South African Wine: Top Quality Wines with Incredible Value
As we all know the economic effects of COVID -19 have been felt all over the world with all businesses, the wine industry is no different, especially in South Africa. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has again banned the sale of alcohol in the country – to reduce the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations as this would free up beds for infected persons of COVID.
This is the second ban on alcohol in the past 3 months and it’s estimated that this has affected approximately 1 million people who work in the industry. It’s quite difficult, BUT, the government is allowing the export of wine, and I think now is a good time as any to show the industry a little support and pick up South African wine.
What’s interesting is that South Africa has documents proving that they carry some of the oldest vines in the world and this is important because old vines produce lower grape yields and have smaller berries that grace the wine with more concentrated and complex flavours with lots of intensity and depth. South Africa has the only old vine certification seal – world wide. This seal will note the vine’s heritage, and it will tell you right on the label when the vines were planted.
For more info, check out : https://oldvineproject.co.za/
Another cool thing about South African wine is that they have introduced a sustainability seal on the side neck of some bottles – and what this tells us is that the vintage, grape variety and origin on the label are valid, and that the wine was made in a sustainable way. On that label, there is a website to follow and a code. If you go to that site and punch in the code, it allows you trace where exactly that bottle has come from, narrowing it down all the way to the vine. Isn’t that cool?
For more info : www.swsa.co.za Photo: wosa.co.za
So – all of this is to say is that there is a lot of quality to be had from South African wine – and you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad bottle – and I would like to share with you a few of my favourites today!
SAQ: 14096293 $12.95
This is made 100% cinsault grape – its a fruit forward, juicy wine – lots of red berry fruit like red cherries, strawberries and also a lot of that crunchy fruit like cranberries, and red current. The wine also offers some pretty notes of dried violet, earthly bits and a little sweet spice – It is very light and fresh on the palate – easy drinking red wine. Lots of perfmed fruit and freshness. Only $12.95 at the SAQ.
Mullineux – Kloof Street Red
SAQ: 12483927 $23.00 Photo: saq.com
Mullineux is run by this amazing couple – Andrea and Chris who have done many vintages all around the world, but in 2007 they settled in the Swartland mainly because they saw the potential of the wine they could produce in that region. As soon they started making wine, they really stirred things up and got immediate attention and today they are one of the most well respected and celebrated wineries coming out of South Africa.
This wine is a blend of a number of different grapes like Tinta Barocca and Syrah. You’ll get lots of dark fruit here – blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries and lots of spice with a nice influence of oak and smooth, supple tannins. This is coming from a hot and dry place, but the acidity is so spot on and it’s so well balanced with the ripe fruit making it a delight to drink. This wine is really screaming for Grilled lamb or steak or even pork. There is enough intensity in the wine that it can really stand up to some big flavours in terms of food pairings. $23.00 at the SAQ.
Avondale Qvevri Paarl 2018
SAQ: 14439428 $29.95
These guys were one of the first, if not the first producer to work with the egg-shaped vessels called Qvevri in South Africa– it’s a clay vessel that is lined with beeswax and terracotta, and many producers have started using these again as it’s more of a natural/non-interventionalist approach to making wine.
When you pour a glass of the Avondale you’ll immediately notice the colour – it’s a very deep yellow ..almost amber and we can call this an orange wine, which people are really loving these days. The colour and flavour is a result of the wine having quite a lot of skin contact with the Chenin Blanc grapes.
The 100% Chenin Blanc is very generous in terms of its aromatics and flavour: Lots of peach, pineapple, and apricot – – very savoury with some pretty floral notes and nutty characteristics– it’s a full-bodied wine, nice and round on the palate with a great hit of refreshing and tangy acidity. Lots of complexity and depth. It will be a bit of a funky wine if you’ve never tried orange wine before – but fun and interesting nonetheless. Made in very small quantities – fantastic find at the SAQ. $29.95.
The boldness of the wine will go nicely with equally bold foods like lots of curry dishes, or Moroccan cuisine.
There are so many great examples of South African wine at the moment at the SAQ – you can pick up any bottle and you’re really going to find a lot of value in this quality wines from South Africa!
** This article is related to a radio segment with CJAD800 News Talk Radio with Ken Conners : Weekends with Ken. To listen, click here: https://www.iheartradio.ca/cjad/audio/take-a-walk-on-the-wine-side-1.13068857?mode=Article