IT’S TIME TO PAIR YOUR FOOD WITH YOUR WINE! (and not the other way around!)

IT’S TIME TO PAIR YOUR FOOD WITH YOUR WINE! (and not the other way around!)

Wikus Human is currently Head Sommelier at two of Johannesburg’s most popular restaurants – Marble and Saint.

He was also one of the judges (and the only Gauteng-based one) of the highly anticipated Sommeliers Selection competition, the only local wine contest judged solely by a panel of South Africa’s best sommeliers and placed in categories fashioned around the perfect varietals for an ideal restaurant wine menu. Wines of different varieties, blends and pricing, but stylistically similar, stand alongside each other.

This year more than 400 wines from the country’s top estates were entered, with winning wines, beer and gin coming from more than 60 farms. Stand-out wines included the Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2018, Plaisir de Merle Grand Plaisir 2014, Idiom Bordeaux Blend 2015, Villiera Wines Tradition Brut NV, Peter Falke Wines Méthode Cap Classique 2013 and, in the craft beer category, the Cape Brewing Company’s Mandarina Bavaria IPA.

The winning wines pair well with food, so wine lovers looking what to order with their favourite dish are encouraged to attend the Sommeliers Selection 2019 tasting events which will be held in October in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Human answered a few questions ahead of the tastings:

Why do you think Sommeliers Selection is an important wine event to attend?
Sommeliers are major assets to any restaurant in South Africa but I don’t think that restaurant owners understand the importance of a sommelier and what advantages this brings to the establishment. The Sommeliers Selection is a collection which is put together by South Africa’s top sommeliers. Sommeliers taste wine differently to your normal consumer, tasting on a higher scale and analysing different aspects, such as acidity, body, tannin, alcohol, finish and complexity. After analysing every element in the wine, we then decide if it is a good wine or a great wine. We bear in mind what the current wine trends are, but we also then have to decide if you would list it as a Sommelier and could you sell it in your restaurant at a certain price point? This is what makes the Sommeliers Selection different to other events – we blind tasted the wines, not knowing what varietal it was or where it was from. We only knew a vintage and a trade price. The chosen wines are wines that made it through a panel of strong judges who would list them in their restaurants.

What do you hope that those attending the tastings will learn?
Affordable wine isn’t necessary bad wine which is a misconception that some consumers make in South Africa.

Why is it important to pair wine with food?
I like to do it the other way around and pair food with wine. There is always some special bottle lying around that you’ve been saving for a while. So choosing a dish to go with a certain wine is more interesting, because you can build your dish and try and make every component work with that specific wine.

What are some wine trends for 2019?
Chenin Blanc is doing well and white blends are being ordered more often. Guests also tend to order more MCC and don’t mind older vintages of MCC. On the red side, Cabernet and Cabernet-dominant blends are still trending, but some consumers are jumping towards the more interesting varietals like Malbec, Grenache, Tinta Barocca and Carignan if they are offered.

Your favourite food and wine pairing?
Riesling and pork or Pinot Noir and duck.

The Sommeliers Selection tastings take place this month at the following venues:

JOHANNESBURG

  • Venue:  Pool Deck, Tsogo Sun Hyde Park
  • Date:      Wednesday, 16 October
  • Times:    16:00-18:00 – trade only

18:00 – public admitted
21:00 – doors close

DURBAN

  • Venue:  The Beverly Hills Hotel, uMhlanga
  • Date:      Thursday, 31 October
  • Times:    16:00-18:00 – trade only

18:00 – public admitted
21:00 – doors close

WESTERN CAPE

  • Venue:  Roca Restaurant, Franschhoek
  • Date:      Wednesday, 9 October
  • Times:    11.00-11h30 – trade only

11h30 – public admitted
13h00 – doors close