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Imagine you could offer your dinner guests a fun and insightful wine and snack pairing before dinner? Of course, you would need to know how to do your own wine pairing.
Adjacent to the small town called Wellington, situated in the Western Cape, Diemersfontein Wine Estate boasts a beautiful farm filled with vineyards, grapes and wonderful wine. Diemersfontein is well known for its delicious Pinotage, amongst other varietals and blends. Diemersfontein holds its Pinotage On Tap festival across the country, annually. As Montagu, we are proud sponsors of and enthusiastic participants at this event.
We’ve asked their tasting room manager, Johann Olivier to share some tips and insights on why we pair wine and food and how to do a bit of wine pairing ourselves.
It offers you an opportunity to see how partnering food and snacks with wine influences the way that we experience the aromas and flavours of wine. (Of course, this also makes you look super smart and sophisticated.)
1. Pour the wine into your glass, leaving plenty of room to swirl the wine to help it open up and breathe.
2. Swirl the wine and take a look at its “legs”. That’s the alcohol running down the inside of the glass after swirling. Good looking legs, good tasting wine.
3. “Nose” or smell the wine’s bouquet. See if you recognize plums or berries or cigar box or leather notes found in some red wines and look out for green, tropical or citrus scents founds in some white wines.
4. Sip that long-awaited mouthful of wine, swirl it around in your mouth for a brief moment and taste if the “palate” or flavour matches the “nose” or smell of the wine.
Now that you have an idea of what flavours you will be pairing your snacks or hors d’oeuvre with, you are ready to decide on your menu of pairing items.
“We first have a taste of the wine on its own, then have the snack and then have the two together. This offers you an opportunity to experience the various components individually and then experience the combined interaction.” Says Johann.
Wine pairing can be done in a multitude of circumstances – it is a fun way to experiment with the versatility of wine and experience sensorial indulgence.
One of the main points to consider when pairing red wine is the fat content in the food item that you want to match the wine with. A nut that has a higher fat content and a richer flavour, like peanuts or pecan nuts, will be a better match with more full-bodied wines, while ‘leaner’ nuts will marry better with lighter style wines. This is also true when matching white wines. Montagu’s range of dried fruit snacks presents a versatile application when.
As part of our Tasting Theatre at our Pinotage On Tap festival, we will be matching five wines with five Montagu snacks. We have specially curated a selection of products to pair with our award-winning wines: blanched hazelnuts, pecan nuts, walnuts, dried mango and Montagu biltong.
It is an amazing marriage – nothing less was expected… We are two companies with an unapologetic commitment to the highest standards in our product offering.
Invite over a bunch of friends who love enjoying something different. Get a selection of wines and a selection of snacks. (It’s important to investigate the wines and the snacks beforehand to make sure they pair well.) You then present different snacks to your guests throughout the evening, as you progress through the different wines.
Always pay great attention to the quality of the wine and the comparative quality of the snacks that you attempt to pair them with – its no use having a superb wine and presenting it with sub-par snacks, or vice versa.
I enjoy having a large variety of wine and a large variety of snacks available and then allow my guests to play with the pairings on offer to find the one they most enjoy.
This opens up a discussion around the wines and the way in which they marry with the snacks. A fun and enjoyable approach to the tasting and pairing – that is ultimately the focus of wine; enjoyment.
There you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. How to do your own wine pairing, with all this information, should be a breeze.