Sommelier’s Choice 15 – Ritrovo and Priva Lounge

In this popular series we feature selected sommeliers from top restaurants around the world. Each chooses his or her favourite Creation wine, tells us why and recommends a matching dish. This week we welcome Marko Jovancic from the well-known Ritrovo and Priva Lounge in Pretoria.

Marko says:

The first time I was introduced to the Art of Creation Chardonnay was at a blind tasting in Durban. I thought at first that it was a very prestigious French or American wine but to my pleasant surprise I found out it was local. When I started working at Saxon Hotel, it was one of the first wines I listed and now it features on our Ritrovo and Priva Lounge wine lists. Many of our patrons prefer special, exclusive wines and that the Art of Creation Chardonnay certainly is!

The wine is very rich and deep in colour with a pronounced nose of lovely oak, buttermilk and butterscotch together with ripe stone fruit such as peach and apricot. The aromas follow through and deepen on the well-balanced palate. It is a wine you can talk about all day: attractive, well-integrated flavours, beautiful freshness and a lingering finish.

To express the versatility of the wine, we have selected two matching dishes.

  1. Amuse bouche: Prawn mousse, wrapped with thinly sliced avocado with caviar and air-dried seaweed on top, squid ink and prawn bisque mousse on the side.

All elements play together very well. The minerality and also the fruitiness of the wine are ideal with the flavours of the ocean.

  1. Main course: Slow cooked pork belly cooked overnight in apple juice, spiced pumpkin tart, smoked pumpkin cream, popcorn crackling, air-dried ginger and ginger purée, honey and soy sauce.

This Asian inspired dish is not too fatty, but very flavourful. The acidity of the wine cuts through the slight fattiness while the freshness of the wine ‘softens’ the meat and the generous fruit flavours enhance the spiciness.