With World Cup rugby imminent and Springbok prowess - or lack of it - occupying ever more centimetres in print and making for robust debate on air, a couple of wine producers have focused on the wine to stock up on for prolonged TV watching - and even snacks to complement them.
Last year, the partnership with Ernie Els wines and Rust en Vrede was dissolved, followed by news that cellarmaster Louis Strydom had introduced a new range of Ernie Els fine reds priced at sensible levels, far below the stratospheric figures asked for earlier.
Now, the Big Easy has put his name to a pair of even more affordable wines: he is backing the Boks with the SA Rugby Red and SA Rugby White, the labels adorned with a flying springbok. The former is a 2010 blend of shiraz and cab that will please many fans with its complex flavours and freshness, while the white, a 2011 sauvignon blanc, is a classy example of this favourite cultivar, offering a pleasing balance of fruit and grass. They retail at R79.99 and R59.99 respectively.
Earlier this year, the team at Stellenbosch Hills spent enjoyable hours pairing their range of six impressive, competitively-priced wines with a variety of biltong and droëwors all of top quality. They matched their well-rounded plummy merlot with ostrich wors and their pinotage/merlot blend with moist beef biltong. Traditional springbok biltong was chosen to partner their 1707 Reserve white blend, a rich meld of chardonnay, semillon and viognier, while the red counterpart, the flagship 1707 2008 Reserve is paired best with traditional beef-dried wors.
This wine, its bottle well decorated with awards, is a four-star winner made from shiraz, cab, merlot and petit verdot, matured for 24 months in new French oak.
The 2008 Stellenbosch Hills cab gets kudu-dried sausage as its mate, while their bold shiraz makes a fine partner for smoked beef biltong.
Visitors can try this “tasting safari” at the cellar outside Stellenbosch, for R40 a head. The wines offer excellent value, selling at between R30 and R80 from the cellar door.
Rooting for the Boks could be accompanied by another South African stalwart and favourite red: Chateau Libertas is heading for its 80th birthday, and in preparation, its old-South Africa label has been replaced by a contemporary, but identifiable version.
Introduced by Dr William Charles Winshaw - who also established Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery - this enduring, easy-drinking classic is a blend of cab, shiraz and merlot today, the last replacing cinsaut. It has been poured over decades for important visitors to this country, from the British Royal Family in 1947 to Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in 1954. - Weekend Argus