Picture this – a gorgeous bottle of wine or bubbly, a gourmet spread of cheese, crackers and other bite-sized goodies shared with your better half on a blanket under a canopy of stars. Here’s a list of cheese and wine pairings to get you in the mood.
Stellenbosch Hills Polkadraai Sauvignon Blanc Brut 2017 is a drier, crisper bubbly with lively fruit flavours. It’s so recognisably tropical in flavour that you just have to close your eyes to be transported to a love boat in the ocean somewhere in the Maldives. It’s the perfect accompaniment to double thick cream cheese, mild cheddar, Brie, Goat cheese (such as chévre), feta, mozzarella or Parmesan. Retails for around R60 a bottle.
Champagne or sparkling wine
Valdo Floral Rosé Brut is a standout bottle of Prosecco that’s fresh and lingering. As beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, it’s a softly sparkling, strawberries and cream delight. On the palate there’s tinge of watermelon with aromas of raspberry and spring flowers and a lovely tingle from the fine, lively mousse and soft floral finish. It’s an ideal aperitif and goes well with brie or camembert, as well as melon and Parma ham and seafood. Retails for between R220 and R280 a bottle.
2018 Michelangelo Gold Medal award-winner Groot Phesantekraal Pinotage Berliet 2017 is a limited release Pinotage exudes characteristics of a uniquely South African wine variety – ripe red fruit, subtle toasty oak and an elegant tannin structure. It makes a beautiful accompaniment to Gouda, or dishes like seared salmon, slow-braised pork belly or even a dark-chocolate based dessert. Retails for around R135.
Glenelly’s signature Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2016 is rich, complex and full-flavoured yet elegant and restrained with great ageing potential. The judicious use of oak adds a creamy patina that perfectly complements, rather than overwhelms the gorgeous fruit profile of citrus and lime, and there are with hints of butterscotch, honey and toasted almond. It is a wine of substance and a perfect match for mature cheddar, Emmenthaler, parmesan or ricotta. It also goes really well with a buttery piece of chicken or pan-fried fish. Retails for around R230.
Known for its classical structure and perfect balance of elegance and fruit power, Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 has complex aromas of blue and black small berry fruit with cedar notes and touches of mint. The palate is smooth and plush with a savoury expression, fine but dense tannins and restrained complexity from expertly handled all-new 18-month oak maturation. It pairs well with camembert, mature cheddar, blue cheese or cream cheese. Retails for around R380 a bottle.
One of the gems in the more jovial yet quality driven Balance range, Balance Winemaker’s Selection Merlot 2017 is an elegant, palate-friendly gold medallist with aromatics of black cherries and currants, and a subtle, spicy finish. This easy-drinking wine pairs well with goat’s cheese or Gruyére. Retails for around R67.
A mouthful on the palate in flavour and its name, Bottega Il Vino Dell’Amore Petalo Pink Manzoni Moscato Rosé is a delightful light sparkling wine, notable for its lower alcohol levels. It pairs well with cheeses like stilton, gorgonzola, brie or blue and is an excellent companion to desserts. Retails for around R495 a bottle.