Archive for November, 2008
The 2008 Best Value Wine Show which is hosted by Grand West Casino this year, takes place in the Market Hall, Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 2 December form 17h00 -21h00
The show once again offers Capetonians the opportunity to taste and purchase around seventy value-for-money wines from twenty South African wineries under one roof. All wines included in the 2009 Best Value Booklet have been tasted and rated by Wine’s independent panel and costs less than R60 per bottle. Prices start at R18.
“Many of the wines on offer at the show are available on supermarket shelves, but one rarely has the opportunity to taste them at point of purchase. This show offers the wines for tasting by the winemakers or representatives from the wineries themselves and thanks to Grand West’s efficient staff, the wines can be ordered, paid for at cellar door prices and taken home directly from the show,” says Cobie van Oort, one of the organisors.
An exciting culinary addition to this year’s show is the creation of an informal bistro restaurant inside the venue where visitors can enjoy a light meal at a reasonable price whilst waiting for their order to be made up. Alternatively the upmarket Quarterdeck restaurant in the main casino building, a short walk away offers Best Value Wine Show ticket holders a special on their lavish buffet of only R99 per person, for that night only! (Usual price R130 pp)
The cost per ticket is R60 per person, which includes the entrance fee, a tasting glass, a copy of the Best Value Wine Guide 2009 and an order form with all participating wines and prices.
Tickets are limited and bookings are essential. Contact Björn van Oort of CVO Marketing at (021) 981-0216 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book. Tickets are also for sale at the Quarterdeck Restaurant in the Casino complex
Visitors are welcome to come sample the Kumkani Chardonnay Viognier 2007 with is lemon, peach, honeysuckle and vanilla aromas. Other brands from the company of wine peopleTM will also be showcased.
The eternal question looms: What is the ideal, universal gift for hosts, friends, business associates, service workers and, not least, the family physician?
I’d submit that – barring such obvious exceptions as Alcoholics Anonymous members or hardshell teetotalers – it’s hard to top a gift of wine. Wine is broadly available and widely enjoyed. It comes in a convenient size package and commands a range of prices all the way from the budget level to wretched excess, offering you something at every price point depending on your desire to impress.
When you’re looking for a wine gift that’s a perfect match for your recipient, though, there’s one little gotcha: Fine wine comes in almost infinite variety of style, flavour and price, and individuals’ tastes vary. A truly thoughtful giver may want to make an effort to find out what particular wines the recipient prefers: Red, white or pink? Bone-dry, just a touch of sugar or outright sweet? Bubbles or not? So many decisions! An easy alternative might be to stick with the most popular regions and grape varieties in an appropriate price range, figuring that you can’t go far wrong with the wines that fly off the shelves.
Here are a few specific suggestions aimed at making your wine-gifting experience a happy one for you and the person who opens your surprise package.
START AT A QUALITY FINE-WINE SHOP.
Sure, you can pick up a cheap jug of mass-market wine at a neighbourhood liquor store, but your city’s better wine shops will likely offer you a broad selection of wine types and prices, and you can rely on the staff to give you savvy advice.
DON’T BE SHY ABOUT ASKING FOR ADVICE.
Small wine shops are typically run by the owner; some large fine-wine shops seek to hire floor staff who can competently answer questions.
A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE.
If you’re shy about asking for help, or find yourself in a warehouse-size store with no one to assist you, check out the popular wine regions and grapes and check the price tags to find something in your range. Red wine? The movie Sideways made Pinot Noir immensely popular, and Pinot is also the grape of French Burgundy, arguably one of the world’s great wines (and priced to match). Merlot is widely popular (despite being badly dissed in that same wine-country comedy) because it’s usually made as a fruity red wine with a mellow character. If you want a white, you can rarely go wrong with popular Chardonnay or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
FIZZ IS FUN.
Just about everybody loves Champagne and similar sparkling wines, and the sound of a popping cork lets the world know that it’s party time. Genuine Champagne, the real thing from France, is pricey, ranging from R300 or so right up to the three-figure range. But it’s uniformly good, and when you’re looking for a more upscale gift, it’s hard to beat as a sure-fire pleaser. If you want bubbles without breaking the budget, there are some more wallet-friendly Méthode Cap Classiques such as the Kumkani Infiniti which also make great gifts.
