“What’s life without salt? Dull, meaningless! Salt is life – everything needs salt!”
I’m talking to Abraham de Klerk, general manager and winemaker about salt and Baleia, a wine farm near the small town Vermaaklikheid. Abraham was interested in creating a wine and salt partnership with Oryx Desert Salt and after discussing various possibilities, Baleia Wines have ended up generously contributing their beautiful Shiraz wine to the creation of Oryx Desert’s wine infused salt.
Baleia’s Shiraz wine is sent to the salt pans, where it’s infused into the salt, the Shiraz providing its intense deep rich ruby colour in addition to flavouring the salt with its natural black and green pepper spice box taste.
The farm Dassieklip is home to the Baleia vineyards and is situated a gentle sea breeze away from St Sebastian’s Bay – renowned as the whale nursery of South Africa due to the record number of Southern Right whales that migrate there annually. It’s also one of the best land vantage points where you can enjoy viewing these spectacular giants of the sea. Hence the name Baleia which means whale in Portuguese.
“Wines grown along coastlines generally have more minerality in the soil, and the waxy layer around the grape berries collects crystalised salt from the sea winds, so you’re naturally bringing salt into the wine. It’s why wines from the coast are often softer, saltier and tastier than inland wines.”
There’s something deliciously poetic about the geographical marriage of salt from the desert, and wine grown next to the sea.
Salt & Wine Pairings
Our wine salt is not the only way to enjoy the combination of salt and wine together. Local Chef Craig Cormack owner of The Goose Roasters in Stellenbosch says what he particularly loves about Oryx Desert Salt is its natural origins from 280 million year old ancient brine lakes beneath the desert. Also that it’s naturally evaporated in the hot Kalahari sun. He says, “I enjoy its flavour profile. We use it in our kitchens a lot, as a seasoning salt, for baking in a salt crust and it’s great too as what is known as a finishing salt after the cooking process – especially over dishes such as chicken liver, seared tuna or meat roasts on the open side. It has a BIG flavour, and a very high saltiness from a taste point of view so one doesn’t need much.”
Join Chef Craig Cormack & Fleur du Cap for a wine and salt tasting experience at Die Bergkelder in Stellenbosch. Either as a special dinner event or private function with unique pairing of delectable dishes, created with salts from around the world and with Fleur du Cap’s award-winning Unfiltered range. Or you can also discover the unusual combination of Fleur du Cap wines and artisanal salts at daily wine tastings where handmade salted morsels meld with their superb, naturally crafted wines. Call Fleur du Cap on 021 8098025 for bookings.
As winemaker Abraham de Klerk reminds us, what’s life without salt? Dull, meaningless! We might say the same thing about wine.