A combination fit for a king.

It has, by now, become a tradition for me to try a new wine every time I cook something for the first time. This past Human Rights Day saw the union of marinated garlic rubbed beef short rib and the 2009 Samsara Syrah from Avondale. This marriage between food and wine was such a success that my wife and parents insisted I prepare this meal again over the forthcoming Easter weekend.

Samsara, in Sanskrit, means ‘to flow on’, a fitting theme not only for the cycles of renewal and revitalisation evident in Avondale’s viticulture and winemaking philosophy, but also for how I prepared the Human Rights Day dinner; a fair amount of white wine flowed during the preparation of this meal (both down my throat and into the meat marinating bowl).

To start off, I rubbed beef short rib with crushed garlic, after which I marinated the meat for 24 hours in a mixture of lemon juice and white wine. The marinating mix was frequently poured over the meat, which was also turned often to ensure optimal soaking. On the day of the festivities, I discarded the marinating mixture, rubbed the meat down with beef spices and placed it in an oven preheated to 180˚C. Grilling was done for three hours, during which lemon juice was liberally poured over the meat every 30 minutes. After two hours, I removed the meat from the oven and collected all the juices and fat from the oven pan. The meat and chopped vegetables (potatoes, onions and carrots) were then put into the oven pan after which I doused all of it with the collected juices and fat. The temperature was then adjusted to 200˚C for the last hour, to give a deep brown colour to the meat.

The incredible food aromas were in harmony with what the wine offered. Spicy notes, particularly white pepper, and violets were prominent and in accord with the wood. The fruit driven palate was further complemented by a blend of cloves, cinnamon, cherries and pepper. Structure was provided by the presence of firm tannins and balanced acidity.

A memorable evening was had with the necessary elements of family, good food and great wine present. With my brother’s return from Germany imminent, my family is clamouring for a repeat of this meal. But what to drink …

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