Fowl play

Monday, 22 March, 2004
Neil Pendock
What to drink with your ostrich burger
Observer wine pundit and international expert on Cape Syrah, Tim Atkin, is a seasoned taster of twenty years standing. Over this time he has learnt several important lessons: ‘never wear a white shirt to a red wine tasting’, ‘never trust a person who collects wine labels’ and has drawn several conclusions: ‘Riesling and Viognier are overrated by wine snobs’, ‘a sommelier wearing an apron or carrying a silver tastevin will probably give you bad advice.’

Atkin will be in SA later this month to chair the Cape Wine 2004 seminar on Cape Shiraz and so will probably not care too much which wine he drinks with an ostrich burger (‘people worry far too much about food and wine matching’) so long as it is red since ‘red wines are more interesting than whites.’

For the rest of us, the prospect of a fowl burger suggests lots of appropriate matches. The long legs of the bird require a reasonable alcohol level to ensure long legs in the glass. With Oudtshoorn, in the Little Karoo, the centre of the once world famous ostrich industry, a Little Karoo wine fits the bill.

Domein Doornkraal is the obvious choice: the wines are fined with the whites of ostrich eggs, three strutting birds adorn the label and the bottles come supplied with an ostrich feather to tickle your fancy. The sparkling wine called Tickled Pink is an ideal match, harking back as it does to the days of feather boas when Oudtshoorn and its Ostrich palaces were the Southern California of Africa.

Perhaps an ostrich burger and a glass of Tickled Pink will inspire another Atkin aphorism, but in the meantime he’s not wrong when he says ‘drink too much and eventually you’ll fall over’.

Unless you’re an ostrich.