It’s Heritage Month which in recent years also means Braai month as well. No-one doubts the serious side of remembering the heritage of our country but it has to be said that looking forward to time with family and friends around a fire may well be the nicest way to celebrate it! If you agree, here are a range of Shirazes to suit all tastes and all pockets. Why Shiraz for Braai Day? Well, it’s smoky, spicy, robust and rich – all attributes which pair perfectly with a yummy piece of meat or a chunky mushroom over the coals. Enjoy!
Obikwa Shiraz R30 from major retailers
Look – sometimes a braai is about quantity and at this price, you really can’t go wrong. What may surprise you is that you actually get a decent measure of quality in this wine – yes you really do. It’s got classic flavours of black fruit and spice and although it teeters on the sweet fruit side, there is so much to like about this wine that you can forgive it for that. If R30 is your budget, you probably can’t do much better than this.
Doran Vineyards Shiraz 2013 R75 cellar door
This arrived on my doorstep with its sister wine – the Chenin Blanc (more later) and now interestingly enough, the pair has been joined by a 3rd wine – an innovative and fascinating-sounding blend of them both, made as a red wine. No idea where that one is going, dying to find out – but in the meantime, this is the wine for your braai this month. Great price, chewy, dark, dense fruit, lashings of pepper and cloves. Bring on the tjoppies!
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2012 R110 cellar door
I don’t mean to be a kiss-ass but I honestly don’t know quite how Kleine Zalze packs quite so much punch into a relatively affordable wine. Maybe it’s economies of scale but the Vineyard Selection isn’t a mass-market product, it comes from carefully-chosen vineyard sites around Stellenbosch so it isn’t that. I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much – just drink it because that’s what it’s there for. Lovely, soft, juicy, fruity – yum.
Kloovenburg Shiraz 2013 R130 cellar door
There’s a new woman at the helm of this family-owned winery in Riebeek-Kasteel and although this wine wasn’t made by Jolandie Fouche, she’s already making her mark with new plantings underway and new ranges about to be launched. This has always been my favourite wine from this estate – big meaty, yet with some black fruit refinement there on the side as well.
Babylonstoren Shiraz 2013 R145 cellar door
Backing onto the Paarl and Simonsberg Mountains, Babylonstoren seems to receive more accolades about its gardens and food than its wines. Which is a shame because actually they’re well-worth celebrating, this Shiraz being a case in point. It’s spent time in mostly new oak adding a sweeter/spicier feel to the dense black fruit. Great match for game meats rolled in black pepper.
Strandveld Syrah 2011 R156 cellar door
Winemaker Conrad Vlok describes 2011 as one of ‘the coolest years yet’ and no, he’s not talking in terms of trendiness, he’s talking sunshine! It was a difficult year in general, but this wine has managed to retain lovely elegance and perfume, perhaps aided by a minute but important amount of Viognier adding lightness & character to the mix.
Oldenburg Syrah 2012 R200 cellar door
This wine was a big winner in the International Wine Challenge this year and it’s easy to see why. It comes from surprising young vines – less than 7 years old – and the farm is buoyant about the future of these vineyards, believing the best is yet to come. The wine itself is a pleasure to drink – lots of elegant soft fruit backed up by velvety tannins with whiffs of pepper and spice. Classic stuff.
Lomond Cat’s Tail Syrah 2012 R272 from specialist retailers
Another cool, cool climate Shiraz, this time from a slightly warmer year – hence the elevated alcohol of plus-15%. People fuss about high alcohols but as long as there is enough fruit to balance it out, it shouldn’t really be a problem. This wine has fruit and flavour in abundance and the whole package, wrapped up in new French oak, makes for a serious wine, ideal with a good steak.
- Cathy Marston