Art, Wine & Food Pairings at the KWV Sensorium

Words: Karl Tessendorf

Arriving at the home of KWV is impressive to say the least. As you stroll up the pillar-lined pathway towards the heavy wooden door and sculpture crested roof, you can’t help but marvel at the place. Buildings simply don’t get built like this anymore and it’s a real shame. The vast structure was built in 1958 and since then it’s been home to KWV’s extensive art collection. The KWV collection is comprised of 100 South African pieces and currently there are 27 on exhibition at the Sensorium. KWV Sensorium

In 2012 KWV launched the Sensorium to provide visitors with a unique art and wine pairing experience. Visitors are offered a selection of four wines and each wine is paired with a specific artwork. It’s a unique way of roaming the gallery and it offers up some surprising results. For instance, Marjorie Wallace’s famous painting of the poet DJ Opperman’s funeral, is paired with a glass of Méthode Cap Classique. The pairing is a celebration of life and it forces you to look at the dreary setting in a new light. The pairings offer real food for thought and the best part is that there are so many to experience.
KWV Sensorium
More recently the Sensorium has extended their offering by adding single varietal focused food pairings. The first is an exploration into Chenin Blanc, a grape that’s known for its food pairing ability due to its versatility. Chenin Blancs can be fresh, vibrant and crisp, or full, rich and complex. The second offering pays homage to South Africa’s signature variety, Pinotage. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (also known as Hermitage), was first spliced together in 1925 by a man named Abraham Perold. Pinotage has a versatile character and can be light or robust, which lends itself well to food pairing.

The Chenin Blanc experience consists of five dishes that have all been carefully thought out by the chef. The wines intensify as you make you way through the experience and the bite-sized pairings provide explosive pops of complementary flavours.

Our two favourite pairings from the Chenin Blanc experience were the Cathedral Cellar, paired with a Purple Fig, Sugarpea and Goat’s Cheese Salad, and the Cape Full Cream Sherry paired with Chicken Liver Parfait with Sweet Beetroot Jelly, encased in a crunchy phyllo pastry crust.   KWV SensoriumKWV Sensorium
We moved onto the Pinotage experience, which consisted of seven pairings. The experience is a true reflection of the varietal’s diverse character profile. We experienced everything from mulberry, strawberry and plums with a hint of wild herbs, violets and even chocolate.

Every step of the way the food pairings were there to bounce complementary flavours around the palate.

Our two favourite pairings were the Mentors Pinotage, paired with Lightly Smoked Duck dressed in a Pinotage Reduction and served on a berry compote, and the Abraham Perold Icon Pinotage paired with Ostrich Fillet on a Butternut Beignet, with a Clove and Cinnamon Jus.
KWV SensoriumKWV Sensorium
The trick to getting the most out of the two experiences is to really take your time. Whether you go for the Chenin or Pinotage experience, each collection of wines offer subtle nuances of style and character in every sip. The food is there to accentuate those flavours and it’s always interesting to see how the flavour combinations affect the wine’s character on the second pass.

We have to congratulate KWV on their new sensory adventure and we can’t wait to visit again soon.

To book your Sensorium experience call 021 807 3094 or send an email to Chenin Blanc Journey is R200 pp and the Pinotage Journey R250 pp. Booking is essential, at least 2 weeks in advance. Min 10 pax, max 40. Payment must be made latest 1 week prior to the event.

The above is valid for normal opening hours only –  Monday to Friday 09h00 till 16h30 | Saturday 09h00 till 14h00
After hour bookings can be arranged at a surcharge of R600 per group – Monday to Friday 18h00 till 21h00 | Saturday 14h00 till 16h00 | Facebook | Twitter 

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