I got all excited last weekend when the temperature reached the late teens - I could venture out of the house in a short-sleeved T-shirt and salad began to look attractive again! And then I realised what a fool I was because, come evening time, I was once again shivering, sniffing and wrapping myself up in blankets.
Who am I kidding – winter hasn’t done with us all yet by any stretch of the imagination. So here are some late winter-warmers which have arrived at my door recently and which should help you keep cosy for (hopefully) the last few weeks of this weather. All Shiraz or Shiraz-based wines to spice up your lives.
Place in the Sun Shiraz 2011 (R45 from major retailers)
This arrived at my door with a large glass Solar jar and instructions how to ‘bottle the sunshine’ and produce a light! With Eskom up to their normal tricks, I think this is a great idea and will happily quaff this wine by its light any day. Firm and chunky with lots of black fruit and hints of licorice.
Kumkani Shiraz 2009 (R49 from the farm)
A box of delights from this underrated wine label arrived in the boot of my car the other day – some yummy fizz and Sauvignon Blanc and this wine. It’s been made by top winemaker Nicky Versfeld’s team and comes in at a seriously good price – I’ve seen twice this amount charged for wines half this good. Elegant black berries and a whiff of licorice and spice.
Hillock Cape Blend ‘Mile High’ NV (R56 from the farm)
“You have to try this just once in your life” proclaims the label – what on earth could they be talking about I wonder? Certainly I’d try this wine more than once – it’s a cheery, hearty, no-nonsense blend of Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot which is a great fireside partner. And as for sex in airplane toilets – well, I like to stick to the motto “I’ll try anything once except incest and folk dancing.” So I guess that’s covered then.
Peacock Ridge Shiraz 2011 (R59 from the cellar)
Can’t remember if this is the second or third tier from Waterkloof Wines in Somerset West – whichever it is, it offers really good value and some very good drinking. Waterkloof is run on biodynamic lines which means minimal intervention, lots of livestock in the vineyards and everything done as naturally as possible. The wine is smoky and meaty with fat, black, plummy fruit.
Simonsig Mr Borio Shiraz 2010 (R66 from cellar door)
This wine is named after an Italian prisoner of war who built the first concrete tanks at Simonsig after World War II. Apparently a character of note, he started every day by cooking breakfast on his spade! This wine is a bundle of spices – cloves, cinnamon – with some black fruit, coffee and vanilla to fatten it out.
Domaine Grier Odyssea 2009 (R80 from Villiera)
It’s very rare for me to recommend an overseas wine on these pages (since I am – as you know – so proudly South African) but this is as close as you can get in the South of France. It’s made by the Griers of Villiera from their farm in the Roussillon region and is made from Syrah, Carignan and Grenache. This is a great price for an overseas wine and I recommend it with a good cassoulet.
Sijnn 2009 (R180 from the farm)
This is one of the most exciting blends in South Africa today – and you can quote me on that. From extreme vineyards down at the tip of Africa, this is an unusual blend of Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Trincadeira – mixing French and Portuguese varieties with elegance and style. Still woefully under-priced for the quality – get yours now before they realise.
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