It has been common practice for many people to drink coffee as soon as they wake up. Others end the evening with a glass of wine before going to bed. However, coffee and wine share more similarities than just being enjoyed during the day and at night, respectively.
The idea of brew tasting came to life when Ivhan Arendse, Front of House Supervisor at Nederburg Wines, met the coffee brewer and specialist, Vicus Kruger, in his first job as a barista and waiter at Nederburg Wines.
“One day Vicus brought me a bag of his coffee to thank me for my service. He then told me that this coffee would pair well with the wine he loves, the Motorcycle Marvel, one of Nederburg’s prestigious wines,” says Ivhan. Ivhan was intrigued by the idea and was astounded since coffee is normally very earthy and robust where Vicus’s coffees are very fruit forward. This is what allowed the coffee and wine to go hand in hand.
The Brew Tasting consists of a selection of Nederburg’s white and red wines, as well as coffees both single source and blended by Freedom Coffee, and edibles such as dried mango, grapes, white chocolate with nuts and raspberries, dark chocolate with red pepper, and fatty biltong. Each combination of these components promises a distinctive taste sensation.
Much like a chef who plays with flavours to make his dish outstanding, Ivhan and Vicus used their expertise of wine and coffee to naturally determine what would be a suitable combination of edibles to go with these two.
During the first round of the brew tasting, they combine Nederburg’s Sauvignon Blanc and Double Barrel Reserve with Freedom Coffee’s blended coffee from Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Tanzania along with grapes, dried mango, and biltong.
“We use a cool climate type of Sauvignon Blanc to get more of those citrus fruits, rather than your tropicals,” says Ivhan. It is medium bodied, with a variety of fruit flavours on the first sip and has a touch of lime green colour. He also added that they use a stainless-steel tank, thus no wood contact at all.
The Double Barrel Reserve is a Bordeaux blend. It consists of five varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Merlot (19%), Petit Verdot (7%), and Malbec (5%). The Merlot was aged in French oak barrels for 9 months after which it was racked and blended, and then returned to the barrel for a period of 3 months for added fullness. All components of the blend were then expertly combined to create a supremely well-balanced wine. “This allows the Merlot to have its own flavour profiles to flourish,” Ivhan continues.
For the second round of the tasting, they pair single-origin Columbia coffee with Nederburg’s Chardonnay and The Winemasters Merlot, as well as white and dark chocolates.
The Chardonnay has an abundance of lemon and citrus flavours with hints of sweet melon and subtle vanilla oak notes. On the palate it has a good balance between fruit, sweetness, and fresh acidity, finishing in subtle oak notes.
“The Single Cultivar Merlot has soft tannins and is an easy to drink wine,” says Ivhan. It has a bright red colour and aromas of red fruit, black cherries, plums, and a hint of chocolate. On the palate is flavours of red fruits, black cherries, and juicy plums, with a velvety texture and elegant finish.
Like wine, coffee has a distinctive bouquet of aromas derived from its variety, terroir, and roasting process- the same can be said for its flavours and textures.
“Altitude distinguishes between what we know as the instant coffees,” says Ivhan. Those fall under classification of Robusta. Robusta coffee has a more earthy flavour, whereas Arabica has a more superior quality, and this would then be more of a fruit forward profile. The higher the altitude, the cooler the climate, the more fruit forward you would get. Consequently, it is somewhat different from wine yet still related.
With this coffee and wine tasting experience a high quality more fruit forward flavour profile is preferred. This can be mixed and matched with the flavour profiles of the wine. The best Arabica coffee beans are therefore required.
“The method in which you also instruct it is very important,” says Ivhan. If you use a Nespresso, the coffee will have a smaller, more pungent flavour profile that is also quite toasted. “We use a V60 pour-over method that allows for slower and more timely extraction of the coffee due to the fact that it’s not pressurized, and it’s not overheated like espresso,” Ivhan explains.
Like the passion that artists pour into their paintings, Ivhan and Vicus blended their love for wine and coffee to give birth to brew tasting.
No more AM coffee and PM wine, they are now combined!
*The Brew Tasting cost R165 per person and is offered during opening hours. Pre-booking is advised, and a minimum of two people is required.