Weekend Post (South Africa)
Wine to tickle both pocket and palate
THERE’S no argument that times are tough – belts are running out of notches to tighten, “sin taxes” went up as usual in last week’s budget, and the less-than-1% super-rich have been whacked with their own exclusive tax bracket.
For wine lovers, super-rich or not, tracking down value-for-money wines that deliver quality at a level greater than price is an eternal quest, although “good value” does depend on the depth of one’s pockets too.
This week’s offerings are all pocket-pleasing at under R40 and under R80 a bottle, each offering great value in their own way.
Stone Town wines, in the R60-R70 bracket, are made mostly from Darling grapes in the Swartland, like their big brothers in the Spice Route range developed by Charles Back of Fairview. They draw on a similar back story of the spice trade rounding the Cape and the pretty labels take their design cue from Stone Town on the east African spice island of Zanzibar.
These wines have attracted the attention of top sommelier Miguel Chan, who recently rated the Stone Town Sauvignon Blanc 2015 at a very respectable 92 points and likened it to top New Zealand sauvignon blancs like Cloudy Bay “at a fraction of the price”.
It’s a really enjoyable crisp and juicy sauvignon blanc, with green notes, a bit of tropical fruit and some underlying minerality that opens up in the glass and delivers a flavourful finish (R62.99 at Preston’s in Walmer).
Stone Town Atlantic Coral Rosé is made from Grenache which gives it lovely, gently spicy notes along with fresh ripe raspberries and strawberries, and a brilliant ruby-pink hue. Fresh and refreshing, it’s a super all-round summer wine.
Stone Town’s Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend is aromatic and packed full of juicy red fruit. It’s a flavourful any-occasion red, with fresh flavours and juicy mouthfeel backed up with the body and structure to take it happily from sundowners through to supper.
Over in Robertson, a region well-known for easy-drinking, great value wines, the Bruwers have been making wine at Bon Courage for three generations. With striking new labels, their Like Father Like Son range is their cheap and cheerful offering, in addition to several 4 and 4.5-star rated wines.
Widely available at a recommended price of R39, they offer easy everyday drinking, from the fruity 2016 Merlot-Cab, which benefits from some light chilling, to the fresh and lively off-dry Pinotage Rosé. The Chenin Blanc is a pleasant surprise – dry, with lots of fruit and a nice zing of citrus to balance it out.