Travel experiences make you appreciate what otherwise you’ve viewed as the simple pleasures of every day life. Our great outdoors, in all respects and our traditional Zimbabwean braai summed up my afternoon.
By Lebbie Musavaya
The art of food and wine pairing, though highly publicised and suggestions of perfect matches for certain foods with certain wines, is widely read about, accepted and experienced. I do, though, feel, that a lot of pressure comes along with it, especially if you, wine lover, are the host. Thoughts of whether the wines you’ve chosen versus the menu can fill the greater part of your evening, losing track of the impression and experience you initially set out to create.
Yes, the main objective of the art of wining and dining is to create a wholesome and enjoyable acquaintance of the two on the palate. Most wine labels, inundated with suitable pairing ideas have a good habit of reminding us, every time you buy wine. And yet, even then, you remain with several questions based on the finer details of suggested dishes, which takes wine lovers back to the original question of, what food goes with which wine?
I acknowledge the work of Sommeliers, Wine Connoisseurs, Foodies and Wine Lovers, the list is endless, certifying and tipping the scale positively to getting the ultimate experience in food and wine pairing. But, I am also a firm believer in research and development. Knowing your palate and knowing the wines that you love can also form the basis of your food and wine affair. Always remember though, to reign in certain rules where certain food and wine combinations will not work.
One of the marvels of wine for me is, its reminder of how I enjoy my own company and of course the company of my filled wine glass. Inspired by what has over the years been labelled a Zimbabwean tradition, I decided to light up my wine life with a braai. Beef, chicken, pork and boerowors were variety enough to get the party started. I selected four wines to complement the afternoon and what better wines than wines driven by versatility to start with, two Rosés.
The Wolftrap Rosé 2014
Its exciting pink colour and soft fruity nose-driven by the thoughts of a freshly picked fruit basket of cherries mimicked everything outdoor and easy. My palate was laced with a fresh wine with a dainty balance and as I reached out for a pork nibble, straight off the braai grill, it seemed so natural that I kept sipping and enjoying the pork.
Rooiberg Winery 2014 Rosé Natural Sweet
With a nose that instantly spelt sun-ripened red fruit, it was easy for me to instantly predict a friendship forming between this wine and the new palate of the novice wine lover. Its flavours had a mouth-watering effect to which I immediately answered and gave my palate immediate satisfaction. A portion of foil wrapped mixed vegetables, “braai-d” to perfection accompanied this Rosé at a leisurely pace, and I knew that this wine would have more celebrations at wine socials to come.
Tanner Ridge 2013 Chardonnay (wooded)
A bite of the juicy chicken collected my thoughts and my eyes filled with appeal, zoned in towards the Chardonnay. More characterised by rich and ripe flavours of stone fruits and mushy pears, a sense of happiness co-existed between the chicken and the wine. I decided on an extra glass, just to join this momentous union. I was enjoying this food and wine experiment.
Zandvliet My Best Friend Cape Red (with a caption that will inspire anyone who knows the value of a ‘best friend’)
A glass of this Cape Red, gave me a moment to think on and acknowledge the intimacy of friendships. Luscious layers of red fruit flavours leaped out of the glass, each layer majestically defining the various friends we’ve made. As I dug into my baby steak of beef, I had to acknowledge that, even though the main variety in this blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, its palate surprised me with its silkiness, confirming it an enjoyable and accessible wine.
Laborie Shiraz 2010
Sitting back and taking a bite of my favourite braai accompaniment, boerowors, a glass of Shiraz seemed fit to complement this personal firm favourite. Red berries and mixed spice passionately spoke to me through the nose and on the palate, flavour of an exquisite beauty, coupled with soft tannins and a silky finish of pleasure satisfied the wine lover in me.
With the afternoon long gone and a flood of memories remaining with me, I truly appreciated the Zimbabwean experience that’s often taken for granted. Braais form a great part of our Zimbabwean socials and are always a lovely way to get-together with family and friends. Throw in some wine and double the fun. All wines, excluding the Chardonnay, are available locally at reasonable prices. Whether you’re a wine amateur, wine lover or wine connoisseur, “wine and braai” and truly enjoy and experience with double the fun.
Memories are created everyday wine lovers, anytime anywhere. The question that floats around is “how they are made.” Create your own truly Zimbabwean experience with your favourite wine and braai. Till next time, it’s cheers with a Zandvliet Cape Red and the “best friends” who we share an occasional glass of wine with.
Pictures and additional information: WineLoverz@icloud.com