09 April 2007

"Sensational South Africa" - Tesco

"It's a country where the magnificent scenery is matched by terrific wines", states Tesco in its March Wine Club Magazine.
And which wine is dominating the cover but Beyers Truter's Pinotage. It has a cracking classy label that would grace any table. It's in Tesco's 'Finest' range, and -- since they already stock Beyerskloof standard Pinotage -- I guess this is a relabelled Beyerskloof Reserve. It is priced at £7.99, two pounds more than the standard Beyerskloof.

Graham Nash writes in the magazine "Some would say that a country that first planted vines in the 1650s, and whose wines were favourites of Napoleon and Jane Austen, hardly qualifies as ‘New World’. However, it’s only in the post-apartheid era that South Africa has again begun to make an impression on our palates. As in sports such as rugby and cricket, it’s taken a while to make an impact, but the wines since then have improved beyond recognition.

"Many of the grapes grown are familiar. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were the first to become popular, but the fashionable grapes at the moment are Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. The style of both – as with many South African wines – sits at a very attractive halfway house between the exuberant fruitiness of the New World and the elegance of the Old. There is also some very good Pinot Noir being made, especially in the country’s cooler areas. But the country does have two points of difference, in the shape of Pinotage and Chenin Blanc.

"Pinotage produces wines with lively flavours of wild berry fruit, occasionally spiced up with hints of banana and toasted marshmallows. You’ll find full and light-bodied reds, and surprisingly good rosés, ranging from good value wines to some that are amongst the finest in the country.

W"hatever food you’re planning, you won’t have trouble finding a South African wine to match it. The local cuisine sees the influence of several cultures – European, Indian, African and Indonesian – combined to extremely tasty effect, and the refined yet flavourful wines are excellent accompaniments. And of course there’s the braai, South Africa’s super-sized version of a barbecue. Forget formal dining. Simply charge your glass with Pinotage, gaze up at the starlit sky and enjoy."

I want that classy black label Beyers Truter Pinotage, but sadly it hasn't yet appeared in my local Tesco stores.

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