I had the recent honor of asking a few queries of someone whose website I find myself visiting often these days. Fellow wine aficionado Elvina Snell-Fortuin is the creator of the wine site ThroughMyWineGlass.com. Elvina’s stated mission is “To be an advocate for wine tourism in South Africa showcasing wineries, wine regions and wine events,” and her site performs commendably in that area, conveying a passion and curiosity about wine that leaps off the screen (and frequently into my wine glass). The talented wine maven talked with me about the best and worst things about wine blogging, tasting experiences that challenged her perception of wine, and more.
Flavorful World: What do you consider to be the best part of wine blogging? What do you consider to be the worst part of wine blogging?
Elvina Snell-Fortuin: [The Best:] I love being able to connect with the different people who participate on my blog and social media platform, and enjoy meeting new people at various wine festivals/ Wine Farms and lectures. It’s absolutely amazing interacting with like-minded / passionate wine lovers. [The worst:] Too much wine and really so little time, but mostly for me I wish I had more time.
FW: What do you think is the biggest misconception non-drinkers have about wine aficionados? What would you say to set the record straight?
ESF: Non-Drinkers think that we drink excessively some people feel that it’s a hobby and does not equate to a serious job. I would invite them refer them to our history and show them the integral part wine plays in society, It was one of the first miracles performed in the bible and if enjoyed responsible it can add so much to your life.
FW: What prompted you to start your wine site?
ESF: I grew up in a very strict Christian home and was never really exposed to wine. The closest I would get to tasting wine would be in church when Holy Communion was served. With that being said, when I eventually came of legal age to drink, I just stuck to what I was exposed to because I was afraid of sounding silly as wine just seemed so sophisticated, so that’s when I started a blog—to break down the typical misconception related to drinking wine and just to make wine drinking uncomplicated.
FW: Tell us about a recent wine tasting experience that challenged your perception of a particular wine. What new insights did you come away with?
ESF: I’m from South Africa and our signature cultivar is Pinotage, I never really enjoyed the variety as I personally felt it was overbearing: harsh tannins and just not a great mouthfeel. This year I made a special effort to start enjoying this grape variety and have enjoyed my research. I started with blends where the Pinotage was at 40%, worked through some amazing Pinotage-led rosé, and finally got to a place where I could appreciate this cultivar and what it stands for.
FW: For years, conventional wisdom has stated that white wines are best paired with poultry/white meats or seafood, and red wines with red/game meats. Tell us a red wine/seafood or white meat pairing that you enjoy and why.
ESF: I recently enjoyed the best snoek (South African term for barracouta) with some Kanonkop Pinotage, The barracuda-type fish is liberally basted with olive and lemon juice, and grilled by the farm owner on an open fire. It’s served with home-made jam, thick slices of home-made bread, farm butter, sweet potatoes and salad. The sweet and savoury mix is a typical feature of local cooking and a well braaied snoek is traditional Cape food at its finest. The Wine paired was a 2016 Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage, a full rich wine with red fruit fragrance and a hint of spice, the palate is structured and powerful with rich flavors of red fruit, chocolate. It has a great mouth feel and is very appetizing. This wine also pairs well with red meat and spicy Asian dished.
FW: If you could pick three locales anywhere in the world that are each famous for a particular wine style, what three locales would you choose for your perfect wine tour, and why?
ESF: I would definitely want to visit Portugal, as I’m a big fan of their wines, culture, the traditions, and the terroir. Australia, because they have a similar climate to what we have in South Africa and it would be an interesting experience. Italy: I’ve been there once and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t get to experience half of what I wanted, but just gained so much knowledge about the history and an appreciation for Italian wines.
FW: Tell us about the earliest most memorable pairing of food and wine that you experienced. What were the dish and the wine?
ESF: My earliest pairing experience was not the best one, I was at my end of year celebration and paired Cabernet Sauvignon with Seafood paella, this was not the best pairing as the wine and food clashed and made me very ill. That experience motivated me to experiment with food and wine and the find perfect pairings with the things I find in my pantry.
ESF: My latest obsession is definitely pairing pork with cool climate Pinot Noir and Syrah. I love how the salty/savoury flavour of the pork compliments the cooler climate wines.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your wine-drinking exploits?
ESF: “My Life – a story told through wine labels.”
FW: When you aren’t drinking delicious things, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
ESF: I enjoy spending time with my family and our two dogs. We love hiking and gardening, and going to the beach.
*Note to readers: Ready to taste more of what this passionate wine lover has to say? You can keep up with Elvina on YouTube and Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter. That of course, is in addition to visiting her at ThroughMyWineGlass.com to stay up to date on South Africa wine tourism happenings. Or maybe just for guidance on what to buy on your next trip to the wine store. Either way, there’s no shortage of great photos, wine event recaps, tasting notes, and more awaiting you through Elvina’s wine glass.
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.