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SA’s ‘Wine’ brought in by Munn

eatingout with Dusty Miller

THE internationally respected and widely quoted magazine Wine, published in South Africa by Ramsay Son and Parker of Pinelands, is now

available on subscription in Zimbabwe through Munn Marketing, a sister company of the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard newspapers.

The latest available issue of the glossy 92-page A4 publication contains guides to smart investments and great value in South Africa’s current wine crop and oodles of booze-related news, views and interviews.

Of significance to the Zimbabwean wine trade and consumers generally, for instance, is the news that prices plummeted at the recent Nederburg wine auctions, with average prices for a case of dry white down to R1 070, compared to last year’s R1 233. Red wines averaged R1 233, compared to the 2005 average price of R2 481.

The magazine sees this trend as “realistic” given that buoyant 2005 prices were 90% up on 2004’s.

Interestingly, supermarkets were the most generous bidders with Pick n’ Pay being the biggest individual purchaser at the glamorous annual event, Checkers coming third and Makro fourth.

Makro and Pick ‘n Pay both have pull-out booklets in the latest Wine magazine giving details of their current specials on wine and spirits, which make mouthwatering reading in a country used to talking in mega-millions for caseload purchases.

Pick ‘n Pay’s cheapest listed white wine is Du Toitskloof Chenin Blanc at R18,99, dearest Longridge Chardonnay at R67,99 with Tulbagh, Van Loveren and KWV Sauvignon Blanc at $21 99, R22,99 and R26,99 respectively per bottle and Savanha and Nederburg Chardonnays R21,99 and R28,99 each.

The gap between both wholesale and retail prices of South African white and red wines seems to be narrowing as the auction prices and supermarket leaflets graphically illustrate. Van Loverin River Red is just R19,99, Simonsig Adelberg R24,99. Tulbagh and Backsberg Pinotage were R23,99 and R38,99 respectively and Robertson, Boland and Spier Merlot R24,99, R27,99 and R35,99.

Cabernet Sauvignons include Welmoed at R29,99, KWV Classic R37,99, Allesverloren R51,99 and Spier Private Collection R79,99.

Comparisons are said to be odious, and probably are when comparing prices internationally. However, a friend of mine was drinking Johnnie Walker Black Label at $1,2 million a tot, in a fairly seedy Harare suburban pub the other night and it’s R199 a 750ml bottle in the Makro supplement. (However, Johnny Walker Blue Label is R1 299 and Royal Salute 21-year-old R1 349.)

Brandies and cognacs begin at R112 (Van Ryn’s 12-year-old Vintage) and peak at R2 199 for Remy Martin Extra.

The same Moet et Chandon Dom Perignon champagne which will cost you $130 million a bottle at the newly re-opened under new management Harare French restaurant, La Chandelle at Rainbow Towers, is R949 in the Makro pull-out.

Another free pull out in the latest Wine magazine is a pocket-sized booklet No 1 (the first of six) jointly produced by the magazine’s publishers and KWV entitled In Praise of Wine. This debut issue explores the versatility of the product:

Wine as an aperitif, as a meal accompaniment, as a dessert, after a meal — a digestif even; as an anytime drink, inside or out.

Given that wine goes so naturally with food, there are chapters on food-and-wine-matching: what goes best together, some general guidelines and a few no-nos. While the pocket guide is stressed as not being a cookbook, there is a recipe for glüwein, a mulled Mittel Europa concoction guaranteed to get the party going on these bitterly cold Highveld nights.

The magazine itself includes a number of restaurant reviews of mainly very up market Cape and Witwatersrand establishments, run by celebrity chefs and charging ionospheric prices, but these make good reading.

There is also usually a gourmet recipe or two. In this latest issue it is a guinea fowl dish from Craig Backhouse of the Kaapstad restaurant 96, Winery Road:

Guinea fowl simmered in balsamic vinegar and red wine (serves 6)

3 whole guinea fowl, cut into quarters and removed from carcass.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium sized onions, sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

250ml (third of a bottle) red wine

250ml balsamic vinegar

250g brown sugar

Salt and pepper, sprinkled

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

250g pitted prunes (hard to find in Zimbabwe)

3 peeled beetroots cut into cubes

250ml chicken stock

Place guinea fowl into deep oven tray and place rest of ingredients over the meat — ensuring it is completely covered.

Then cover with tinfoil and bake 90 minutes at 200C. While the bird is cooking make fluffy mashed potatoes, to serve with your guinea fowl. When dish is cooked, remove meat and reduce sauce by almost half so that it’s not too runny and coats your meat, almost as if it had been glazed.

* dustym@zimind.co.zw

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