Travel Tip: Pair the taste of Ormonde Wines with Chocolate in Darling, South Africa
Ormonde Wines is a family owned and run wine farm of French extraction which gets its name from the famous English race horse whose bloodline was stabled on the farm. It is the kind-of place that one stumbles upon when meandering through the streets of Darling, but a place that surprises you with warm hospitality, amazing wines and unique experiences and one which you leave as a friend and a fan of the wine and the brand.
One of these unique experiences is the chocolate and wine pairing which takes you through a selection of both the Ondine and Ormonde Wines range perfectly paired with Tomes Chocolates. The pairings are hand chosen by Berinda Basson, co-founder of Ormonde, who has a knack and a very keen palate for blending the wine and the chocolate and it certainly shows as you go through the experience. The chocolates are made using exclusively African ingredients: cocoa coming from Ghana, vanilla from Madagascar and the coffee from Malawi/Zimbabwe.
The tasting begins with the Ondine Chenin Blanc, an unwooded wine with a lime green colour and fruity aromas with a smooth and creamy palate which pairs perfectly with the Tomes Peanut Butter Cup. While most wines are paired with dark chocolate this Chenin pairs extremely well with the milk chocolate’s flavour, smoothness and palate easing you into the experience and starting off on a great note.
Moving onto the second white wine, the Ormonde Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc made from highly sought after grapes grown from a single vineyard on the farm. While Sauvignon Blanc is a key cultivator of the region this particular one benefits immensely from its proximity to the sea giving it a really fruitful taste with a hop on the palate. Opting for a play on its characteristics it is paired with a Rock Salt Caramel chocolate which offers hints of its granite rock terroir and sea breeze. This is an incredible pairing which is quite savoury in nature offering both a balance and complexity in its flavours and pairing.
Arriving at the pinnacle of Ormonde’s white wines the third pairing is the Ormonde Barrel Selected Chardonnay produced using only the best grapes on the farm. This wooded chardonnay is light and crisp with an exceptional colour and offers hints of lemon and lime supported by intricate vanilla flavours. Pairing this with a Vanilla Truffle was a bold move but one which pays off as the complementary flavours in the chocolate and wine blend perfectly allowing the lemon and lime flavours to shine.
Easing our way into the red wines the fourth wine is the Ormonde Wines Single Vineyard Merlot. This lighter and softer red wine offers hints of soft fruits such as raspberry and strawberry and makes for a great summer red wine. The wine was paired with a Raspberry Truffle which on its own did not hold much appeal. However, once you introduced the wine the pairing took on a whole additional level offering interesting and unique tastes and elevating the experience. For us this was the perfect example of how a chocolate can add levels to a wine and bring out its best properties.
The pairing was likened to a meal and the best way to end a meal is with a coffee inspired pairing using the Ormonde flagship red wine Theodore Eksteen. This wine is a tribute to the owners’ maternal grandfather who has made his first wine in 1926. The wine is a Rhone style blend of Shiraz and Grenache and was one of the last of the 2008 vintage. As you bite into the coffee bean on top of the espresso chocolate you taste the smoky shiraz notes which is then softened by the Grenache aftertaste offering an overall intense flavour ending the pairing on the perfect note with fruity aromas but a strong coffee taste.
While many wine farms and estates are moving into unique pairings and chocolate in particular there is something about Ormonde’s offering that feels like the real deal. Each chocolate has been carefully selected and is the perfect accompaniment to the wine offering new and exciting tastes and aromas highlighting the subtle complexties that exist in each varietal. As Berinda says these chocolates are not here to overpower the wine but rather to add and highlight its best features and this is certainly evident in this amazing experience.
Video: Ormonde Vineyards in Darling, South Africa
Dean Horwitz from InstaEat Cape Town
Where: Mount Pleasant Street, Darling
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