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Durbanville Hills Wines: Tantalize Your Palate with Wine Tasting and Chocolate Pairings at Home!


Durbanville Hills Wines.

I am a self-proclaimed gastronome and wine enthusiast. When Nancy asked me to join her to do some wine tasting with a chocolate pairing, I was more than happy to give it a go. We received two wines by Durbanville Hills to review, a red and white.  These were South African wines from which country I’ve only tried a few times.

About Durbanville Hills:

The Durbanville Hills cellar, situated a mere 20 minutes from Cape Town’s city centre, overlooks Table Mountain, Table Bay and Robben Island. The wines produced here express a unique synergy between the cool climate location and the very best in winemaking. Our unique location makes all the difference, offering a diverse landscape from which to make a range of classic red and white wines across our three wine ranges.


The Red.

I’m partial to red wines so I naturally gravitated to the 2011 Shiraz.  Right from the start the bottle looked promising from its elegant appearance.  The dark bottle was complimented by a crimson red twist-off top, golden emblem and white diamond-shaped label.

This Shiraz was an XD (Extra Dry) wine with 14% alcohol by volume.  Extra dry wines are my favourite and I have had my fair share of them so this was a welcomed tasting.  We cracked the bottle open and let it chill in the fridge with the top off to air it out naturally for about a half hour.  I opted not to use other means to air-out the wine as I wanted to simulate an impromptu diner with friends where you want to just start pouring out of the bottle directly instead of a decanter.  After the half hour was up, I poured a wine glass about half way.  It was definitely a full body wine as the label promises as it is rich and dark red.  In evaluating its ‘legs’ there weren’t many droplets indicating that this Shiraz was nice and dry. 


Chocolate Pairing.

We got two sets of chocolate pairings (white chocolate) but unfortunately they were both for the white wine.  As such we had to do the tasting of the red on its own.  Luckily, I’m used to just having red on its own so it worked out.  It tasted great by itself even though it only had a half hour to sit in the bottle.  It was smooth and remarkably sophisticated.  Hints of spices are left on the palate after drinking.


The White.

I haven’t had a white wine in a long time so I was apprehensive.  The white wine bottle looked appealing and refreshing.  Especially since it had the same amount of time in the fridge to chill as the red, after sitting in the living room for a while the bottle was covered in condensation so it looked that much more inviting.  The clear bottle and its contents were only offset by its white name label and a golden award label from Michelangelo for 2013.

The Sauvignon Blanc was also an XD but with slightly less alcohol content by volume than the red at 13.5%.  After pouring the white into its own wine glass I was ready to give it a fair go.  The first taste was surprisingly good, coming from a biased red-wine fan.  I can see myself actually drinking this white wine on a hot summer day.  While the grape taste was prominent it was not offensive.  I rather enjoyed the wine as it was.  When paired with the white chocolate, which had a citrus flavour, the wine transformed into a desert.  It was delicious despite it only being a young wine from 2013.


The Verdict.

Both wines tasted great, each with their own characters.  I don’t ever judge a wine by its cost, and I don’t like to know its cost before I try it.  So after trying both of these wines and finding out afterwards that they’re only $11.95 tax-in from the LCBO was unexpected and exciting.  I’ve had wines near the $100 mark with rave reviews as well as wines under $10 and everything in between.  And these wines taste like they should be somewhere in the middle of my range.  The red wine was surprisingly elegant for this price point, and due to its price it can be a delightful table wine.  The white wine was refreshing and would be great for drinking on a hot summer day while cooking some chicken on the ol’ BBQ.


Nancy’s Thoughts.

I’ve had my fair share of good drink and since I’ve been a Mom for a decade, it has lessened significantly. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy tasting and sampling. When I was asked to review a pair of Durbanville Wines,  I was stoked and thought who better to share it with than Franko. In past experiences, I’ve always opted for the red wine and having this opportunity meant exploring.

Durbanville Hills winery is located in South Africa in an area considered to be one of South Africa’s two coolest wine regions. It maintains environmentally-friendly practices such as waste water management and works to preserve the indigenous vegetation known as Renosterveld. The shiraz combines fruit and spice flavours while the Sauvignon Blanc combines tropical fruit flavours with crisp acidity and a full-mouth feel.

We poured ourselves a glass of each and started with the Durbanville Hills Shiraz. We explored the aroma, examined the “legs” of the wine and of course we tasted. I tried to guess what was in the wine and to really focus on tasting the different nuances.  My favorite of the two was the white wine, the Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc, which was really shocking to me since I had never been a fan of white.

Unfortunately, we didn’t receive a chocolate pairing for the red wine but, had two boxes of white chocolate that had heavenly lime, grapefruit and green fig. For me, tasting the chocolate with the wine made my palate explode in a completely new and different way. It enhanced all the flavors and transformed the taste of the white wine. I really enjoyed both wines and especially the white wine. I can’t wait to have another glass with a nice plate of pasta and to continue to explore other Durbanville Wines.


Get Yours!

If you’re looking for wines that are affordable as well as high in quality, you have to try Durbanville Hills. They are perfect for settling down and relaxing for the night, while cooking or entertaining. You can find all of their selections, here. If you want more information, you can like Durbanville Hills on FB and follow them on Twitter, here.

Have you ever paired your wine with chocolate?

Let me know!



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  1. I am soooo bad at pairing wines. I love when I go out to eat and there are pairings on the menu!

    1. Yeah, it's nice when there are pairings picked out by the Chef! In a pinch just think to pair white wines with lighter foods like veggies and fish, reds with heavier foods like red/cured/smoked meats.

  2. Well, after reading this post, I'm definitely feeling a girls' night coming. What could be better than wine and chocolate? NOTHING! That's what.
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    1. Try to get the exact chocolate they pair these with at least once, it tastes different than other chocolates by itself but it's something else with the wine!

  3. i can't wait to drink wine again. i'm pregnant with my third. looks SOOOOOOOOO good.
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  4. I'm not a wine drinker, but I'm glad you enjoy these wines! Those are some really pretty pictures!

    1. Two of your most favorite things and they compliment each other, how awesome is that? Not like running and writing at the same time…

    1. I wish we would have received the dark chocolate for the red to experience this. There's always next time.

  5. I never paired chocolate with wine before. In fact, I am not much of a wine drinker. i do however like to cook with it.

    1. Try it once, one of those things that you'll either like it or you won't. Like Massholemommy mentioned earlier, it's nice when the pairings are on the menu at a restaurant, as such it's also very nice when the chocolate pairings are provided by the wine maker like in this case.

  6. I have been to plenty of wine tastings and pairings, but being able to have a wine and chocolate pairing at home is a cool idea. It seems more intimate.

    1. Definitely is, you should try it. It's an awesome experience to share with your friends and family. Specially so if they're into wines but haven't tried them with chocolate.

  7. I am also partial to red wine. That sounds fantastic, and I really like the price point!
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  8. That sounds interesting. I have never had a wine paired with chocolate.
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    1. Like Kimberly Grabinski mentioned earlier that chocolate and wine were two of her favorite things, it's definitely indulging!

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