Wine of the Week: Fröhlich Family Wines Rosé 2016; R63 from frohlichfamilywines.com
Every wine-producing country has its calling card. For Germans its Riesling. Italians have Sangiovese, the blood of Jupiter. Argentinians glug Malbec, while we struggle with Pinotage that has a flavour you either love or hate. Iron banana in the worst cases, but sensitively handled, Pinotage can make the greatest and longest-lived reds in the national cellar.
Chile has Carménère, a Merlot-like red grape from Bordeaux that was indeed confused with Merlot for the longest time. Earlier this month, a trade delegation from Chile arrived in Cape Town to showcase their wines and the most exciting ones were made from this extravagantly accented red.
While selling Chilean wine might be considered to be bringing coals to Newcastle – that is, a fruitless task – South American wines are already big sellers on the shelves of Shoprite/Checkers, the largest retailer in Africa. Chile sells a heck of a lot more wine to the game reserves of east Africa than we do. Mainly because the folks at Wines of SA (Wosa), the exporters’ association, prefer to visit London and New York. In fact, Wosa has offices in those fair cities, while Africa has yet to qualify. So much for the dream of South Africa as the vineyard of Africa.
The only Carménère I know is a steely Rosé made by Salome Buys-Vermeulen in Bonnievale. If wines can be anthropomorphised into masculine and feminine, then this is a masculine one. Oozing testosterone from every pore, it oils its way across the floor – of your mouth. A perfect match for arancini balls with Parmesan. A dish Salome’s husband, Sybrand, the farm’s general manager, reckons is worth driving three hours from Bonnievale for. In fact, he has a plan to invite the Dear Me chef to cook on the Breede River Goose. What a great wine tourism idea.
If Carménère can be confused with Merlot in Chile, there is no chance of that happening in Bonnievale as the 2016 Fröhlich Family Wines Rosé, made from Merlot, is an ultrafeminine wine. On the palate, it’s all strawberries and cream. On the nose, pink lady apples.
Both Rosés are perfect wines for spring. Great for picnics at Emmarentia Dam or De Waal Park, depending on which end of the country you live in. Of course, they’re always ideal in Durban, which has an extra hour of sunlight in which to enjoy an ice-cold glass of floral finesse.
Nyoni is a wine steward at Dear Me, Cape Town