3 Summer Wines from South Africa Shine for #CheninBlancDay #RoseDay #WinePW

As the days get longer and sunnier in the northern hemisphere here, it’s time to think about wines for summer. We’ve got three suggestions for you from South Africa — where it is actually winter there!

And because #RoseDay is TODAY, June 8, two of our summer suggestions are — you guessed it — ROSE!

And because #CheninBlancDay is June 15, we have a Chenin blanc!

The previous time we focused on South African wine was in August of 2016 we learned the cuisine focuses on:

  • root vegetables
  • slow cooked and cured meats
  • lots of spices typically found in what most people would consider “Indian” cuisine.or south east Asian.

Hot climates often have spicy foods, plus there was a large influx of South East Asians to South Africa. This inspired Sue to once again think about Indian foods, and specifically a curry prepared in an instant pot which might heat up the palate but not the house.

For an appetizer Sue picked up an organic hummus from Trader Joes and topped it with organic olive oil from California, toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of Mexican Saffron that she found in my spice rack. All three of the wines went really well with this super easy appetizer.

For the main course, Sue chose Cape Malay Chicken Curry with Yellow rice. Sue says this curry dish is much different than an Indian curry or a Thai curry, but I didn’t catch what those differences are.

I do know there is a huge difference between buying a pre-made curry, and having Sue follow a recipe to make a curry with fresh spices on your own. Quite honestly, for many kitchens with a full range of spices, it is not that different in difficulty, especially when doing it in the instant pot, it just takes more time to gather and measure the spices. Using the specific ingredients rather than a blend brought out different flavors. I particularly enjoyed the cardamom in this recipe and I think it really shone with these wines.

For those who are familiar and own an instant pot, Sue used fresh turmeric and changed the cook time for the chicken to 20 minutes forced venting, another 10 after adding potatoes, then left in the end to vent naturally and to sit until we were ready. The rice could have also been made in an instant pot but I only have one!

We loved all three wines with the meal this evening. If you are unsure of what wine to pair with a dish, often a rose will work as they do well with many foods and are very versatile. If you are going for a regional wine, try pairing it with the same regional food. It really works!

With that said, I must admit I tried the wine subsequently with a spicy siracha sushi party roll  and the rose pictured below really worked!

2015 The Rose Garden Boschendal – 13% alcohol –  SRP under $20
purchased on sale at Vons grocery store

The Rose Gardens at Boschendal house one of the oldest collections of roses on the Cape and is considered a national treasure. I love rose gardens and I’d love to check out this one!  They also offer farm stays in restored cottages– how cool is that! For families visiting,  they have a program they call “The Tree House” which they describe as “an exciting edu-play centre which offers kids aged 4 – 14yrs a chance to enjoy an authentic farm experience under the leadership of our Tree House team whilst you can unwind and take a well-deserved break.” The site offers many family friendly activities including horse back riding and mountain biking.

The wine is a blend of predominantly Merlot and Pinotage.

Color: Orange gold, could be because it is a 2015, it may have been a bit more pink at one time.

Nose: A prosecco glass brings much more to the nose on this wine. Sulphur and minerals, citrus, deeper hughed citrus, tangerine, meyer lemon, not really many florals.

A Pinot Grigio glass brings much more to the palate. It is rounder and delivers more fruit, and the acidity is more balanced. Citrus and minerals. It was definitely a great wine for being a 2015. It may have had more florals and fruits if consumed earlier, however it is still very nice.

With curry, it brought out such wonderful characteristics in the wine that we did not experience when just drinking the wine alone. Another testament that when you are cooking and eating local cuisine with local wine. It just works. We were so glad that this wine was fine. We were prepared for a 2015 to be past, but it was amazing. It still tasted great two days later when I had it for a late sushi lunch!

2018 Boekenhoutskloof  The WOLFTRAP Rose – 13% alcohol SRP $12
sample for review consideration

Established in 1776, Boekenhoutskloof is located in the Franschhoek Valley. The name refers to “ravine of the Boekenhout” (Bookn-Howed) which is an indigenous Cape Beech tree prized in furniture making. In 1993, a new vineyard planting program established Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon, and Viognier. While no wolves were ever found in the area, the mountain is home to indigenous animals, including leopards (!!!!).

A blend of Cinsault 69% Syrah 21%, Grenach 10% using the saignée method to bleed off juice before fermentation, then the blend was cold-fermented in stainless steel. We served the wine at cellar temperature.

Color: Coral, rose gold, very pretty, definitely some orange tones to the wine, with a pretty gold rim and gold highlights throughout the wine.

Nose: More floral and fruit on the nose of this rose than the last. Spicy carnation, citrus flower.

Front of the palate is very tart and a crisp, tangy lemon. In a prosecco glass it is much tarter almost like a sweet tart. The acidity and tartness seems to be mellower when served in a Pinot Grigio glass, while still having nice tartness and minerality. There is a bit more nectarine in the Pinot Grigio glass as well.

 Pay attention to the glass you serve your wine in. It does make a difference.

