Over the last month or so my wine rack has been dominated by South African wine. This has all stemmed from an event I attended in London to highlight wines and food from South Africa. Since then it's been Africa all the way. Two wines of note that have drawn me to my keyboard are The Grinder Pinotage and Groenendal Vineyards Merlot, both from Laithwaite's.
The Grinder comes from the Western Cape. Straight away the nose delivers some real meaty aromas, dried beef strips. Delve deeper and hidden on the back of the nose are hints of chocolate and coffee, not quite Revels but you get the picture! Take a sip and straight away, for the dark chocolate lovers, bitter cocoa flavours with raspberry, spice and pepper. The acidity levels carry long after the fruit has disappeared. This wine is a dark brooding beast. A real serious bad boy wine! The pepper notes dominate from start to finish and the heat is significant. At 14% alcohol it's easy to see why.
This wine has a lot going on, one of the reasons why it stood out. At £10.99 it's a keeper. This wine will develop for around 5-10 years. The packaging is particularly entertaining too. The imagery defines what this wine is about, a hand held coffee grinder indicating the aromas you could pick up. Great wine!
Not a wine necessarily to be drunk on its own. Drink with rich red meat dishes, stews.
Mike's rating 8-10
A complete contrast now, South African Merlot! Like Pinotage, Merlot is often shunned, misunderstood. I don't know why after all it does produce some of the world's greatest Bordeaux's. Groenendal Vineyards Merlot is from Wellington, South Africa. The diversity of aromas is apparent, forever changing. Ranging from fruits of the forest, strawberries, cream, freshly cut wood, moist vegetation. The fruit on the palate is young, fresh with blackberry, redcurrant, some spice and minerals. Tannins are a touch green but given time to breath they do begin to smooth out.
There is no doubt that this wine is very young. It could benefit with some age, another year or two, but at £8.49 it proves incredible value for money. There aren't too many sub ten pound wines that offer the depth of layers and complexity that this wine does. I like being pleasantly suprised!
Food match, think French, think Lyonnais gastronomy. Meats, venison, beef.
Mike's rating 7.5-10
Prices correct at time of publication. Subject to availability.
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