Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Would You Like Some Cheese With That "Whine?"

Do you enjoy wine? Do you enjoy cheese? How about pairing the two together? 
For those that are interested, the Cape Wine Academy is launching a new course on 21 August 2014 at Miele in Johannesburg. Be sure not to miss out and book asap, see the advert below for details: 


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Haute Cabrière - The Mindset Changer


How many times have you heard someone say, "Oh no, I cant drink red wine, it gives me headaches," or "white wine makes me drunk," or "it gives me heartburn," or "I don't like white wine" etc? Its amazing how this becomes a mindset and marvelous wine takes the brunt of it.

There is a common misconception that sulfites (which occur naturally in the process of making wine and are commonly added to wine as a preservative) cause headaches. Wrong! Sulphites are found in a variety of foods such as fruit juice, dried fruit and even added to drinking water. Now I've never heard someone complain of getting a headache from drinking too much water?? Just face it, you probably just drinking too much of it, or perhaps you one of those unlucky bastards who experience allergy symptoms. Allergy symptoms occur when the immune system overreacts to an allergen. If there is an allergy, the immune system acts as if the allergen were dangerous, releasing a chemical called histamine that causes allergy symptoms. The most common symptoms of a wine allergy are: skin rashes, flushed skin, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, stomach cramps, runny nose and swollen eyes. There are also long-term symptoms of wine intolerance, such as: eczema, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue and low mood.

Those sulfites have taken me off my original topic here, back to Haute Cabrière. Haute Cabrière is a wine farm located in Franschhoek and known for its delicious Pinot Noir's and Pierre Jordan Cap Classique (bubbly). I decided to write this blog post because on 2 separate occasions, in a short space of time, Haute Cabrière wines have changed mindsets. 
  
It all started when meeting up with Wimpie, an old buddy for a "meeting" at a golf driving range. Whilst browsing the wine list, I quickly learned that he didn't drink white wine because, wait for it, "he doesn't like white wine." From past experience, I don't drink red wine in the sun. So we had a bit of a problem.... To solve this, we could each order and drink our own bottles of wine, or I could just insist we drink a bottle of white haha. He mentioned that he drank bubbly though, but there wasn't any on the list (thank goodness, as that would have appeared very unmanly and romantic haha). That's when the Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir jumped out from the wine list and screamed pick me, pick me! I told him that most bubbly's are made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and therefore he should put his big girl panties on and try it! 
So he tried it and guess what Wimpie bought the following day? Yes, that's right, a case of Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir! 

Occasion number 2... Sometimes whilst working, I get tired of... working. So sushi and wine always sound more exciting. 
I'm going to detract from the topic again quickly (eish, seems like sushi and wine are calling again) Another misconception, is that you should drink white wine with sushi, however, I recently discovered that red wine pairs far better with sushi because of the prominent soy sauce and wasabi flavours. 
Back to my story... I met Karen at our local spot and when ordering the wine, I remembered that she doesn't drink red wine because, wait for it, "It makes her drunk." Another problem, I don't drink red in the sun. What to do?! I decided to look for an easy drinking red, something light and elegant,... that's it,... Pinot Noir! By chance there was a Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir available. Perfect! A wooded Pinot Noir would have probably erred on the heavy side due to the oaky flavours and higher tannin levels. Karen, being very hesitant at first, allowed me to twist her rubber arm and we ordered the unwooded Pinot Noir. Guess what is Karen's favourite wine and one that she purchases every single opportunity she gets? Yes, that's right, Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir! (Wow, I think Haute Cabrière owes me some commission :) haha)

So, if you haven't tried it yet, get your hands on some Haute Cabrière and perhaps too, can it change your mindset ;) www.cabriere.co.za 
Ps. Haute Cabrière have in no way or form asked or induced me to write this post.