Dessert wines are rich, sweet and sumptuous; many of them also tend to be strong, many of them (like Port, Sherry and Madeira) “fortified” to 20 percent alcohol or so with a splash of brandy added to the sweet wine. There’s a wide range of dessert wines, from those mentioned to wines made from overripe, late-harvested grapes.
AT THE HIGH END.
Things get a little more complicated if you’re seeking a spare-no-expense wine gift for someone you really want to impress. With the exception of Champagne, most “collectible” wines require years of maturing in a wine cellar under controlled temperature conditions before they’re ready to enjoy. Unless you know your recipient has a wine cellar and knows how to use it, it may be best to bypass this niche.
BOTTLES LARGE AND SMALL.
Most wine comes in a standard 750 ml bottle. But for a particularly spectacular gift, seek out a magnum (double the size of a standard bottle) or even such rarities as a Jeroboam (3 litres or four bottles), and on up to the man-size Nebuchadnezzar (15 litres or 20 regular-size bottles in one). At the other end of the scale, how about a gift basket with a half-dozen “half-bottles,” the undersize 375 ml bottle that’s just enough when you’re drinking abstemiously or having dinner with a partner who doesn’t do wine.
There’s a huge range of options, and once you solve the basics, this is a great advantage: There’s something for just about everyone at just about any price. Happy holidays, and bottoms up!
Wine enhances the flavour of the food, makes the table look nice and can liven up a meal. But many people find it confusing. There are too many choices, it requires a special tool to open, and there’s the whole culture around wine supposedly dictating what goes with which food and what’s cool to drink.
Here’s a quick primer on how to incorporate wine into your holidays without hassles and embarrassment, and what basic items you need to present your drink perfectly.
The No. 1 rule is drink what you think tastes good, and have a couple of other offerings available that others might like. Your palate is about as individual as your fingerprints. What you like, someone else might avoid and vice versa, but that doesn’t mean the wine is bad. So serve a couple of wines and keep your bases covered.
Secondly, serve it in decent glasses. The shape of the glass really can affect the taste of a wine. It has to do with how the bowl of the glass channels the aroma – which is a big component of taste – to your nose. This is what wine lovers refer to when they are talking about the bouquet of a wine. Use a clear glass so you can see the wine. It’s worth the second or two to raise the stem toward light and just take a moment to appreciate the color.
Next, get a good corkscrew. A flimsy old corkscrew can be a hassle and an embarrassment. Corkscrews are really not expensive and, ideally, you should have more than one in your home.
Now all you need is wine. I recommend a Merlot or a Bordeaux blend like Kumkani Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot. This is a well-balanced wine with a blackcurrant and ripe berry fruit nose. This medium-bodied wine will be enjoyed by most red wine lovers as it has a soft tannin structure.
Source: LA Times Blogs
Wines from Old World countries like France, Italy and Spain and New World wines from California seem to always garner most of the experts’ accolades. The majority absolutely deserve these high ratings, but there are many outstanding wines from other parts of the New World.
South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile are producing fabulous wines. In many cases, their prices are well below those of their European and California counterparts.
Over the past three years combined, these New World countries have accounted for 22 percent of the wines on Wine Spectator’s top 100 list. In 2006, 25 percent of the top 100 came from these countries.
South Africans have been making wine for many years. Over the past few years, they are getting recognised for making some quality wines.
They plant more white grapes than red. Much of the white produced is Chenin Blanc. They also have been making some very good Sauvignon Blanc.
Their top red varietals are Shiraz (Syrah), Cabernet Sauvignon and their creation Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. Pinotage used to be hard to find, but is starting to pop up more regularly at wine shops.
On international wine markets South African brands are doing exceptionally well. Leading South African wine producer, the company of wine people™, has announced an increase of 21.9% in sales of their flagship brand Arniston Bay. This is largely driven by the success of its revolutionary, environmentally friendly packaging format, the Arniston Bay pouch.
