Dreaming of South African Wine (and Good Value)

22Jan09

De Treffen Winery in the Stellenbosch region on South Africa

De Treffen Winery in the Stellenbosch region on South Africa

By Lauren Dickinson

Eric Asmiov is excited. I am even more excited. The wine editor of The New York Times is thrilled by his discovery that his latest tasting of South African Cabernets not only exceeded his expectations, but they are good values as well.  I have even more reason to be excited as in a couple months I will be in South Africa and thus have one more thing to look forward to- trying these wines in their element.

South Africa’s wine reputation has been a bit mixed recently as their intended signature Pinotage didn’t quite take off, and some of the budget priced wines could really taste that way. But that is just a small part of the story- South Africa is an old wine producing region. What’s missing right now is what many popular wine areas have in abundance- marketing and PR.

For those of you who prefer a more restrained, less fruit bomb style of Cabernet, these wines, with Asimov’s beloved notes of cassis and violet, may be exactly your thing. They will pair well with winter foods- beef naturally, but lamb is another favorite. Try Nigella’s braised lamb shank using a cup of your chosen Cab to really marry the flavors.  And if you have any tips on Cape Town, send them my way!

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