There’s nothing quite like an ice cold glass of Sauvignon blanc on a hot summer’s day in the scorching February sun. Or the smell of uncorking a full-bodied Cab on a rainy winter’s day in the Cape. Like food, wine also has seasonality and we often prefer drinking certain wines during certain times of the year.
Summer is all about fresh and fruity and lends itself to young, vibrant wines with bold flavours of fruits or greenness. Whites are usually at the order of the day and where I come from, Sauvignon blanc most certainly tops the list. Sauvignon blanc vines love the cool summer sea breeze almost as much as we do and the distinct green characteristics that arise from it is its golden stamp of approval. A gentle, unwooded Chardonnay comes in close second. Fruity, flowery notes makes it a pleasure to drink as the sun sets over the horizon. Nowadays, dry Rosé’s are also a popular choice with their succulent strawberry aromas and their light pink hue that is reminiscent of the tinted colour of the sky during sunset.
Autumn makes its appearance as the yellowing of leaves start creeping through our vineyards. Beautiful tones of brown and orange and red sweep across the rolling landscapes of the winelands and introduces the perfect weather to start opening our favourite red wines. Second to none for me is a light and lovely Merlot. It’s perfect for those early autumn days when the sun starts setting earlier and the nights are becoming cooler. And if you are not quite ready to start drinking red, a chilled glass of Chenin can be just as nice. The tropical fruit flavours we find in our South African Chenins lets you make the most of the last warm weather in April and May.
As the last vine leaves fall to the ground around the month of June, winter has firmly established itself in the Cape and we all like to curl up in front of the fireplace with warm, cosy blankets and big bowls of steaming, hearty soup. The glistening, red-hot coals ignite a spark in me, because I know it is time to bring out the big guns- our favourite full-flavoured, bold and beautiful red wines. Shiraz, Cab, Pinotage- whatever your preference, it is sure to warm you up from the inside. And on those extra cold and rainy nights a sweet fortified wine is the answer to all our wine prayers. A delicate muscadel can sooth you to sleep almost as gently as a mother’s lullaby.
The sweet singing songs of birds and the bountiful blossoms of flowers marks the arrival of my personal favourite season- spring. The soft kiss of the morning sun and the smell of jasmine in the air, awakens the senses and you feel as fresh as the morning dew itself. Opening the front door is a similar experience to opening a bottle of Gewürztraminer- the smell is intoxicating and fills your heart with sunshine. Soft, subtle flowery notes makes this wine ideal for this time of the year. It also pairs well with lighter-style foods that come into season, like stir-fries and fresh seafood. You cannot leave a good dry Riesling off the patio table around this time. Its perfumed aroma is so inviting it might even attract the bustling bumble bees for a sip. Paired with a delicious quiche Lorraine, it makes for the perfect garden lunch.
Whatever the weather, we know wine will always be in season. The versatility of our favourite drink makes it possible to drink it any time of the year, come rain or shine- it’s always time for wine.