With winter in full swing, and little for one to do in terms of going out, I have enjoyed a routine of watching series and drinking a glass of wine at night. Fortunately, going into the lockdown I had quite a few bottles of wine available so I never had to suffer through the dreadful sober months many others are revelling in.
Last Sunday I had a few bottles of wine that were open, but not finished, so I decided to do a quick wine tasting. Here are a few of the wines I enjoyed that are on the more affordable side of the spectrum.
The Woolworths, no sulphur added merlot, which is made by Stellar Organics winery is the most surprising of the four wines I chose to feature due to the price vs quality. It is a very easy drinking wine that comes in at a super affordable price of R57.99 per bottle (view here: https://bit.ly/3dS1mHb). In terms of taste, this is a very traditional merlot that will go with pasta dishes, especially tomato based ones, but it won’t be able to hold its own against heavier meat based dishes.
I was equally surprised by the Stellenbosch Hills Bushvine Pinotage 2017 which comes in at R91.88 if you buy it from their online store (https://bit.ly/31CtdIV). There is definitely more character in this wine, which is great to see in a pinotage, and I must commend the winemaker in ensuring that the wine is well balanced. There was, however, not a lot of carry, meaning the wine disappeared quite quickly in the mouth. There has been a trend towards lightly wooded and unwooded pinotages in the recent years, which I am not a fan of. Fortunately, the Stellenbosch Hills Bushvine Pinotage does have some wood which brings in nice vanilla notes on the nose and makes it heavy enough to go with meats and stews.
The Retief Reserve Red Blend from Van Loveren which comes in at R98 per bottle on their online store (https://bit.ly/2YWN57L) was not as well balanced as the Stellenbosch Hills Pinotage, which I believe can be attributed to the warmer climate, but is still very well priced. What I liked was that it had nice depth and after we let it breathe for a while it came together very well. The 2016 vintage comprises 37% Pinotage and an equal amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, with 26% Shiraz. It spent 12 months in oak barrels.