Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is subjective. It should be fun. There are no rights and wrongs. There are a lot of connoisseurs, but at the end of the day its your opinion that counts. Do you like it?

I believe a fine bottle can be enhanced when shared with friends and ruined if you are out of sorts or fighting with your partner. Ultimately wine should bring enjoyment, richness and happiness to your life. Its about sharing moments with people you love and care about. You have chosen a bottle to share to friends and celebrate milestones. Make it a souvenir to treasure.

Some of the statements I made on wine tasting could upset many serious wine lovers. In fact many of my wine colleagues around the world would be horrified that I am admitting them. I believe that wine and food pairing are all about the optimum taste. Deriving the ultimate flavours from sipping the wine in your glass.

Chefs are allowed to add salt and pepper, herbs and spices to their food. I’m not suggesting this, but little tweaks help me enjoy a wine to suit my palate.

Wine tasting should be fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Taste, enjoy and share. Life is too short to drink bad wine so if you don’t like it, open another bottle.

“À votre santé or Bottoms up!”

Explanation of the Food & Wine Chart


Food and wine tasting chart The French are considered the masters of cuisine internationally. They have the most Michelin chefs in the world. Children are encouraged to taste, comment and become discerning. They are taught to say “Bon app” an abbreviation for Bon appétit before every meal, a saying that French in high circles think is poor manners. They talk about food all the time and which wines should be paired with each dish.

Wines from the Burgundy region were traditionally paired with creamy sauces to compliment the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The Claret of Bordeaux were bought and cellared by the British and pairs perfectly to their Sunday Roast with three veg. The Muscadets of the Loire Valley are gorgeous with oysters and shellfish, their Chenins with their softer peachy, honeyed flavours perfect with spice and herbs. The Provencal cuisine ideally matched their rosé’s which make up the biggest wine style in the world. Spicy dishes and stir fry complement the gewürztraminer and steely Rieslings from Alsace. And Champagne? … well Champagne is an aperitif for all the other wine producing regions.

Wine and food pairings are in vogue, few of which actually work as the ideal match takes a sensitive chef and a clear understanding of the protein used as well as its seasonings.

While you can drink anything with any dish nowadays, traditional tastes are still a good rule of thumb.


Introduction to Grapes and Symbols

Juliet Cullinan designed the first wine symbols to visually describe the structure of wine, without having to write it out longhand and wine images to visually describe the aromas of different grape varieties.

Having analysed the grape personalities, I designed a wine glass filled with the ingredients conveying each flavour profile. They have become grape flavours set in emulsion, described aromas visually. I had the artwork printed in Paris and launched the visual concept of tasting wine to the international media at the Gourmet Voice in Cannes in January 2006. They were a world first and an evolution in wine appreciation.

In allowing people to taste the flavours, I added specific ingredients to the global stable diet – bread.  Its’ neutral taste welcomes ingredients and moulds itself effortlessly into creative shapes.   Guests could experience the grape visually and then taste its flavour profiles in a stylish environment.  The experience was another world first.


My pride in South African wines drove me to promote the supreme for over 25 years. My abiding love for unique wines and those who make them compels me to showcase the best South African vintages year after year.