Wine of South Africa’s UK market manager, Jo Mason, said it is satisfying to see South Africa performing so well in one of its most established export markets. “South Africa enjoys an enviable image in the minds of UK consumers and the quality and value for money the country offers are clearly having an effect. The more established South African brands have been successful this year.
Source: Ventura County Star
The company of wine peopleTM delivered sterling results at the India Wine Challenge: its newly launched Arniston Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc 2007 were both awarded silver medals.
The Kumkani Chardonnay Viognier 2007 received a bronze medal while the Arniston Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, Arniston Bay Reserve Shiraz 2007 and Kumkani Shiraz 2005 all got the Seal of Approval.
The Arniston Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008 also clinched a gold medal at the recent prestigious Veritas Awards – South Africa’s longest running wine competition – and winged it onto the 2009 South African Airways On Board Wine List. Top quality grapes, sourced throughout the Western Cape, were used to create this premium wine. Consumers are subsequently rewarded with cut grass and green pea aromas, typical Sauvignon Blanc character on the palate, crisp acidity and a good finish.
The Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – which won a silver medal at the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge – has expressive fresh aromas of ripe figs, green peppers and Cape gooseberry. With a rich mid-palate and a long finish, this wine was made to be enjoyed with food.
Brand and business development manager at the company of wine peopleTM, Mark Lester, said: “It’s always encouraging to see our wines perform so well, especially on the international stage and considering such a respected panel. The endorsement expressed by these distinguished panelists can only motivate the winemaking team, who ultimately should take credit for creating these great wines, to reach new heights. Our superb achievement highlights our depth as a quality South African wine producer, and I’m confident that ultimately our performance will contribute to a greater presence for the category as a whole in the exciting Indian market.”
More than 500 wines from across the globe were entered into the India Wine Challenge 2008, currently in its second year and the country’s only major independent wine competition. A panel of 14 distinguished judges such as founder of the London International Wine Challenge and IFE Chairman Robert Joseph, president of the Indian Wine Academy Subhash Arora, and sommelier Magandeep Singh were amongst the panelists.
The month before the festive season tends to be the busiest period on the social calendar thanks to numerous year-end functions, and visits from friends and family. We’ll leave you to decide on the eat-some-morish menus and music, but here’s a few tips when choosing wine for the silly season.
In order to make a good recommendation for type and quantity of wine, I usually have a number of questions; I ask about budget, what type of food is being served, how many persons, are the majority of guests wine drinkers or not, how long is the event, is it mainly standing or sitting, what time of day is the event.
After a number of experiments with large and small events, I am beginning to realise that the bigger the guest list for the party, the fewer wine choices you should have unless wine is the primary focus of the event. Now I typically suggest four wines; a fruity light-bodied and a full-bodied white wine and a light-bodied and a full-bodied red wine.
If there are a lot of new wine drinkers expected I usually throw an off dry white wine or blush in the mix. Persons come to mix and mingle and most are not too concerned about what wine is in their glasses as long as it tastes good, so don’t break the bank for fancy wine; on the flip side don’t go with the cheapest product on the market either.
Examples of light to medium-bodied crisp, dry white wines are: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and blends containing these cultivars. These wines are all usually food-friendly.
RECOMMENDED WINES: The Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay is masterfully blended with pineapple and melon flavours on the nose. The Arniston Bay Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a dry white wine with melon, citrus and peach tones and is delicious served with seafood dishes.
Full-bodied whites: Chardonnay and Viognier. Other great white wine choices include some off dry and aromatic wines such as Gewurztraminer, Torrontes and Reisling.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Chardonnay which was partially fermented with oak chips to give a mini blockbuster wine with a crème brulée finish.
Medium-bodied reds to choose from are: Pinot Noir, Merlot, some blends.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Merlot which was partially aged in French oak barrels for eight months, and has a dark cherry and plum nose with a spicy palate.
Medium to full-bodied reds would include Bordeaux blends, Shiraz and blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinotage.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Reserve Shiraz has a rich fruit character with nice bubblegum notes and velvety tannins. Good weight and length, and is heavenly when paired with succulent roast beef or venison carpaccio.
How much wine to purchase?
