Last week Wednesday was the official first launch of our “Come Wine with US” wine tasting club. A week ago my foodie Aunt, delicious Di, whom is the only Jew in Robertson that can cook Gammon better than most foodies, sent me a few bottles of wine from the boutique wine cellar Arendsig from the lovely Robertson valley. Lourens van der Westhuizen, better known as “Bibob”, went to school with me and really have a fantastic passion for wines. The Hands on Harvest Fest is approaching at the end of Feb, my Aunt needed my advice on Bibop’s lovely wines as to what type of canape’s to pair them with. Luckily for me this is what I love to do and what better excuse to open a bottle of wine with a few special friends.
I compiled a wine tasting sheet that’s easy and understandable. There is nothing worse than people complicating things especially when it comes to wine. Each person was briefed before hand by email what wine we will be drinking and to bring with some berries, cheese, nuts and something green and salty. The wines were as follow:
Arendsig Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Arendsig Chardonnay 2011
Arendsig Shiraz 2011
Arendsig Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
And so the evening began. I placed all the bottles of wine in the fridge beforehand and took the red wines out a half hour before and opened them. Now normally we serve red wine at European room temperature which is 18 degrees. Please note in Europe only! This is Africa and here we have loads of warm sun and YES we drink ice in our red wine when it’s too warm! The white wine was taken out of the fridge 10 min before, because believe it or not wine that’s too cold can influence the nose and taste as well by not setting free the aromas. Each person received a name in the group that they were refer to as..
Please allow myself to introduce you the team:
The Finance guy – Gerbrant Kruger (sorry was the only pic!)
Dietician Babe – Tarryn
The Stats guy – Peet Stander
Lawyer babe – Licha Oosthuizen
Marketing babe – Charlotta Ullholm (we had to throw in a foreigner there just for the fun of it 🙂
Foodie babe – myself
First up in order was the Sauvignon Blanc 2011.
Our tasting sheet consist our of 4 headings. The “look”…. The “nose”…..The “body”….The “food” ….
Everyone agreed that the bottle was very special and well informed with all the details of the wine . From which block it’s from, till which tank it’s been made in. Finance guy was first up and said that the wine had a very crisp and clear look to it, something quite common to a Sauvignon Blanc. On the nose it was hints of green grassy aromas and lemon flavours, Dietician babe suggested. While having a pungent citrus nose it was surprisingly well balanced on the pallet with a long finish…. This is good sign of a great Sauvignon Blanc. Finance guy bought some lovely pesto along (Thank you Woolies!). It was a perfect match with the Sauvignon Blanc that added and contributed to the lovely grassy flavours of the wine. Lawyer babe suggested a salad which consisted of watermelon, Danish feta, mint and green olive! Not too shabby….
With food and wine pairing you should always bare in mind two golden rules. Either pair something with the wine that is of the same characters e.g. Light lemon notes with green undertones would go lovely with a basil and tomato pasta or pizza. Pair the wine with something that can be quite the opposite e.g Green salad with Danish feta. I prefer paring food and wine that represents the same characters.
Our next bottle of wine was a pretty Arendsig “Chick” Chardonnay 2011! The “look” on this wine had more yellow tones that very typical for a Chardonnay.
Sybil’s Tip – Place the glass with wine in front of a white back ground that will give you more a clear visual of the colour of the wine.
On the “nose” it had lovely characters of vanilla that’s a typical character when a wine had some wood contact in the process. There was also lemon flavours that we picked up with almond undertones. This wine was also high in acidity, but yet again surprisingly smooth on the pallet with a long finish. These are excellent characters of a wine that will definitely improve with a few months still in the bottle. Remember white wines are there to be enjoyed quite young and not to be stored on the wine cabinet for years!
Our levely “Pallet Platter”
We all liked the idea of serving this wine with lovely risotto! One of the canape’s I recommended to my Aunt was a tiny risotto cake served with a lemony seared Kingklip/Prawn on top and Smokey Paprika Mayo….mmmmmm. Stats guy also said that a lovely prawn curry would be his personal choice with a dash of chilli Marketing babe added. We had some almond nuts with the wine and it was a perfect pair. The woody, nutty notes of the white wine complimented the almonds nutty characters and that was a perfect marriage.
Things were getting quite interesting now when it came to the red wines. Conversations were rolling as wine was being poured and it was becoming more relaxed after a hard day at the office. Remember when you do a tasting with friends you should always start with you light white wines first then work towards the more heavy bodies high alcohol white wines. After that, do the same with the reds and end your evening with the sweet wines.
Next up was the red wines with “Sassy” Arendsig Shiraz 2011.
On the “look” we had mentions from raspberry dark red, berry compote and oxblood red! What I love about wine tasting like these are that there is no right or wrong. We all experience tastes, appearances and characters differently. What I do believe in though are guidelines! The typical characters of a Shiraz wine are peppery and plum aromas and so it was. Marketing babe added that it had an ‘earthy’ character ,which was a lovely add on. The “body” was full of spicy plumy notes on the pallet with high tannins. This was a typical red wine that would become better with a few months of aging. Food wise, we had a little bit of blue cheese with the wine and it worked! The high tannin flavours and powerful spicy notes was a great combo with the potent blue cheese. A stunning peace of fillet wrapped in blue cheese and phylo pastry would be a perfect dish with a wine like this.
We were approaching our last bottle wine which was the “Sexy” Arendsig Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Lawyer babe mentioned that on the “look” it had dark cherry colours. The colour was a much deeper red than the raspberry coloured Shiraz which means that the wine had more skin contact and variety. The “nose” was full of blueberry aromas and hints of aniseed. The body had big and bold tannins with loads of blue berry characters. The food was an obvious choice – protein! Lovely smoked poke fillet served with a blueberry ju, potato rosti and some wilted greens. Venison is also a great option for this wine, quail or Springbuck.
Stats guy busy trying out Sybil’s tip!
After a fantastic evening with food and wine everyone left in high spirits. Next month we will be tasting some Classic Chardonnays from the Robertson valley. Follow me on Twitter @sybildoms for some interesting information on food and wine.
Lots of foodie and wine love.
PS. If you would like to be taken into consideration to join come WINE with us follow our blog! Fabulous wine tastings to follow soon!