What’s the best way to take your wine?

Kenyans and wine? As presenter Cess Mutungi would say: “Sema challenges!!” This harmless fruity drink that sits quietly in a bottle can intimidate many strong damsel-in-distress saving men with little effort.

If a couple for instance have gone to a fancy restaurant for dinner, when the long wine list is presented the man will most likely get terrified that he has to choose between a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinotage, while the lady on her part will demand to know whether it’s red, white, sweet or dry.

Such is the present situation, but that does not deter the Kenyan from partaking of the fruit of the vine. No sirree!

And now as numbers grow, winemakers have taken it upon themselves to teach Kenyan wine drinkers how to do it…better.

Because of proximity, quality and affordability, South African wines dominate the rows in the Kenyan supermarkets. One such brand is Nederburg (1791), managed locally by Distell Kenya Limited.

Nederburg winemaker Wim (Vim) Truter was at the Fairmont Norfolk on Wednesday taking wine-lovers through the motions. He told Capital Lifestyle that one popular way to learn about and appreciate wine is by pairing it with food.

“There are five basic flavours; sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami – which is a sweet and salty acerbic taste. The flavours of the wine should enhance the food that it is paired with. The weight of the wine on your palette should complement the weight of the flavour of the food,” he said.

To give you an example of that, a Nederburg Rose, goes very well with some Grilled Chicken Thighs covered with a Honey Orange Glaze. The sweet taste of the wine is enhanced by the honey glaze, and the saltiness of the chicken adds an interesting dimension to it.

Also, the Nederburg Duet (Cabernet Sauvignon + Pinotage) is heavy and slightly bitter, and it proved perfect when paired with Chef Hubert des Marais’ Spicy Morendat Beef, Creamy Ugali and Swiss Chard.

Although Truter feels no one should tell you how to drink your wine, he feels it’s only fair that the taste of the wine that takes months to get ready is optimised for the end user.

“Kenya is a big and growing market for us (Nederburg), especially in Africa. However, as part of this tour we will also be visiting Zambia, Nigeria, Angola and Congo, where we will be looking to promote wine pairing as a lifestyle. Of course people’s tastes vary and so the experience is personal. You can only say what food goes with what wine after trying it for yourself.”

So when you pick up a bottle of wine from the store look at the ingredients and expected taste, so that you know what will complement your dinner.

Wine can also be enjoyed with breads, dips and cheese – perfect for a lazy afternoon over the weekend. Try it out and share your suggestions with us!

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