Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to taste so many varietals from many a region, local and international; I didn’t know existed. Through the WSET course it has diversified my palette and changed my viewpoint for the better. Before I started level 2 I had more of a fondness for a full-bodied Chardonnay than a spicy Syrah, with that said here’s a list of my favourite reds right now.
Luddite – 2013 Shiraz
If you follow my blog, you know how much of a fan I am of this amazing Bot River Winery. With every vintage pushed out, Luddite proves to always hit it out of the park! First tasted at their tasting room, the 2013 Shiraz is a pricey, but well-worth it investment piece. Dark purply red in hue, showing fantastic vibrance and colour to the edge of the glass. On the nose, expect perfumed, floral, hints of violet, Speculaas spice, typical Luddite cloves and dark fruit. The palate shows elegant balance. Gentle spice, bruised plums, dark cherries with a long elegant finish with balanced tannins and a hint of wood. Absolutely delicious!
Ashborne – 2018 Pinotage/Cinsault
The Ashborne range derives from the Hamilton Russell legacy; and first made its debut in 2001. Consisting of 80% Pinotage and 20% Cinsault, this red blend is made from grapes sourced from old vines in the rockstar Swartland region. The Cinsault adds softening to the rich Pinotage, astonishing in length and has great complexity. “Ashbourne began as a quest to make something extraordinary out of Pinotage in ancient, unusually clay-rich, shale-derived soils.” – Anthony Hamilton Russell.
Andreas 2015 Shiraz
Andreas is a boutique winery situated in the Wellington wine region. This magical Shiraz I love so much is made new world style with only limited yields, the winery makes exclusively one varietal – that being Shiraz. The 2015 vintage is smooth, full-bodied, with characteristic peppery, spicy, berry notes, has great length, and has excellent ageing potential. A great conversation starter at any dinner party.
Ataraxia 2016 Pinot Noir
Grown on low-vigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld Shale derived soils, the maritime-influenced climate is so marked that Ataraxia’s Pinot noirs are the very last to be picked in the Hemel-en-Aarde region. Which makes for delicious punchy dark cherry and perfect minerality with a hint of earthy mushroom on the palate. A sure winner for any Pinot noir fundi.
Creation 2018 Pinot noir
Right next door to Kevin Grant’s Ataraxia, is Creation. As published a few weeks ago, I was graciously hosted by Carolyn Martin co-owner of Creation. The FynArts 7 course Pairing is a must if you plan on visiting! It’s really tough to choose just one wine you favour over the other, when you find everything tastes of perfection! But If I had to pick a favourite red, I’d choose their 2018 Pinot noir. This ruby red gem proves to be rich in dark forest berries and sour cherry with a lovely earthy bouquet.
Vondeling 2018 Monsonia
Vondeling Monsonia is named after Monsonia Speciosa, a very rare species of fynbos (vegetation type occurring in the Western Cape region of South Africa) found in the Paardeberg mountain, the home of Vondeling wines. Bright violets are infused with dark fruit with just a hint of earth and wood smoke. Sweet spices abound, rich in cloves, subtle nutmeg and aromatic coriander. The palate is alive with red berry fruit and has a hint of rich chocolate with undertones of wild herbs. Vondeling’s Monsonia has a full-bodied viscous texture with a lovely long finish. I paired this with this gifted box of goodies from the winery to make Beef Stroganoff with freshly-made tagliatelle.
Louisvale Wines – 2017 Five Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon
Known for their full-bodied Chardonnay, Louisvale Wines produces an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon too! Of course being situated in Cabernet Sauvignon wine country (Stellenbosch) climate makes all the difference, but one can also attribute this to the fantastic Winemaker. It is a multi-layered Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas and flavours of Black Currant, Dark Chocolate and hints of Cedar and Cigar Box.
Van Loveren – The Rhino Run Range: 2016 Ian Player
This special range released by Van Loveren to help combat rhino poaching and in honour of the late Ian Player, to which proceeds of this range goes to the foundation to protect the endangered species. Voted by the Platters guide as a 2019 Hidden Gem, this wine has rich almond, plum and mint on the nose, followed by ripe berry, cassis and red current on the palate. Intrigues with a soft and toasty finish. This lovely red blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. An easy drinking red!
Anthonij Rupert – Terra Del Capo 2016 Sangiovese
This quintessential Italian red shows ripe plum, black cherries, cassis and spice on the nose. The entry is a textural one: dry but well fruited. Cherries and plums make their luscious, rich presence known right from the outset. The wine is graceful with restraint evident in the lovely balance of fruit, acidity and tannin. The flavours are not overplayed and neither is the oak, which adds firm support without overwhelming anything. Delicious brush of spice and well-judged succulence. A rewarding, fresh mouthful that lingers. Paired with a hearty Bolognese made with fresh pasta of course.
Groot Constantia – 2016 Pinotage
Certainly one of my favourites of this underestimated varietal. Groot Constantia makes a delicious Pinotage in a cool region that is Sauvignon Blanc wine country. This delightful Pinotage shows flavours of vanilla from barrel maturation combined with strawberry and ripe plum on the nose. Red fruit flavours follow on the palate. The wine is elegant with a fine tannin structure and a long finish. A sure winner in my books! Pair with Lamb, or a delicious homemade Bobotie.
Bonus feature: This is a goodie!
De Toren – 2017 Fusion V
This exquisite Bordeaux-style blend has a pure and complex flavour, with intense aromas of dark red fruits, mineral perfumes and a deliciously creamy cassis. This full-bodied wine maintains a sleek tannin structure with an immaculate developing palate. Pairs perfectly with roasted/grilled lamb as pictured above at Chefs
Hit me up in the comments and let me know red you’d like to try or what’s your favourite.
Happy Wine Wednesday! x