Sources for this article include: 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How NOT, to Sabrage a Champagne Bottle


I wanted to write a post about sabraging, the history thereof and provide a step by step process of how to do so. It really is a VERY simple, yet impressive, procedure which anyone can accomplish if you follow 3 simple basic steps.
But... last night I came across this old video of mine and thought this is too damn good not to share as I almost wet my pants watching it again! So hence this post! "The how to and history of sabrage" post will follow shortly :)

I have sabraged literally over 50 times, using anything from a butter knife to an ax and done so with great success each and every single time. I don't know what the hell happened here, but there could have been a fault with the bottle. With early bottle designs, they tended to explode and the manufacturers kept making them thicker until they could contain the pressure caused by the release of carbon dioxide during the secondary fermentation. 
Or, the bottle was not cold enough. The ideal temperature is between 45-48°F or 7-8°C. Why? It is the pressure and the vibration that will "cut" the glass. A warm bottle has more pressure, which is begging for problems (haha ask me, I have first hand experience). A tip: Don't attempt to chill the bottle using an ice bucket as the most important part of the bottle (the neck area) won't be chilled properly.

So, do not try this at home, but please do enjoy the video!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

You Can Go Wine Tasting in the Garden Route!


So I have been frequenting the Garden Route, mostly Knysna to be exact, quite often lately. I wonder if it has anything to do with a beautiful and amazing local lady? hehe, yip, it seems a new passion has wondered into my life, apart from wine and adventurous activities :) But not to worry, she loves wine too, so I am beyond certain that consumption of wine and visits to wine farms will be on the up! Oh yeah!

I must admit I have rather missed Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands as its been a while since I have paid the awesome area a visit, or popped into a new wine farm to try and discover a hidden gem of a wine, just waiting to quench my thirst. Being from Gauteng, It's taken me a while to start becoming familiar with the wine regions, although the Garden Route is very new to me and to be honest, I never really knew of wine farms in the area.
  

I was therefore very impressed and surprised when said lady, took me to Bramon, a boutique Wine Estate 20km east of Plettenberg Bay. 
Bramon is the most easterly estate in the Cape, situated  in a mountainous area called The Crags, with gentle slopes and cool sea breezes. The family run estate pioneered vineyards in the Plettenberg Bay area, which subsequently was classified as a Wine of Origin region back in 2005. The Plettenberg Bay Region stretches from the Groot Rivier in Natures Valley, to Harkerville in the west and borders on the bay. 
At Bramon, the first Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted in 2000, which have produced an award winning Methode Cap Classique ("MCC") and now a Sauvignon blanc has been added to the range. It was a delight to visit the farm and drink some of their marvelous MCC over a delicious light lunch at the restaurant, with the tables literally in the vineyards! I found the MCC to be refreshing and crisp with lovely lime and apple flavours, finishing off with a buttery hint. I couldn't help but think whilst siting in the vineyards, that anyone requiring inspiration to write, or for what ever other reason, would definitely get it here.


I decided to do a little research regarding wine farms in the Garden Route and to my amazement there are approximately 18 wine farms in the area. So it seems my visits to the Garden Route no longer have to be dry runs, causing me to have withdrawal symptoms from much needed wine tastings and visits to wine farms, bloody marvelous! 
Only Sauvignon Blanc is currently cultivated in the Plettenberg Bay Region and it seems the specialty of the area is sparkling wine, although the area is apparently experimenting with Shiraz as a red variety. 
With this new found information about the Plettenberg Bay Wine Region and seeing that I will continue to frequent the area for obvious regions, I hereby nominate myself to try out all the wine farms in the area! Watch this space...

Practicing to be a wine Farmer :) 
   

Monday, 17 March 2014

Get Your Wine Groove On!



I still remember years ago when my early wine drinking days commenced, it basically consisted of sweet white or rose, because I just couldn't palate the dry stuff. My oh my, how the roles have reversed! :)
That being said, there was always this romance about wine to me. I think it all started when I watched 2 movies "Stealing Beauty," starring Liv Tyler, whom I admit may subconsciously have contributed towards this passion to wine, and "A Good Year" starring Russell Crowe. "Stealing Beauty" is a bit of chick flick, but in my manly defense, it is set on a wine farm in Italy and the footage of the vineyards definitely imprinted, or burnt, I should rather say, images in my mind and feelings in my soul, which still fascinate me to this day. "A Good Year" conjured the same emotion although it is set in Provence, France and it showcases the enchanting wine farm and wine making lifestyle. 

The fact that soil and climate conditions, location of the vineyards and the way in which the vines are treated, determine the quality of the grapes and that the winemaker then needs to produce wine from said grapes, is an art form in which there is much passion required to produce a masterpiece. I think this is what allured me to wine and think of it as something beautiful and special.  

