5 great wines to enjoy this summer

Article by Deena Hesp

Long lazy warm days lie ahead of us as the December holidays approach. Afternoon thundershowers are once again drenching our gardens. These are the joys of summer, and what better way to enjoy them than a delightful selection of wines paired with great food?

“There is no better way to enjoy this season than getting together and relaxing with friends and family,” says Thabang Mamkeli, retail assistant from boutique liquor outlet and online liquor retailer Dry Dock Liquor.

Known for its impressive range of interesting wines, craft spirits and beers, the boutique liquor is celebrating Thabang’s recently being awarded a prestigious Bouchard Finlayson WSET Scholarship to further his passion in learning about all things wine-related. Dry Dock focuses on making sure the team there is well educated and knowledgeable about the products, offering customers a special shopping experience.

Twenty-one-year-old Thabang shares his insights on his 5 top choices of summer wines.

When pairing, keep in mind the following:

  • The wine should be more acidic than the food
  • The wine should be sweeter than the food
  • The wine should have the same flavour intensity as the food
  • Red wine pairs best with bold flavored meats, eg red meat
  • White wine pairs best with light intensity meats, eg fish or chicken.

Avondale Armilla MCC

Armilla is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes that have been organically grown. It is rich and round on the palate; a perfect balance of toasty, warm hazelnut bread, fresh quince and green apple. The fresh effervescent acidity is crisp and lively yet seamlessly integrated on the palate; complemented by a full velvety mouthfeel with hints of citrus – layer after layer.

“This is my very first favourite MCC, and to this day remains my favorite choice of SA bubbles. One has to admire a producer who keeps the MCC for seven years of the lees (ie the yeast remains in the bottle all this time) and as a result, the Armilla delivers small, gracious concentrated bubbles that melt in your mouth, leaving you wanting more.

“I would pair this with an interesting cheese and charcuterie board to kick off a celebration or to end a tough day,” recommends Thabang.

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir

One of SA’s most awarded wine estates, located in the Hemel and Aarde valley in Hermanus, where some of the best pinot noirs originate from – thanks to a unique combination of soil and climate. This wine is moderately rich yet supple. It exhibits an intriguing, perfumed dark cherry and wild berry, with espresso infused cinnamon spice adding to the appeal. Deftly balanced, it portrays elegance, but the tannins form neatly on a lengthy finish.

Pinot noir always expresses itself best with good food. Avoid any sweetness or too much spice. Enjoy with salmon, duck or pasta dishes. In fact, this wine is bold enough to stand up to many meat dishes.

Remember when pairing to always choose meats that are lighter than the wines.

“Pinot Noir is a versatile grape that is suitable for any occasion. It is my current obsession. The Galpin Peak is a premium wine, but the investment will be well rewarded. The fruit element, the depth, the layers – everything” says Thabang.

DeWetshof Lilya Rosé

What better than a summer’s day spent pool-side with home made pizza and a good rosé wine!

Hues of onion-skin and salmon-pink are the result of a rosé made with the classic method of bleeding juice of red grapes shortly after crushing. The floral aroma leads to a freshness on the palate showing notes of red berries, stone-fruit and plums, with a lingering undertone of light spice and honeycomb.

“Dewetshof recently launched the Cabernet Franc-based Rosé – with its elegant palate, the wine has an excellent structure, bursting fruit notes and overdose of happiness.

“This fruity wine pairs well with most hors d’oeuvre,” says Thabang. “Rosés are so versatile and are the fastest growing wine category in SA this summer.”

Carl Everson Chenin

South Africa is blessed with lots of old Chenin vines, and this varietal is putting us on the map worldwide. We have seen a definite move to Chenin from varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

The Carl Everson Chenin from Opstal wines never disappoints.

The beauty of this wine is even though it stays the same each year (as it’s harvested from the same single vineyard classified block on the farm), each year is different.

The 2017 vintage shows some restraint at first, even a bit shy, but then opens up to show quince and pineapple notes with a freshness and finesse ever present on the palate as yellow peach flavours run through your mouth.

The distinctive depth and complexity of fruit we’ve learned to appreciate and love of the Carl Everson Chenin is on show again with the 2017. These precious 35-year-old vines, old French barrels, spontaneous fermentation and minimalistic cellar intervention in the end proclaim our Slanghoek terroir through this wine.

Served with prawn and crab gnocchi this delivers a pairing of note.

Dry Dock Shiraz

Introducing Dry Dock’s very own Shiraz, in collaboration with Delheim estate and from vines high on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain.

This luscious wine appearance is deep purple in colour, a burst of red fruit aromas ranging from juicy plums, fresh mulberries, flowers and subtle spice on the nose . Dark chocolate notes follow and are supported by a plush tannin structure that lingers on the palate.

Does anything pair better with a good braai than a big Shiraz?

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