Biltong and wine: tasting the best of SA

2012-08-16 15:20

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"The history of winemaking dates back to 1659 in South Africa, and the making of dried meat products, just as far, it was therefore a logical and "lekker" local match" says PG Slabbert, Stellenbosch Hills cellar master.

After spending time touring the greatness that Stellenbosch is fast becoming, a wine tasting is something that is definitely in order. It’s to be my first biltong and wine tasting and I’m quite curious about the outcome and how the tastes are to play on my palate. Stellenbosch Hills were actually the first wine farm to do their wine Tasting with biltong and have since then popularized this would be ancient passed time. They thought it made perfect sense and couldn’t understand why no one had done it before, especially considering that both the drink and food play significant roles in South African heritage. With the morning coming to an end, the wine tasting just before 12 couldn’t be considered to be social deviance in anyway.

We did have breakfast and were going to enjoy biltong with the tasting. We were going to be fine.

It’s a lovely time and the complementary tastes of wine and biltong are easy on the palate. Each paired accordingly to taste. A man of merlot it’s very easy for me to lose interest in all else. But the biltong has me paying attention, especially to the sequence of actions that the dried meat and wine must be tasted in.  The biltong is also meant to be sniffed before it is tasted, the choice of dry meats are to be left on the palate before the wine is sipped, after which one must hold the wine before swallowing in order to allow the tastes to properly complement each other. The cabernet sauvignon comes in at a close second for me, the fruit and spices blending well with the dry meat sitting on my tongue. Wine and biltong is definitely a practice I’d like to take a part in more after this tasting.

Stellenbosch Hills also host an annual Biltong challenge "The art of drying meat nowadays is as specialised as the art of wine making. Our aim was to create a competition where two of South Africa’s most popular products – wine and biltong – could be combined,” says PG Slabbert, Winemaker and Manager at the cellar of this existing competition.

Each year a different Stellenbosch Hills wine is chosen to be the inspiration for entrants. The winner’s biltong must be the best match for the chosen wine. This year the choice of wine is the Stellenbosch Hills Shiraz 2007.

So if you have any biltong making skills don’t be shy to enter and be a part of this proudly South African brand! 


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