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10 wines to drink in 2011

Be adventurous this year and add these 10 wines to your shopping list.

by: Cathy Marston | 20 Jan 2011

My favourite ever Mae West quote is “When faced with a choice between two evils, I always go for the one I’ve never tried before.”

I love that because I just don’t understand those people who go to the shops and come back with exactly the same wine every time. Or go to the same restaurant, sit at the same table, order the same dishes and drink the same thing.

Time for a change people! If you read my 6 Tips for Better Drinking in 2011’ then you’ll know that this is the year for trying something new.  New flavours, new varietals, new knowledge – anything to stretch your taste-buds even a little.

So with that in mind, here are my top ten wines to get into your glass before this year is over – happy drinking.

1.       A Platter Five Star Wine My favourites this year were the 2009 Julien Schaal Chardonnay (R130) and the 2008 Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet (rarer than hens’ teeth – try the farm!). Get in line now.

2.       An older Sauvignon Blanc. My teeth are already itching at the thought of all the 2011 Sauvignon which is going to come my way within the next couple of weeks. Sauvignon doesn’t need to give you heartburn, the best ones can easily keep for a year or so. If you can, head to Wine Concepts who’ve got some 2009’s, 08’s, 07’s and even an 06! Best option is the Black Oystercatcher 2009 at R76 – fabulous stuff.

3.       An unknown wine farm. Every year the Platter guide adds more entries as increasing numbers of people try their hand at winemaking. So give an unknown a go this year – I’ve been enjoying the 2010 Seven Springs Sauvignon (R72) and there are plenty more newbies around as well.

4.       An overseas wine. Local is sooooo lekker that there isn’t a real need for anyone to try anything else – except in the interests of broadening your palate and trying a new taste sensation. Visit Caroline’s Fine Wines for great Italian and Chilean wine, try Wine Cellar for some excellent deals on Bordeaux and Burgundy and PHD wines for very well-priced Australian and New Zealand wines.

5.       An Icon wine. There has been much debate at the end of last year as to whether SA truly has an ‘icon wine.’ Contenders include Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2005 (R385), Meerlust Rubicon 2006 (R275), Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2007 (R395) – try one of these for yourself and see if you agree.

6.       Port. Oh, alright, I know we’re not meant to call it port but still, SA does make some of the finest fortified wines in the world. Try the five star De Krans Vintage Reserve 2008 (R150) and you can kill two birds with one stone!

7.       Cabernet Franc. This is my hot tip for SA’s best red grape variety – I truly think we can do things with this that no other country can. Try the Raats 2007 (R280).

8.       Chenin Blanc. If Cab Franc is the future of red, then this is the past, present and future of Cape white wines. SA is leading the entire world in the quality of our chenins and if you want to see why, then try the brand new Botanica 2010 (released in March, R130). I wanted to recommend the five star 2009 version and allow you to kill THREE birds with one stone, but they’ve sold out!

9.       Organic wine. This is becoming increasingly important in terms of wine sales and I see no reason for this trend to stop in 2011. Try the Reyneke Reserve White 2009 made from Sauvignon Blanc (R150) - a luscious, expansive, feel-good monster of a wine.

10.   Chateau Libertas. What??!!! I give you all these amazing wines and then recommend Libertas?! Well, yes. Cos you only know where you’re heading if you remember where you’ve come from. And anyway, if you buy all the other nine wines, you’re going to need something cheap and cheerful to quaff when you’ve run out of money - and it definitely doesn’t get much better than this hoary old stalwart. Enjoy!

Do you have any suggestions of wines to try this year? I’d love to hear from you if so!


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