Let me start by saying that I am not a wine connoisseur by any means, not that I wouldn't give most anything to have the title of a distinguished Sommelier, preferably somewhere in Italy. However, my palate for distinctive, unique and quality wine is a gift I'm willing to accept, title or not.
I'm happy to test my underrated ability to distinguish the good from the bad when it comes to fermented grapes whether it be savoring a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio solo on the porch, savoring an oaky Chardonnay with hints of apple with a plate of assorted cheeses and fresh fruits in front of me or contently sipping a full bodied Cabernet with a lingering of chocolate still on my tongue.
We all have our favorites when it comes to wine, myself included. Whether it simply be red or white, from a certain region or more specifically defined. For example, Chilean red's and Argentinean Malbec's are my idea of pure and up most perfection when it comes to wine, although they sadly are are not the most popular variety. The Fools.
This was definitely one of the most interesting food and wine events that I have been invited to. The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is a World renowned event and certainly a favorite of mine for obvious reasons. I jumped at the opportunity to experience a wine and food pairing from a "less popular" region of our World, South Africa.
In their words:
WOSA is trying to break down cultural barriers with their "From BBQ to Braai" tour, which was created to promote a better understanding of South African culture through wine and food. The stage for a
culinaryexchange in the form of a South African-inspired BBQ has been set.
I respectfully agree.
Dried fruits, nuts and ostrich jerky paired oddly well with these South African wines.
These light and crisp whites were and will be my favorites this spring and summer. If you bring a wine to or host a dinner party during the hotter months, I implore you to choose one of these. Off the beaten path and bursting with South Africa's unique grape flavors from the rich soil, you will fall in love with these wines too.
Anything with the name Chocolate Block has my vote. Yes, it was delicious.
Have you ever had ostrich before? I sure haven't. For the sake of culinary curiosity I bit the bullet and had a bite. And liked it. In an oddly barbaric sort of way. There are no words that come to mind to compare it's flavor. Honestly, but I did like it despite my reservations on meat eating. Then again, I loved elk and that surprised the hell out of me!
Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks? This guy has been standing over 12 feet of flaming hot coals with ostrich sausages as thick as my arm for hours and had the cutest smile on his face. I had to snap a pic.
This 2012 Pinotage is from one of the oldest vineyards in South Africa, Val de Vie. Wine Maker Bertus Fourie has focused on drawing out the coffee notes of South Africa's signature grape. With compellingly intense to the nose with coffee, chocolate and cherry notes. It lingers deep and rich on the tongue with ripe tannins and an aftertaste of fall fruits such as plums.
On a side note, I did some research and the 2014 vintage had some less than stellar reviews, stating the wine was markedly heavier on the alcohol percentage than stated which compromise any flavor of the grape. I however, found this particular vintage pictured below to be full bodied with medium tannins.
The bottom line,
when a new variety of wines from across the Globe is introduced in such an aggressive market with such extraordinary quality and competitive prices you shouldn't ignore them.
Roasted Garlic and Date Chutney with Rib Shack Red Wine.
Is it wrong to stay at a sample table for 20 minutes?
I hope you have either read or saved this post to read later. The wines and foods of South Africa have inspired me to continue my adventure for underrated cuisine and try new things.
Please, what types of foods from which area of the World are you most longing to try? What about making them for yourself?
Some pictures provided by Scottsdale Culinary Festival