I found the wine to be sweeter and the food to be spicier with this wine, where as with the previous wine it seemed to tame the spiciness of the food. Sue agreed with me, but she is not bothered by the heat and still loved the pairing. She found more sweetness in the curry, but also agreed that it did not tame the spice as well. Chutney and wine? You would not think that this would be a great combination, but it worked for Sue, who loves chutney, but the one from Trader Joe’s has too much bell pepper for me.

2017 Dornier Bush Vine Chenin Blanc Swartland – 14% alcohol –  SRP:
sample for review 

Founder Christoph Dornier was a painter who started a foundation for behavioral psychotherapy in Germany in the eighties and was one of the founding partners of de Zalze Golf Estate in Stellenbosch. They say he loved the mystical aspect to wine, its symbolism and beauty. Passionate about architecture, Christoph Dornier saw the landmark Dornier wine cellar as his legacy in this field. Since 2010, the winery has also offered accommodations; a leading restaurant is on site as well as extensive gardens. Read about their commitment to social and environmental responsibility here.

Winemaker Philip van Staden sources this Chenin Blanc from old bush vine vineyards located in the Swartland where the soil consists of decomposed granite with a sandy composure. While the region has experienced drought the past few years receiving a third of the typical rainfall and getting only one third of the normal harvest,  the vines continue to be dry-farmed to yield intense, rich, perfumed fruit.

This wine was definitely the wine that went with the main dish the best. It was the most interesting wine of the evening as far as being unusual, and going so fabulously with the curry and taking on the challenge of the spicy sweet curry.

Color: Golden buttercup with a pale yellow rim

Sue right off the bat commented on what an interesting nose this wine had. Clean minerals, like bentonite clay as if you were getting a facial. The florals are soft gardenia, but it is subtle and does not overwhelm the nose.

Palate: Very different and fun. A completely different wine than the other two. Smooth sensuality and mouthfeel of this wine. Buck skin and leather, kind of like clay as in the way that it coats your palate and stays there. The front of the palate is all about the textural feel. At the back of the palate there’s acidity that’s very lemony, lingers and is nicely salivating.

Pairing: We immediately started thinking about the foods we wanted to have with this wine. I thought of sand dabs or anything served with capers and lemon. Sue wanted Greek food. It reminded Sue of wines made from indigenous grapes of Greece. This wine loves the cardomon in the curry. We found this meal to be so great with this wine.

For me, the Cape Malay Chicken curry was the ultimate pairing of the evening. Everything gets really clean, crisp, and expressive. The wine and the food are experienced completely when consumed together. When tasting the wine with out food when discussing the nose and the palate earlier on, completely changes when paired with this meal.

So what is the OMG? It is the amazing moment when the wine and the food become perfect companions bring on this OMG moment in your mouth. For some OMG South African wines and food pairings, join our twitter chat at 8am Pacific following the hashtag #WinePW and check out these posts by participants:

Happy Rose Day! Happy Chenin Blanc Day!

And happy anniversary 5th anniversary to Wine Pairing Weekend!  Thanks for starting this David! While I didn’t join until 2016, I’ve been pretty steady almost every month since!

What’s on our agenda for 2019?

Jan- Argentina — Jeff (my post here)
Feb.- Chile & Uruguay – Jill host (my post here)
March – Cab Franc Around the World -host Wendy (my post here)
April – Biodynamic wines of the world – I hosted and posted 3x including this one (my post here)
May – Biodynamic Oregon wines – hosted by Jade (my post here)
June – South Africa – Jennifer hosting (my post above)
July -BBQ & Rioja — Jeff host
August – New Zealand — hosted by Lori
Sept – Brazil — host Jill Barth
Oct – #MerlotMe — host has been Jeff in the past
Nov- Texas wines — Michelle
Dec – Pet Nat hosted by Cindy

12 thoughts on “3 Summer Wines from South Africa Shine for #CheninBlancDay #RoseDay #WinePW

    • It’s been great for us — Sue can prepare the food and I can assist and take photos, get out glasses, etc etc and then while it cooks we can take notes etc and be much more relaxed. And when we’re not wine writing, it’s great for my family whether it is rice or a meal.


  1. Interesting panel of wines, Gwen. I, also, received the Dornier and liked it with the wild boar skewers and lamb lollipops that I served, but it wasn’t my favorite.


  2. Pingback: Gemaak en Gebottle by Oorsprong: We’re not in Kansas Anymore! #WinePW | foodwineclick

  3. Pingback: South African Chenin Blanc Paired with Shrimp, Scallops, and Mango Salsa #WinePW - Always Ravenous

  4. Pingback: South African Chutney Chicken and Chenin Blanc Pairing #WinePW • Curious Cuisiniere

  5. You and Sue make quite the team, I loved reading about both the dishes and the wines. I’m also having some fun reading the different reviews of the Dornier wine from the group. What are the common characteristics and what’s different. Fun!


  6. Pingback: #RoséAllMay? #RoséAllDay! Three Rosé from Oregon with sushi, salad, seafood skewers for #AirportRules | wine predator

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