Success often comes at a price, but at Reyneke, it’s important that their success does not cost the earth or people. So says Johan Reyneke. Instead, the goal of Reyneke wines is for both planet and people to flourish.
To achieve this goal, Reyneke ONLY produces organic and biodynamic wines– wines that are grown, not made. As organic farmers first, they do not use herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers, and they seek sustainability on the farm and avoid additives in the winery.
Their organic “Vinehugger” line is their entry level wine at $15 a bottle. Grapes are grown on lower elevations and offer more accessibility and fruit.
Then there’s a line of certified biodynamic wines, from grapes where vineyards go beyond organic to be regenerative and self-sufficient with organic systems in place on the farm to work synergistically with assistance from biodynamic preparations. At Reyneke, the result is, with few external inputs, the vines “become quite singular in their expression… and have a real sense of place.” They were the first farm to earn biodynamic certification in South Africa.
In addition to taking care of the planet with these practices, Reyneke takes care of their people. For 20 years, Reyneke has sought to address the inequities created by the system of apartheid that impacted South Africa for so long by providing affordable housing, education for workers’ children, retirement benefits, and more through their “Cornerstone” program; the name is derived from the fact that their workers are the cornerstone of their business.
Read more about some of the recent challenges faced by the South African wine industry.
- Vinehugger Organic Red 2018
- Vinehugger Organic White 2018
- Biodynamic Syrah 2017
- Biodynamic Chenin Blanc 2018
If you’re a fan of organic and biodynamic wines, check out this exciting news!
- Sue’s homemade hummus with pine nuts
- Trader Joe’s Spanakopita
- Trader Joe’s Cheese Spiral
- purchased felafel
- Green Olives
- Middle Eastern Pilaf (Source)
- Instant Pot Persian Spiced Lamb Shanks (see recipe below)
All of the seasonings went so well with all of the wines. Such a lovely richness of flavor between all four wines and the menu, and we loved how all of these wines are made with organic grapes.
Find a selection of South African wines with regionally inspired food pairings here.
2018 Reyneke Vinehugger White
While Chenin Blanc may have originated in France, over 50% of the Chenin Blanc vineyards worldwide are found in South Africa. Surprisingly, Chenin Blanc has fallen out of favor and is not that well-known in the US any more which is a shame.
is now home to It’s a wine that’s hard not to love—versatile in style and able to pair with a variety of dishes from meats to cheeses to vegetarian. Not only is Reyneke Vinehugger White a food-friendly wine, it’s an environmentally friendly one too. The farm is the first farm in South Africa to achieve certification by Demeter International, the largest and most widely acknowledged biodynamic accreditation body in the world. This 100% Chenin Blanc wine is sourced from vineyards just 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. With apricot and white peach on the nose, notes of mandarin peel and honey-comb, with a fresh, vibrant palate, it’s a classic Chenin Blanc.
This wine was at cellar temperature when we first started tasting, but I wanted it a bit cooler. A great wine list wine, by the bottle or the glass, because it’s Interesting and can pair with a variety of foods.
Color: Straw, light gold
Aroma: Honeysuckle, jalapeno jelly, dry dessert dirt, fennel, pear, roses, rose water
Palate: Baked pear and crossant, cardamon, green chili and red chili on the finish. chili pepper flakes, texturally interesting. there is a slick mouthfeel, with lovely acidity and interesting spice.
Pairing: Falafel and hummus makes the wine refreshing and crisp. Great with the spanakopita. This easy drinking white love meditarnian food. OMG the rice on its own was so wonderfully flavorful, the wine takes it to another level. It becomes a $30 meal. There isn’t any sugar in the meal, but the spices and the dried fruit add a sweetness to the dish that marries so well with the wine.
2018 Reyneke Biodynamic Chenin Blanc
Color: Lemon yellow, there is a bit of color in the glass.
Aroma: The nose on this wine is so interesting, ripe pear, baking spice, baked apple, florals, rose. For Sue the nose was very evasive, while I found it to be quite seductive.
Palate: The palate for Sue was much more interesting than the nose. For me the palate delivered more of the nose, roasted fruit with baking spices. Sue found the mouthfeel to be wonderful. I agreed on the mouthfeel, and loved the flavor, but the finish was outstanding to me. The mouthfeel is slick and viscous, the flavor is roasted pears and apples with baking spices. It is not that simple, just one element. The finish is herbal and clean (clean because of the balanced acidity) the finish lingers is fresh, fresh, fresh.