Standing guests tend to consume more wine than when they are sitting, so factor four glasses per guest for a typical stand-around cocktail party lasting three to four hours in the evening. One regular 750ml bottle of wine can comfortably pour five to six glasses. If wine is the only drink, then buying one bottle per guest is recommended, with 2:1 red/white ratio. Of course this all depends on your target audience. The earlier the event the less people will consume – unless you’re having a beach or pool party.
Other Home Entertainment tips:
PREPARE FOR SPONTANEOUS EVENTS: Keep a mixed case of inexpensive favourite wines on hand, as well as a couple of bottles of the ever popular Merlot, Chardonnay and a bottle of champagne in the fridge. You’ll always be ready for drop-in guests or spur-of-the-moment celebrations.
CHILLING WINE QUICKLY: Your guests are arriving in 10 minutes and you forgot to chill the white. Sound familiar? Relax and, most importantly, resist the urge to throw the bottle in the freezer. The fastest way to chill a white is to submerge it in an ice bucket filled with a mixture of ice and cold water.
REMEMBER: A white that’s “too chilled” won’t be able to exhibit its full flavour and bouquet; and a red that’s too warm won’t show its full potential. A handy rule of thumb is to take whites out of the ice bucket a half-hour before serving, and place reds in the refrigerator for a half-hour before serving.
CHOOSING WINE GLASSES: Glasses vary in size and shape to enhance the aroma of a particular wine. Start with a set of all-purpose glasses for white and one for red, they must be tulip or pear-shaped; wide bottom, narrow top. Since champagne requires a tall narrow glass so that bubbles stay perky for as long as possible, you’ll want a nice set of flutes as well.
When filling a glass with white or red, stop just below half-full. Leaving room in the glass allows a wine to release its aromas and “open up”. Champagne flutes should be filled two-thirds of the way up.
TO DECANT OR NOT TO DECANT: Do you have an older (10 years or more), or a young full-bodied red on hand? Then yes! Break out your gorgeous decanter and go to it. Decanting separates unpleasant sediment from older wines, and aerates them. Big, younger reds simply benefit from having the opportunity to breathe (decanters, like red wine glasses, have a much larger opening than the slim neck of the wine bottle, giving oxygen easier access to the wine).
Some wines will benefit from an hour or so in the decanter before being served, while others can slowly be enjoyed right away. Either way, you’ll notice a progressive deepening of both aroma and taste as the wine opens up over the course of your gathering.
Cheers! Now go forth and try a few new wines.
Source: Jamaica Observer
Moscow is fundamental to the success of any aspiring wine producer, representing at least two thirds of all wine sales. It is followed by St. Petersburg, and a handful of other key population centres. With its Vinitrac® Russia study, Wine Intelligence has been among the first to survey real consumer behaviour in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the results of this groundbreaking consumer research are contained in the report.
Earlier this year, Arniston Bay and Kumkani expanded their global footprint and entered this strategically important market despite complicated export procedures. A diverse variety of wine from these award-winning brands will be sold at major retailers in Russia.
Business development manager, Mark Lester, said early indications are that Arniston Bay and Kumkani wines have a promising future in the Russian market. “Traditionally, Russian palates have leant towards European-styled wines as a result of historic influences on consumption patterns. However as the footprint widens for Russian businessmen and leisure travelers to countries beyond European shores, increased exposure to New World wine producing countries and their wines are bound to have an influence on their buying decisions back home. Simultaneously, the current growth in the number of New World brands appearing on local shelves in Russia along with improved access to disposable income will further contribute to interest creation and increased demand for these wines.”
Mike Fisher, a founding partner of US investment banking firm Global Wine Partners believes South Africa, with its excellent wine-growing conditions, the beauty of its winelands and competitive cost structures, is well placed to advance from its relative obscurity in the US to the point where it becomes better recognised for its quality offerings.
In South Africa in November to attend the annual general meeting of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, he was impressed by evidence of the ability to make high quality wines here and also by the local wine industry’s sustainability initiatives, which he considered to be ahead of most of those in California
However, in his view, South Africa was the least known of the major wine-producing regions amongst US consumers. “Go into any grocery store in the US and of the 300 wines on the shelves, you will be lucky to find more than one or two of South African origin.”
