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Winter wine: 5 warming Rhône blends to get your hands on

Do you know the varietals that grow in France's Rhône Valley? Read this!

by: Clare Anderson | 08 Jun 2018
friends sipping wine outdoors

(image: Upsplash) 

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Over the last few years, South Africa wine producers have realized that our warm climate really suits the Mediterranean varietals such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. These are all varietals that are grown in the Rhône valley and whilst they are often not blended, we have seen a noticeable increase in some great Rhône style blends appearing on our South African shelves.

Winter has certainly hit the country and it is time to bundle up in front of a roaring fire and enjoy some delicious, rich, red wines and what better to look at than a few red Rhône style blends.

Fable Mountain – Night Sky (R165) 

This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre – this is velvety smooth wine with a nose infused with floral aromas, red berries and cherries and even some fynbos. The tannins are subtle and the finish smooth and long-lasting. A great match with a beef stew or roast lamb.

Vondeling – Monsonia (R195)

The newly released 2015 vintage Rhône blend is named after the very rare, endangered fynbos flowers that are indigenous to the Paardeberg Mountains. The Monsonia is a blend of 85% Shiraz, 6% Mourvédre, 5% Grenache Noir and 4% Carignan – which are all grown on the Vondeling estate in the Voor Paardeberg. The wine is a beautiful deep purple and on the nose, you may pick up violets, dark fruit and spices. On the palate, deep black cherries and blackberries, black pepper, spices and even some dark chocolate. The wine as a lovely, long finish. Something as bold as this goes well with a perfectly braaied steak or even a rich, pork belly

Strandveld – The Navigator (R185)

Strandveld Vineyards is situated between Elim and Cape Agulhas and is actually the southernmost winery on the continent of Africa. This is a cooler climate region (relative to other South African wine regions) due to the constant Atlantic winds. These winds create ideal ripening conditions and produce grapes with intense flavours. The Navigator is the flagship red wine for this estate. This Rhône blend is made up of 59% Syrah, 34% Grenache, 6% Viognier, 1% Mourvedre. Viognier is a white wine varietal that is often added to red Rhône blends to add floral, apricot or ripe peachy notes to the spicy tones of the red varietals. In this wine, we picked up white pepper and cloves on the nose, which carried through to the palate with red berries – but the Viognier definitely brings some floral hints to the party. A great wine with hearty roast and lots of roasted veggies.

Hermanuspietersfontein – Skoonma (R177)

Hermanuspietersfontein in situated between the mountains 50km from Cape Agulhas and across from Walker Bay in the Sondagskloof region. Incidentally, they are the only active wine-producing farm in this region. The Skoonma is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre, Grenache and Viognier. This deep purple, elegant blend shows a lovely balance between fruit and oak aromas. We picked up spice and violets on the nose as well as a bit of dark chocolate. These carried through to the palate together with red berries and dried herbs. The tannins are soft and delicate, with a good finish. This wine would go beautifully with a duck or venison dish

Kloof Street Swartland Rouge (R120)

This is the second label from the Mullineux & Leeu family wines range. The Platters 4* 2016 wine is a blend of 94% Syrah, 4% Cinsault, 2% Carignan. Grapes for the 2016 Kloof Street Red come from five vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland. This is a medium to full-bodied wine, with medium tannins. This wine has red fruit, roses, pepper and hints of spice on the nose. Notes of dark berries and blackcurrant and some spiciness on the palate. Perfect to pair with lamb or even a rich beef stew.

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