Head som­me­lier Cé­line Chatte of one-Miche­lin-starred Jaan restau­rant shares her ex­per­tise

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Head som­me­lier Cé­line Chatte shares her ex­per­tise

Do white wines go with meat? Which white wines should I drink with meat dishes such as a black pep­per stir-fried beef, or a sim­ple steak frites?

It’s a com­mon per­cep­tion that meat can only be paired with red wine. How­ever, there are nu­mer­ous clas­sic white wine pair­ings with white meat, such as the per­fect pair­ing of a light Chardon­nay with chicken cooked in cream sauce.

If the black pep­per stir-fried beef is spicy, I would rec­om­mend a fruity or off-dry wine, such as the off-dry Ries­ling from Ger­many, Soave Clas­sico or a ripe Pinot Gri­gio.

For a sim­ple steak frites, I would se­lect some­thing with a bit more char­ac­ter and body, like a rounded and creamy Chardon­nay from Côte de Beaune in Bur­gundy or USA for ex­am­ple. A white Chateauneu­f-du-pape, old Semil­lon from the Hunter Val­ley or white Rioja would also be a good op­tion.

How long can I store my bot­tle of wine once it is opened? How do I know if it has turned bad? The longevity of a bot­tle of wine af­ter it’s been opened de­pends on mul­ti­ple fac­tors such as the man­ner in which the wine is stored, as well as what type of wine it is.

To en­sure that your wine lasts as long as pos­si­ble, en­sure that you cork the bot­tle prop­erly and store it in a place with no vari­a­tion of tem­per­a­ture (ide­ally in the fridge) and with lit­tle or no light. Nowa­days you can buy a small pump and a special cork that re­moves the oxy­gen in the bot­tle in or­der to pre­vent ox­i­da­tion.

An­other slightly more ex­pen­sive op­tion is to use a Co­ravin, which is the best way to keep your bot­tle for up to six months. Co­ravin al­lows you to pour your wine with­out un­cork­ing the bot­tle by the in­ser­tion of a thin nee­dle through the cork. The bot­tle is then pres­surised with ar­gon, al­low­ing the wine to flow through the nee­dle.

Lastly, the best way to check whether wine has gone off is to taste it!

Why should I de­cant a wine? How do I know if I should de­cant my wine and how long should I de­cant it for?

There are two sep­a­rate pro­cesses that in­volve pour­ing wine out of its bot­tle into an­other ves­sel:

serv­ing wine from a carafe and decanting wine.

Serv­ing wine from a carafe en­tails pour­ing wine into a larger con­tainer than its orig­i­nal bot­tle in or­der to max­imise the wine’s ex­po­sure to air and let the wine breath. This is of­ten done with young wines that need to be oxy­genated in or­der to reach their full po­ten­tial.

The de­ci­sion of whether to serve your wine via carafe is largely based on per­sonal pref­er­ence. My rec­om­men­da­tion would be to open your bot­tle of wine one to two hours prior to con­sump­tion, pour your­self a small sip to taste and re­peat the process five min­utes af­ter. If you find that the taste of the wine has im­proved, then pro­ceed to pour the wine into a carafe. If not, serve the wine straight from the bot­tle. Serv­ing wine via a carafe can be done for any type of wine in­clud­ing white, red, sweet wine or even Cham­pagne.

Decanting a wine is the process of sep­a­rat­ing the wine from its sed­i­ment. This process is com­monly done with old vin­tages or old port. The decanting process re­quires a de­canter and a can­dle. The wine is slowly poured into the de­canter with the light of the can­dle held un­der the neck of the wine bot­tle. As soon as the sed­i­ment reaches the neck of the bot­tle, the decanting is com­plete.

Which are your favourite wine and food pair­ings?

One of my favourite wine pair­ings in Jaan is the heir­loom tomato dish paired with a Ger­man Ries­ling. I love the com­bi­na­tion of the slightly sweet and spicy tomato with an off-dry but very fresh min­eral wine. This is one of the pair­ings that I am most proud of so far.

What is a late har­vest wine?

A late har­vest wine is a wine whose grapes have been har­vested later than usual. For ex­am­ple, in the south­ern hemi­sphere, the har­vest usu­ally hap­pens in Septem­ber, while a late har­vest wine will be picked in Novem­ber or De­cem­ber. Like any other fruit, if the grapes stay on the vines past their peak ripeness, they will slowly start to dry out, de­crease in acid­ity and in­crease in sugar con­tent, which is why late har­vest wines tend to be sweeter.

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