4 Ways to impress your friends this holiday!

4 Ways to impress your friends this holiday!

It’s that time of year, either the hordes are descending upon you or you will be making the most of someone’s hospitality. Whichever it may be, you want to pull out all the stops when it comes to impressing guests or hosts.

If you are a guest during this time, it is always a good idea to take a gift for your hosts and you can hardly go wrong with a good bottle of wine. If you are hosting, impress your guests with a good selection of wine and dazzle them with your knowledge on the subject – without being that person.

One of the joys of wine is that it is a product with a journey, which often translates to a story. So, when searching for your gift or planning your wine pairings, go that extra Google search and find the story behind your wine. You can use these as conversation starters and can match stories to people if you are uncertain about their preferences.

Here are a few fun stories to get you started

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Slaley Lindsay’s Whimsy

The Slaley farm is owned by the Hunting family who have quite the heritage in ship making and even aeronautics. Their love of all things nautical can still be seen in their label designs and their love of good, old-fashioned engineering is clear in the traditional and passionate wine making techniques their wine makers still employ.

The Linsay’s Whimsy red blend is named for owner Lindsay Hunting, after having been blended to his liking and completely outside their range at the time of the maiden release (fancy way of saying the first time it was sold). This is a well-kept secret and an absolute joy to drink with friends. Enjoy those whimsical moments together and dream up all manner of adventures together.

For your more technically minded friends, this is a Cape Blend, which refers to any red blend that contains Pinotage (our very own proudly South African wine varietal)

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Lynx Vino Blanco

Lynx wines are the smallest producer in the Franschhoek Valley, both according to production and possibly staff. With only nine full-time staff members, they are a small and very tightly knit team that share a great passion for the wines they produce.

They have been rewarded for this passion from the very first vintage and have stayed true to their belief in simplicity and affordability. Enjoy the Vino Blanco next to the pool with friends or on a balmy summers evening.

For your technical friends, this is a blend of Viognier and Grenache Blanc, which both hail from Rhône in France, though most would argue that Grenache hails from neighbouring Spain, where it is known as Garnacha Blanca.

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Solms-Delta Cape Jazz Shiraz

Solms-Delta is very involved in the revival of traditional Capetonian folk music. This involvement is clearly reflected in wine labels like Langarm and Vastrap (two different form of Afrikaans dancing).

The Cape Jazz Shiraz is a wonderfully approachable sparkling wine that has already won international acclaim and is bottled with simplicity for the purpose it was intended – drinking with friends. No fighting with that darned foil first. For food pairing, Aletta Lintvelt from TASTE magazine said it best at the Food24 Vin-Atics evening “If the reds were girls, the Cape Jazz would have to be the slutty one because it went with everything!”

If your friends want to be technical about this, tell them to go away, the impressiveness of this little bubbly is in the pure enjoyment it offers.

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Tulbagh Disa Sopkoppie Jerepiko

Tulbagh Winery was founded in 1906 and has produced amazing wines ever since. Tulbagh Winery boasts being the first export cellar, the first cellar to produce sparkling wine and the first cellar to launch a ship. The Sopkoppie Jerepiko is part of their Disa range, which refers to an indigenous flower and the emblem of the Western Provence rugby team. Sopkoppie translates to soup mug and the misspelling of Jerepigo is a nod to the down-to-earth, Afrikaans culture of the area. In South Africans who grew up on farms in years gone by, this all combines to recall fond memories of enjoying a “soetetjie” (literally, little sweet one, colloquial for sweet/dessert wine)from little tin mugs while visiting with friends and family around the fire or at the dinner table.

Technical friends would note that it is made from Red Muskadel (Muscat) grapes and has been fortified (adding spirits to increase alcohol content and help preserve wine)wine spirits.

To save you a few Google searches, we’ve made it easy for you, by putting all these amazing wines in one, beautiful Abuzz Box for the Season. Of course, the added joy of the box is that it sees you through from welcoming drinks (Cape Jazz Shiraz) to dessert (Sopkoppie Jerepiko). Or from summer days to New Year’s toasts.

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SAFFA* Thanksgiving

SAFFA* Thanksgiving

*  When three-letter abbreviations are used for countries, “South Africa” often gets the abbreviation “SAF” , thus a “saffer” is someone from SAF.  It’s just a  regional nickname like “Aussie” or “Ozzie” for someone from Australia or “Kiwi” for someone from New Zealand: in this context it’s playful/colloquial, not meant to be offensive/derogatory.

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A little over a month ago I was in the United States and preparations for one of their most important public holidays were already under-way. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second last Thursday of November every year and it is the one day in the year where Americans of all colours, races and creeds unite in celebration.

Having a few Americans (pronounced Amuricans) as friends they gave me a quick run-down of what Thanksgiving is all about.  Without going into all the history, I found out that Thanksgiving is celebrated because it has no religious, cultural or commercial connotations. It is a day on which all Americans can celebrate something the vast majority of them have in common, freedom.

With typical true SAFFA* attitude, I decided that my little family is going to embrace this day of thanksgiving and celebrate our magnificent country, full of colour, wonder and beauty, after all we are truly a free nation united by an incredible icon – Tata Madiba

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If you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, then here are a few tips and tricks to make the wine menu a little simpler. Specific recommendations are in brackets

Appetizers:

You will probably want to keep these light, so do the same with your wine. A light Rosé is always a good choice and has the versatility to appeal to most palates. If you are serving slightly savoury dishes, opt for something crisp and refreshing ( Opstal Cellars Blush), if you have more of a sweet tooth, you might look at an off-dry or semi-sweet to compliment your dish (Blaauwklippen Cultivar Rosé). If Rosé is not an option, try a light Sauvignon Blanc (Conradie Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc).

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Entrées:

The main event requires a stand-out wine. Many people only enjoy red or white, and it is acceptable to have red wine with white meat or white wine with red meat, it should only depend on your palate. There are many ways to prepare turkey and your Thanksgiving main course, so consider the following:

Delicate flavours: Try a Pinot Noir (Seven Springs Pinot Noir) for red or an Unwooded Chardonnay (Ayama Chardonnay) for white

Spicy flavours: Try a fruity Merlot (Painted Wolf Black Pack Merlot) or an interesting Viognier (Flagstone Word of Mouth Viognier) to balance the spice

Sweet & tangy: Balance with clean flavours – an old world Merlot (Oldenburg Merlot) or well made Chenin Blanc (Ken Forrester FMC)

Savoury: Complement with a Bordeaux Blend (Vergenoegd Estate Blend) or crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc (Alluvia Ilka Sauvignon Blanc)

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Dessert:

Go on be decadent, bring out wonderful rich dessert wines to complement the traditional Thanksgiving tarts.

Feel free to go big and syrupy with your slightly tangy desserts, like cherry or apple tart, with a Noble Late Harvest (Slaley Reserve Noble Late Harvest) or Straw Wine (Alluvia Sandie Straw Wine)

Try something lighter with richer desserts like pumpkin tart, with a Natural Sweet wine (Lord’s Nectar)

If the drink is the main event, try a Port (Peter Bayly Cape Vintage Port)

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Are you planning a SAFFA thanksgiving?  Leave your tips and ideas in the comments and feel free to pin this on your  wall. All the above mentioned wines are available for purchase at cellar door price here and here and here.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

Lizl Martini