Pairing at Pinotage: Cheese and South African wines in Beijing

cheese with bon courage shiraz dornier pinotage KWV merlot boland south african wines in beijing china

By Jim Boyce

I’m not the biggest fan of wine and food pairing given that many people tend to take it too seriously and that individual tastes differ. But with a group of friends in can be fun and that goes when using beverages from single malts to pale ales and foods from tofu burgers to Sirloin steaks.

The new branch of South African restaurant Pinotage in Beijing now offers fun pairing potential with its new lineup of cheeses. Rather than sticking four slabs of cheese in front of four wines, Pinotage chef Amber Deetlefs has added sweet, savory and other elements in what co-owner Toby Cao calls “a South African way”.

That first one on the left (see photo above) includes goat’s cheese and some interesting textures and tastes via pine nuts, pickled beet roots and a beet root reduction. That beet helped boost the pairing with the Bon Courage Shiraz — in my humble opinion: yours might well differ — and is fun to try against the Dornier Pinotage, the KWV Merlot and the Boland Shiraz-Cabernet. The other cheeses included Gorgonzola with blackcurrants and candied walnuts, Camembert with sage and honey, and Emmental with smoked ham hock and truffle oil.

The cheese sampler is rmb75 and flights of four wines are rmb75 to rmb100. One option is to go with a friend, get two wine sets and split the cheeses. Or, for maximum tasting, get your own cheeses and divide each into four parts so you can try them against each wine, thus giving sixteen pairings. You can get more pairings if, like me, you do stuff like pull off some of the blackcurrants to try on their own against the wines.

For more about Pinotage, see this post about the opening night dinner a few weeks ago. You don’t see a lot of venison Wellington in Beijing.

Flour power: Opera Bombana in Beijing started to make these loaves of bread in 2006    

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