So, I decided to learn more about this alluring beverage. I drank more of it, I read about it and I drank more of it! It was all still a little confusing until a day in 2011, that a Google search revealed The Cape Wine Academy to me. I got so excited when I saw the various courses on offer and I contacted them immediately to enroll in my first course, The South African Wine Course. I have not looked back since that day and my desire to learn more about wine has grown and I completed the Certificate Wine Course soon thereafter. Today I am enrolled for the Diploma Wine Course - Module 1 which commences in April and I can't wait!  I have learnt volumes through the Cape Wine Academy and met many like minded people. Their courses are interesting, the Lecturers are fun and captivating and I am no longer confused about this diverse subject of wine. 

So if you're interested in learning more about wine, as was I, read below about the Cape Wine Academy and the courses which they have on offer. Visit their website and contact them today and I assure you that you will not be disappointed! www.capewineacademy.co.za



Welcome to the Cape Wine Academy
Founded in 1979, the Cape Wine Academy is recognised as the official wine education and training institution in South Africa.The Cape Wine Academy provides a range of social and professional wine courses for individuals and tertiary institutions and specialises in creating bespoke wine-tasting events for corporate clients.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The starting point to learning about wine is the South African Wine Course. On completion of an exam, students can join the Certificate Wine Course, followed by the Diploma Wine Course and ultimately the Cape Wine Masters, the highest qualification in wine education.

The Cape Wine Academy also offers fun and social wine courses to enjoy with friends and family. Choose from the Food and Wine Pairing Course, the South African Brandy Course or the Wines of the World Course and ignite your passion for wine today!

To start your career in the wine and hospitality sector, sign-up for the Front of House Course, boost your skills with the Wine Service Course or enroll for the prestigious Cape Sommelier™ qualification, which is a must for every CV.

All Cape Wine Academy lectures are presented by South African winemakers, Diploma graduates and Cape Wine Masters, who are actively involved in shaping the South African Wine industry today.





   

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Competition Time! - Win Tickets to the Winestyle Summer Winedown in Jozi



Hello Winos! 
Happy new year! I have a good feeling that this is going to be an excellent year with hundreds of liters of gorgeous wine and many exciting blog posts, so let's start 2014 with a bang! How do we do that you ask? With a competition!
I'm giving away a double ticket to the Winestyle Summer Winedown taking place in Kyalami, Johannesburg at Tintswalo Waterfall Estate on 7 - 8 February 2014! The Spring Winedown held in September was a great success once again and definitely becoming a popular event on the calendar. So bring your sun block, hats and thirsty selves to enjoy some of the many wines on offer. I think some cool climate Sauvignon Blancs and refreshing Rosés will be the order of the day for my drinking pleasure... What will yours be?

So how do you win these tickets? 
Simple! First person to leave a comment below, wins! Fastest fingers first, Go!

Press Release: 29 November 2013

WineStyle’s  Summer Winedown!
Celebrate the Summer in style.
On the back of our successful Summer and Spring Wine Parties in Cape Town, and our 2 recent Winedown events in Joburg, we are bringing the fun back to Gauteng by popular demand on the 7th and 8th February 2014!

This is not just another average wine show –  we are offering you the opportunity to taste some of the ‘Best of the Best’ and to rub shoulders with the wine professionals involved in creating your favourite wines -  all on the backdrop of the gorgeous Tintswalo hotel @ Waterfall Estates.

Come dressed in your Summer whites & unwind & relax – amazing wines to taste & buy – live music & delicious food. Buy a few of your favourite bottles, grab a seat on the lawns, order some food & enjoy the day with friends or family. Also remember to bring your dancing shoes! It is a wine party, after all!!

Guests also get an opportunity to purchase these wines, at a special Winedown price. So come and stock up your collection!

A ticket gets you entrance and a tasting glass, to roam around and taste for free, buy wine by the glass or bottle, order some delicious platters, picnic style tapas or sushi, find a spot on the lawn and relax with friends and family for the day.  Come dressed to our theme; “White with a touch of Bright” and stand a chance to win prizes for best dressed!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to celebrate the Summer season, with this premium wine event in Gauteng.

