If you’ve never tasted the wines of South Africa, you need to start – now!
Arguably one of the globe’s most overlooked wine regions, South Africa hammocks the continent of Africa between the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and the Indian Ocean on the East. As an emerging New World producer, South Africa enjoys some of the world’s oldest wine growing soils and most diverse ecosystems, including the UNESCO World Heritage Fynbos (meaning ‘fine-leaved’) ecoregion, home to one of the planet’s largest biomes.
These tasting notes compliment my South African artisan winemaker interview with Ntsiki Biyela.
The wines here showcase the talent of Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black woman wine maker, and winner of South Africa’s Woman Wine Maker of the Year award in 2009. Biyela blazed her career at boutique winery Stellekaya, and has since moved on to form her own label, Aslina, named after her grandmother, a huge influence on her life. She’s also captured the attention of Mika Bulmash of Wines for the World, who tapped her for Suo – The Collaboration also featured here, a collaboration with Napa Valley winemaker Helen Keplinger.
Brilliantly original, a fierce grace marks these wines, reflective of both the winemaker and her native land.
Suo Red Collection 2013 Bordeaux Blend is a collaboration between South African winemaker Ntsiki Biyela and Napa Valley winemaker Helen Keplinger.
Suo Red Collection Number 2, 2013
Grapes : 55% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, 5% malbec.
Alcohol: 14.5 %
Suggested Retail: $36
Robe: Opaque blood-red robe.
Nose: Feral notes of tomato leaf, tobacco, leather.
Palate: Umami-infused black fruit, vegetal notes; medium body, acids, tannins and finish.
Suggested Pairings: A stalwart companion to steak or ribs with a side of frites.
Stellekaya Hercules 2011
Grapes: 100% sangiovese
Suggested Retail: $29.99
Robe: Dusky garnet robe.
Nose: Dusty leather, red cherry, tomato, potpourri backnote.
Palate: Savory mélange of dark cherry, tobacco, cedar. Medium body, acids, tannins, finish.
Suggested Pairing: Traditional tomato-based dishes featuring mushrooms and richer proteins, such as ragout or lasagna.
LM Archer is a freelance writer based in Santa Cruz, California. She is Francophile who considers wine an art and Burgundy the centre of the universe. She is the founder and editor of binNotes | redThread.
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