Stellenbosch Vineyards: South Africa Comes Out to Play

South Africa is one of those wine regions that a lot of people have heard about, but few people–too few, anyway—have taken the time to discover and explore its wines.  I’m a little bit in that category; I’ve tasted some of its stuff from time to time, particularly Chenin Blanc, which they sometimes call “Steen” locally, and of course Pinotage, a cross of Cinsault and Pinot Noir that was literally invented in South Africa in 1925.  But I've never really spent much time thinking about South Africa except at an occasional tasting.  And for a lot of people, SA is really just off their wine map, and that's unfortunate. Wine has been produced in South Africa probably since the mid-1600s,…

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Wines for Thanksgiving

It's almost Thanksgiving eve, and you're probably putting together your menu.  And if you're not...get on it!  And no matter what you're having, you'll need some wines to go with the big meal. Vouvray/Chenin Blanc:  This is among the best wines in the world for Turkey.  Vouvrays are Chenin Blanc-based wines from France, and come in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet.  South Africa makes great Chenin Blancs, too: try Raats Family, Indaba or Cederberg.  And Napa's Pine Ridge makes a wonderful mixture of Chenin Blanc and Viognier that I recommend highly.Rose:  If you're having ham by any chance, try pairing it with Mulderbosch Rose, from South Africa, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. And if…

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Perfect Pairing: Corn Fritters and off-dry Vouvray!

Over the Christmas holidays, I twice made fresh corn fritters and served them with pure maple syrup. And - I accompanied them with a chilled Vouvray, Domaine le Peu de la Moriette J.C. Pichot 2008. The pairing was a big hit both times! Vouvray is a wine region in the Loire Valley in France, and its wines are typically made from 100% Chenin Blanc, although in that appellation a small amount of the Arbois grape is permitted but rarely used.  Chenin Blanc isn't too popular or well known in the US, and that's too bad, as it makes a wonderful, silky and lush white wine. It's also made very well in South Africa and sometimes referred to by its local…

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Mumbai Millionaire

In case you were inspired by the eight Oscars that Slumdog Millionaire brought home, here are some suggestions for pairing wine with Indian food. And a pairing chart is available here with suggestions for other foods and wines. A great wine with Indian food is a mix of Chenin Blanc and Viognier from Pine Ridge...it's pretty great with all kinds of Asian food too, and you should be able to find it anywhere in the US. My very favorite Indian pairing is 100% Pinot Blanc - you can try one of many from the Alsace region of France, such as Meyer-Fonne Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes, or one of many domestic Pinot Blancs such as WillaKenzie from Oregon. Good stuff that!…

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