We’re heading south this Saturday to Chile and South Africa to taste some of the best wine values of the Southern Hemisphere. For most of history, the wine producers of the Northern Hemisphere have held a monopoly on quality wine, but as Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are a-changin’.” Over the past 15 to 20 years, the wine producers of the south have been catching up and improving the quality of their wines dramatically, and this Saturday, we’re going to focus specifically on the wines of Chile and South Africa. Both of these countries produce wines with more of an “Old World” feel to them; translated, these are wines with more forward spice and earth character. We’ll have six wines to try and we’ll guarantee you’ll leave happier than when you got here! All tasting wines are 10% off by the bottle or 15% off if you buy six or more of them.
1. 2013 Santa Luz Sauvignon Blanc “Alba” (Central Valley, Chile)
We don’t know what more you could ask for from a wine that sells for less than $10. Pure, crisp, and nicely fruited, this is brimming with melon, lemon and grapefruit. Great by itself or splendid with flaky white fish, shrimp or salads.
2. 2012 Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap White (Western Cape, South Africa)
An intriguing blend of 46% Viognier, 28% Chenin Blanc and 26% Grenache Blanc, this is spicy and aromatic with more of an orchard fruit personality. With just a kiss of oak to the apricot, peach and apple aromas and flavors, this is a great alternative to Chardonnay and works incredibly well as an aperitif or with spicier foods.
3. 2012 Excelsior Chardonnay (Robertson, South Africa)
Here’s your perfect, “in the cut” style of Chardonnay that can be had for less than $10! It offers a nice balance of ripe pear and apple with more zesty citrus fruit notes, finishing with a touch of oak spice. This one would make a perfect “party wine”, but it would also work well with roasted chicken or turkey.
4. 2012 Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap Red (Western Cape, South Africa)
Mark Kent of Boekenhoutskloof makes some of South Africa’s most highly rated Syrah-based wines, and this is a great entry into that world. A blend of 67% Syrah, 31% Mourvedre and 2% Vigonier, it is spicy, juicy and rich with a nice mix of red cherry, raspberry and darker fruit notes. Try this with by itself or with rich stews, chili or barbecue.
5. 2011 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon (Robertson, South Africa)
Excelsior consistently knocks it out of the park with their Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 is no exception. Dark, ripe and chunky, it is crammed with aromas of cassis, plum, chocolate and spice leading into a pliant and juicy palate of dark fruits, herbs and light mint.
6. 2011 Santa Luz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva (Colchagua Valley, Chile)
If you like to spend less than $15 on a Cab that drinks like a $25 one, you should stop by and try this! Made with fruit from some of the estate’s oldest vines, this is classic Chilean Cabernet with a nice core of black currant and black cherry fruit. With air, it shows that classic pepper, spice and mint nuance that makes this a no brainer for pairing with lamb or other grilled red meats.