8 wallet-friendly wines

Some great tasting bargain wines.

by: Cathy Marston | 08 Feb 2012

Yes, yes – I know. Valentine’s is over-hyped and commercial and it’s totally contrived to have just one day a year etc etc etc…. I know. But hey – no-one says you can only drink pink or fizz one day of the year do they? Personally I love a glass of bubbles any day of the week, being something of a champagne slut, and anyone who hasn’t realised that rosé is a great partner for any Mediterranean food needs to open a bottle or two now. Here are a few wallet-friendly suggestions, unsolicited samples of which have come my way recently, to get you in the mood every day.

No-frills affordable French Fizz!
Unbelievable but true, you actually can get French fizz for the bargain price of R32.99! Mark Norrish from Ultra Liquors has tracked down a perfectly decent little fizz although it is rather unromantically-named Veuve, meaning widow! The Veuve de France comes as a Brut, a dry Rosé and a Demi-Sec and I have to say, they’re not half bad. The white is crisp and fresh with a frothy mousse and the Rose is a lovely deep colour with hints of strawberries and cream. If Demi-sec is your thing, then this is a pleasant example with sweet grapey-notes and some balancing acidity. Well worth a try – either next week or beyond.

Feel-good Fizz with Heart.
Few people know that the second label range from Stellenbosch Hills Winery – the Polkadraai wines – support the local Vlottenberg Primary School which is attended by most of the winery workers’ kids. It’s a good school, trying to offer as many opportunities for its kids as it can, and on that basis, I am pleased to be able to recommend the Polkadraai Sparkling Pinot Noir 2010 (R46 from the cellar) – sweet, frothy strawberries and raspberries with a clean fresh finish – knowing that it not only tastes good but that part of the money also goes to such a good cause.

A spoonful of sugar
Well why not? Angels Tears wines are a range made by Jaco Marais from Grande Provence, offering straightforward flavours and more than a touch of sugar. But that’s not always a bad thing, and the White blend of Chenin and Muscat is light and fruity whilst the Rosé (made from a proudly-South African combination of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage) has a little less sugar allowing the soft red fruit flavours of cherries and berries to show through. Both are well-priced at around the R30/R32 mark cellar door, and both would go down very nicely with a grand Pavlova and berry coulis.

Barely a Blush
Sometimes a wine can’t quite make up its mind if it’s white or pink – and I’ve had two of those recently. One is that restaurant-stalwart, Haute Cabrière Chardonnay/Pinot Noir 2011 (R69 cellar door), a classic champagne-combo in a still wine. 40% of the wine is Pinot Noir and they’ve clearly removed it from the skins at quite an early stage leaving the wine that delicate colour generally termed ‘onion skin’. Lots of lively citrussy fruit given a little extra mouthfeel from the Pinot ending in a good positive finish. The other Blush I had is much less well-known. Comes from Opstal Estate in Slanghoek, the 2011 (R55 from the farm) is a blend of mainly Syrah and then Viognier with a tiny amount of Colombar. Pretty colour, pretty fruity, pretty dry – all adds up to a very lovely wine to enjoy with someone special any day of the week.

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