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A personal appreciation for brandy was quite obvious in the wines that stood out for me this week – even though the two wines are worlds apart!

Having tasted on a monthly basis with Higgo Jacobs, former chairman of Which Wine, a bi-monthly tasting run by WineLand, I soon got used to a tasting note he frequently used: “a perfect pool-sipper”. As a way of expressing an easy drinking yet promising wine, I always recall this term when tasting a wine that would appeal to the masses.

With the couple of wines delivered to the WineLand office weekly and the new monthly challenge set by Edo Heyns to select our wine of the month, there was obviously a temptation to go with traditional cultivars and reputable brands. But playing it safe would defeat the purpose of exploring the wonderful wines the South African industry has to offer. This led to a quite radical spread, with wines at both poles of the spectrum.

After a rather hectic month which included judging gigs from the MCC Challenge to the Quest for the Best of Wellington and juggling a few ‘must-attend-functions’, the variety of wine my palate was exposed to was probably enough to last me the rest of the year! It was at the recent Novare SA Terroir awards luncheon, that I had a brief encounter with an under R50 bottle of wine that quite unexpectedly blew my socks off.  A second bottle tasted at home, confirmed that the first impression was neither a one hit wonder, nor a reflection of too many wines at lunch.

The Andre’s Fame Colombard 2016, from Bon Courage Wines is my wine of the month for July. The purity of fruit, ripe guava and lime and lively acidity on the palate makes it particularly smashable – and it’s not even summer! The wine is best served in its youth and I would advise against keeping it for too long. It was a heart-warming wine: well-rounded with upfront fruit and even a savoury note. It is a bargain and the best introductory wine to new wine drinkers, as well as an enjoyable surprise to those have been around the wine block.

My other wine product of the month was the Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage Brandy. As previously mentioned, my love for brandy is on an exponential trajectory and I was honoured to be invited to a “brandy-cocktail” event. I prefer brandy in its pure form, whereby the product’s integrity and the brandy maker’s craft can be appreciated. Smacking it with a dose of orange liquor or ice tea makes it easily approachable, fair enough, many people enjoy that. I just prefer the “Brandy” part of its pure form!

I enjoyed it with a drop of water, which unlocked a mixture of flavours with nuts, chocolate and roasted coffee as the backbone of these. The citrus spectrum of flavours was intriguing, as I am new to proper brandy appreciation. After weeks of influenza that just would not go away, the finish of the brandy was literally clean, soothing the throat without an extreme burning feel. I was tempted to soften my next glass with a block of ice, but with the crowd of friends at our Tshisa-nyama spot, I opted to man-up and enjoy it pure or “skoon” as they would say.

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