Pairing: Fantastic with the cheese spiral, but the spinach in the spanakopita was even better. The creamy richness and herbs of the hummus was so fantastic with the wine. The meal made the wine so sweet, almost like a dessert wine. The spices, oh the spices in the roast lamb make this wine so very amazing.
2018 Reyneke Vinehugger Red
We found ourselves wanting to taste this wine next to a pilotage.
Color: Ruby with a fushia rim
Aroma: Vegetal, herbal, fruit, florals, it is all there. The nose of South African cooking. Many different elements going on at the same time. Earthy turmeric, allspice, curry, coconut milk, green spices and red spice, jalapeno and red chili pepper, licorice vine. When you finally get to the fruit it is plum, fresh plum, plum skin, a bit of smokiness, campfire or a home cooking fire and a bit of tobacco.
Palate: Rich spicy palate, earth, dried herbs dried eucptalyptus, potpouri, mineral earth, dried cherries, bay, oregano, marjoram, wonderful texture on the palate. Mole finish chocolate and chili, making us want to have mole with this wine.
Pairing: Great with the cheese spiral, nice with the spinach in the spanakopita. We found it to be the best with our falafel and hummus. It brings out the fruit in the wine and the richness and herbs in the wine. It was an unexpected wow pairing. This wine is so good with this food. It is like chocolate and spice. Did I say mole? because I really want mole with this wine. This would be a fun wine for Christmas Eve tamales with mole sauce or mole chicken making it a terrific wine for a restaurant that specializes in mole sauce.
2017 Reyneke Biodynamic Syrah
As someone who loves words, I love the bottle with the elegant script inscribed.
Color: Richer in color, dense ruby with a dusty rose rim.
Aroma: Cherry, blueberry, chaparral, dried sage
Palate: Dry chaparral, this is a very dry Syrah, lots of herbs, tobacco, black tea and balsamic, big tannins, (was it whole cluster? or carbonic masaration).
Pairing: Great with the spinach in the spanakopita. Good with the greek cheese spiral roll. The spices in the flafal went well with the wine. Loves the cumin in the hummus. This is the wine that we have loved the most, but unfortunately has been the one we have written the least about because it was the last wine on the list. However, all of the food was so spectacular with the wine.l the herbs and spices in the rice and the stew was fantastic.
Instant Pot Persian Spiced Lamb Shanks
Sue’s adaptation from here for the Instant Pot
- 4-5 lamb shanks, about 4 pounds
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground dried rosebuds
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron
- 3 teaspoons rosewater
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- zest of 1 fresh lime
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 4 cups hot chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint plus whole leaves for garnish
- Trim any excess fat from lamb shanks and season with salt.
- Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, rosebuds, black pepper, and turmeric. Sprinkle evenly over shanks and rub into meat. Let sit at room temperature one hour or more, or refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature.
- In the Instant Pot, heat 1/2″ oil, brown shanks, remove, set aside, and remove excess oil.
- Steep saffron with lime juice and rosewater in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 minutes.
- Saute chopped onion in oil in Instant Pot until soft.
- Add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves to Instant Pot.
- Stir in saffron mixture to Instant Pot.
- Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth.
- Cooked on manual high pressure for 70 minutes.
- Remove lamb shanks.
- Strain braising juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
- Skim fat, then taste and add salt if necessary. Reheat and reduce as desired, then pour over lamb shanks.
- Combine parsley, mint and reserved orange zest and sprinkle over top.
- Serve on a bed of Basmati rice (plain, with peas, or prepared as a pilaf with Middle Eastern seasonings, almonds, and cranberries).
- Store leftover meat in leftover broth; reheat. Will keep and develop flavors for several days. Can be made in advance.
Find more Middle Eastern food and wine pairings, check out this article about Yarden Wines from Israel in The Eternal Light Shines in Galilee: Yarden’s Merlot, Pinot Gris with Acorn Squash Couscous, Tangerine Feta Spring Salad as well as these articles from members of the WinePW crew.
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is Celebrating Sauvignon Blanc Day at the table with St. Supéry and easy Middle Eastern Dishes
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairing is Drinking Serious Wine from Israel’s Domaine du Castel and Eating Causal Israeli Food
- Nicole of Somm’s Table is “Indulging My Lebanese Cravings with Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge”
- Susannah of Avvinare shares Israeli Wine From the Judean Hills and Tabbouleh Salad
- Terri of Our Good Life talks about Kofte Kebabs and Ben Ami Cabernet Sauvignon: a BBQer’s Bliss.
