FROM PAIRING TO DECANTING
Head sommelier Céline Chatte of one-Michelin-starred Jaan restaurant shares her expertise
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.