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It has been a while  since I did a food and wine pairing piece. Last week, I got a very interesting invite to an exclusive food and wine pairing in my inbox. I got to attend a wine and food pairing dinner at About Thyme Restaurant. This event was hosted by Pernod Ricard Kenya and the wine division Pernod Ricard Winemakers. Pernod Ricard Kenya is known for supplying some of the most famous spirits in the market. These include Jameson and Martell cognac among other global brands. I also knew that the event would be intimate with someone taking us through the pairings, wine history etc. These are the sort of wine events I enjoy. 


The industry at a glance

The wine industry in Kenya has really grown and consumption is at an all-time high. We are seeing more and more restaurants expanding their wine lists as well as global brands making entry to this market. Even when I attended Prowein (Global wines and Spirit’s event) in Germany this year, I had some interesting conversations with brands to make their way in East Africa.

A few years back, very few global companies would consider Kenya or even East Africa when creating their marketing strategy. In fact, these companies would only have considered South Africa since they are a global producer of wine. They believed (some still do)  that the rest of the market in Africa is negligible when compared to they are bigger markets like USA, Europe and even Asia. 

 Some companies are noticing that even though the market may be relatively small, it is a rapidly growing market. It is always interesting to see when our new brand launches in the market and how even the consumers get excited to try these brands. Look around Nairobi and see how many wine and food events have sprung up. Back in the day, they were only about 2 major events quarter. I am excited to see what the future holds. 

 About Pernod Ricard Winemakers.

Pernod Ricard is one of the largest global spirits companies and they have the Pernod Ricard Winemakers part which deals with wine. The  major brands that they have are Brancott Estate (New Zealand), Jacob’s Creek (Australia) and Campo Viejo (Spain).


The Menu. Great start and impressive surprises.

Welcome drink: Jacob’s Creek Rose

The Jacob’s Creek Rose was an amazing rose wine with freshness and aroma of strawberries raspberries and candy.  Something about this wine reminded me of candy and the berry aroma was very prominent both in smell and taste. The wine was, dry it had low acidity and a medium finish.


First course: Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc X Avocado & cherry tomato salad.

The Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is really crisp and fresh with ripe citrus flavours ie. grapefruits. I can’t wait to buy myself a bottle to enjoy it on it’s own.

The Brancott Estate was the first winery to plant Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough. It was great to try their Sauvignon Blanc. I found it so easy drinking and perfect with green salads.  The creaminess of the avocado and the crispness and acidity of the wine were a great contrast.


Main: Jacob’s Hill Adelaide Hills Reserve Chardonnay  X Golden corn fritters with About Thyme chilli jam

This wine had the aroma of citrus, peaches, green tropical fruits as well as a “toastiness” to it. It was dry with medium acidity. It was a nice complex wine with a good finish and medium to full body. It was that type of crisp wine to start dinner with and it was served with a green salad. I would definitely enjoy this meal with creamier dishes ie. Seafood, fish and even chicken if I was making something at home.

Main meal: Campo Viejo Reserva X Moroccan BBQ lamb chops with Tzatziki

The Campo Viejo Reserva is from Rioja, Spain. This was a crowd pleaser. I am pretty sure this wine will be a hit given the Kenyan palate. It was medium bodied and full of spice like cloves etc. This wine has been aged 18 months in oak and 18 month in bottle. It paired well with the food because they both were flavorful. Flavourful foods  should be paired with flavourful wine.


Dessert : Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz X Chocolate dessert trio

The wine was a Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel 5th vintage Shiraz which I think was exceptional by itself. It was such a memorable and full bodied wine. The wine was the highlight on my night but on it’s own! The oak on this wine was phenomenal and it was aged in Chivas Whisky barrels. Jacob’s Creek was actually the first to launch wine aged in Whisky barrels. The wine was ruby coloured with a full body and long finish. When thinking of pairing this wine with Kenyan food, the spicier the better. Think of nyama choma, spicy beef etc.

This was the only pairing that I was not too keen on. Probably because I am not crazy for dessert or I am too used to having dessert with dessert wine but I would definitely love the wine on it’s own.

The wine is available on Jumia and select supermarkets ie. Chandarana, Carrefour and outlets ie. K1 Club House etc.