        Venue: Tintswalo Waterfall – Kyalami, Gauteng
        Date: 7th & 8th of February 2014  (Friday 5.30-10pm & Saturday 12-7 pm)
        Dress Code: White with a touch of Bright
        Tickets:  R120.00 per person, including a glass
Tickets available at Webtickets  and at the door

For any further information please contact Jeanne or Kalinka  - www.wine-style.co.za
Jeanne@wine-style.co.za / kalinka@wine-style.co.za
This is the event of the season and we hope to see you there! 

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Most Unusual Wine I Have Tasted


I’ve tasted many unusual wines; wines from different countries, wines which were made with interesting styles and sensational wines which have given me bliss orgasms in my mouth. Hmmm... “so what’s the most unusual wine I’ve tasted,” I ask myself... Perhaps it’s the 1989 Chateau Ausone Saint Emilion I won just over a year and a half ago? Yeah, that’s totally unusual as its 25 years old and costs around R4 000 a bottle! Definitely not an everyday quaffer right? There’s only one problem, as I peer over my left shoulder and catch a glimpse of the dusty bottle we speak of, resting peacefully in my clay wine rack – It hasn’t been opened yet! So per definition of ‘tasted’: past tense of - try or test the flavour or quality of (something) by taking some into the mouth; I haven’t tasted the wine…


Back to the drawing board… As my cheek muscles pull a smirk, I recall the first time I made my own Shiraz. I acquired a winemaking kit and Shiraz grapes from Paarl in the Western Cape. The whole winemaking experience was extremely interesting and memorable, as my then 2 year old son, Adriano Gouveia, assisted in stomping the grapes with his feet. Adriano couldn’t pronounce his name but used to say ‘Nano Fire’ instead, hence I dubbed the wine ‘Nano Fire.’ Looking at this photo now reminds me how much the little guy has grown! 



Measuring the sugar content of the must (mixture of grape skins and juice) with my Ballingmeter and ‘punching the cap’ (pushing the floating grape skins down) every day, was such an exciting learning experience.

“So why was the shiraz I made unusual” you ask? It’s not every day that I get to drink wine that I’ve made with my own bare feet and the memory of it gives me happy thoughts. I’d love to say it’s because it was the best damn wine I have ever tasted, but alas, it wasn’t! Don’t get me wrong, I was reasonably impressed with my first attempt, the wine was drinkable, although slightly in your face with a punch of tannins. The name ‘Nano Fire’ was quite fitting in retrospect J I should’ve let my masterpiece age a little longer before prematurely and proudly drinking it! 

What Role Does Wine Play in Everyday Life?


Benjamin Franklin said it best; “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy."
Wine is multifaceted and plays numerous roles in everyday life... 8 basic ones according to me:

Mentally, it’s the muse when creativity is lacking; the relaxer after a stressful day at work; it’s the therapist to bottled up emotions; the personality in a bottle to the introverts; or it’s the nerve calmer to the sweaty-palmed guy taking a hot chick on that first romantic date.
Ok, so alcohol in general can lower inhibitions, relax or inspire that spark of creativity, but let’s face it, wine is classy:



From an Economic point of view, wine can be invested in by purchasing and reselling particular wines for a profit, or by purchasing shares in an investment wine fund. Experts suggest focusing on the top wines from the best vintages as only a fraction of the wines produced worldwide increase in value at a rate that would justify the risk and the expense. Buying investment wine requires storage in professional temperature-controlled cellars. 

In addition, the more wine we drink, the more jobs are created in the wine industry, so cheers to boosting our economy!

Decorative & Functional – Not only is wine beautiful in your mouth, but used corks and empty wine bottles can be utilised for decorative purposes too. The uses are only limited by your imagination - How about these funky wine bottle chandeliers?



Wine can be functional too – Need a present for a birthday or a congratulatory gift? Many appreciate a good bottle of wine.
You can also use empty wine bottles to store homemade sauces etc. Think of it as classy Tupperware, it’s a pleasure ;)

Wine Has an Awesome Pairing Role with Food and if done correctly, flavours are enhanced to make the food taste like “more!” and vice versa. The trick to pairing is that both should complement each other and neither should dominate the other.
Personally, I also cook with wine and sometimes I even add it to the food.

The Social Butterfly is often a conversation starter at many a dinner party. “Wow Murphy, where on earth did you find this wine?” “Well Gerald, funny story actually. Whilst on business in Stellenbosch, I got lost and ended up on a dirt road to the wine farm. The winemaker, Edward, greeted me and asked if I had arrived for the tasting. I looked at my watch and realised I was an hour late for my meeting, so I thought to myself, ‘bugger it.’ A delightful tasting led to myself and old Eddie getting totally sloshed and I bought 6 cases of the marvellous stuff. Please don’t tell Mary about this. If she asks, I won the wine at a golf day, the one which raised money for orphaned children.”

