THE UNWOODED CHENIN: Marras Piekenierskloof Chenin Blanc 2017, R69.99
Winemaker Martin “Marras” Lamprecht produces complex, flavourful wines from 30-year-old dryland bush vines on the Piekenierskloof mountain pass between Piketberg and Citrusdal, where West Coast evening breezes ensure cooler ripening conditions.
Tasting notes: The terroir delivers minerality and white fruit character (litchi, pear, white peach); cold fermentation captures freshness; five percent barrel fermentation adds texture; and six months on the lees provides beautiful creaminess.
THE FRESH WHITE BLEND: Ashbourne Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay 2017, R80.69
Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are unusual blending partners but they work well together in this corner of the Hamilton Russell vineyards in the cool-climate Walker Bay region. (Take a moment to appreciate the label, illustrated with the flora and fauna of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, including the property’s rare arum frogs.)
Tasting notes: The 20%, ripe, unwooded Chardonnay provides a yellow fruit flavour profile of peach and apricot that marries seamlessly with the perfumed green pepper, lime and lemon vibrancy of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Drink it with: Olive Hamilton Russell recommends nibbling on green crudités with home-made garden pea hummus. The bright, fresh palate of the wine works well with the crunchy vegetables.
THE JUICY ROSÉ: Steenberg Rosé, R69.99
Steenberg winemaker JD Pretorius likes to use Rhône grape varieties, as they show beautiful ripe fruit characteristics at low alcohol levels. In this wine, 60% Syrah adds red fruit and spice, while 40% Cinsault acts almost like a white grape, bringing stone fruit character
and lightness with loads of freshness.
Tasting notes: A petal-pink dry rosé with flavours of juicy raspberry, wild strawberry, spiced stone fruit and fresh herbs. The sprightly palate and balanced acidity result in a burst of freshness and a lingering finish.
Drink it with: JD recommends lightly poached salmon with a lemon butter sauce, asparagus and boiled baby potatoes.
THE EVERYDAY MERLOT: La Motte Merlot 2016, R84.99
Merlot began life as a blending grape in the red wines of Bordeaux, where it was used to temper the tighter tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s since been widely produced as a single cultivar in many New World wine countries, including South Africa. From one hectare of plantings in 1979, it is now our fourth-most planted red grape variety. This one has been a collaboration between La Motte and Woolworths for over 25 years.
Tasting notes: The bright ruby colour introduces an aromatic bouquet of redcurrant, cherry and earthiness with spicy notes. The medium-bodied palate is soft and mellow, reflecting the fruit and spice of the nose.
Drink it with: Winemaker Edmund Terblanche recommends slow-cooked oxtail with mashed potato.
THE NO-SULPHUR RED: Jordan Origami No Sulphur Added Red Blend 2016, R84.99
There’s a growing demand for wines made without the addition of sulphur dioxide (SO2), which is used by winemakers as a preservative against oxidation and spoilage. No Sulphur Added wines are challenging to make: the grapes must be healthy and handled with utmost care at each stage, and Jordan’s winemakers liken this minimal intervention to the Japanese art of origami.
Tasting notes: The 40% Cabernet Franc contributes intense red fruit and spice, adding to the overall acidity and balance; 30% Cabernet Sauvignon contributes classic black fruit, cassis and chocolate, rounding off the palate; and 30% Merlot lifts the red fruit flavours.
Drink it with: Winemaker Sjaak Nelson recommends a classic lamb bobotie – the mince’s fat helps to tame the young tannins.
All prices were correct at the time of publication (September 2018). T&C apply.