When offered a South African Chenin Blanc to sample for review the thing that caught my eye and made me request the sample was their surprise suggestion of pairing the wine with Mexican food. See “Notes Accompanying the Sample” to read how this white wine would do well with Fajitas, Al Pastor or Arroz con Camarones – none of which did I have on hand…so I made do with Frito Pies! That’s Mexican, right?
All kidding aside (though I did pair with Fritos) I’m always amazed when people will have a Margarita with Mexican food when they dine out but opt for wine when they dine in. So that also made me want to rise to the challenge. And convince my husband that’s it’s perfectly fine to bring wine to a Mexican restaurant…we’ve done it maybe just once!
2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc
From the Western Cape region of South Africa.
13.92% alcohol (Pretty exact!)
20% of the wine went through five months of maturation in Hungarian and French oak barrels.
5 to 7 years maturation potential.
Color: The palest of golden sunrises.
Aromas: Buttery (from the time spent in oak), grass, moss, gravel and lime.
Taste: Tangerine, some kumquat (both the tart flavor in the fruit and sweetness of the rind), a balanced acidity, grass again on the back palate once the acid falls away.
Pairing: Due to their suggestion of Mexican food I heated up some Hormel chili, tossed my Frito chips into a bowl with diced onion and proceeded to dive in. (Others added shredded cheese and sour cream.) The pairing didn’t really work. If anything the Chenin Blanc worked as a Wet Nap for my mouth, to borrow one of winemaker Wes Hagen’s terms. It served to cleanse my palate between each bite. It did not, however, add a thing to my palate, though I did enjoy both the food and the wine!
Notes Accompanying the Sample
Varying degrees of spice, fragrant herbs and accents of tropical fruit. No, I am not talking about wine- I am talking about Mexican food. One of the general rules when pairing food and wine, is to take elements of the wine that complement components of the meal. Following this rule of thumb, it’s a shame most people default to beer when eating Mexican. Next time, try wine.
We choose the Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc (SRP: $13.99). The acidity will balance out the fat of the meats in many dishes like Fajitas, the zesty tropical fruit profile will complement the lime and fruit flavors found in both mains like Al Pastor, and the oak and creaminess won’t over-power a more gentle dish like Arroz con Camarones.
One of South Africa’s premiere estates, Mulderbosch is famous for award-winning wines and top ratings from critics and publications and has national distribution.