While “not overwhelmed” by most Pinotage he tasted, although there were some notable exceptions, Fisher, who initially trained as a winemaker, found South Africa’s expression of the Bordeaux varietals to be very good. He was also impressed by local Sauvignon Blancs and Chenin Blancs. “South Africa’s reputation as a producer of Sauvignon Blanc is gaining ground. The same could happen with Chenin Blanc but because it is still very much a secondary variety in the US, it will be a harder sell.”
Given a general reluctance to invest during financially uncertain times, he predicted that there would be fewer investment transactions in the international wine industry over the next 12 to 18 months. “Moreover, the large companies have done their consolidating for now and it is not in the nature of the small specialist producers to amalgamate to achieve economies of scale.”
In an article published on the Destiny magazine website ( destinyconnect.com ), some well-known South African celebrities share their ‘party tricks’ used to entertain guests.
MD of Agenda Communications, co-owner of Diamond Face Couture, deputy chairperson of Gauteng Films and TV presenter of African Giants, Uyanda Mbuli is a skilled businesswoman and hostess. She loves organising high tea-style get-togethers and suggests you:
-Greet guests with good French Champagne, strawberries and cream.
-Look good, be warm, welcoming, energetic and full of smiles.
-Make your guests feel at home. “My guests are truly welcome throughout my house, from the kitchen to the lounge, although I usually entertain on one of my poolside patios,” she says.
Former Miss South Africa, TV presenter, restaurateur and club owner, Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis is used to entertaining the masses. When entertaining at home, she suggests you:
-Prepare food well in advance so you don’t spend all your time in the kitchen.
-Make sure there’s enough food and drink, and the rest will take care of itself.
-Use loads of flowers but keep things simple to create the right ambience.
Socialite Edith Venter is MD of Edith Venter Promotions. The quintessential party hostess gives these tips for delighting guests:
-Serve delicious food that’s easy to prepare – don’t try to make complicated sauces that go wrong at the last minute.
-Have an interesting guest list that includes good friends, as well as a balance between serious individuals and really “off-the-wall” personalities to encourgae a lot of talk around the table
-To create the ideal ambience, light candles inside and outside your home. The colours and décor should be warm and inviting, and these – together with lovely background music and great cocktails – set the perfect tone.
Source: Destiny Connect
It’s easy for diners to be confident when ordering their favourite domestic beer, or a common cocktail that every bartender knows how to prepare.
Hand them a wine list, though, and all confidence goes out the window. The average diner tends to be less than well-educated when it comes to pairing wine with their meals, or knowing how to serve it.
To avoid turning ordering a glass of wine into a major ordeal, it’s important to educate yourself about the wines available and the things you should or should not be doing to enjoy them.
Few things are more embarrassing than stumbling over the wine list at a fancy restaurant.
Try following these tips you find yourself on the spot.
No red and white rules: The old adage is “red wine with red meat and white wine with poultry or fish.” But feel free to give yourself some wiggle room when it comes to that. A salmon dish can be paired with a red wine just as easily as a steak.
With a broadened variety of wines and blends, the wines have become more complex. They have expanded their capabilities of what they can be successfully paired with.
Weight: Keep the weight your entree and wine balanced so one doesn’t overpower the other.
A thick steak with onions and mushrooms would go best with a heavy red wine, while white fish would be best paired with a light white wine.
Glass half full: Don’t allow your server to fill your wine glass to the top. Instruct the server to fill the glass halfway so you can swirl the wine and oxygenate it to make the drink more refreshing.
No hard alcohol: You’ve heard of no swimming for 30 minutes after eating. Well, don’t try a new wine immediately after downing a martini or brandy. The hard alcohol numbs your palate, making wine tasting impossible. I recommend waiting 20 minutes between cocktails and wine.
Don’t go cheap: In light of today’s economy, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest wine on the menu. These wines have the highest markup. Pick a wine right in mid-range, that way, you’re getting your money’s worth.
