South African reds are far from my favorite. But if you ever catch yourself saying “I’ve tried x and I don’t like x, so I don’t drink x”, then you’re doing it wrong. Vintage to vintage, vineyard to vineyard, vintner to vintner – there’s a BROAD spectrum used as a palette for winemakers as artists to paint their masterpiece using only ONE ingredient. You might not like oaked Chardonnay for example, but have you tried it aged in stainless steel? You might not care for Cabernet Sauvignon, but have you tried it from the Dark Continent?
9 times out of 10, I won’t like South African red wine, but I always give it a chance and taste it when presented with the opportunity. And sure enough, eventually, because I kept an open mind, I’ll find the exception to the rule. That’s how it was with Chardonnay and I. Now I like it – some of it. Because I was persistent and kept at it, I was able to zero in on what I don’t like and what I do like.
In the case of South African reds, it was just a matter of giving them some time to get their shit together. This screwtop from South Africa had some strawberry and cherry on the nose, cassis and black cherry on the palate with a long finish of spicy oak. It may not be a classic, but it has its shit together. Finally.
Bold and juicy, throw some Simphiwe Dana on the MP3 player and drink it with hearty pasta or grilled red meats.