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2014 Culinaria Grand Vin – a lesson in food & wine harmony

To say that Leopard’s Leap Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl is particularly pleased with the 2014 vintage of the brand’s Culinaria Grand Vin Bordeaux-style blend, would be an understatement.

“The wine is complex and combines layered flavours with an elegant structure – exactly what you need when you choose a wine for the dinner table”, he concludes. This would be ideal as the Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Collection is set out to be just that – a celebration of the harmony in which food and wine complement one another.

While a red blend with such depth and complexity would generally be associated with something of equal substance such as roast beef or leg of lamb, the Leopard’s Leap Culinary team suggest a combination that although it makes absolute sense, would not have been the obvious choice. – Mushrooms.

“If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine, mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list”, says acclaimed food and wine writer, Fiona Beckett. “Possessed of the sexy ingredient umami – the intensely savoury taste identified by the Japanese, they flatter and act as the perfect foil for wines as disparate as vintage Champagne, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.”

It is also the umami and meaty taste as well as rich, earthy flavour that make mushrooms ideal as a substitute for meat in many recipes. But whether they add to your meat, our replace it, mushrooms can be a wonderful pairing with the Culinaria Grand Vin.

, 2014 Culinaria Grand Vin – a lesson in food & wine harmony

Culinaria Grand Vin

Try Chef Pieter’s Recipe for a Millionaire’s Mushroom Sauce

60 ml (1/4 cup) dried shitake mushrooms

125 ml (1/2 cup) Culinaria Grand Vin

250 g mushrooms, sliced

15 ml (1 tbsp) soya sauce

125 ml (1/2 cup) cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the dried mushrooms and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat and set aside for 30 minutes.

Fry mushrooms in a hot pan until all moisture has evaporated. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and wine and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add soya sauce and cream and leave to reduce to syrupy consistency. Season to taste.



  • The Cabernet Sauvignon (28%) and Merlot (26%) in the blend were obtained from optimal Stellenbosch vineyards while the Swartland bushvine Cabernet Franc (22%), Petit Verdor (21%) and Malbec (3%) enjoyed close proximity to the cooling Atlantic ocean. Matured in a selection of first and second fill French oak barrels, the wine promises exceptional maturation, but is already accessible at a relatively young age, beautifully balancing dark fruit and earthy nuances.
  • Except for some knowledgeable chefs, most South Africans are not that familiar with the magic of the mushroom hunt. Luckily foodies nowadays have access to wonderful selection of mushrooms in supermarkets and can choose from a variety of tastes and textures. For those who really think fungi is fabulous, get your hands on Antonio Carluccio’s The Complete Mushroom Book. He has more than 60 years’ experience of “collecting, cooking and devising recipes for mushrooms” and even when you will not try your hand at picking them, he shares more than 100 recipes covering the classics, contemporary interpretations as well as oriental flavours.

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