Daniel Henry, Trainee Manager of our Leatherhead store, explores two New World powerhouses with a shared winemaking (and culinary) heritage.
Argentina and South Africa have much in common when it comes to wine. Both countries have been producing the stuff for over 300 years. Both have built their strong reputation on producing rich, distinctive, elegant reds to savour with proteinrich dishes. So it’s a good thing both nations also share such an abiding love of meat.
Argentina – Malbec and much more
Argentina’s unique terroir combines some of the world’s highest vineyards with the optimum amount of sunshine to enhance ripe fruit characters on the vine. These near-perfect conditions have brought many varietals to the forefront of quality wine production in the country. More and more, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Bonarda are blended with Malbec for wines of incredible depth and rich sensuous fruit.
Kaiken Malbec-Bonarda-Petit Verdot Limited Selection 2009, Mendoza
£9.99 or £7.49 when you buy 2 bottles
This blend really showcases Bonarda and Petit Verdot at their best when added to Malbec. The grapes produce a well-rounded wine with blackcurrant notes complemented by luscious hints of vanilla, perfect with these herby roasted pork loins.
Seared Sirloin Steak with Blue Cheese Butter
Gouguenheim Malbec 2009, Mendoza
£8.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
The silky, seductive texture of this Malbec screams out for a rich meaty dish, so here’s a match made in heaven. On its own, the wine’s damson and plum fruit notes simply caress the palate, but it also has the tannins and structure to break down the protein present in the steak and blue cheese.
Viñalba Malbec-Touriga Nacional 2009, Mendoza
£10.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Argentina’s premier grape meets Portugal’s. Touriga Nacional adds depth, body and a strong backbone of dried berry fruit. It’s a chunky wine whose blackcurrant and mulberry fruit works in harmony with the gamey flavours and fine texture of the casserole.
Sunday Roast Beef
Viñalba Reserva Cabernet-Malbec-Petit Verdot 2010, Mendoza
£11.99 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles
The traditional British roast is the ideal partner for this glorious wine, made with fruit sourced from two of Mendoza’s top regions. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Malbec and 10% Petit Verdot produce a perfumed wine with cassis aromas, ripe blackcurrants and a smooth velvet finish. 12 months in French oak adds spicy notes and the fine rounded tannins needed to break down the protein in the meat.
South Africa’s punchy, full-bodied reds undoubtedly find their influence in Bordeaux and the Rhône. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot produce elegant Bordeaux-style blends or bold fruit-driven single varietals. Syrah’s dark-berried aromas and peppery finish plays a big role too. The final ingredient? Something meaty to drink it with. The braai is the star of that show, BBQing everything from traditional boerewors (farmers sausage) to pork chops, lamb chops and chicken.
Herb-Stuffed Leg of Lamb, Crispy Roast Potatoes, Honey Roast Carrots & Parsnips
Bellingham Mocha Java Merlot 2010, Coastal Region
£7.99 £7.49 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Lamb is often paired with fruit-driven wines. This is no exception, but with its unusual savoury coffee bean aromas, it’s no ordinary Merlot either. Made with fruit from several parcels of low-yielding vines, it also has succulent ripe plum and maraschino cherry flavours, and a smooth bittersweet chocolate finish.
Honey-Glazed Pork Chops
Porcupine Ridge Syrah Viognier 2010, Western Cape
£8.99 £8.74 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles
It can be hard to find red wines for this type of pork dish, but this modern, ripe-fruit take on the classic Rhône blend has all the body you want. Super ripe Viognier adds fruity notes to stand up to the rich honey glaze, while the spicy Syrah complements the pork with its seductive ripe berry fruit and smooth finish.
Grilled Lamb Steaks with Fennel Ratatouille
DMZ Syrah 2009, De Morgenzon, Stellenbosch
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
This Syrah from a highly reputable estate displays rich, youthful vigour that’s only enhanced by fermentation in stainless steel. Almost a year’s maturation in the barrel adds a rounded, supple texture. Layers of plums, white pepper and cinnamon, finely balanced by good levels of acidity, provide a spot-on match for this lamb dish.
Roasted Pork Belly
Rustenberg RM Nicholson 2009, Stellenbosch
£12.99 £12.49 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Named in honour of a former Rustenberg winemaker, its strong Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah backbone is enhanced by Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Hand-harvesting ensures only the best grapes are chosen, giving structured red fruit flavours and big bold tannins – the perfect counterpoint to this super-rich dish.