Thursday, March 12, 2015

South African Blends - Lots of Quality in the $20 Range

It’s a tune I’ve been singing for a while now, and one you’ve probably heard from many others. But it bears repeating: South African producers are continually putting out complex, unique and value-driven wines. You should be drinking them!

I recently tasted through two exciting South African blends (one white, one red), and the quality-to-price ratio was really impressive.

It’s not easy to find a lot of South African variety here in the United States. Sure you can find plenty of regional bulk blends for $10-$15, but if you spend just a bit more money, and some time looking, you can find much more exciting and honest wines.

These two are perfect examples…

2013 Bellingham “The Bernard Series” Grenache Blanc/Viognier - South Africa, Western Cape
Boisterous nose, lots of yellow and white flowers on top of creamy pears, green apple, melon and a honeycomb note. Bright acid but rich and creamy on the palate, a great mix. Liking the mixed pear, apple and melon fruit, and the honeyed-hazelnut accents. The underlying minerality is delicious and intriguing. The Grenache Blanc was fermented in 50% new oak, but it’s surprisingly woven into the wine well. 80/20 blend. What a value. South African white Rhone blends, man, I dig them. (90 points)

2012 Badenhorst Family Wines “Secateurs” Red Blend - South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland
Juicy red fruit on the nose, some interesting rose and spice elements, lots of meaty-earthy accents. The palate is fun and inviting with fine tannins and tangy acid. Red berry fruit laced with bacon fat, pepper, earth and smoke notes, which are a delicious and quite complex. Bring on the braai! A blend of Cinsault, Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Pinotage. (87 points)

Have you tasted any good South African wine lately?

Every vineyard in South Africa has a beautiful view, including this one from the Western Cape region of Constantia.

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