My wine of the week is a South African Shiraz 2007 from Muratie Estate. I was shocked to find that I kept going back for more of this wine during the England vs. USA world cup match. I was invited to a lovely party by Wines of South Africa to watch the game. While we watched the game, we were also able to taste a wide variety of sparkling, white and red wines from South Africa and sample great food from Rouge Tomate
My favorite was this Shiraz. It was quite dark in color and was complex with spicy notes but it was a bit more restrained than many Shiraz based wines that I have tasted. It’s peppery notes went very well with the small hamburgers we were served.
The wine is made from grapes harvested from three different vineyard parcels on the same estate. The oldest of the lot was planted in 1975. The remaining two were planted in 1994 and 1998. The soils on these vineyards are rich sandstone and the grapes are all handpicked.
The wine is imported by Worthwhile Wine Company in Atlanta.
Wines of South Africa is holding a big tasting on May 11, its first in New York City. I am very excited and have become quite enthusiastic about South African wines thanks to an introduction to the wines last summer at the Society of Wine Educators conference in Sacramento. This past January, I was lucky enough to meet Ntsiki Biyela of Stellekaya, a fabulous young, female winemaker. Ntsiki and I are friends at this point so I think I won’t go on and on about her but I will post this great clip from CNN.
There are numerous events related to wineries in South Africa this week and one that I attended last night at Greenspaces was very special. It was organized by the International Society of Africans in Wine (ISAW) where Ntsiki was the keynote speaker. All the proceeds from the event went to the development of a viticultural training center on the M’hudi Estate in Stellenbosch, one of a handful of black-owned estates.
M’hudi is owned by the Rangaka family, the only black family owned vineyard in South Africa. The farm is large with 42 hectares. M’hudi means harvester . They make a number of wines including a Sauvgnon Blanc and a Pinotage. I tried the Pinotage. It was lighter than many that I have tasted making it more approachable in my view. It had plum and cherry notes with spice that is typical of Pinotage.
I also tried the Pinotage from the Seven Sisters winery, literally owned by the seven Brutus sisters: Odelia, Carol, Yolanda, June, Dawn, Twena and Vivian. They make seven wines with each sister having one wine named after her. The sisters were separated for about 20 years only to come together to create this project. I tried the Pinotage which was blended with Shiraz. I liked it very much and found it soft and round on the nose and palate with typical spice associated with both of these varieties.
The wines were a surprise to me and very appealing. I look forward to tasting more of their products in the future. The wines are available in the United States through Heritage Link Brands.
South Africa has been on my mind a lot over the course of the past few months. At the Society of Wine Educator’s conference this summer, Wines of South Africa did a big promotion for the organization and I was impressed with the wines and the materials. I remember very clearly the day that Nelson Mandela was freed and I was excited to think of how much the country had changed. I wrote this article for The Gourmet Retailer which was just published yesterday.
South Africa has gone through numerous changes in the past 20 years. Nelson Mandela was freed 19 years ago; peaceful democratic elections were held in 1994 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went a long way toward healing wounds post-apartheid; and South Africa has become a vibrant democracy with a lively tourist industry.
South Africa has been courting tourists for many years, primarily pushing its host of flora and fauna as the prime attraction. Things have changed, though, and South African food and wine have become a real draw. 2010 is expected to see even more change as South Africa hosts the first World Cup Soccer tournament in Africa.
Winemaking is not new to South Africa. The country has been producing wines since 1659. The year 2009 represented the 350th anniversary of the country’s winemaking tradition.
To read the rest of this article, please go to Gourmet Retailer’s website.