South Africa is famous for a number of world-class grape cultivars, loved far and wide.
Most wine lovers have a favourite cultivar they keep extra close to their heart and glass, yet some (if not most) of the great wines in the world are blends of two or more kinds of grapes. Red bordeaux-style wines are no exception.
Consisting of a blend of two or more grapes that originate from the famed wine region of Bordeaux in France (namely cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec), bordeaux-style wines have spread across the old and new wine worlds. In South Africa, you’ll find a treasure trove of inspired blends – creating a diverse range of bordeaux reds that consistently turn heads (right back, to get the final drops out the glass)!
So what can you expect from a bordeaux-style red blend? The possibilities are endless, depending on which of the five grapes have been blended and where they were grown. Cabernet sauvignon-dominated blends tend to create rich, balanced wines with black fruits and peppery notes. Merlot-dominated blends offer smoother plum and cherry flavours with easy tannins.
Whichever you choose, you’re generally guaranteed all the best qualities of the grape cultivars that have gone into the blend, rounded out by the other cultivars, to create something truly special - proving again the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
WADE BALES’ SELECTION OF THREE RED BORDEAUX BLENDS
Vriesenhof Limited Release Red Blend 2007
A limited-release Bordeaux blend from one of SA’s pioneers, Jan Boland Coetzee.
Discover aromas of leather and pencil lead, with lingering minerality and a long, satisfying finish. Ideal with slow-cooked stews or juicy steaks. Great now and still great for at least another five years.
Virgin Earth Five 2015
With no agriculture having been practised on these ancient soils before, this is truly virgin earth. The farm is committed to making natural wines using sustainable farming practices. Named after the five bordeaux varietals that make up this smooth blend, expect a full body, hints of spice and elegant tannins that remain firm and soft. Paired best with lamb or venison, enjoy now or keep in your cellar for up to seven years.
Delaire Botmaskop 2015
From luxury estate Delaire Graff’s mountain vineyards, these grapes are a handpicked blend of noble reds, dominated by cabernet sauvignon, aged in French oak for 18 months. Expect rich flavours of dark berries and liquorice, with hints of spice and cassis on the nose. Thick steaks, hearty stews and succulent lamb shanks will prove perfect dinner companions. Drink now or hold back (if you can) for up to five years.