Set in the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde valley on South Africa’s Hermanus wine route, boutique vineyard Bouchard Finlayson is one of the country’s most acclaimed. With award winning Pinot Noir and globally recognised Chardonnay, this winery has become well respected worldwide. With Christmas on the horizon, we sit down with Bouchard Finlayson’s global ambassador, Lia Poveda to get her tips on pairing wine with the season’s festive fare.
Smoked salmon is a feature of many festive occasions. Which wine should people serve up with their smoked salmon canapés?
“Because of its fatty and rich texture, salmon is best served with a dry white wine to create a balanced and harmonious combination. Wine such as Chablis and German Riesling are great. I recommend our un-oaked Chardonnay, Sans Barrique. It’s a pure and dry Chardonnay, which is light and thirst quenching, making it perfect for starting the evening.”
Roast turkey traditionally takes pride of place on the dinner table at Christmas, and game such as partridge and pheasant are often served up, too. How would you balance the flavour of these white meats with wine?
“I recommend choosing a white wine with a heavier texture. Texture is actually the most important factor to consider when matching a dish with wine.
Most Rhone Valley and South Burgundy white wines work well. In our range, I’d recommend choosing our flagship Chardonnay, Missionvale. It is perfect with any white meat, including pork belly, pheasant, grouse and partridge.”
Do you recommend taking trimmings – such as cranberry, mint or horseradish sauce – into account when picking a wine to go with the meal?
“Yes and no; I recommend avoiding any acidity with wine. However at Christmas, it’s traditional to have both, so at this time of year, just do what makes you happy. I personally favour the wines, so I avoid having too many trimmings.”
Red meats such as beef are traditionally paired with a red wine, but can you recommend which type would best suit a warming winter roast?
“Red meat such as beef can take a denser and spicier red wine as an accompaniment. Go for a Syrah or Mourvedre from the south of France, or Malbec from Argentina, Barbera from Italy or Sangiovese from Italy’s Chianti region.
At Bouchard Finlayson, our wine containing six different grapes (Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Mourvedre and Syrah) is ideal. Each grape has a role to play, making it the perfect match for grilled red meat and stew, as well as chocolate and fruit desserts.”
When it comes to pairing wine with a cheeseboard – in which cheeses can vary from strong to mild – is there a wine that can compliment the full range of flavours?
“I usually recommend a dry white wine with goat and sheep milk cheeses, a sweet wine with blue cheese and a red wine with soft cow’s cheese. However, Pinot Noir tends to complement the whole range.
Burgundy is the most diverse cheese region and yet Pinot Noir is almost the only grape grown in this area, so it’s served with them all. In the Bouchard Finlayson range, I recommend our Tete de Cuvee, and if you can get hold of an older vintage it’s even better. Our Galpin Peak is also a terrific match. Both wines are 100 percent Pinot Noir.”
Mince pies, Christmas puddings and traditional Christmas cake are all dense in fruit and liquor. Which type of wine goes best with them?
“Many people think dessert wines should always accompany sweet food, but I believe it all depends on the time of day you are eating them.
After a meal, I recommend pairing a bubbly, such as Champagne or Prosecco, or a spicy red wine with them, allowing you to balance the spices, fruits and acidity perfectly.”
Experience the estate yourself while staying in the nearby Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain. Just an hour and a half from Cape Town, Bouchard Finlayson is sheltered by mountains, while benefiting from a cool ocean breeze, creating the ideal conditions for grape harvesting.
Header image: Bouchard Finlayson is situated in the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde valley © Red Carnation Hotels