{wine} Recipe books and Robertson Winery: a match made in the kitchen

I am very often inspired by wine to cook, to create, to feast. I was recently gifted with three of Robertson Winery’s best bottles, which left me reaching for my recipe books.

Introduction

I’m one of those people who read recipe books for fun. I can sit for endless hours, absolutely mesmerised by colours and textures, paging through old and new recipe books, looking for styling ideas, searching for interesting flavour combinations and daydreaming of my next food shoot.

When I was gifted with not one, but three bottles of Robertson Winery’s wines recently, I felt inspired. I simply had to stop everything I’m doing, pour a glass of wine and spend an afternoon drawing inspiration not only from my abundant collection of cookbooks, but also from the offerings of one of my favourite wineries.

Background

From its very humble beginnings in 1852, the town of Robertson has always been filled with the most generous of people. Dr William Robertson, the Scottish minister whom the town is named after, the hard-working community that tends to the wine farms and everyone else here welcomes you with arms outstretched and warm handshakes.

With the town a little more grown up by 1941, its stone church built by the community and serviced by missionaries, was no longer in use. It made the perfect place to establish Robertson Winery and was converted for winemaking and cellaring operations, involving everyone from farmers to bottlers in creating wines to share with the world (https://www.robertsonwinery.co.za/#our-story).

Beaukett 2019

Tasting notes:  Melon, apple. Gentle muscat·scented, aromatic semi-sweet white wine with a smooth, subtle spicy palate. Generous and succulent, but nicely freshened by gentle acid with a fresh and clean finish.
In the vineyard:  Colombard and Muscadel
In the cellar: Keeping the fruit separate throughout fermentation, wines were produced with varying flavours and palate weight allowing a diverse choice when it came to blending.
Cellar door price: approx. R55 – R60 a bottle

The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: For this exquisite wine, I pulled closer my dog-eared second volume of JAN the Journal, and found myself daydreaming about dumplings in a light, fragrant broth, maybe with delicate morsels of pork or chicken, which will lap up this fruit-driven white wine. Maybe even something with a little sweet and sour in the broth or you could add pasta ribbons, which will also soak up the richness of the meat. Garnished with garlic butter wild mushrooms and a scattering of fresh spring onion, this is a meal worthy of an award.

The Beaukett 2018 won a gold medal at the 2019 Gold Wine Awards. It also placed in the Top 14 highest-scoring wines with 95 points at the fourth annual Ultra Value Wine Challenge 2018/2019 which assists consumers find the very best wine buys for under R100 per bottle.

Chenin Blanc 2019

Accolades: 2019 Gold Wine Awards: Gold medal
Tasting notes:  An appealing light straw colour. Light with lovely ripe, attractive rounded fruit. Fresh floral nose and an exciting acid balance.
In the vineyard:  The fruit was sourced from 35 specially selected grape growing families in the Robertson Valley.
In the cellar: Fermentation happened slowly in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 18 days at 13˚C.
Cellar door price: approx. R55 – R60 a bottle

The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: I immediately imagined a lovely, simple pasta dish with this Chenin Blanc, and who better than Jamie Oliver to cook straightforward Italian? Plus, any excuse that allows me to lose myself between the pages of his recipe books is time well spent. I pulled out my recipe bible, Jamie’s Italy, and I honestly forgot about time as I paged through various iterations of my favourite comfort food.

Maybe a bit surprising, but I came across a recipe for “spaghetti alla trapanese” which is a vegetarian, tomato-based pasta, with hints of almond and garlic, parmesan and fresh basil. Whilst you’d think that a red wine would be better suited to the tomato base, the addition of almonds and fresh herbs allows for this Chenin Blanc to shine with its delicate aromas alongside this almost pesto-pasta. The acidity of the tomatoes are smoothened and tempered by the fruitiness of the Chenin Blanc and leaves you with a summery, light meal pairing.

Shiraz 2018

Accolades: Winemag.co.za’s Best Value Shiraz Tasting: placed in the Top 5 and joint second with 89/100 points.

Tasting notes: freshly crushed black pepper aromas with hints of cinnamon and cloves on the nose with lots of brambly red berry fruit, rich mulberry and well integrated vanilla tones.
In the vineyard:  Our Shiraz is planted in deep Karoo and Shale soils that are rich in lime.
In the cellar: Eighty percent of the wine was aged on French Oak and twenty percent on American Oak for 6-8 months.
Cellar door price: approx. R70 a bottle

The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: I paired this full-bodied Shiraz with Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking, by Andrea Slonecker and Dana Frank. I found a recipe for succulent oven-baked spatchcock chicken, smokey potatoes cooked in the roasting juices and peppery green cabbage. There’s something so rewarding about a humble dinner of roast chicken and a bold glass of red wine. And yes, I know the rhyme, red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat, but this pairing works every time. The fruity aromas of this stunning Shiraz 2018 love the tender roast chicken. The peppery notes of the wine, coupled with the fragrantly spiced vegetables, makes this meal a simple pleasure.

 

In conclusion

Some wines are just easy on the eye, some are just good to drink. I find the Robertson Winery range to be the perfect food-loving wine, which in turn, encourages me to be inspired, to create, to cook, to pair, to experience. These wines are beautifully complex in their simplicity, and will add a sprinkle of flair to any meal, however you want to dress it up or down.

Thank you, Robertson Winery, for allowing me a few precious hours of self-indulgence, as I sipped on your wines and lost myself in my recipe books. I definitely have a few tricks up my sleeve this festive season!

Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.

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