Category Archives: Red Blends
South Africa is a very exciting wine region that is a blend of new and old world wine styles. There are some very good wines being produced there right now, and It’s been my favorite wine region lately. One I tried just the other day is a Rhone style blend called The Wolftrap. Composed of Syrah, Mourvedre and Viognier, this wine is made by Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek, Western Cape.
About the Wine: This wine is a blend of three Rhone Varietals; Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. The 2012 vintage is composed of 67% Syrah, 31% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier. It has a bright ruby-red color with aromas of toasty oak and spicy ripe cherries on the nose. It is nicely balanced and has a smooth finish of cherry and raspberry along with some earthiness. The 2013 vintage (pictured) is a blend of the same three varietals but just slightly different at 66% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier. The 2013 vintage received a score of 88 points from Wine Spectator, and is priced at $11.
The Winery: Boekenhoutskloof was established in 1776 in the Franschhoek Valley. In 1993 the estate was bought and the 22 hectares of vineyards were re-planted with varietals such as Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Semillon. Winemaker Mark Kent has helped Boekenhoutskloof see its reputation for producing quality wines grow significantly in the last 12 years.
The Region: Farms were first established in the Franschhoek Valley in 1687. The valley is surrounded by high mountains with the Berg river running through it. Most vineyards are planted on the valley floor, but many are now being planted on steep slopes with well-drained sandstone soils. One of the oldest vineyards in South Africa is located in Franschhoek, being planted in 1903. Franschhoek was a wine ward within the Paarl district until 2010. It is now its own district, with the most planted varietals being Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Other important varietals include Chardonnay, Merlot and Semillon.
If you are looking for a smooth, easy drinking Rhone style blend, I would recommend The Wolftrap. I’m looking forward to trying more wines by Boekenhoutskloof, as well as wines from other producers in the Franschhoek Valley.
A winery that I have always enjoyed is Cono Sur, and I gotta say I haven’t met a wine of their’s that I didn’t like. The same can be said for
the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon / Carmenere. This wine is a 60% Cab Sauv and 40% Carmenere, from the Colchagua Valley, which is located within the Rapel Valley. This was a fantastic glass of wine. This wine had a nice dark purple color with a ruby red rim, and on the nose ripe black fruit along with a hint of earthiness. Smooth tannins and the right touch of oak went along nicely with a flavor of blackberry & plum, and made for an excellent finish. This is definitely a wine that is hard to put down, and I found it the perfect wine for enjoying a Spring day. Another great thing about this wine is the fruit was grown organically, and the winery prides itself on sustainable viticulture practices. Cono Sur is committed to being an environmentally conscious winery, and believes that great wine can be made while taking care of the environment at the same time. I was quite impressed with this wine, and am already planning on finding more. So if you are looking for a great wine to relax with, look no further than this Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere blend.
The month of April has been quite a busy one for me, unfortunately I’ve been mostly busy with things keeping me
away from blogging. However, on a more positive note I think that Spring may have finally sprung, and the best way to celebrate the arrival of spring is by drinking some good wines. There is nothing like relaxing on the porch with a nice refreshing glass of wine, especially in the warm weather. About a week ago with temperatures pushing 80 degrees, I thought a Riesling would be nice, so I tried a 2009 by Latah Creek. Latah Creek is a winery located in Spokane WA, and just recently celebrated 30 years in the business. They have quite a lineup of wines, which includes a Huckleberry Riesling, and they are also known for producing some great Merlot. This Riesling was clear in color with a hint of pale green to it. On the nose I got aromas of honey and apricots, and it had nice acidity on the finish, with hints of tropical fruit along with just a touch of sweetness. It really was the perfect glass of wine for a hot day. Also, at $8 retail it was a fantastic deal for the price.
Another wine I recently tried was a 2009 Viura from Rioja, Spain. Viura, also known as Macabeo, is one of the most widely planted white wine grapes in Rioja. Aside from on its own, you can find Viura blended with Garnacha Blanca and Malvasia in White Riojas. This particular bottle called Vetiver was 100% Viura and produced by Bodegas Ontanon. This wine was a clear pale yellow in color, and had hints of tropical fruit and toasty oak on the nose. It was smooth on the palate with mellow acids and a creamy finish. This was aged in oak for 6 months, and the oak definitely stood out, but overall it was a refreshing wine, and also would be good on a hot day.
I also tried a red wine just recently that seemed to be good for the arrival of Spring. This was a 2009 Col Di Sasso, produced by Banfi.
Col Di Sasso which is Italian for “Stony Hill”, is from the Tuscany region of Italy and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. This was a very pleasant wine, and it had a bright ruby red color, with a nice earthy leathery nose with light fruit. It had a nice smooth finish with good acids and tannins with a hint of ripe red cherry. This was a perfect companion witthe grilled tri-tip steak that I had with it.
So if you haven’t yet, make sure you break out some of your favorite wines and celebrate the arrival of Spring!