Wine is the reason wine clubs meet religiously on a weekly basis to consume, I mean taste wines. It’s also the reason members of book clubs meet to discuss books they have read - yeah right!
Along with its bubbly counterpart champagne, wine is used to congratulate achievements and celebrate momentous occasions. It’s the choice of beverage when going out or meeting friends. It’s the comforter alongside a crackling fire on a nippy winter’s night; the companion to a braai or picnic at the pool on a summer’s day. Red wine is the reason we look at ourselves in the mirror with black teeth in the morning and smile and think: ‘awesome night.’

Wine Inspires Travel – As Gautengers, we cease every opportunity to visit the Winelands. Business trips to the Cape are welcomed with open arms and detours to wine farms always miraculously fall into place.    
Wine connoisseurs travel the world and are romantically allured by the old world styled wines and history France has to offer. Holidays are planned around having a Château Margaux in Bordeaux, A Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand or perhaps a Penfolds Coonawarra Shiraz in Australia.   

Sexy Times - "Women who drink 2 glasses of wine a day are said to be more active in bed. In simple words, they enjoy sex better." I don’t think further substantiation is required, drink up ladies!

Still not convinced that wine plays an important role in everyday life?
Well if this last role does not sway you, then you are without a doubt a teetotaller:

There are several Health Benefits of drinking the fermented grapes we know as Wine! I’m actually going to pour myself a glass as I type this…
Before you, in the hopes of becoming immortal, down bottles and bottles of wine on a daily basis, the health benefits are achieved from moderate consumption which is defined as one to two 120ml glasses per day. Wine:
  • Promotes longevity, perhaps not immortality, but hey, who wouldn’t like a few extra birthdays;
  • Reduces heart-attack risk;
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease;
  • Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes;
  • Lowers the risk of a stroke;
  • Cuts the risk of cataracts;  
  • Cuts the risk of colon cancer;
  • Slows brain decline.

In conclusion, as I look at my glass of wine which has 1 sip left, I telepathically say to it: “thank you for fulfilling your daily role in my life you fine beverage. Until tomorrow, we shall meet again,” *sip. 

Veritas Young Wine Writers Competition 2013


So, if you haven't heard yet, I am delighted to say that I was awarded 2nd place in the Veritas Young Wine Writers Competition! :)

The prize giving was held at Degrendel Wine Farm in Durbanville last week Monday, 25 November 2013, where several glasses of the cool climate Sauvignon Blanc and unreleased Chardonnay, were thoroughly enjoyed by myself and Marthelize Tredoux (the winner).

I was ecstatic to receive an email from Veritas a couple weeks ago, inviting me to join the prize giving function, with flights paid for from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Any chance to spend time in the Cape Winelands is much appreciated! Just imagine my surprise when my name was announced as the runner up to the competition? Absolute bonus! I don't think I stopped smiling and it was great to meet some wonderful people in the wine industry. 

To enter the competition, an article on one of the following two subjects had to be written:

  • What role does wine play in everyday life?
  • Describe the difference between wines to be enjoyed as 'quaffers' and wines that do justice to certain cuisine.
As well as a blog on:
  • What is the most unusual wine you have tasted and why?


Below is a link to my entries, which I will be posting to my blog shortly: 

To my international readers, or those of you perhaps not familiar with Veritas, here is a link to their website as well as a brief description of the organisation below: www.veritas.co.za

The Veritas Awards is the longest running and most prestigious wine competition in South Africa and is synonymous with excellence in wine. The organisers, the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), represents the full spectrum of the industry. 
After almost two decades the Veritas Awards has earned its reputation as one of South Africa’s most authoritative and credible competitions for market ready wines. The Awards with its coveted Veritas emblem, has become synonymous with top quality wines. The results are trusted implicitly when international as well as local wine buyers use them to assist in their buying decisions and also when the ordinary wine lover simply selects a bottle from the shelf to enjoy with dinner.