Wine at home
Serving wine at home can be almost as nerve-wracking as ordering wine at a restaurant, especially if you have guests. As the host, the success of the meal depends on making good wine choices.
Start with bubbles: No matter what wine you are serving with dinner, give your guests a glass of sparkling wine to help cleanse their palate.
Choices, choices: Offer a red and a white wine with dinner. Each guest’s palate is different, and it may change over the course of the meal, depending on the main course.
Pour early: Pour the wine before your guests sit down to dinner. It gives the wine time to breathe, and plus you won’t be leaning over people trying to pour while they start their meal.
Get smart: Even if you think you have a good grasp on wine, keep educating yourself. Try a different wine every time you go out to eat. Also, keep an eye out for wine tastings and classes.
Source: Press of Atlantic City
The recent Platter tasting method debate has resulted in the Platter guide to set up an open discussion forum about their tasting method .
Wine.co.za reports that against a backdrop of increased interest in its method of sighted wine assessments (ie with the label exposed and the name of the producer known), Platter’s Wine Guide invites the book’s readers, wine producers, retailers, media and other interested parties to attend an Open Discussion Forum on blind versus sighted tasting, and the way forward for Platter’s, to be held in early February 2009.
Sighted tasting has been a feature of Platter’s Guide since its inception in 1980, initially because wineries were visited for tasting (and blind assessments obviously were out of the question) but also after visits were replaced in the early 2000s by “off-site” tasting. (For practical reasons, two very large portfolios continue to be reviewed at their producer’s premises.)
The guide’s publisher, Andrew McDowall, says sighted tasting serves two main purposes: firstly, it promotes more informed and nuanced assessments, resulting in (hopefully) a more readable and informative book. Secondly, sighted tasting supports a unique (in South Africa) aspect of the guide, namely the monitoring of the quality and style of a wine over successive vintages, thereby enabling the guide to offer an opinion on not only current performance but also track record and pedigree.
“Sighted tasting is a valid and internationally accepted approach,” McDowall continues. “Many of the world’s leading wine critics use it, either exclusively or on occasion, in the course of their reviews. However, while sighted tasting historically is Platter’s preferred method, it is not a dogma to which we blindly cling. If change is needed, our track record speaks of our willingness to listen to advice and constructive criticism and introduce improvements as needed.”
A complication, though, is that the local wine industry is far from unanimous in its opinion on the way forward for Platter. In conversation and via the media, many different alternative methodologies are mooted, ranging from competition-style blind tastings through to fully sighted assessments in the presence of the winemaker.
“The lack of industry accord on the one hand, and the need to canvass the views of consumers on the other, suggest that an Open Discussion Forum, which will encourage input from all interested parties, is the best first step in mapping out the way forward,” McDowall says. “The objective is for the Platter team to listen and to learn, but equally for those who call for drastic change to carefully consider the ramifications.”
Wine Spectator magazine reports that for the third straight year, Americans are expected to drink more red wine than white, thanks to a projected 3 percent increase in red wine consumption in 2008, to 121 million cases, an all-time high according to the recently-released The US Wine Market : Impact Databank Review and Forcast, 2008 edition. White wine consumption is also expected to grow this year, but by a slightly slower 2 percent rate to 118 million cases, while rosé and blush wine consumption is projected to decline 3 percent.
Before 2006, red wine had not outsold white since 1976. A white wine cocktail boom emerged back then, fueling the dominance of white wines until wine coolers had their heyday in the mid-’80s. When cooler sales slowed, the blush wine phenomenon began, driven by white Zinfandel, but sales of red and white wines also began to grow. Increases in the number of working women and the number of legal-age drinkers were responsible for much of that growth. Members of the “echo boomer” generation began reaching legal drinking age in the mid-1990s, adding about 60 million potential new wine drinkers, according to the report. By the end of this decade, those consumers will be in their 30s, the prime target for wine marketers.
Most of red wine’s 2008 growth is projected to come from sales of variety-labeled brands, both domestic and imported, particularly Pinot Noir, which is expected to advance 12 percent, to 9 million cases. Cabernet Sauvignon is also projected to perform well, according to Impact Databank, which is owned by M. Shanken Communications, the parent company of Wine Spectator.
