While it’s generally accepted that certain foods are suited to certain wines, as the one enhances the other, very little is written on the subject of matching certain wines to certain moods, at least in a scientific sense.
The obvious and most versatile food-and-mood match seems to be Champagne or Cap Classique. It is widely accepted as the wine style you opt for when you are in the mood for a celebration but as Lilly Bollinger so famously observed, it is a drink for when you are happy, sad, alone, in company, hungry or when you are thirsty- the all-encompassing drink for all moods.
But what about all the other wines? Where do they fit in?
I contemplated this during a recent trip to Johannesburg. I was sitting in Cape Town’s revamped SLOW lounge, and while my usual course of action would’ve been to glug back ample Cap Classique (because who doesn’t like flying with a slight buzz?) I wavered at the bar. On this occasion Cap Classique just didn’t seem fitting. You see, I was in a slightly Chekhovian mood, as I was boarding a flight to Johannesburg to box up a life I once wanted. It was a flight which elicited some serious introspection and which, in that moment, didn’t really call for a glass of bubbles.
In the absence of a ‘heavy’ Chardonnay, I opted for a glass of De Wetshof Finesse instead.
The previous day I attended a function at Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek, in celebration of their new Rosé offerings. The newly launched L’Ormarins Brut Rosé and the Protea Rosé were on display, and while both wines deliver delicious drinkability, the question about where the wines fit into the South African drinking culture, was asked. Where do Rosé wines play? And importantly, which mood is suited to these wines?
This question, incidentally, was answered on my return trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Crossing the domestic departure terminal, I was stopped by an agent from Lere’s Shoe Shine business at OR Tambo.
He introduced himself as Sweet Boy. “That is my name”, he said, as he pulled out a brush to clean my All Stars. I told him I’m a writer.
“A writer?” asked Sweet Boy “you must write my story,” he beamed. I had to disappoint. “I’m not that kind of writer Sweet Boy”, I said, “I write about wines”.
“Ah! Vino?” asked Sweet Boy, all smiles. “Yes, wine”, I said. “Do you like wine, Sweet Boy?”
“Oh yes,” he said “especially the pink ones.”
I didn’t ask him about his mood when he drinks pink wine, but judging from his attitude that day, I would say that pink wines are for those unexpectedly, and inexplicably, happy people among us.
Cheers, Sweet Boy. I wrote about you after all.
- Jeanri-Tine van Zyl worked for Wine magazine as a journalist when it was still in print and is now a communications consultant with her own company called Feed That Bird, freelance writer and an occasional wine judge.