If you’re going to pack on a couple of kilos as I have over the festive season, then it’s best that they are well earned.
The 24 hours over Christmas proved particularly decadent. Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2010 was a great match with garlic and chilli prawns on the eve of Santa coming down the chimney. The wine has great palate weight, belying the fact that it is unwooded and easily stood up to the strong flavours of the food. It’s only R33 a bottle from the farm and believe me, we drank it on more than one occasion over the holidays.
Christmas Day lunch was blow-out: Moët & Chandon Millésime Blanc 1999 from magnum while opening presents, Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008 with a caprese salad and then the 1998 vintage of the red from Chateauneuf-du-Pape producer Château de Beaucastel with the traditional ham and turkey (although the latter did come with the slightly unusual amount of three different stuffings but that’s what happens when my brother cooks).
The bubbles proved just the thing to ease into a long day of eating and drinking. Still very primary, it showed pure citrus fruit along with an ever so slight yeasty note; the acidity was crisp but not seering as is the hallmark of Champagne.
The Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008 appeared just a little bit tired, but perhaps too rich and weighty to show at its best next to a dish as light as a caprese salad. In any event, this was meant to be the second vintage of Steenberg’s white wine flagship Magna Carta but was downgraded by the property’s brains trust, a decision that now seems vindicated.
What can I say about the Beaucastel? Served slightly chilled, it facilitated not just second helpings but thirds as well.