A Perfect Pairing and a South African Treat

With the end of the summer nearing and just a month or so left of beautiful weather to enjoy, it’s always best to get the most out of your backyard – especially when it involves kicking back and enjoying great wine.

While on a visit to south Minneapolis’s France 44 www.france44.com  (a local wine/spirit shop) I happened to stumble across an old favorite.  If you haven’t been to France 44 in a while, I suggest a visit.  One small section of the store is dedicated to a cheese, speciality food shop with sandwiches, soups, small foods/apps to go.  It’s a nice little shop with a  variety of cased artisanal cheeses as their center point.  The cheeses looked great, but the real intrigue was to their little app/side dishes/salads they had packaged in their coolers.  The block of feta cheese marinating in olive oil, dill, cucumbers and red peppercorns was the one that stole my attention after tasting a bit of the sample on the back bar.  While I spent time wandering the cheese, my better half filled the counter with side containers of gourmet mac n’ cheeses, pastas and crackers. 

With a fat shopping bag in hand, there was absolutely no intent to buy anything next door at the wine shop – until, one of my favorite labels caught my eye.  The South African label, Mulderbosch, from the region of Stellenbosch - located on the very southern end of the country – was a gem that I tried for the first time many years ago.  Even though Mulderbosch produces a number of other wines including Chard, Cab rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc – my favorite has always been their Chenin Blanc.

And, it was just as I had remembered.  After unloading the number of goodies that we’d purchased from the deli side – the feta with its tantalizing colors didn’t get much past the counter.  I was a victim to my very own class statistic – even though the house is packed to the gills with wine, the wine that was instantly popped to pair with the feta was the Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc  www.mulderbosch.co.za  that was just purchased.  (Fact: The amt of time from purchasing to consumption in the U.S. is 45 minutes!)  There I was, a statistic of my very own purchase. 

The pairing – gorgeous.  While the wine held this amazingly clean aromatic finish, crisp with brite citrus and fresh cut pears – the feta and all its herbal qualities tasted lite and lively.  The acidity cut right through the dripping olive oil, while the hints of dill and cucumber perked up to the floral scents and minerally backbone to the wine.  The wine was savored with every sip, delicious and absolutely perfect for a back yard pairing.  Consumed on the back step and under the slow summer afternoon sun, I couldn’t have thought up a better spontaneous wine moment.

Just goes to prove – any time, any where can be made perfect with the right company and the right wine.

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  • Here at Cooks of Crocus Hill, Leslee Miller brings an entertaining and informative energy to our wine classes. She is an extraordinarily competent sommelier, with a passion for her craft, in a profession riddled with pretenders. As a chef, she is my most valued resource when it comes to wine and food. Mike Shannon
    School Coordinator
    Cooks of Crocus Hill
    Edina, MN