Wine with heart: Getting “Cheesy” at Franschhoek Cellar

Wine with heart: Getting “Cheesy” at Franschhoek Cellar

Franschhoek Cellar was originally a co-operative wine producer for a community of grape farmers in the Franschhoek valley and was founded in 1945. Today Franschhoek Cellar is operating as a private winery within the premium wine stable of Douglas Green Bellingham.

The cellar produces 8000 tons or 560000 cases of wine per year and they select grapes from the very best vineyard sites to make the wines in their portfolio. The white wines include a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.  Red wines include Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and they also produce a juicy Rose, perfect for summer sipping. Each wine pays tribute to one of Franschhoek’s historic landmarks on the label, such as Baker station, The Old Town Hall, The Churchyard, the La Cotte Mill and the Statue De Femme.  They offer a village walk where visitors can explore all these historic sights firsthand. The wines are very affordable and over deliver when it comes to quality and price ratio. All the wines sell for under R50 per bottle.

Cheese and wine is a classic combination and I was delighted by the tasting offered at Franschhoek Cellar. The taste included six wines, paired with Boerenkaas, Emmetal, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gruyere and Boerenkaas infused with Cumin. The cheeses are all form Truckles cheese collection. The cheese and wine tasting costs R35 per person and booking for groups is advised.
They also offer a delicious cheese platter for two at R100, which is great value and very substantial. Wine tasting costs R20 per person for six wines. For more information, visit www.franschhoek-cellar.co.za.

A cheese and wine tasting is an easy way to entertain over the festive season.  Here are some tips:

• Taste, taste, taste: If you are new at pairing wine and cheese, the best way to get more confident is to buy a variety of cheeses and a variety of wines and start tasting!

• What YOU like: Pairing cheese and wine is a matter of personal choice, but there are some pairings that are generally good matches.  Go with what tastes best to you.

• Birds of a feather: Pair bigger wines with bigger cheeses and lighter wines with milder cheeses. This means partnering a bold full-bodied red with a strong tasting (often smelly!) cheese and pairing a light, zesty white with a delicate cheese.

• Texture: Red wine is usually best with hard cheese and white wine with soft cheese.

• Serve cheese at room temperature: For the best flavour, keep cheese well-covered in the refrigerator or a cool place. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving to bring to room temperature. If you serve cheese too cold, just like wine, its flavour will be muted.

• Serve wine at the right temperature: White wine should be served around 10 degrees Celsius and red wine should be served around 18 degrees Celsius to bring out their best flavours. I love the combination of Champagne and cheese as well, and prefer to serve Champagne slightly colder than white wine

• Order: When serving, arrange cheese in order from mild to strong, young to aged and soft to hard. Always end with the blue cheeses, because they are the strongest. Serve crackers and plenty of water to let your guests cleanse their palates in between cheese and wine tastings.