Looking for a red wine to pair with your braai? Or something to sip on a Saturday afternoon? Michael Olivier selects his ten reds for summer drinking.
Grangehurst Cape Rosé Blend 2011
Made from red grapes and somewhere between a rosé and a red, this wine has a fragrant nose of red berries. Delicious tasting and with the added interest of oak from the partial barrel maturation. Chill it – it is excellent on its own, and the gentle tannins, giving a nod to its red grape parents, make it a perfect food wine. Try it with cured meats.
Cellar door price: R40*
Jordan Chameleon Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010
Jordan’s modern wine is ripe concentrated fruity and easy to drink in its youth. You’ll get delicious blackcurrant and mint from the cabernet and blood plums from the merlot. The undertow of the fine French oak makes it very distinguished.
Cellar door price: R60
Landskroon Paul Hugo Red 2011
Untrammelled by oak, this sappy cabernet franc-led blend with shiraz and merlot would love you to chill it before drinking. Delicious as a glass on its own, perfect with a piece of Dalewood’s Huguenot or with a stick of biltong watching rugby on the box.
Cellar door price: R32
Perdeberg Soft Smooth Red 2011
Now here is a no-questions-asked, oh-so-easy to drink Saturday afternoon red. It’s a just off-dry blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and a Swartland benchmark cinsaut. The soft plummy rustic wine is yummy braai buddy stuff, that’s a perfect match to rustic Italian inspired foods like pizza, risotto and tomato-based pasta dishes.
Cellar door price: R27
Simonsig Adelberg Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010
Pioneers in so many ways, they pioneered this label in the early 1970s. And it is a truly delicious modern wine. Ruby-coloured with garnet edge, packed with red and black berry fruits. Vibrant, young and oh-so-easy to drink!
Cellar door price: R45
De Grendel Merlot 2009
On the slopes of the Tygerberg, facing Table Mountain and looking out over Table Bay and Robben Island, are the vineyards of De Grendel. Cellarmaster Charles Hopkins is making some truly delicious white and red wines and a fine MCC. This is an elegant full-bodied merlot – complex as a slice of Christmas cake. Red berries abound, as do mulberry, raspberry and brambles, with an undertow of wild roadside fennel and chocolatey coffee. It has delicious soft tannins and oak background from the French oak maturation.
Cellar door price: R90
De Wetshof Nature in Concert Pinot Noir 2009
Robertson used to be known for its sweet wines, then along came modern winemakers like Danie De Wet who helped to change that perception by producing arguably some of the country’s finest chardonnays. MCC wines started winning awards too. Now with red wines from the appellation winning awards, Danie tackles pinot noir, not the easiest of grape varieties. This wine is a classic pinot noir. Soft berries and cherries and redcurrants abound on the nose and on the palate, and linger there during the long aftertaste. The tannins are smooth and the excellent and careful use of French oak barrels for the maturation make this an elegant wine.
Cellar door price: R193
Hermanuspietersfontein Swartskaap 2009
The winery with the longest name! Swartskaap is Bartho Eksteen’s expression of cabernet franc, a traditional old grape of Bordeaux and a parent of cabernet sauvignon. This is no retiring shy black sheep of the HPF family. Aged for 16 months in French Oak barrels, it is deep ruby in colour. Berry fruits and bloodplums and preserved black olives meld with fynbos herbs and spice. Enjoy the lively long ending of this beautifully balanced wine.
Cellar door price: R174
Lindhorst Statement 2006
This is a shiraz-led blend with cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Experience waves of ripe berry fruit, cedar undertow from the cabernet, spice from the shiraz., and a suede soft fullness in the mouth. It has perfect balance and long aftertaste.
Cellar door price: R110
Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2009
Frans Smit has been cellarmaster at Spier since the mid 90s. Spier, a unique example of many style of Cape Dutch Architecture, has 21 different gables on the elegant manor house and the outbuildings. In his 21 Gables wines, a chenin blanc and this pinotage, he pays homage to the architecture at Spier with South Africa’s ‘own’ grapes. The pinotage is deeply ruby-coloured with garnet flashes round the edges. Here you will find the classical pinotage fruit, dark ripe cherries, wild roadside fennel and a hint of caramelised orange peel. While drinking really well now, it will age well if you can bear to lay it down for a year or two for delayed pleasure.
Cellar door price: R158
By Michael Olivier
*Cellar door prices are included as a guide only; bottle store prices differ greatly across the country.