Women

What To Drink With… Spicy Mexican Back-Bean Soup

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Cape wine master Allan Mullins picks wines to pair with a fiery winter broth

When searching for successful food and wine pairings, there can be few more interesting or more rewarding challenges than finding a suitable wine to drink with a full-bodied and exotically spiced soup. This hearty Mexican classic is a great example. Experiment with different wines and you will be certain to discover delicious highs and distasteful lows. My choice would be a wood-matured white wine, which would have the vanilla, wood-spice and creaminess on both the nose and palate to allow the soup’s character to express itself, as well as to soften any undue heat. For red wines, I would suggest that you use younger, un-wooded examples without any strong tannins that would clash with the tanginess of the soup.

De Grendel Winifred 2010

This is a serious wine with good structure that will partner well with the chilli, onion and garlic of the soup. The innovative blending of three cultivars perfectly complements the soup. The Semillon contributes citrus and tropical flavors, low alcohol and firm acidity; the Viognier, the flavor of apricots and peaches on the nose; and the Chardonnay imbues it with motes of butterscotch and ripe citrus while providing broadness and structure. $11

Description: De Grendel Winifred 2010

De Grendel Winifred 2010

Buitenverwachting Chardonnay 2010

An expressive and classy Constantia Chardonnay with restrained power for this hearty dish, the oakiness from maturation in new French Barriques is perfectly balanced by the wine’s abundant fruit and sleek minerality. The nose has striking citrus-marmalade and toasty butterscotch flavors, which are a foil for the lime and spiciness in the dish, while the palate is full and rich with a lingering finish. $12

Description: Buitenverwachting Chardonnay 2010

Buitenverwachting Chardonnay 2010

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2010

The 21 Gables of the Spier homestead may be light years away from a Mexican Palacio, but its wine pairs well with this soup. Made from 40-year-old vines, it has had 14 months in French oak barrels, which has given it a creamy texture and apricot flavor that tame the soup. Although the wine is dry, its ripe roundness gives the impression of sweetness. $14

Description: Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2010

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2010

Mexican spicy red kidney bean soup with chunky guacamole

Gently fry 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1 t dried chilli flakes, ½ chopped onion and 2 bay leaves in a saucepan in 2T olive oil for 5 minutes or until the onions have softened. Add 1 x 400 g can tomatoes, 1 cup vegetable stock and 1 T tomato paste and simmer for 30 minutes, adding 1 x 400 g can drained and rinsed red kidney beans for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and remove from the heat. Scoop the flesh from 1 ripe avocado onto the soup and sprinkle over 1 chopped red chilli and ½ chopped red onion. Squeeze over the juice of 2 fresh limes. Check the seasoning before serving with melted cheese-topped tortillas.

Description: Mexican spicy red kidney bean soup with chunky guacamole

Mexican spicy red kidney bean soup with chunky guacamole

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