So I will end off by saying that I will definitely be entering the competition again next year, although this time I will be gunning for 1st position! :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Competition Time! - Win Tickets to the Winestyle Spring Winedown in Jozi



Stand a chance to win double tickets to this awesome event taking place in Kyalami, Johannesburg at Tintswalo Waterfall Estate on 13 - 14 September! The winter winedown held in June was a great success and enjoyed by all, hence the sequel - The Spring Winedown is back by popular demand to tantalize your taste buds.

So how do you win these tickets? 
You have until the 31 August 2013 to leave a comment and say what is your favourite wine to welcome spring with?

Want to increase your chances of winning those tickets?
Be creative, go nuts and create a commotion. Good luck!

Details of the Spring Winedown are below:


Press Release: 29 July 2013



Shake off the cobwebs in Jozi this Spring at WineStyle’s Spring Winedown.

The Winestyle Spring Winedown is an opportunity to unwind and relax, it not just another average wine show – we are offering you the opportunity to taste some of the ‘Best of the Best’ and to rub shoulders with the wine professionals involved in creating your favourite wines all on the backdrop of the gorgeous Tintswalo hotel @ Waterfall Estates.
This beautiful destination has a spectacular 360˚ degree view with rolling lawns, big windows and a stunning open terrace to enjoy a Jozi Spring day, with great food and wine, live DJ and chilled out vibe. Bring your family and friends, and come spend the day with us.

The “Spring Winedown” is a wine party, not a wine trade show. It’s a celebration of food and wine and for people who like to have fun. The event is unlike a traditional wine show, and encourages guests and exhibitors to engage, unwind, eat, drink and pick up a few wine tips in the process. Guests also get an opportunity to purchase these wines, at a special Winedown price. So come and stock up your collection!
On the back of our successful Summer and Spring Wine Parties in Cape Town, and our first Winedown event in Joburg, we are bringing the fun back to Gauteng by popular demand.

A ticket gets you entrance and a tasting glass, to roam around and taste for free, buy wine by the glass or bottle, order some delicious platters, picnic style tapas or sushi, find a spot on the lawn and relax with friends and family for the day. Remember to pick up a few cases of wine to take home too!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to shake off the cobwebs, leave Winter behind and celebrate this Spring in style!

• Venue: Tintswalo Waterfall – Kyalami, Gauteng
• Date: 13th & 14th of September 2013  (Friday 5.30-10pm & Saturday 12-7 pm)
• Tickets available at Webtickets: https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=405813082
          -R100.00 per person attending, including a glass (Webtickets) 
          -R120.00 at the door per person including a glass
                 
Check out for more info and specials:

Our site: www.wine-style.co.za

Twitter:  
https://twitter.com/winestylesa

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/winestyle

For any further information please contact Jeanne:


This is the event of the season and we hope to see you there! 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

How To Make Glühwein


Friends of mine had this awesome idea to make glühwein and braai. The weather for the coming Saturday looked promising, cold and miserable, just perfect for glühwein consumption. Woo hoo! (Never have I been so enthusiastic about consuming a warm beverage). 

Glühwein (roughly, "glow-wine," from the hot irons once used for mulling) is popular in German speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional beverage that is offered during the Christmas holidays. 

We each brought along a bottle of cheapish red wine to contribute to the copious amounts of glühwein we would make and consume. Everything was running smoothly, cold weather - check; construction of make shift fire pit consisting of steel droppers and wire mesh - check. Then the tempting sun called us towards her warm and inviting rays. So we sat in those rays and drank. Now myself and a few others wisely consumed beers, ciders or white wine as our choice of beverage, although there were certain individuals who insisted on drinking red wine in the sun. I warned them against this, but alas my words were ignored... 


Kids, (assuming you are 18 years of age or older as the wine oak promotes responsible drinking) here is the after defect (haha I meant to type effect but I actually prefer predictive text's word suggestion) of drinking red wine in the sun:


We had an awesome day and when the sun finally set, we switched to the glühwein which had been steaming on the stove. It came out mouth wateringly (is that a word?? Well it is now) delicious. Oh yes, we did eventually braai and eat too.


