Wines for clear but cold days
Sandile and I have taken on the difficult but gratifying task of blogging about our favourite wines tasted each month – as well as the journey that led to these choices.
With July being the month that I was born in, the first attempt at this new monthly piece was particularly tricky. Not only because I obviously indulged more that usually, but because there were many clear and beautiful days that looked fitting for a glass of cool white, but temperature wise, were more apt for port or anti-freeze.
The spectrum was therefore very wide and diverse – ranging from Sauvignon to Tawny. The Sauvignon Blanc in question was the very much off the beaten track Coup D’etat, produced by Hermit on the Hill and drunk at Publik Wine Bar. It’s meant to stir and excels at it, with a back label taking a stab at the rigid Wine and Spirits Board for rejecting it.
Yes, it is slightly hazy, with an oxidative, aged character and it certainly doesn’t taste like the run of the mill Sauvignon Blanc. But it’s definitely a drink that catalyses wine geek debate. And, oh yes, this time of the year, it’s probably easier to drink Sauvignon with an oxidative character and residual sugar than to bear with a bone dry, acidic wine, which would be more suited to weather that looks and is summery.
On the red side of the spectrum, I took up the challenge of understanding why Merlot is by far the best selling red in the domestic market. I beg to differ with those who argue that it’s light, feminine and easy – especially if you venture into the sub-R50 offerings, which are the ones that sell in great volumes. Perhaps ease of pronunciation trumps ease of swallowing in terms of purchasing considerations? As an entry-level alternative, I’ve been a big fan of Leeuwenkuil Shiraz and for casual quaffing it’s always difficult to beat.
The Hamilton Russel Chardonnay 2005 was perhaps the perfect winter white, with soothing texture, lots of complex deliciousness and more than enough life left in it. It dates from a regime of more new wood in general, but there were certainly no faults here! I drank it on a freezing night in Betties Bay, from a wine glass that can only be excused at a beach house, which makes its feat of being my first wine of the month even more commendable.