Every week @realtimewine publishes their top 10 trending wines for the week. I read last week’s list and responded, a little cheekily, with this tweet.
Real Time Wine challenged me to put together a better list. I agreed. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel to be honest. Since I have entered the wine world there has been wholly wonderful increase in really decent wine at cheaper prices. I have taken my list away from the supermarket at times, because, come on, supermarkets generally suck at wine.
Real Time Wine said I must bear in mind that “95% of wine sales in SA [are] under R50/bottle”. I will bear it in mind. Whites will be R60 or under, and Reds R80 or under.
Now, these are ridiculously low prices in the greater world of wine. That’s around 6 quid for a red, and 4 for a white. Poms would do their nut in for wines like this at these prices.
Perdeberg Chenin Blanc 2012 (Various Bottle Stores and Super Markets Nationwide)
This lot in the Party Berg consistently offer great value Chenin. This one is full of tropical fruit, a reassuring touch of sweetness (3,5 RS) and enough acidity to balance the whole thing out. It’s not going to change your life, but at price of around 30 bucks it’s cheap as chips, and tastier too.
Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2012 (Most Pink ‘n Pays)
I’d read about this wine offering great value on a couple of blogs, and it took me a little while to find it. But hot damn, when I did all the talk was spot on. Let me offer lunch-buddy, and fellow hardcore wine imbiber, Christian Eedes’ words
Stupendous value from Stellenrust in Stellenbosch for its standard-label 2012 Chenin Blanc. Intense citrus and peach, some burnt matchstick, hint of spice. Pure and focused. Great line of acidity. All this for only R40 a bottle.
Yeah. Your Christmas just got better.
Van Loveren Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Supermarkets Nationwide)
Van Loveren. I know. Who woulda thunk it. But for poolside quaffers, these guys have a handle on it – their Colombard is real non-thinking-drinking for the wallet minded. The Sauvignon Blanc is around the 35 buck range, and has an array of grassy and fruity flavours, more than you would think for this price actually. Fresh clean solid Sauvvy.
Paul Cluver Woolworths Gewürztraminer (Woolworths, Selected Stores)
I told you last week to buy the Riesling. I hope you did. Wonderful sweet fruited lime, lemon, and gorgeous drinkability. Hold on, let me. Ah, there it is. Where’s the corkscrew. Ah.
Ah, right. Delicious and about how long it takes to finish a bottle. This week however, I am pointing you toward the Gewürztraminer. If you haven’t tried one before, best you do, especially if you are going for an Asian inspired Christmas dinner or lunch. This aromatic wine is full of rose petals, Turkish delight vibes, and a lovely tension between sugar and acidity. A true Christmas miracle for 59 Randelas.
Antebellum Chenin Blanc 2012 (Wine Cellar, Vino Pronto)
OK I am going to call it. These guys will be one of the Chenin producers over the next two years. They are based in the Swartland at Meerhof winery, but the grapes for this wine come from Paarl fruit.
There are loads of Chenins around, but I have included this one because Krige Visser – naturalist wine advocate – and winemaker Johan Meyer are eschewing fruity-tooty Chenins in favour of something more, er, mineral.
Krige has said “fuck primary fruit”, and I say, “yeah, fuck em.”
Jokes aside, this wine is a wonderful expression of Chenin with all sorts of character and flavour other than up front tropical fruit and pear. Believe me when I tell you this is a bargain for 60 Rond.
MAN Vintners Shiraz 2010 (Various Bottle Stores Nationwide)
I have been a longtime fan of MAN Vintners. I used to manage a restaurant and I made these guys the house wines. We sold a kak-load.
This one isn’t an over done version of Shiraz. While there is ripe fruit, it’s not klapped with oak, and there is a line of acidity that keeps things fresh. When you think that this is selling from around 50 bucks you have to wonder how they do it.
Tobais Red 2011 (Wine Cellar)
I have written about this wine before. I reckon it is up there with some of the best value wines in the country. Serious, fresh, Swartland winemaking.
I also may have punted this before. I think I have punted all these reds before. Well toughies to you, these wines can’t be beat. This wine from French winemaker Christophe Durrant – a man who gives not a single shit about naming his wine after an English Soul Bad – who knows how to handle grapes.
Fresh fruity, and intense, you can find this gem for around seventy rand.
Reyneke Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvingon (Pick ‘n Pay)
Again, another one of harry’s-wines-to-buy-when-you-are-skint-but-still-want-something-delicious-to-drown-your-sorrows-with-because-your-skint wines.
The best part about this wine is that it is available widely at supermarkets. Apparently the team at Reyneke received a bunch of great organic Shiraz grapes but was really busy and didn’t have time to guide the grapes through production closely. So they chucked the whole lot in a tank, and jury-rigged it so there would be a submerged cap.
Wine Lesson interlude: When red wine ferments on the skins the fermentation process – yeasts gobbling away at sugars, the gobbling creates alcohol and carbon dioxide – means that C02 pushes all the skins to the top of the tank. As colour in red wine comes from the skins, as well as giving the wine tannins and other goodies, winemakers want the juice to be in contact with the skins, so they either pour the wine over the cap, or punch the cap down.
When short of time – like our organic friends at Reyneke – they can rig the tank in such a way that the cap remains submerged throughout fermentation.
They then walked away and came back when the fermentation was done throwing in 5% Cabernet Sauvignon for good measure, and ended up with, in my opinion, the best supermarket red wine under a hundred bucks. You will find this one selling for about 40-odd rands at a pick ‘n pay near you.
So there you go Real Time Wine. I hope you like my list. I think it beats your users’ list from last week, and I hope they buy some and start giving them lots of yums.
On the topic of yum and yuk, let me leave you with a quote from a favourite author of mine, Tom Robbins. It’s from Still Life With Woodpecker and the speaker is Bernard Mickey Wrangle, an outlaw known as the Woodpecker. I try to follow Bernard’s advice as best I can
There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum.
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