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A Christmas wine survival kit

Take the stress out of the festive season with our complete guide to the best Christmas wines.

by: Cathy Marston | 19 Dec 2013
Christmas, wine, gifts

Contrary to popular belief, Christmas can actually be a helluva stressful time for a lot of people – me included! It’s nice to get one thing done and dusted and out of the way as easily as possible, so here’s my suggestions of all the wines you’ll need this festive season – something to suit every occasion and save your sanity at the same time.

A ‘Chink Chink Cheers’ x 1 bottle
Uitkyk Glass Memoires Extra Brut 2011 MCC R125
This is a new release from this lovely estate in the Simonsberg and it’s named for the many poems and messages which have been etched into the windows of the beautiful Georgian manor house over the years. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and allowed to age for 25 months on the lees of the second fermentation, this is a fresh and tangy wine, made even more so because it has no sugar added to the dosage making it bone-dry and crying out for some celebratory oysters.

A ‘Drinking Red’ x 4 bottles
Cloof Duckitt Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon     R49.99
I’m rather taken with this wine at the moment, even though I will confess that most of my drinking is currently white rather than red. But this saw me and my husband happily through a very tough winter in Cape Town and I am still happy that I have almost a full case left over for summer as well. A good, well-made, varietally-correct wine with real interest and character – I thought it was great value for the price and it certainly goes down exceptionally well with pretty much anything on the braai.

A ‘Drinking White’ x 4 bottles
Place in the Sun Unwooded Chardonnay 2013     R39
My cat was delighted when I received this wine because it came as part of a ‘Build-your-own-birdbox’ package and since she is very partial to the odd dove, she welcomed the kit with much enthusiasm. I was just as happy with the wine to be honest – a fresh, zippy, fresh number with lots of soft yellow fruit and a pleasing acidic bite. A real crowd-pleaser of note, although I’m not sure it goes too well with bird seed…..

A ‘Good White’ x 1 bottle
Groote Post Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc 2013     R118
This is the new name and packaging for what was previously known as the ‘Reserve’ range at Groote Post. Celebrating their 15th birthday this year, they decided to recognise the importance of the cool sea and southfacing Kapokberg Hills from whence this wine originates. Groote Post and winemaker Lukas Wentzel have long been masters of this variety and this vintage is no exception with its vibrant, quivering acidity and snappy citric bite all backed up layers and layers of concentrated yellow and green fruit. A keeper – if you can.

A ‘Good Red’ x 1 bottle
Ormonde Vernon Basson 2007     R250
 Another star from Darling, this is the flagship red of this winemaking powerhouse of the West Coast. Ormonde makes wines at several different quality levels and provides grapes for some of SA’s top wines, but they keep a lot of the good stuff for themselves and this is where it goes. A Cab Sauv/Cab Franc blend which honours current owner Theo Basson’s grandfather, this is soft and ripe with a savoury edge to it. Incredible depth of flavour and a lingering finish – a fitting tribute indeed.

A Sweetie Darling x 1 bottle
Shannon Vineyards Macushla NLH Pinot Noir2012    R185/375ml bottle
This wine was the easiest of all to choose as Macushla means ‘darling’ in Gaelic, making it an obvious pick. It’s only the second time this wine has been made and owner James Downes reckons it may be only the second time in the world that a noble late harvest Pinot has been bottled – certainly it’s unheard of elsewhere in SA. The lovely, delicious, divine rot Botrytis Cinerea settled on and shrivelled up these grapes intensifying the flavours and sugars to produce a creamy, sweet, berried wine which is lifted by a vein of acidic freshness. Perfect for Christmas pud.

Read more on: wine  |  festive  |  festive 2014

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