Twelve good wines under R30 - yes, really!

Cathy goes bargain-hunting.

by: Cathy Marston | 14 Jan 2012

New Year – no money. That’s certainly the refrain in my household at the moment and I suspect there are many out there who feel the same. So I’ve been trying to find one of life’s little luxuries for less – and I have to say that it was far easier than I thought. These aren’t world-beaters, they’re probably not going to win too many awards, but with R30 buying you less and less these days, I reckon you’ll get at least R30-worth of pleasure out of sharing one of these with family and friends over a braai next weekend. All wines from Ultra Liquors and all correct at the time of writing.

Table Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011    R29.99

For the last couple of years this has been my house-tipple of choice and I see no reason why I ever need to change. Sourced from Darling, it has everything you want from a SB – except a screwcap. Change that one detail and I’ll buy it forever.

Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc 2011        R29.99
New packaging oomphs up what has always been a reliable stand-by in any fridge. Correct flavours of zippy limes and lemons with a slightly sweet tweak of tropical fruit.

Landskroon Chenin Blanc 2011         R29.99
It’s easy to overlook this wine because the label – to be frank – is a little dull. But there’s nothing boring about what's inside – lovely yellow and green fruit and refreshingly dry.

Du Toitskloof Chenin Blanc 2011    R24.99
Is there ever a year that this cellar doesn’t pump out solidly-made, well-priced wines? Not in living memory at any rate, and this is yet another crisp, lively, fruity, all-round winner.

Slanghoek Private Selection Chardonnay 2011    R29.99
This has to be the bargain of all the whites because it’s actually been barrel-fermented, a process normally adding on quite a few rand to the price. This is a balanced wine with citrus flavours and a smooth, creamy twist to the tail.

Boland Cellar 60-40 2011    R29.99
60% Chenin Blanc, 40% Sauvignon Blanc – my favourite blend for an all-day, everyday quaffing white. I actually have nothing more to say for this, except that it’s a darned decent drink and never just buy the one bottle, you’ll always need four.

Hill & Dale Dry Rosé Merlot 2011     R24.99
A perky little pink at a very decent price and without the usual tonne of sugar you can often experience at this price level. More herby than I expected and a pleasant salad-partner.

Obikwa Shiraz 2011    R21.99
If you haven’t tried this wine, then you’re either a snob or a fool. Yes, it may not to be to everyone’s tastes, but with its track record of two Shiraz Challenge wins in a row and at this silly price, you’d be mad not to crack open a bottle or two round your next braai.

Slanghoek Camerca 2010    R28.99
This is my pick of the reds and I am sorely tempted to stock up on a couple of cases now for winter drinking. Or I would, if I thought for one second it would last that long. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – black fruit, soft tannins, good length. Total winner.

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2010    R29.99
If you thought Ken only made Chenin, think again. His Petit Cab/Merlot was just named Best Red Wine of the Year by Robert Parker – beating hundreds of more expensive wines. This Pinotage is a great summer red because it’s unwooded so is perfect to chill and enjoy over lunch.

Balance Cabernet/Merlot 2010    R25.99
This is a good value, entry-level range from this good-value Worcester winery which sources grapes from the best areas throughout the Cape. My husband does some work for them so I know the wines well, and can definitely recommend this with a good homemade burger!

Excelsior Purebred Red 2011    R29.99

This wine is much better than its name suggests, being a rather posh blend of Shiraz with some Viognier. Normally that blend goes for three times the money and more, but the de Wet’s clearly prefer to spread the love and keep the price down. Goodo!

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