The recent success of red wines can be attributed to the American consumer’s increasingly sophisticated palate, expanding knowledge of wine and willingness to experiment with a wider variety of wine styles. Drinking red wine has also been linked favorably in numerous medical studies to various health benefits, such as a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Among white wines, Chardonnay continues to lead the pack, except when it comes to imports, where it was once again surpassed by Pinot Grigio. Total Chardonnay consumption is projected to grow 2 percent in 2008 to a whopping 63 million cases, but outpaced by Pinot Grigio’s expected 7 percent gain to 18 million cases.
Meanwhile, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling imports will continue to surge at double-digit rates in the near term. The lone bright spot for blush wines this year is white Merlot, which is expected to advance by a modest 3 percent, while the much larger white Zinfandel category is projected to decline by 2 percent. Some imported rosés have started to come on strong, but from a very small base.
Source: Wine Spectator
The wine buyer for the Shoprite Checkers group, Stephanus Eksteen, is probably one of the most respected and influential individuals in the South African wine market. In a recent interview published in The Times, Eksteen gave a few valuable suggestions for buying and enjoying wine.
Here are some tips:
- Drink the wine you like and know, but in between experiment a little. As consumers we are blessed with having more than 6 000 labels to choose from. So be adventurous.
- When you see a wine on a “special” and it is one you like, go for it. There is nothing wrong with wines on special offer. The retailer may simply be clearing stock or the wine had been offered to him or her at a discounted price.
- Wine is a fascinating and venerable topic. Read what others have to say about our wines and see whether you can discover for yourself all those tastes and smells they describe. It is a most rewarding experience.
- At the same time, try not to get too pretentious about it — just enjoy it.
Read full article: The Times
Wine tasting notes can be misleading and misunderstood. Sometimes consumers expect the wine to taste exactly like the tasting notes suggests. Wine that have a hind of chocolate and caramel do not taste like a Cadbury’s Caramello Bear (South African chocolate bar).
In an article, published on C-Ville.com, J. Tobias Beard said: “Many of us misunderstand the nature of wine language. I constantly run into people who seem to actually expect to find various foods in wine. “Mmmm,” they will say, reading the back of the bottle, “I like chocolate. I’ll buy this one!” Indeed, when confronted with wines that are said to offer a “mouthful of silky-textured cherries, blueberries, plums, boysenberries, earth, minerals, and spiced oak,” people can hardly be blamed if they expect dessert. I tend to advise customers to ignore those descriptions. But why? Doesn’t wine taste like all that stuff? Isn’t that the point?”
Yes and no. Wine language is poetic—a way of describing not what a wine objectively tastes like, but what it was like for the writer to taste the wine. Good wine writing presents an experience, not an analysis.
Granted, wine can taste and smell like all kinds of weird things, some of which I personally have tasted and smelled. Sauvignon Blanc does sometimes smell like cat pee. I used to have a cat that peed on my clothes, so I know that smell. But I have never smelled or tasted any of the following, taken from actual wine reviews: liquefied minerals, animal fur, beef blood, white flowers, or scorched earth.
Maybe you’ll taste all that stuff, maybe you won’t. We all have different palates, after all, and taste is subjective. But modern wine writing has become so fixated on isolating scents and smells that we’re led to believe there’s no other way to enjoy wine. The critics strain to conjure up ever more esoteric descriptions, and the drinker is left to strain for a small hint of “new saddle leather,” lest he be seen as a wine ignoramus.
People really want to know what wines taste like. They ask me all the time, but the only honest answer I can give is to tell them to taste it for themselves, and not to be afraid to wax poetic.”
One of my favorite wines , the Kumkani Merlot / Pinotage 2007, was described as follows on the tasting note:
“Medium to full-bodied red wine. Sweet fruit on the nose with hints of banana and mint. Multi-layered palate with undertones of spice and vanilla. Beautiful balance between primary fruit aromas and secondary oak matured flavours .”
I think this is a soft, easy-drinking wine with a great balanced body. I can’t smell the hint of banana, but I nonetheless enjoy the taste of this wine.