- Andrea of The Quirky Cork visits Lebanon and Syria, a Crossroads of Wines and Flavors
- Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing Man’oushe + Château Musar Lebanon Jeune Red 2017
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm made up a Mezze Platter with Middle Eastern Wines
- Jane of Always Ravenous is “Pairing Middle Eastern Flavors with Wine”
- David of Cooking Chat is serving Sesame Free Hummus with Wine from the Middle East
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator shares So Africa’s Organic Reyneke Syrah and Chenin Blanc with Instant Pot
Curious about more Middle Eastern food and wine ideas? Check out these articles on the topic as well as our 8am twitter chat:
- 5/8/21 11:00 a.m. ET
- Welcome to the #WinePW chat on MiddleEastern Food and Wine Pairings! Introduce yourself, and where you are tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable.
- 5/8/21 11:05 a.m. ET
- Q1 So we are talking about MiddleEastern Food and Wine Pairings for today’s #WinePW. Are you a fan of MiddleEastern Cuisine? Have you tried the wines from this area before?
- 5/8/21 11:10 a.m. ET
- Q2 Where did your wine come from? Were you able to source wine from the MiddleEast? #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:15 a.m. ET
- Q3 Did you pair your wines with a dish or dishes? What did you make? Share a link to your recipe if you posted one! #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:20 a.m. ET
- Q4 Have you tried MiddleEastern wines from locations other than the one you chose for today’s event? How did it compare? Similarities? Differences? #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:25 a.m. ET
- Q5 Were the grapes used for the wine you chose unique to the MiddleEast? #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:30 a.m. ET
- Q6 Was the wine you chose food friendly? Would you enjoy a glass without a food pairing? #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:35 a.m. ET
- Q7 Some of us chose to pair MiddleEastern foods with wines from elsewhere and/or MiddleEastern wines with food from elsewhere. Please chime in on those pairings. #WinePW
- 5/8/21 11:40 a.m. ET
- Q8 Next month we are exploring Wine Pairings for Hard to Pair Foods hosted by @linda_lbwcsw. What foods do you find hard to pair?
- 5/8/21 11:45 a.m. ET
- Shout out to the #WinePW crew who joined in today’s event. I hope you had fun exploring MiddleEastern Food and Wine Pairings with me.
- 5/8/21 11:50 a.m. ET
- Q9 #WinePW Any final thoughts about MiddleEastern Food and Wine Pairings? Did you discover anything new about this area and culture?
- 5/8/21 11:55 a.m. ET
- Q10 Did you know which part of the MiddleEast you wanted to explore today? Are there other countries in the Middle East that you have or want to explore? #WinePW
- 5/8/21 12:00 p.m. ET
- Thanks for joining host @WendyKlik for the May #WinePW chat as we talked about MiddleEastern Food and Wine Pairings! Looking forward to seeing you all again at the next event.
Excellent read. The menu for the Chenin Blanc sounds delish. We are big fans here at our house and was surprised to learn it was out of favor here. We love Trader Joe’s!
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We didn’t expect the lamb shanks to work with the Chenin — wow, were we surprised!
What a great group of wines! I especially love your description of the Vinehugger White. It sounds fantastic.
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Yes, we were very fortunate to have these 4 wines to work with for this meal! We’d planned to do them for Earth Month but ran out of time. So glad we tried them with this menu!
Wonderful choice of wines for this feast.
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Well we’d hoped to do Middle Eastern wines AND foods but this really worked out. Very happy with the pairings.
I loved learning about their wines and their practices and about their cornerstone program. That is impressive and makes me want to buy the wines. Sue’s dishes are amazing as always. What a feast you all share. Cheers to you, Susannah
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Yes, I agree. Their commitment to people and planet is inspiring. And it was a very special feast — Sue’s birthday week!
Wonderful spread! The Lamb and rice dish looks so flavorful and delicious. Chenin Blanc seems like a great choice for the flavors of the food, and I’m a big Syrah fan so definitely sold there. I enjoyed learning about Reyneke’s practice too!
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It really was a wonderful collection of wines and flavors. We all know Chenin Blanc from So Africa is special but so is this Syrah!
The lamb and pilaf look so good! What an amazing line-up of wines!
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Great meal, great wines for sure!