There is perhaps nothing more terrifying than the wine section at a supermarket or drinks store; nothing that makes your subconscious quite as cognizant of the fact that you are inferior.
By its very nature, wine is complex. And even as Nairobi’s palate continues to grow, understand that wine is almost an art-form – tough to master, but a hell of a lot of fun to try out.
Whether you are a budding sommelier or just a social drinker, it doesn’t hurt to expand your horizons and try something new every now and again.
I recently attended a wine tasting event at the Emerald Garden in Gigiri hosted by SHK Consulting, Viva Global and Browns Natural Cheese – a great way to socialize with some new faces and pick up some tips as well. So the next time you have a date you need to impress, or just looking for a change – you can thank me later!
Wine doesn’t have to be too fancy an affair!
There are different selections for everyone: daytime drinking? A sauvignon blanc is your friend. Easy on the palate and universally loved – these are usually wine selections that you can have with cheese and bread or crackers on a really nice day out.
They also go really well with fresh, crispy salads or deserts. A great new age wine is the Matua Sauvignon Blanc.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Naked Grape Californian white (muscato) from New Zealand is also a good choice – pair it with a strong blue cheese to help balance out the sweetness.
It’s OK to stick with what you know.
If you genuinely love a particular grape or vintage, share the love. There are reasons why some brands have been in the market for so many years – they don’t disappoint. An example of this is the Casillero Del Diablo – a legendary brand that has held its own for close to 18 years in Kenya: a great addition to the dinner table and a bottle that you could offer as a gift – safe in the knowledge that you aren’t taking a chance on an unknown product.
The sauvignon blanc is a little more complex as a wine – not sweet or fruity with slightly more citrus notes.
The red is also a good pick if you are not eating anything too heavy – ideal for lunches and great value for money as well! If Frontera is usually your go-to, try the Casillero – they both come from the same winery however the latter is more for the entry level drinkers.
Age ain’t nothing but a number!
Don’t worry yourself too much with distinctions on age. With the majority of new age wines, you don’t really want to pick up a bottle that was produced before 2013. Go for it if you have a bottle of delicate French or Italian wine that will develop in complexity. However a wine that I really enjoy – the Penfolds Koononga Hills Chardonnay may be an exception to the rule – produced in South Australia, the older it gets, the yummier it tastes! Chardonnay is slightly more full bodied as compared to the sauvignon blanc and meshes well with creamy dishes.
Also of note from the same producer is the Shiraz-Cabernet which you can pair with spicy food for a great evening kick.
Wine has always had the reputation of being a ‘snooty’ hobby – enjoy your journey within it! Experiment and don’t take it too seriously unless it pays your bills!
Find out more about Viva Global here
Find out more about Browns Cheese here
Find out more about SHK Consulting here