Wine selections that suit palates and pockets

MID-JANUARY for many people is not a popular time of year.

The holiday festivities are over – for many it’s back to work, and a seemingly endless wait for that January pay cheque to land in the bank. The good news is that there are several upsides.

Many supermarkets and bottle stores now have post-Christmas specials to tempt weary shoppers back through the doors, and for those who just cannot face setting foot back in the shops yet, online wine stores are a great solution.

Add to that the fact that the increasing focus on quality in SA wine means that “cheap” no longer has to equal “bad”, and January may not look so bleak after all. specialises in unlabelled wines – mostly export order cancellations and over-runs – but sells labelled wines too. They do tell you what you are buying in the unlabelled side, so it’s not a lucky packet affair, and their discounts can be substantial.

For example, Hermanuspietersfontein 2012 Sauvignon Blanc export label is currently reduced from R118 to R55, while unlabelled wines include a 66% saving on Quoin Rock The Mendi 2007 (red) at R59. Both are Platter’s 4-star wines.

Back in the store aisles, another Platter’s 4-star that’s been going for a song is the Cloof Duckitt Merlot/Cab at R49 (Preston’s and Pick n Pay).

At the Cloof entry level, their easy-drinking Ruby/Rosy/ Daisy Darling range is widely available in the mid-R30 and worth a try.

At around R20 each (Preston’s), the Knor red and white blends from Knorhoek are great go-to wines for easy and inexpensive, good quality, summer quaffing.

For these unrelentingly hot days, the red is very cheerful with a block or two of ice added.

Another recent find is Klawer Sauvignon Blanc for R30 at Pick n Pay, a crisp and fruity happy summer wine.

Light wine is often watery and insubstantial, but if you’re looking to cut your alcohol intake without sacrificing quality, the Woolies Light range is one of the better offerings. They have a full range from reds and rosé, to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and semi-sweet, from Spier and Villiera. Well-priced in the mid-R30 to mid-R40 range, and several are currently on promotion.

Also look out at Woolies for their in-house organic, no-added-sulphur range of various hunting, swooping and fluttering animal-named wines. These are sourced from Stellar Organic Winery, the country’s first and largest organic producer, and are also priced in the mid-R30 to mid-R40, with some on special at the moment too.

Du Toitskloof is ever-reliable for quality and value, in box or bottle. Their entry-level whites and reds are priced in the R30s and R40s per bottle, and they put the same wine in the box as they do in the bottle.

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