I am a sucker for a food-and-wine pairing experience. It is always exhilarating to see how the nuances of a glass of wine can be complemented, changed and enhanced by having a bite or two to eat while sipping it. I see it as one of the best learning experiences when it comes to appreciating wine.
A trend that I just can’t get enough of is that a few innovative wine estates are now offering wine tasting boxes – often including a food pairing option, all delivered straight to your door (even if you are living in Gauteng). Given the fact that the Pandemic Life has changed things up for us the past year or so, we’ve grown to live for these special occasions. A year down the line we are still not keen on attending events and these wine tastings that we can indulge in at home, are a wonderful way to still support the limping South African wine industry.
So let me just jump straight into this one – Vondeling’s Wine and Potato Chip Wine Tasting offering. Every year on the 14th of March the world celebrates “Potato Chip Day”. Although we do in fact celebrate the Potato Chip every single day in our house! Vondeling had the genius idea to create their own Wine and Potato Chip pairing, and I was on it within seconds after reading about it, placing our order and eagerly waiting to see what this is all about.
This offer includes 6 bottles of wine (2 x Vondeling Petit Blanc Chenin Blanc 2020, 2 x Vondeling Petit Route Merlot 2019 and 2 x Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz 2018) as well as 3 x 40g packets of kettle-fried style, locally produced chips to pair the wines with. It also includes a wine pairing guide, detailing the various chip pairings and tasting notes.
The only thing you need to do is get your darling husband to set up the wine glasses and chip bowls and move the business to your front garden on a lazy Sunday morning.
Needless to say, we couldn’t wait until the 14th of March to try this, so we didn’t.
Vondeling Petit Blanc Chenin Blanc paired with Rootstock Sea Salt Crisps
We followed the tasting notes supplied, swirling and sipping the wine as a starting point. This wine has got a pale lime colour. I got a lot of tropical fruit, specifically guava, on the nose. Balanced acidity with apple and white peach on the palate. We both expected the chips to be more salty, but this lightly salted version actually worked quite well with the chenin. I found that the wine’s tropical notes were leveled out a bit, and the wine became a little more dry and slightly more acidic as well. A lovely pairing, highlighting some of the wine’s qualities that we didn’t notice right off the bat initially.
Vondeling Petit Rouge Merlot 2018 with Rootstock Sea Salt and Black Pepper Crisps
This wine has got a beautiful ruby colour. Dark cherries and raspberries on the nose, with berries and very slight pepper on the palate. Maybe this is the right time to state that both of us are not really merlot fans. I blame the movie “Sideways” and will leave it there. We both really enjoyed this merlot – delicate tannins and a very smooth finish makes this wine really easy drinking and delicious. Another side note – at this stage we also stopped to Google “Rootstock”, the company who makes the crisps that accompanied these wines. Seriously tasty, what a great choice Vondeling! It complements the merlot perfectly. The sea salt and pepper of the crisps amplifies another level of complexity to this already well-balanced wine.
Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz 2018 with Rootstock Red Onion, Olive and Roasted Garlic Crisps
Of course this part of the tasting started off with Jan’s best “I have a cunning plan” Baldrick from Black Adder impression. While I giggled like a school girl. We are so cute. Moving on swiftly. This shiraz has got a beautiful dark purple colour. I got rich cinnamon spice, white pepper and ripe plum aromas on the nose, while on the palate it carried through with added berry, spice and a bit of savoriness. Again we found balanced tannins and smooth finish, a lovely wine to sip. The crips nearly stole the show though, absolutely bursting with flavour and taste. The savoury and spice notes on this shiraz gets an extra boost in this case. A lamb burger with tzatziki or a rosemary and olive focaccia will be divine with this wine.
What a wonderful initiative, I really hope that we will continue to see more of these type of innovative ideas forthcoming. This gives your average wine lover the opportunity to learn and experience more, and who knows, you may just end up with a new fan for life.
Like us, who quickly ordered another wine and chip pairing box and joined Vondeling’s wine club. Good job!
I am not sure for how long this offer will still be available, get your orders in ASAP: Wine & Potato Chip Selection – Vondeling Wines
If you have any other local virtual/at home wine tasting experiences to recommend, please let me know – you can leave your comment below.