We have 1 month of winter left in South Africa, so I would recommend making your own glühwein ASAP. There are several recipes on the Internet, but this is the one we tried, with a tweak or 2:

Ingredients for 4 glasses of glühwein:
3/4 cup of water
3/4 cup of white sugar or brown sugar or honey for a different flavour
2 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 bottle of red wine (750ml)

Method:
  1. In a large pot, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks and place on heat. Stir slowly until the sugar has dissolved, whilst  bringing to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
  2. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange skins and place them in the simmering water.
  3. Cut the lemon in half, add the halves to the simmering water and continue simmering for 30 minutes until thick and syrupy and then reduce the heat.
  4. Pour the wine into the pot and slowly heat until steaming but not simmering for 10 minutes. Do not bring to the boil at any point as this will cause the alcohol to evaporate.
  5. Remove the clove-studded orange halves, lemon halves and cinnamon sticks.
  6. Serve hot by pouring (a ladle works well) into individual mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break). 



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Braai Oak


So I've never written a post of this kind before and I doubt it will be a regular subject. Recipes and cooking aren't exactly my forte or passion. Don't get me wrong, I do cook for my son and I, and we are still alive, awesome, and I'll pull off the Don Juan moves by cooking a romantic meal for that special lady, although I will intuitively and smartly use my charm and wine, to somewhat distract said special lady from the meal in order to place the emphasis on the ambiance... (Ssshhh, if the women's network finds out about this, I may experience future challenges).
Lets face it though, wine and food pair, and I've been known to enjoy standing around hot coals and braai, aka barbecue. 

So why is braaing cool?:
  • Man make fire, arrr - boost to manliness and ego; 
  • You have wine in hand - need I say more?; 
  • Braaing is a healthy form of cooking as the fat from the meat drips away through the grill; 
  • You're outdoors, who hoo - increase vitamin D intake and finally 
  • It's sociable and you get to talk and be silly with your mates. Ps. Invite some mates.

So here's my attempt at a braai and wine pairing, a vegetarian braai I will add, which is extremely unusual for me as I am a carnivore of note.


What you will need:
Large mushrooms
Asparagus
Mielies
Peppers (Red, green and yellow)
Cheese
Butter
Olive oil
Vinegar
Garlic
Coarse salt
Wine, lots of it (Chenin blanc will go down well)

Preparation (Let me reiterate that I am not a chef! So use your own initiative for better preparation and presentation skills)
  • Have a sip of wine
  • Turn the mushrooms upside down and drizzle with olive oil, stuff with garlic, butter and cheese. (Mushrooms add meatiness to a vegetarian braai).  
  • Drizzle the asparagus and mielies with olive oil and coarse salt.
  • Have a sip of wine


Braai:
  • If you have a braai such as a Weber or a gas braai with a lid, you can cook the mushrooms in such, if not, bake the mushrooms in an oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and mushrooms are warmed through.
  • Put the mielies and asparagus on the grill and turn occasionally until grilled. 
  • Put the peppers on the grill and ensure there is a a slight flame to enable the outer skins to burn and blacken slowly all over. Once this is done, allow the peppers to cool down slightly and then place the peppers into a plastic shopping bag. Then tie a knot in the bag and rub the peppers all over with the plastic bag until the outer burnt skin has been completely removed revealing the flesh of the peppers. Rinse slightly with water if there are still pieces of burnt skin on the peppers. Dice the peppers up and together with the seeds, add vinegar, salt and olive oil to create the best damn pepper salad ever!
  • Have some more wine.


If you eat fish, add tuna stuffed tomatoes:
  • Mix tuna with mayonnaise, chopped onion, salt and pepper. It was suggested to me, thank you to you know who ;) to add lemon zest, dill and a touch of fennel to the tuna which sounds delicious.
  • Cut the tops of the tomatoes off, hollow it out by removing the flesh with a spoon and then fill the cavity with the above tuna mixture.
  • Get your glass of wine and yes, you know what to do...

So what did I pair this all with?
The trick to pairing wine with food is that both should compliment each other and neither should dominate the other.
I paired the food with Chenin blanc as there was no red meat and therefore a dry white would work well with the vegetables and tuna. The 2011 Simonsig Chenin Blanc was fruity and complimented the food well with its full body which stood up to the "meaty" mushrooms. Chenin blanc is a versatile varietal and can range from fresh and fruity to rich and ripe. See more detailed information regarding Chenin blanc in a previous post I wrote: http://www.thewineoak.com/2011/09/to-screw-or-to-cork-chenin-blanc.html 

Happy Braaing!

Ps. Have another sip of wine...