wine lovers! The refined red blend is meticulously crafted from cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Petit Sirah plus splashes of cabernet franc, merlot and malbec. Expect bursts of red plum, blueberries, crushed herbs and tobacco leaf. Hints of dark chocolate and oak rise from the glass while the silky soft tannins complement the intricate layers. It can taste both rich and light-bodied, but goes down a treat thanks to lively acidity. When it comes to autumn-friendly wines, this is arguably one of the friendliest.
Pair it with: If you want to champion the fruit flavours in this wine, don’t pair it with chocolate. Instead, try it with a mushroom pizza with tomato sauce, a charred gruyère burger, mushroom stroganoff, marinated ribeye steak or braised short ribs.
R160 from selected Pick n Pay stores
Survivor Pinotage 2017
If you love a bold barbeque-friendly wine, this one is definitely worth investigating. Survivor takes its name from the tale of a fearless Nguni cow that jumped off an open bakkie, landing with just a few scrapes and bruises in the middle of a Swartland vineyard. Made from 100% Swartland Pinotage (a grape crossing of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir) grapes, the wine is a hearty expression of ripe prune, plum and juicy cherries complemented by elegant notes of spice and cedar. It’s common to find purple and black fruits in Pinotage, but in this one you’ll taste amazing red fruit flavours too. You should expect tannins to be bold but have a sweet note on the finish – almost like flavoured smoke.
Pair it with: Serve it with any roasted meats and vegetables topped with flavourful sauces like barbeque, teriyaki and plum sauce. It’s a match made in heaven for sweet barbeque ribs, roast chicken, boerewors, steak and gouda cheese.
R185 from the cellar door