Over two years ago I developed the concept of pairing Art and Wine, to share and convey unique stories about the two sometimes intimidating and complex forms of expression – namely visual art and fine wines.
The pairings aim to highlight similarities between the two forms of art, whether in their making, philosophies, inspiration or sometimes just the details. There seems to be so many parallels between the two even from an economic and global awareness point of view!
I found a perfect illustration of my concept when visiting the KWV sensorium in their head office, ‘La Concorde’ in Paarl.
KWV Sensorium. Image from their Facebook Page.
KWV, one of the leading wine and spirits producers in South Africa, was founded as a winemaking co-operative in 1918. Over half a century – starting after the Second World War – KWV has acquired a vast collection of modern artwork. The aim initially was to purchase work by local and popular South African artists simply to adorn the walls of their newly built head office. In the 1970’s KWV made some major acquisition as part of a campaign to promote Food and Wine. The third phase, mainly in the 80’s and 90’s, coincide with KWV’s Art Calendar series, a collection of Fine Art by a local South African artist. Each year an artist was selected who would exhibit 12 of their work for the calendar; KWW would then purchase a selection of the works. The last edition was published in 2000.
In 2012 the Sensorium was launched, to share this impressive collection with the general public. The collection included work from Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, Gregoire Boonzaier, Maggie Laubser, Carl Buchner, David Botha and Francois Krige. To ensure that the public would have a memorable experience, and to use this opportunity to showcase KWVs award winning wines and brandies, the two have been paired. The pairing is merely a guideline, using key words to match the unique characters that link the painting to wine or brandy.
Each Season the KWV Sensorium focus on a specific pairing which will also be the ‘tasting,’ so while you admire each painting you won’t only stimulate your eyes, but also your sense of taste.
Llewellyn Davies, The Grape Pickers, bronze
The focus this month is on a Bronze by Llewellyn Davies, The Grape Pickers, paired with KWV White Muscadel. The KWV is “full of deliciously ripe raisin aromas and flavours, complimented by rich toffee and hazelnut flavours.” The key words for the pairing are ‘ whistle, sway, ripe, glossy, conspiracy.’
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s Langeberg Landscape, oil on board
The second pairing is Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s Langeberg Landscape, an oil on board painting, paired with KWV Cape Tawny. KWV says that the “Extended wood maturation resulted in a beautiful amber colour with orange zest, dried fruit, caramel and nuttiness on the nose. This full flavoured wine explodes with fruit, marzipan and toffee on the palate, with a well-balanced sweet finish”. The key words for the pairing are ‘ mature, horizon, depth, layer cake, lingering’.
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Cape Dutch House Against a Pink Sky, oil on canvas
The third pairing is another Jacob Hendrik Pierneef work, Cape Dutch House Against a Pink Sky (oil on canvas) paired with a KWV Cape Ruby. “Beautiful dark berry flavours are complemented by caramel, butterscotch and nuttiness. The wine is well balanced, fresh and fruitful with a lingering finish”. The Key words are ‘anticipation, blush, boerseun, sweet, polite’.
Carl Buchner, Interior of a room, oil on canvas
The last pairing is by Carl Buchner, Interior of a room, an oil on canvas work paired with a ‘ Pineau de Laborie,’ described as “fresh mulberries, quince and cherry with subtle nuances of spice. Flavours of chocolate and berries on the palate are perfectly integrated into this soft and seamless wine.” Key words for the pairing: ‘intense, melancholy, velvet, maze, Cluedo.’
The beauty of this concept is the stimulation of multiple senses; it encourages engagement as you get to see beyond the wine and the artwork and come up with your own vision and key words.