Matching food and wine can be tricky at the best of times, but what do you do when confronted with a curry, a chinese or cuisine from that part of the world?
The flip side of people’s palates becoming more adventurous is that it makes it harder to decide on what wine will complement the range of exotic flavours and different textures that these kinds of dishes offer up.
For those with little imagination or knowledge lager seems to be the drink of choice for a curry especially (particularly a hot and spicy one) but with Thai, Chinese and other types of Asian cuisine its a bit more difficult. Similar to lager, something cold and refreshing is needed but also with the required exoticness and spice to stand up to and complement the range of flavours offered up by a Thai green curry or Beef Rendang. Its also nice to drink something a bit acidic to cut clean through the remnants of the myriad of flavours left behind in the mouth and cleanse the palate a touch. This Gewurztraminer from Neethlingshof does the job nicely.
The Gewurztraminer grape has an interesting history and is believed to be a genetic mutation of the Traminer grape that originates in the Alto Aldige/South Tyrol are of the Alps. The grape prefers cooler climates and often does well at altitude in mountainous areas or where the topography is cooled by sea breezes. Although its origins lie in the heart of Europe it has been successfully grown in areas of the New World, including South Africa. Bearing in mind its origins, it seems strange that it complements exotic food so well.
Neethlingshof is one of South Africa’s oldest and more famous wine estates. Established in 1705, it is probably more famous for its avenue of stone pines – a feature on all its labels. It is an estate that has won lots of awards both in South Africa and abroad and one that I have personally visited a number of times. It possesses high-lying vineyards at around 300m above sea level which are perfect for this grape variety. The vines are trellised and are south-facing which decelerates growth to concentrate flavours. The grapes are then hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks using yeasts for fermentation.
To the eye the wine is a bright straw colour with flashes of green and is much deeper in colour than a Sauvignon Blanc. It actually looks more like a heavily oaked and aged chardonnay but on the nose it has some Turkish delight spice mixed in with a bit of jasmine, rose petal and honeysuckle. On the palate it is off-dry and spicy – a cooler, lighter and whiter version of mulled wine maybe – with just enough hints of exoticness to keep you interested.
It is best served chilled to about 6 degrees Celsius and is great with not only Thai and Chinese but goes well with Mexican food, especially chicken.
Available at time of publication from www.corkerswineclub.com
Marks out of 100 – 90.