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Wine Lifestyle

How to Store

For hundreds of years wine has been stored in underground cellars, and there is good reason for this practice. The ideal storage conditions can be consistently met - cool, dark, humid and still surroundings. The most important factor is to store your wine at constant temperatures and away from heat and light.

Humidity is also a factor to keep in mind. A higher humidity level helps to keep the corks from shrinking and allowing oxygen in, resulting in oxidation of the wine. Ideal humidity is between 65-75%.

It is also not recommended to store your wines in a refrigerator, the constant vibration of the refrigerator agitates the wine and can keep the sediment from settling in a red wine.

By storing a wine on its side, you will help keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the worst enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle. When oxygen comes into contact with wine the wine starts to oxidize (think brown apple) and the aromas, flavors and color all begin to spoil.

How to Taste

Tasting wine is a straightforward adventure, but often something many people are intimidated by, simply, because they are not sure what to look for in a wine. Wine tasting is based on your basic senses: look, smell and taste.

Firstly, when you are presented with a glass of wine look at the color. Tilt the glass away from you and look for clarity, murkiness, brightness and intensity of colour.

Next, to get a good impression of your wine's aroma, swirl your glass for a few seconds to expose it to oxygen (this helps vaporize some of the wine's alcohol and release more of its natural aromas), then take a quick whiff to gain a first impression, followed by a deep inhale. You should be able to identify distinct 'noses', such as oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus. A wine's aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics. The better and more complex the wine, the more aromas you will be able to detect. It should also be kept in mind that not all aromas are good, a corked wine and oxidation will also be detectable in the wine's aroma.

Finally, taste. Take a small sip and let it roll around your mouth. Slurp in some air to enhance its fragrance. The initial sensations on the palate will be determined by alcohol content, tannin levels, acidity and residual sugar. These four do not display flavor as such, they meld together to offer impressions in intensity and complexity, soft or firm, light or heavy, crisp or creamy, sweet or dry. Now, for the actual taste on the palate, try to identify specific flavors such as berry, plum, prune or fig; perhaps some spice – pepper, clove, cinnamon, or maybe a woody flavor like oak or a detectable smokiness. If it is a white wine you may taste tropical or citrus fruits, or the taste may be more floral in nature or even consist of butter, or a bit of earthiness.

After you swallowed (or spit) take note of the aftertaste. Try to assess the wine’s body, acidity and tannins as well as flavour profile.

Food & Wine Pairing

Food and wine pairing is the process of matching food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. Part of what we love about wine is that pairing it with food is more art than science, without a specific set of rules. The main concept behind pairings is that certain elements (such as texture and flavor) in both food and wine react differently to each other and finding the right combination of these elements will make the entire dining experience more enjoyable. The most basic element is, understanding the balance between the "weight" of the food and the weight (or body) of the wine. Heavy, robust wines like Cabernet Sauvignon can overwhelm light delicate dishes like a quiche while light bodied wines like Pinot Noir would be similarly overwhelmed by a robust stew.

The objective of this guideline is to provide a starting point, but evidently your own preferences and experiences will quickly take the lead.

  Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Ruby Cabernet Pinotage Merlot Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
Cheese Nuts Chevin Cheese, Tapenade White Cheddar Organic Gouda, Pistachios Brie with Figs, Walnuts Ripe Brie Mixed Nuts Fontina Cheese Camenbert, Hazelnuts Sharp Cheeses- Gorgonzola
Meat Poultry Roast Chicken Chicken Pasta, Veal Chicken Curry Beef Carpaccio Barbequed Lamb Slow Roasted Marinated Pork Tomato Stew Beef Rump, Venison Beef Oxtail, Lamb
Seafood Kingklip, Lobster, Sole Prawn Risotto Hake Tuna Steaks Prawn Cocktail, Salmon Trout Roasted Kingklip Crab, Salmon Steamed Mussels, Prawns
Veggie Fruit Asparagus, Broccoli, Leeks Potatoes, Apricots Horseraddish, Sweet Onion, Pineapple Green Peas, Rocket, Lemon Roasted Root Vegetables, Figs Sweet Potato, Plums, Tomatoes Salad, Plums, Figs Potatoes, Tomatoes, Pears
Herb Spices Chillies, Coriander Tarragon, Sage   Balsamic Vinegar, Tumeric Cardamon Parsley, Chives, Garlic Rosemary, Mint Basil, Oregano, Rosemary Juniper, Berries, Rosemary Thyme Oregano
Sauces Leek & Mushroom Sause Creamy Herb Sauce Spicy Malay Curry Sauce Chilli Sauce Mint Sauce Tomato based Sauces Juniper Sauce Rich Beef Sauce
Desserts Lemon Meringue Créme Bruleé Caramel, Pineapple Cake Tipsy Tart Orange Cream Gateaux Rich Chocolate Pudding Malva Pudding & Custard Old Fashioned Milk Tart

... from the heart of the longest wine route in the world